Monday, May 16, 2005


Ramblings about the animation show Futurama. The writer and his nephews are experiencing mania for this show only equal to the fanaticism of Tulip lovers or Star Wars and Trekkies. A fan is actually a shorterned version of the word fanatic and means an enthusiastic admirer.This has to be one of my favourite comedy shows of late. The story is a spoof on nearly all science fiction stories and films. It starts off with one of its characters a pizza delivery boy Philip Fry who wakes up in the future, courtesy of an accident in a cryo-facility during New Year's Eve celebration. Threads of Buck Rogers...hmm.

Anyway Fry wakes several centuries later and finds himself in a new job going to different planets and facing aliens of all kind as a intergalactic delivery boy. By luck he now works for his great-grand nephew an uber-geriatric mad scientist named Prof Farnsworth. Working with him is the space ship captain Leela a female cyclop and a robot capable of bending metal whose name is Bender. Together with the other characters - an alien crustacean Dr Zooidberg, Hermes the Jaimacan bureaucrat, and Amy wong a rich martian-chinese heiress, they make Galactic express.

The series was conceptualized by Matt Groening, the creator of Simpsons. Like the Simpsons the series is populated with a host of zany characters. There is Shatner-Kirk parody Zap Brannigan and his long suffering 1st of officer Kif Kroker. And with characters like Morbo, Calculon, Lrrr, Donbot, Wernstrom, President Richard Nixon's Head and Nibbler you cannot just me.

Groening and company pulled out all the stops in this series. Everything was made fun of from Star Wars and Star Trek to Iron Chef and alien abduction. Ok, maybe Iron Chef did not neet to be parodied.

Most of the episodes were really funny. The nephews loved it because of the antics provided by Bender. This slapstick and violent antics seems to make my nephews extremely happy. This also explains the attraction to Loony Tunes cartoons and the three stooges. On a personal level its fun to watch because the series is full of gags and parody a science fiction fan lucky enough to watch a lot of old science fiction shows - meaning that person is old or has diligently over the years watched the re-runs of Space 1999, Star Trek, Lost in Space and a lot of B-movies.

Then of course there is Zap Brannigan. This is quite a character. You have to see it to believe it.

Funny as it is Futurama is not condescending. It treats the subject with the respect it deserves...treat with humor and riducule its seriousness. Even Shatner and company probably understoosd this and perhaps that is why they consented to be in the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before". This has got to be one of my favourite episodes along with "Amazon Women in the Mood".

Unfortunately, the series suffered from bad scheduling by Fox. And it ended quite early.

The upside though is that it is now available on DVD. So I can get to watch whenever I or my nephews want to watch it.
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