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Futurama

Phillip Fry is a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy whose life is going nowhere. When he accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999, he wakes up 1,000 years in the future and has a chance to make a fresh start. He goes to work for the Planet Express Corporation, a futuristic delivery service that transports packages to all five quadrants of the universe. His companions include the delivery ship’s captain, Leela, a beautiful one-eyed female alien who kicks some serious butt, and Bender, a robot with very human flaws.

Watch Futurama – Naturama Online S07E13

Naturama

Futurama - Naturama Online S07E13 For the final new episode of the year, Futurama went full-on fauna in “Naturama.” Depicting three harrowing tales through the lens of a National Geographic-esque documentary series, we watched as the Planet Express crew lived their sexually-driven lives as various forms of wildlife. All of these vignettes were also narrated by Phil LaMarr, who delivered a Morgan Freeman-inspired performance throughout.

Several times during the first segment of the three-part anthology, the people in the room with me turned to each other and said, “This is weird.” Not in a hostile way, or even a confused way, but in a way that meant that this was different from anything we’d seen before. And if Futurama is meant, as a show, to do one thing, it’s to show us stuff we’ve never seen on other shows.

Salmon Fry meets Salmon Leela and they agree to go back upstream together when they’re mature to make little salmon babies, even despite Salmon Zapp trying to get Leela for himself. Fry and Leela have a mini-montage of romantic undersea dates, including a Lady and the Tramp-type sharing of an underwater worm. But when the time comes to return to the stream they were born in, it turns out Leela was born one stream over from Fry, and they can’t just switch. Even the narrator can’t explain it, which was a welcome change for me from most nature documentaries.

It was around the time that Bender started B.A.R.F. (Bender’s Animal Robot Front) that the story bordered on uninteresting. While it’s usually amusing to watch Bender fixate on new and different passion projects, this one felt a little stale. It just seemed like a needlessly roundabout way of getting them all back to the country club, where they sprang the robot fox free from his cage.

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Watch Futurama – 31st Century Fox Online S07E12

31st Century Fox

Futurama - 31st Century Fox Online S07E12 Futurama has a history of great anthology shows that deal out daring stories. Still, the last episode of the season leaps nimbly over that bar and lands with its hands, flippers, and fins triumphantly in the air. Futurama goes absolutely friggin’ nuts over nature documentaries and it’s grim and great.

In “31st Century Fox,” the plot kicks off with the Planet Express staff asking for new uniforms after Mothzilla attacked their closet in Tokyo. Apparently, the Professor promised them new ones a year ago and never delivered on it, so they head to ‘Nvasions ‘N Such Space Uniforms in the Garment District. I know I bring this up a lot in my reviews, but the clever signs are my favorite part of the Futurama humor.

The initial visit to the Garment District provided a few humorous sight gags towards the beginning of the episode, particularly when the Planet Express crew were trying on different uniforms. It seemed like kind of an odd way for Bender to stumble into the fox hunting getup, but I suppose it’s not all that unreasonable for the Futurama ‘verse.

Each segment was made as if it were part of a nature documentary being narrated by Phil LaMarr. It begins with salmon and then continues to the Pinta Island Tortoise and The Elephant Seal, and while clearly best watched (and perhaps written…) while incredibly high, they manage to succeed regardless of what state you’re in. It’s really just three amusing vignettes seemingly made on a lark, and the entire affair seems almost like an idea rather than a full-fledged episode. Still, some of jokes are pretty great and it’s pleasant to see the show go somewhere new, even if it’s not really a direction anyone hoped for. Oddly, the first third of the show is probably the weakest, despite being written by the most veteran of its writers—the other two were written by first-time writers who’d been working as writers’ assistants—and are genuinely pretty great.

