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Welcome to the World of Tomorrow

Jaiden Amiri Owens, Staff Writer

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The animated sci-fi comedy TV show Futurama is the show that just won’t die. It has had so far 4 separate series finales, the most recent of which marked the 140th episode of the series, not including the 4 movies that were made. Futurama was created by Matt Groening and developed by Matt and David X. Cohen.

The show’s premise is that in the year 2000 a delivery boy named Philip J. Fry is accidentally cryogenically frozen and sent 1000 years into the future, to the year 3000.

Futurama is essentially a sitcom, but it does maintain a fairly high level of continuity and events from previous episodes are quite often revisited, either in flashbacks, new discoveries, or occasionally through time travel.  

Due to the futuristic setting, Futurama is not limited to one area or even one planet, allowing for a much larger variety of situations, something that Matt Groening’s other big show, The Simpsons, lacks.

Futurama employs many different types of comedy, including surreal/absurd humor, dark humor, slapstick humor, parodies, and both “low culture” and “high culture” jokes. However, a large part of its comedic effect is how it uses the futuristic setting to satirize problems in today’s world by taking them to the extreme.

Although Futurama is primarily a comedic show, it focuses on many serious themes. Morality, ethics, sacrifice, free will, artificial intelligence, and even religion are brought up in the show. Downer endings also occasionally happen, and one of them, the ending to the episode “Jurassic Bark,” actually provoked hate mail to Matt Groening for how sad it was.

Every character in Futurama has backgrounds that are intricately woven with the other character’s backgrounds, creating a large web of relations that are developed throughout the show.

As far as the technical aspects of the show go, the voice acting and animation is wonderful. Amazingly, many of the voices are actually by one person, Billy West. The animation makes use of 2D and 3D CGI styles. The first seasons were not produced in HD, but regardless the animation is still great.

Futurama is not currently being produced in animated form, although with the help of fans there have been some new productions, such as the “Radiorama” podcast that aired in 2017.

Although Futurama is a great show, some episodes may not be suitable for very young children. There are some references to sex and things analogous to drugs are present in some episodes, as well as smoking and drinking (although it is by a robot, not humans). However, the show is generally safe, and is never worse than PG-13.

Overall, Futurama is an excellent production, with an interesting setting, well-developed and connected characters, masterful use of comedy and serious themes, and great voice acting and animation. I would rate this show 10/10 and I highly recommend watching it.

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