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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.

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