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Watch Futurama – Viva Mars Vegas Online S07E11

Viva Mars Vegas

Futurama - Viva Mars Vegas Online S07E11When Futurama is parodying a genre, it’s usually a mixed blessing. Its parodies are usually tight and pretty spot-on. The show’s writers almost always know how to make an exciting version of a genre, but that’s because they also stick pretty closely to formula, more intent on parodying the idea than in bringing something really revolutionary to it. In this, Futurama has replaced its forebear The Simpsons as the best spot for these things, playfully poking fun at movies and TV through reasonably good genre parodies that are good for quite a few laughs. But the downside of this is that unlike more ambitious science-fiction or emotionally charged episodes, they tend to be unmemorable.

So whats a guy to do when he gets all that cash?? Well go to Vegas!! Zoidberg does just that and soon enough moseys on over to the roulette table where he actually is up in the billions of dollars in winnings. Having said that, Zoidberg ends up losing everything but he has a good attitude about it and simply just walks away from the table. Back at home, the Robot Mafia is there waiting for Dr. Zoidberg and of course when the mafia get wind that the Dr. lost all of their money, they threaten immense physical harm of which Zoidberg reacts by covering himself in ink and taking off running.

Viva Mars Vegas” finds the entire Planet Express team off for a weekend getaway to Mars Vegas—all except Zoidberg, whom Amy disinvites because his absurd poverty means he simply can’t be trusted at a casino. His luck changes when the loot from the latest Robot Mafia heist literally falls into his lap, and he heads off to the Wong family’s casino to celebrate. After a crustacean-themed riff on “Big Spender” and Zoidberg managing to run his money up to over $10 billion, he predictably loses everything when he bets everything for the third time on 34 Red.

As Zoidberg prepares for that good, home cooked cry, the Robot Mafia are still engaged in a high-speed getaway and Joey Mousepad suggests ditching the loot in the nearby dumpster. You know, the one about 65 miles below and they almost crash into the Planet Express ship right before answering the doctor’s halted prayers by dropping the cash in his lap. At the same time, the Wongs are showing the rest of the crew their casino, where they win over a million dollars every hour, and talking about the Native Martians who are a proud and grouchy people who didn’t even have bingo parlours or prostitute choices before other species settled.

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Watch Futurama – Free Will Hunting Online S07E09

Free Will Hunting

Futurama - Free Will Hunting Online S07E09Not many shows would have the audacity to end on a main character celebrating a conviction for attempted murder, but it’s one of the ridiculous sight gags which Futurama has been doing particularly well this season, often salvaging episodes which offered little as a whole. ‘Free Will Hunting’ was one of those, with barely enough plot to fill five minutes, let alone the running time’s twenty-one, and relying on its individual jokes to get through. That’s not always a bad thing, as proven by last week’s often hilarious ‘Fun On A Bun’, but considering what a terrific premise was in place for this episode, the meandering felt like a missed opportunity for an entertaining exploration of a big philosophical concept.

It’s pretty clear from the start that this is the latter, as Bender starts the episode by explaining to Fry that yes, it does matter whether or not he chooses to wear his nerd glasses, because every decision creates a new universe and whatnot. I got excited for a minute thinking that this would be an episode about that very quantum concept, but instead it’s about robot free will. Almost as good.

Wanting to be cool despite the bright orange college sweater he’s wearing, Bender decides to sit in the back with the college “tough guys.” They invite him to join their gang, and he accepts without hesitation. In the Dean’s (named Dean Suspendington, by the way) office, Bender is treated to a mini-lecture about how he’s already fallen in with a bad crowd approximately 30 seconds into his first day at college. Bender doesn’t deny it; in fact, he hurls his orange sweater at the Dean and promptly drops out to join the gang full time.

This episode was odd in its structure and tone. There was no B-plot at all, just Bender’s quest for free will that started out at full steam from the beginning. Even the first couple minutes, which are usually used as a kind of diversionary set up for the episode’s theme, didn’t really let up, and the “decisions” motif was immediately apparent.

