Posts Tagged ‘Futurama

06
Sep
13

Reading Digest: Futurama Comparison Edition

Lisa's Wedding15

“I can’t wait to see that play.” – University Student

Futurama went off the air for the third time on Wednesday.  (I’m saving the last episode for this weekend and haven’t watched it yet, but the internet seems to have generally liked it.)  That departure prompted a slew of eulogies and comparisons to The Simpsons, and we have some of them.  In addition to that we’ve got some really cool fan made stuff, a lot of video game links (two of which aren’t about Tapped Out), the return of Me Blog Write Good, and lots more.

Enjoy.

I WANT A BABY! – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week puts the Tapped Out game to a good end.  The author used shrubs, lawn chairs and various other in-game items to create a great picture of Maggie . . . with Bobo!  Excellent. 

So… – Our old friend Mike is back at Me Blog Write Good:

Here’s the lowdown: after finishing those final extra reviews, I intended on writing up a grand finale, a “What Have We Learned?” if you will, to serve as a final recap of my thoughts about the entire series, or at least the first 444 episodes of it. But, alas, reality intervened. Hours at my new job skyrocketed, to the point that I was working six, seven day weeks up from February to about mid July, with nothing to show for it but crazy overtime pay and IMDB credit on six summer movies. At that point, my heart wasn’t up to completing the recap.

Very understandable.  Also, couldn’t have said this better:

But is it even worth it? By the last couple seasons, I felt I was spinning my wheels with my reviews, because my complaints were becoming repetitive, since the show kept pulling the same shit over and over, whether it be ineffective joke telling, piss poor characterization, or inept attempts at parody or satire.

Just remember, you’re in show business now.  Repetitiveness is your job.  Your job. 

Should Futurama Stay on the Air Until the 31st Century? – A point by point comparison of Futurama and its elder sibling (so Burns gets compared to Mom, Brockman to Morbo, etc).  Unfortunately, it makes the classic blunder of conflating The Simpsons with Zombie Simpsons:

Score: 6.75-6.5 Simpsons

But wait! The Simpsons has 727 episodes while Futuramahas 140 which means the latter has run for 19.25% as long as The Simpsons. Futuramais 96.3% as good as The Simpsons (6.5/6.75) which means that Futuramashould ideally run for 700.1 episodes.

I love Futurama, but believe me when I say that making another 560 episodes would be a soul crushing thing to sit through.  Shows that go on too long are not a good thing. 

5 Soul Crushingly Sad Fry Moments from “Futurama” – Yet more comparisons between the show and Futurama, and while you get three guesses as to which is #1, you’re only going to need one. 

i’m back. – The epic last nine months of a graduating nursing student as told with multiple Simpsons YouTube videos.  Bravo on the Simpsons references, and congratulations on everything else! 

Blog Archive Starbucks Coming To Kings Highway – Click through for the awesomely amateur dubbed Russian YouTube of Bart getting his ear pierced.  (And speaking of Russian Simpsons hybrids that deserve more attention: this, which was on the related videos.  I have no idea what it is beyond vaguely Christmas-y, but it’s wonderfully weird.) 

Homer Simpson Donuts! – Recipe with step by step instructions for how to make perfect Homer donuts.  Look at these:

A Beautiful Mess - Homer Simpson Donuts

Transcendent.  As the post says:

Dunk the donuts in the glaze and then place on a cooling rack. Add sprinkles. You have to. It’s part of the recipe. I swear. Now devour the donuts.

Yes, ma’am.  Well done. 

‘No Prostitution’: The Simpsons instruct Chinese nightclub patrons on the house rules – From Wesley comes these Simpsons warning signs.  Damn do the kids look pissed in the “No Gambling” sign, but my favorite is Bart getting picked up by a Krusty-looking officer for “No Drugs”.  Because if there’s one person you can trust to confiscate narcotics, it’s Krusty. 

IT’S THE APOCALYPSE. DOH! Anne Washburn brings The Simpsons post-electric – High praise for the Mr. Burns play, including some explanation and sample dialogue:

“In the Cape Fear movies the father is able to protect his family when he throws aside his civilized values and abilities, and engages the villain on his own primal terms; Bart can’t take this villain on; in some ways the play is about what strategies you develop in a world where you are truly helpless.”
From Act Two, Mr. Burns:

QUINCY

I hear they’ve got a stash of lithiums, and 10 of those super powerful camping flashlights, and they’re going to do a dusk to dark showing of “A Streetcar Named Marge,” with a spotlight finale at the end.

