The first 12 episodes.
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Like many of you, I anxiously awaited the proper return of the gang from Planet Express. Fry, Bender, Leela, Prof. Farnsworth, even Zoidberg. I waited and hoped. Hoped that the new episodes would not end up being as lack-luster and examples of mediocrity as the "movies", Bender's Big Score
, The Beast with a Billion Backs
, Bender's Game
, & Into the Wild Green Yonder
We were not disappointed.
Well,..maybe at first. At least I was anyway. We opened with "Rebirth"
. A not so bad, weird, twisty, what the heck just happened reintroduction to the universe and characters. To be expected I guess, but one can always hope. It was at least better than..."In-a-Gadda-Da-Leela"
. This VERY weak attempt to parody the censorship craze came about 5 years too late. A cute nod to Star Trek:TMP's "V-Ger" with the roving mega-censor satellite "V-Giny" is about all the episode had to offer. Easily skippable.
Only slightly better better and only slightly more timely is "The Killer App"
Again late to the party Groening and the gang take on the iPhone, Twitter, and the obsessive-compulsive nature of today's society. This episode showcased a couple of gags that had me worried that the creators were trying to go the route of South Park
or Family Guy
. Leela's singing boil, Susan and the two headed barfing/puking space goat just seemed out of character for the show. A lightly veiled stab at someone's expense I expect, but to outright point fingers at a single person seemed beneath them and the gross just to be gross of the goat seemed odd as well. Maybe it's just me.
Otherwise spot on and funny to be sure, but it's timeliness or lack there of makes it a little ho-hum.
Thankfully we seem to have run through the story ideas that were thought up before the show was canceled by Fox when we get to "Proposition Infinity"
. Much more timely and an obvious dig at California's 'Proposition 8', we see Bender and Amy hook up, fall in love, fight the fight to legalize "Robo-sexual' marriage, and promptly break up once Bender learns that Amy was looking for a monogamous relationship. Once again proving Bender to be the Bender we all know and love. (In a noncommittal way of course.)"The Duh-Vinci Code"
is a slip back to the mediocre. Fry, at his most dumb and the Professor track down the secrets left by Leonardo da Vinci ala 'The da Vinci Code'. A smattering of humor but otherwise another forgettable and behind the times episode. We do find out that Zoidberg's Doctorate is in art history!
If ever there was a heartwarming Futurama
, then "Lethal Inspection"
is it. Bender discovers that he does not have a back-up drive with which to download to a new body despite his inspection tag given to him by Inspector #5 that says he is perfect. Bender is mortal and with only one to a few million years left to him he is determined to find #5 and find out why he lied and said he was perfect and do it with his butt-kicking feet firmly attached. Outrunning Mom's 'tech-support' that are out to eliminate the defective 'bot, Bender and Hermes travel through the Bureaucratic mazes AND Mexico only to discover that #5 is no where to be found. We discover later that it was a young Hermes, the Bureaucrat with a tender heart, that saves baby Bender from an early demise in the scrap heap, by passing him through despite his defect. I'm not sure why you would have a baby Bender...but he was soooo cute!
Following on the heals comes another nomination for sweetest episode, "The Late Philip J. Fry"
. Fry continuing to try an woo Leela tries his darnedest to mend his ways and be there for her on her birthday. Unfortunately a trip in the Professor's forward only traveling time machine makes him late once again, end of the Universe late! The fate of the world is played out for us as Fry, Bender and the Professor travel further into the future to find someone that has built a backward time machine. Apes take over, then birds, and "What is that? A slug maybe?", Robots, buxom amazonian women, even giraffes have their day until the Earth is a dead world. Along the way, and through tricks that could only play out if you have a forward traveling time machine, Leela and Fry both learn that their feelings are not unrequited. Eventually the trio find themselves at the end of the Universe...which promptly starts a new repeat Universe! After a try or two Fry is able to make his date and the romance continues."That Darn Katz!"
brings us the first and only return of Nibbler, now apparently "out" as an intelligent creature and part of the crew. Good thing too! Evil world-taking-over alien cats are out to rob the Earth of it's rotational power in order to jump start their perpetually stopped planet. Hijacking Amy Wong's theoretical idea they succeed!...for a little while. Until the gang figure out that they can just keep turning the screw and get Earth moving again,.. just in the wrong direction. Better than being a giant McDLT. An OK episode with a few chuckles. A treat to see them make an earth shattering change and decide to live with it. You'll want to keep watching, "Just as sure as the sun sets in the East".