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Watch Futurama – The Six Million Dollar Mon Online S07E07

The Six Million Dollar Mon

Futurama - The Six Million Dollar Mon Online S07E07This week’s episode, “The Six Million Dollar Mon” proves that Futurama can still be funny when the main cast takes center stage. Case in point: ‘The Six Million Dollar Mon’, whose plot was almost certainly built out of an excuse to use that face-palm of a pun, centred around Hermes’ desire to increase his bureaucratic efficiency by becoming a robot. Nothing particularly dark there, until jokes from the second act onwards start focusing on backstreet surgery, skin peeling, epidermicide (my new favourite crime) and the reconstruction of a human being from individual parts stored in a bloody paper bag. The show also appears to have killed off its second robotic supporting character in the space of under half a season (following the demise of Calculon in ‘The Thief Of Baghead’) in the shape of the stab-happy Roberto.

First, after a routine performance review, Hermes realizes he’s the least valuable employee at Planet Express, and does the only logical thing: he fires himself, only to be replaced by a more efficient ‘bot. Then, while he and LaBarbara are taking a walk in the park, they’re attacking by the psychotic, skin-obsessed Roberto, another machine. Roberto is dispatched by the police (the robot cop makes the arrest, naturally), and Hermes decides that the only way he can be happy is with a little upgrade. It’s an effective progression, one that explains why the character is having a change of heart now, while still being built on top of aspects of his personality that have long been established.

Hermes showed us why robotic implants are just trouble. Sure, it starts with the desire to launch a harpoon out of one’s chest, but it always just goes quickly downhill. I mean, it always leads to becoming a giant dehumanizing death machine, without question. Great science-fiction like this does use the future to comment on the present, after all! Hermes’s enjoyment and tolerance of extremely spicy food is something I can relate to, though I would hope that my skin wouldn’t cause robots to melt, and to burn holes through people’s bodies. Also, I hope that no one ever tries to eat my skin.

Admittedly, the modern culture parodies haven’t gone away and still feel out of place in a world a thousand years in the future, but episodes like ‘Decision 3012′ have at least mixed up an otherwise polemic-driven premise with a science fiction twist (the election candidate from the future disappears upon the completion of his task to change the past, thus undoing all his work) and a higher-than-before batting average for jokes, suggesting the newer writers have started becoming comfortable with the kind of humour that works in Futurama’s setting.

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Watch Futurama – The Bots and the Bees and A Farewell to Arms Online S07E01/S07E02

The Bots and the Bees Online / A Farewell to Arms

The Bots and the Bees Online/A Farewell to Arms
After months of waiting, Futurama made its hour-long return to the airwaves tonight, starting with “The Bots and the Bees.” And considering the show is now on its seventh season, it’s truly astounding that the show still has original stories to tell with these characters. Season 7 kicked things off with a very Bender-centric episode in which we learned a thing or two about robo-procreation.

Professor Farnsworth sends a signal to the Planet Express crew, and they all rush to the Planet Express building – including Fry, Leela and Bender, who are on the ship being attacked by a giant space spider. After all of the crew has arrived, Farnsworth announces that the company has acquired a new soda machine. The crew are all overjoyed at this, and Fry quickly seizes the opportunity to purchase large amounts of Slurm Loco. Bender asks the machine, who is sentient, if any alcohol is available. When she explains to Bender that people are not supposed to drink alcohol at work, Bender mocks her. Introducing herself as Bev, she takes the opportunity to mock him back. Later that day, Fry continues to drink large amounts of Slurm Loco, announcing that his urine has turned green. Meanwhile, Bender and Bev continue to trade insults, culminating in Bev criticizing his “shriveled up antenna.”

Highlights of the half-hour included a hilarious throwback to Fry’s Slurm addiction days in the episode called Fry and the Slurm Factory and an emotional angle related to fatherhood. While Fry had the B-plot firmly in his hands, the real story was with the latter as Bender was tasked with raising his son Ben after Bev abandoned him for an unspecified period of time during which Ben evolved from infant to tween.

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