A bit of a pause.

JENNY

They can’t keep that up for long.

MARIA

Long enough though, right?

MATT

It still kills me they’ve got “Streetcar.”

A pause.

QUINCY

Our commercials are excellent though.

MARIA

Our commercials are great.

"Mr. Burns" drops the Simpsons in a post-apocalyptic musical – And a bit more about the play:

Take the arrival of Mrs. Krabappel (Nedra McClyde). She’s Bart’s teacher on The Simpsons, but here, she’s the all-knowing Chorus, guiding us through the history and ethics of what’s on stage.

Someday this play will be on in a part of the country that isn’t prohibitively expensive from me to reach, and then I will finally get to see it. 

The 24/24 Challenge – PART 1 – Cleaning out a backlog of video games with one hour samples of play.  This was the verdict on The Simpsons Game:

Another game I played before years ago and made another (soon to be regretful) nostalgia purchase. The saddest part  (like the Ghostbusters game) is that having the voice actors reprise their roles makes this seem like a lost episode, and the writing is pretty spot-on for later Simpsons episodes. Then you have to suffer thru the game by actually picking up the controller and attempting to wring fun out of the mediocre gameplay. While the levels do look amazingly well-constructed and in-line with the look of the show, actually running around the stages is not nearly as fun as it should be. It kinda has a PS2 level of unpolish on it, if you know what I mean. Just sloppy in all the wrong ways. Fighting is just basic button mashing at its simplest and laziest. And I thought we fixed crappy cameras years ago….guess not. Another one of those “looks great plays meh” kinda games (also like Ghostbusters).

HOW MUCH DID I PAY FOR THIS GAME: Around $12 on Glyde.

WAS IT WORTH THAT MUCH: If I could have got it cheaper, I would have.

DID I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME AFTER THE FIRST HOUR: Not really. Is it sad to wanna keep playing just to hear the dialogue?

WILL I KEEP PLAYING THIS GAME/PLAY IT TO COMPLETION: Possibly, if I can fight my way past the horrid camera and quirky controls.

DO I PLAN ON KEEPING THIS GAME AFTER I “FINISH” IT: Don’t think so.

That’s tough but fair.  Game, go with the man. 

Is “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” Worth my Time? – Speaking of video games, an enthusiastic, if slightly miffed, review of the new money fountain:

If there’s one downfall to this game, it’s the fact that it’s made by EA. EA owns the rights to all Simpsons video game media (as evidenced by the surprisingly excellent The Simpsons Game) and they will use any excuse to extract your hard earned money from you. Most games today have some sort of option to pay real dollars to help you along in the game or access premium content to make your town feel….well cooler I guess, I haven’t figured it out. In this game, donuts are the form of premium currency, as they have apparently been affected by the radiation of the nuclear blast to distort time and space. A player can use donuts to speed up the timing of a building or job, or to purchase a character or building that regular in-game money can’t buy. EA puts the opportunity to buy donuts everywhere, the items that donuts buy plentiful, and the opportunity to earn donuts virtually nonexistent. Of course it’s a free app, so people can get through without purchasing anything with real money, but it really drives someone crazy when they have to wait two days for a building to complete so you can move onto the next part of the mission.

Video: Top 10 Secondary Simpsons Characters – Just what it says.  And, of course, there are virtually no clips or quotes from Zombie Simpsons. 

Twirl n Hurl with Kang&Kodos at Universal Studios Florida…at night – YouTube of exactly that. 

Checking In – Sooner or later, everyone gives in and watches The Wire:

Pretty much ever since I posted my previous post, I have been preoccupied with binge-watching what is widely regarded as the best TV series ever* – HBO’s The Wire.

That asterisk leads to:

* Though everyone knows that title should really go to The Simpsons. wink And before you say it, the new ones aren’t terrible. :P

How I wish that were true. 

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 62) – Season 7 thrashes Season 15.  (With cause!)