For all you Creationist out there I give you exhibit A.. "A Clockwork Origin"
! After being ridiculed about the pretty darned solid evidence of evolution, Farnsworth leaves Earth to live alone. Taking a few nanobots to clean the water supply he sets off a chain of circumstances that allow him to watch the evolution from small little bots to an advanced beings of thought in only a few days. Robots do things faster you know. A fun dig at both sides of the Creation/Evolution coin.
Since body switching seems to be all the rage these days, "The Prisoner of Benda" jumps on the bandwagon with both fervor. Developing a mind/body switching machine the Professor sets off to live a little and eventually ends up in Bender's near indestructible body. Everyone learns a valuable lesson about the importance of being who you are and that your life is what you make it. Yeah..whatever! The point is Leela and Fry do it!! (Just so happens it is while they are in the Professors and Zoidbergs bodies.
brings back invading favorite Lrrr, Ruler of Omicron Persei 8! Poor Lrrr is having a midlife crisis and a fight with his wife. If only he could invade something, then his lovely nagging wife Ndnd would take him back. Fry has an idea! "Dork calling Orson". Orson Wells is called on the scene to recreate the "War of the Worlds" broadcast to fool Ndnd. It works too, maybe a little to well as Zapp Branigan picks up the signal and immediately surrenders Earth. Torture, enslavement and the usual follow. Funny, weird, and everything you expect from Futurama
. (Special guest stars Katie Sackoff, Sergio Aragonés, Groening & David Cohen as well as a TERRIFIC look at Comic-con in the year 3010!)
We round the first part of the season with a brilliant 100th episode, "The Mutants Are Revolting"
. Planet Express sets off to deliver their 100th delivery, "That's almost 10 a year!". One souffle to Mrs. Astor, a survivor and widowed by the "sinking" the Land-Titanic! Soon the gang is invited to her benefit to help the mutants under the city. Fry, being Fry, lets it slip that Leela is herself a mutant which gets her cast back into the sewers. Not to worry as she ends up with a lot of company as the entire crew gets booted down below for illegally harboring a mutant. Trying to understand the life of a mutant doesn't come easy to Fry so he takes upon himself to become one. Jumping into the radioactive goo he appears to mutate into a horrible grues...BLEEECH!!! Sorry, I tried to type but barfed instead.
Lead by Leela and Fry the mutants, with help from Devo(!), set off to get equal rights! Mutant-equality!
As it turns out Fry just happened to jump into and lodged there, the mouth of presumed dead Mr. Astor! Mr. Astor who was a kind soul gave up his seat in the life-car to a mutant and her daughter, Leela's mom! Upon learning the truth of Mr. Astors survival, the Mrs. entreats Mayor Poopenmeyer to give the mutants equal rights. He immediately says "OK".
Meanwhile back at Planet Express, Bender is hosting the best party EVER! At least until he realizes how much he misses his friends. Feeling glum and lonely he kicks everyone out. Once the crew reunite he admits that the party to celebrate their 100th delivery was no fun without the rest of the crew. They propose to throw a second party and they all dance and celebrate happily together.
Well..a rocky start, but overall fantastic return! I'm looking forward to seeing more. Looks like we have to wait till Nov. 1st for the 101st episode "Holiday Val-u Pack"
. According to Wiki (fair warning)
This episode will feature three holiday-themed segments, following the same structure as the episodes "Anthology of Interest I" and "Anthology of Interest II". However, unlike those episodes, this episode will not feature the What If Machine. The three segments will be based around Xmas, Kwanzaa and Robanukah (the holiday Bender made up to get out of work in "Fear of a Bot Planet"). Coolio is reprising his guest-starring role of Kwanzaabot in the Kwanzaa segment. Al Gore will make an appearance as himself in a wrap-around segment where he introduces each story. The episode will have an environmental theme and will be a musical.
A Happy Holiday to all I'm sure...or you can bite my shiny medal ***!