October 24, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Futurama Returns: We Preview Comedy Central’s New Episodes

By Fred Topel

HollywoodNews.com: There weren’t enough Futurama fans to keep Fox from canceling it, but there were enough for 20th Century Fox to produce four Futurama movies which premiered on DVD. The sci-fi spoof from the creator of The Simpsons returns to TV on Comedy Central with new episodes on June 24. That’s a big deal. The geeks win again.

The return episode opens with our favorite  Hypnotoad and Bender’s voiceover explaining why they’re back. If you thought the jokes about the Box company in Bender’s Big Score were on target, here they go again. You’ll also notice the show now fills the entire 16 x 9 HD TV frame like the movies did.

They do answer the cliffhanger ending of Into the Wild Green Yonder. It turns out it wasn’t some open ended ambiguous ending. Something drastic happened. Nothing so drastic it can’t be resolved in 22 minutes, but pretty ballsy for the plot of a weekly TV series.

There’ve been a lot of topical technological developments since we last saw Futurama, so get ready for stem cell jokes. The plot of the first episode restarts the “will they/won’t they” relationship between Fry and Leela in the most brilliant sci-fi way possible. It asks questions that touch on the classics of Phillip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov. There’s also just silly crashing and screaming.

The second episode is very heavily influenced by Star Trek, down to sound effects and name dropping. There’s a little bit of Star Wars in there, but if you remember V-Ger, you’ll appreciate what they’re doing.

Also, is it just me, or are these episodes dirtier than the ones that aired on Fox? It was always edgy, but it seems like the DVD movies have empowered the writers to really go there. It’s sexual, and aggressively so. Maybe they’re just trying to compete with South Park.

I don’t quite think these are as good as the DVD movies. They did some really good stuff with the 90 minute format. It’s still solid Futurama though. I’m happy to have them back patrolling the creative depths of science fiction with the irreverent comedy of Matt Groening.

About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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