Best. Episode. Ever. (Round 63) – And Season 6 similarly thumping Season 11.  (Though it’s “Behind the Laughter”, so it’s easily one of the best in 11.) 

Getaway…In 10 Words – I think it was called the car that couldn’t slow down. 

Futurama…In 10 Words – It just won’t stay dead! 

Robocop…In 10 Words – That cannon of yours is against regulation! 

Homer visits Brooklyn – Oh nothing, just fan art of Homer asleep on a dumpster in a Wu Tang hat.  Cool. 

Why You Should Love Lisa Simpson As Much As I Do – What are you talking about?  Everybody loves Lisa:

Ask anyone about their favourite Simpsons character and you will be met with a variety of responses. Highest are probably Homer and Bart followed by some lesser characters like Ned Flanders, Moe Syzlack, Lenny and Carl or even some more obscure characters like Duff Man (can’t breathe). No one, but no one, has ever said Lisa. When I proclaim my personal affection for this precocious little girl, I am met with blank looks and wails of ‘Why?

I come across posts dedicated to her all the time.  Lisa rocks. 

JOL #1: Neckface Bath Time! – Picture of some sweet sneakers, with a skeletal Bart on the right and skeletal Lisa on the left. 

The Shinning – The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Poster Art by Olly Moss – Not sure I’ve seen this one before.  Awesome that’s it’s rated R. 

The Charticle: A year on from relaunch, The Simpsons is EA Mobile’s biggest earner – More data on just how filthy lucrative the Tapped Out game is.

Retrospective No.13 The Simpson’s Road Rage – In older video game news:

Copying an already successful formula is one thing but the Simpson’s Road Rage commits a second cardinal sin of failing to properly replicate the experience of the original. If you mimic an idea well then people will be forgiving of shameful attempts to piggyback on others successes but when it’s not a patch on the original any flaws in the game are magnified. In this case the driving is extremely buggy and broken causing the arcade experience to be extremely frustrating and even more so when compared to the brilliant and obvious inspiration behind this title.

Reading Chilli Cook-off adds some spice to the Tilehurst Festival – Cool:

Reading has become the epicentre of chilli cook-offs since the first one at the College Arms in August 2011.

The first cook-off in the Wokingham Road pub was the brainchild of Jon Doody, who got the idea when watching an episode of The Simpsons.

’90s Cartoon Characters Take on New York Fashion Week – I’m not sure who looks more out of place here, Daria or Butthead, but it’s close. 

THE SIMPSONS: See the Real Version of Homer’s Dream Car! Plus, Teases For Season 25 – This and the next link are blogger video from a little press event with those guys who built the Homer car.  Even Groening and Brooks are there. 

THE SIMPSONS: Al Jean on The Homer, the Very Special Season 25, and More – A little more video from the above. 

Hardly Thunderstruck – Excellent reference:

The issue was in the singer’s voice. He did a fairly passable imitation of Brian Johnson at times, but it quickly became obvious that he has not yet mastered control of that howl. Did you ever see that episode of the Simpsons where Homer’s shirts turn pink in the wash, and he gets sent by Mr. Burns to a mental institution for being a free-thinker, and while inside he meets a guy named Leon who thinks he’s Michael Jackson? This sounded like that – at times, kinda like AC/DC, at times exactly like a 40-something factory worker who smokes a pack a day. The between-song banter was all in the factory-voice, causing the whole thing to be a little surreal, and it took a few lines into the songs for him to get back up to where he wanted to be in the growl. Strange, indeed.

Day Two – what a day! – More photos from the Simpsons area at Universal Studios (which is neither universal nor a studio, but that’s another matter).  This one gets bonus points for the t-shirt with Homer and Marge as they looked on prom night. 

SONG OF THE DAY: “Do the Bartman” – Bart Simpson (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) – I’d pretty much forgotten it at one time as well:

So, I totally forgot that this song even EXISTED until someone played it for me the other day, and I DIED as I was transported back to the early nineties.

Tuesday Tropes 1: The Fourth Wall Greeting – Our old friend David on the essence of looking at the camera:

Generally, the Fourth Wall Greeting is a comic trope, which makes sense given how silly it is – Stephen Colbert and The Simpsons’ Troy McClure being two of the more notable users of the trope. (The 138th episode spectacular features the show returning from an advert break to find McClure asleep on the couch.)

