Futurama, the moderately popular cult TV program, returned to the air last night after a seven year hiatus with two brand new episodes. Here are two separate, contrasting reviews of each program by Everyview Editor Casual Clay Cunningham and Editor-in-Cheif Zachariah Jedidiah Pritcher.
Clay Cunningham’s Review:
While I suspect my Doubleshot cohort will disagree, I went into the two episode relaunching of Futurama with the best of intentions, despite very real reasons for skepticism. Not only would it be difficult for a show to recreate the momentum which is sure to be lost after a seven year hiatus, but the show also produced four strait-to-DVD movies in its televised absence which were hit-and-miss as an accumulative whole.
But despite these reservations, I so badly wanted to enjoy the new batch of episodes as an avid fan of the show in its initial run. But while I fear this this revelation will cause fellow fans to wish a painful, boneitis related death upon me, I am sad to report the new season began on a disappointing note.
The first episode, entitled “Rebirth,” was a very complicated story which picked up where the final film “Into The Wild Green Yonder” left off. I’m going to assume anyone reading this saw the episode so I won’t have to bother trying to describe the insanely complicated plot, involving human loss and robotic replicas amongst other things.
My problem wasn’t that the episode was complicated, but that it was very similar to a vastly superior episode from season five entitled “The Sting,” where Leela felt guilty for Fry’s death on a mission where the crew had to gather honey from giant bees. That episode bent reality in a brilliant way that required multiple viewings to absorb everything. While it’s possible this episode may prove beneficial in that regard, one thing I am 100% sure of is that “Sting” was much funnier. While “Rebirth” had a few chuckles, it lacked the clever, irreverent dialogue I came to love from Futurama (for instance, nothing in this episode approached the hilarity of Hermes’ “I’m from Jamaica, the show-me island. So show me you blowing it out your fanny,” line from “The Sting”).
Episode two, an Adam and Eve parable entitled “In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela,” was marginally better. I laughed out loud when Zapp Brannigan became repulsed at the eventual incestuous implications that come from two people having to repopulate the entire earth. But aside from that moment, like the first episode, it only offered a few moderate chuckles, which was especially disappointing seeing as how it was so heavy on Brannigan, whose episodes are usually crammed with wall-to-wall, sexlexic genius (“I am the man with no name…Zapp Brannigan!”).
And while I have no problem with innuendo, surely this show, which on multiple occasions has made the aspiring comedy writer in me ragefully jealous with its remarkable cleverness, can do better than calling a death-star like ship “V-Giny” (ho-ho-ho).
While the revamped Futurama was hardly awful, it’s difficult not to be a bit critical when a program which has given you hours of brilliance comes out of the gate with material that is relatively average. There is a certain flow that great shows have in their heyday, which this one had in droves. Maybe it was the multi-year layoff, but with four feature films and two new episodes, it’s not yet where it was.
It is my hope this is merely a slow start, and not the beginning of this once great show simply staying on the air far too long simply to meet public demand (it’s not as if series creator Matt Groening has ever done that before). I can certainly hold out final judgement on the new episodes as a whole for a few months, but if it doesn’t regain form after that, you can bet Urectum I won’t tune in any longer.
Final Score: 6.5/10 (Weapons Grade Balonium)
Zac Pritcher’s Review
When Fox canceled Futurama, I didn’t care. I had seen the show maybe twice throughout its time with Fox, a network that I never watched due to the fact that I was too busy not giving a shit about television unless it was Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, or on occasion the Disney Channel. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years after the show’s production was ceased that I actually truly discovered Futurama, and that was because Cartoon Network began airing it during Adult Swim on a very regular basis. I fell in love.
Fast forward to present day. Last night, Everyview Editor “Casual” Clayton Joel “C Thrice” Cunningham paid me a visit to watch the highly anticipated return of what is a great show that we both love. Even though the rights to the show have fallen into the hands of Comedy Central, a network that churns out a lot of mediocre crap mixed in with a tiny bit of comedic gold, a fact that had many fan’s panties in the bunch, I remained confident that the return of the show would possess the same amount of excellent, irrelevantly relevant, side-splitting humor that won my love in the first place.
I’m going to assume that you’ve already read Clay’s opinion (if not, please do so now), so I’m not going to go into details on what the episodes were about, but I’ll instead focus on presenting my conflicting opinion over the quality of the two premiers.
We’ll kick things off with “Rebirth,” the first episode from the series revival. As Clay said, the episode was convoluted, but it managed to be confusing in a very hilarious manner that wasn’t frustrating but was instead very fun. The constant unpredictable, unneeded twists and turns each provoked side-splitting bouts of laughter. The writers’ abilities to please the humor receptors of both immature morons and sophisticated brainiacs doesn’t seem to have waned at all in their hiatus.
Unlike my co-reviewer, I found this episode to be not only entertaining, but a perfect re-introduction to a great show, perfectly capturing and displaying the personalities of all of the show’s characters, and proves that the writers are still able to come up with excellent dialogue which is excellently executed by the voice cast (Fry’s “Hey, where’s my shoes?” line is one of the funniest examples of hilarious dialogue in the show’s history in my opinion).
“Rebirth” is an excellent episode from start to finish.
“In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela,” which Clay somehow found much more appealing than “Rebirth,” was the inferior of the two. While it did possess many laugh out loud moments, they didn’t come until the latter half of the episode and all hit at once, making the episode’s pacing very off kilter. Also very weak was the ending, which was not only stupid and anticlimactic, but felt very different from what I’m used to from Futurama. This episode wasn’t bad by any stretch of the word, but was vastly weaker than “Rebirth.”
Clay’s low score really surprised me, but I think it’s just because he’s so butthurt about the Simpson’s falling from glory and into mediocrity that he isn’t willing to trust Futurama to be as good as it used to be. There is no way the writers of the show were able to work in all of their ideas. The show was canceled way before its time, and I for one am excited to see it return. If these first two episodes are any indication, there is a lot to look forward to.
Score: 8.0/10 (Great)