EVERYONE, GOOD NEWS! Futurama has returned (again).
The 11th season of the science fiction show debuts today on Hulu in the US (and Disney+ worldwide), following a 10-year break. It's understandable to question whether, with the passage of time, the show could continue where it left off and continue to be as pertinent now as it was ten years ago, but fear not. The new episodes effectively revive the program in 3023—a year that is still 1,000 years away—with all the vigor it possessed when it was cancelled (for the second time) in 2013.
As The Simpsons continued to dominate television, Futurama began airing in 1999, almost 25 years ago. It started with four fantastic seasons, which featured several Emmy Award-winning episodes including "Roswell That Ends Well" and "Godfellas," among others. While the lead characters Philip J. Fry (voiced by Billy West) and Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal) have lots of humorous lines, the foul-mouthed, beer-swilling robot Bender (voiced by John DiMaggio) is probably the most well-known. For those who are unfamiliar, the show's premise is that Fry was a pizza delivery kid in 1999 on New Year's Eve when he was unintentionally cryogenically frozen for a millennium. Professor Farnsworth (also voiced by West) magically reboots the universe at the start of the next season, allowing everyone to effortlessly carry on from where they left off after time has been suspended for a few years. "We're here again, baby!" As he ignites a cigar, Bender exclaims.
The current season of the program constantly makes fun of its own repeated cancellations and revivals, such as when the characters persuade "Fulu" officials to bring back a canceled robot soap opera that Fry liked. By shackling him in a Dune-style stillsuit with a helmet that drills into his skull, a feeding tube, and a recycling system for his waste, they make it easier for him to binge watch multiple seasons. A few soap opera episodes are written by Bender, but they aren't very good; evidently, AI will still struggle to write properly in a thousand years. It has a retro-futuristic vibe that is entirely modern while paying homage to earlier sci-fi eras.
And to think that it nearly didn't. In order to secure higher remuneration for the entire group, DiMaggio withdrew from the Futurama revival last year as the new season was coming together. (Voice performers for TV and video games have long complained that their pay is inadequate.) A response from fans using the hashtag #BenderGate resulted from producers threatening to change his voice. After all was said and done, he was reinstated in his position.
The animated space comedy series Futurama, created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, debuted before the year 2000, cellphones, social media, artificial intelligence, and shows like Rick and Morty and Star Trek: Lower Decks, both of which have new seasons planned. While Star Trek and Rick and Morty are more grounded in science and less gloomy than Futurama, it is still clear how the two shows have influenced one another and how the popularity of animated science fiction has increased as a result.
In addition, Futurama makes more allusions to the 2020s than either of those shows. There is an episode about Bitcoin, which is accompanied by cryptocurrency frauds and lost money, in its Twilight Zone-like show-within-a-show that now pays homage to Black Mirror. Additionally, it has a server farm, which raises ethical questions regarding the heads of the robots powering it rather than energy use or carbon footprint. A Covid-like outbreak, Ivermectin use (but only for deworming), a main character being "canceled," and 3D printing are some other episodes.
The megacorporation MomCorp, which formerly resembled a future Walmart, is the subject of another brand-new episode. These days, it goes by the name Momazon and has a sizable lunar warehouse with horrible working conditions as well as a new digital assistant called Invasa (which is similar to Alexa but even more intrusive). Momazon poses a threat to control the sector, force Planet Express out of business, and rule the globe. The fast, drone-borne delivery are certainly practical, despite the characters' criticism of the business.
Futurama will receive 10 additional episodes for season 12 in addition to the new version's 10 weekly episodes. Although it is obviously written with respect for the past, it also has a forward-looking feel to it.