But not so cool as Tarantino – Heh. 

Simpsons and Spinal Tap star Harry Shearer: ‘I never know what voice people are going to come up to me with’ – Shearer, the hardest working man in show business, is in London doing a play called Daytona.

Battle Red Blazin’ Hot NFL Picks: Week 1, Homer Simpson Opines On Physics Edition – Excellent video usage:

Get ready to double your kids’ college funds because these stone cold LOCKS are also blazin’ hot. That’s right. In this blog we do not, in fact, obey the laws of thermodynamics… unlike some people:

Lou Reed, Sarah Siskind and Bart Simpson on this week’s Anti-hit List – It’s “Do the Bartman” set to the “Blurred Lines” beat:

9. ROBIN THICKE VS. BART SIMPSON

“Blurred Bartman”

Forget all that song-of-the-summer twaddle. You know “Blurred Lines” has achieved pop-culture prominence when someone spots a potential Simpsons adjacency and decides to do something about it. After hearing this mash-up, Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” might not be the only song that “Blurred Lines” reminds you of. (bit.ly/1aFDiEz)

Should you wish, here is the .mp3 link.

20 Mind-Blowing Facts You Never Knew About The Simpsons – This is major pageview whoring since you have to click through for each one, and there’s nothing likely to be all that fresh for readers of this blog, but it’s not a bad time waster.  Also, it explicitly and frequently agrees with us:

If it had ended before the turn of the century The Simpsons would have been crowned the Greatest TV Show Of All Time. Sadly with a twenty-fifth season starting at the end of this month it’s now more deserving of the title Greatest TV Show To Ever Fall So Far Into Mediocrity.

Indeed.

Futurama is better than The Simpsons in GIF form – Just a bunch of great Futurama .gifs.  And while he agrees with us, I would like to quibble slightly with this:

For the last few years, even the most hardcore Simpsons’ fan would have difficulty arguing against the fact the show has seen a big decline in the quality of its funnies.

I realize that mainstream publications are used to thinking of “hardcore” fans as diehard defenders of whatever program or franchise they don’t think gets sufficient respect.  When a beloved show gets cancelled or has a terrible movie adaptation come out, it’s always the “hardcore” fans who make the ruckus and defend things against all comers.  But the continued march of Zombie Simpsons has reversed that when it comes to “hardcore” Simpsons fans.  For us, it’s the casual fans who defend the show and the hardcore ones who rip it.  Odd, I know, but since it isn’t going to change any time soon it’d be nice if newspapers, magazines and the like would pick up on it. 

04
Sep
13

Quote of the Day

Missionary Impossible3

“Sure, FOX makes a fortune from advertising, but it’s still not enough.” – Telethon Guy
“Not nearly enough!” – Rupert Murdoch

So long (once again) Futurama!

25
Jun
10

Reading Digest: Futurama Returns Edition

Futurama Garbage

“Fry, this stuff was garbage when it was new.  Let’s blow it up already.” – Leela 

I have not yet watched the new Futurama episodes that were on last night, so I have no opinion on whether or not they suck.  The reviews, both professional and from fans, have been almost universally positive, and I take that as a good sign.  But in one respect the return of Futurama has already been a success, because every time someone mentions it they also mention The Simpsons, and that often leads to discussion of how badly the elder show has decayed.  So this week we’ve got not one, not two, but three people who bashed Zombie Simpsons.  It’s nice.  There’s also some love for Lisa, something I didn’t know about “Homerpalooza”, a truly bizarre short story loosely based on “Lisa the Vegetarian”, Marge in both cake and fruit form, and the usual usage.

Enjoy.

Homer Simpson’s Duff Beer: Barley, Hops, and Cultural Stories? – Simpsons merchandise and the real Duff in Rome. 

Ten Great TV Cartoon Geeks – Lisa checks in at #3. 

Marge Gets Sweet – Marge done with fruit and what looks like whipped cream and chocolate. 

Celebrating and Nurturing the Miracle of Life – This is a rather long post about fatherhood, and this is poor usage:

Homer says, “Hey boy! Wanna play catch?” Bart says: “No thanks dad.” Homer mutters under his breath, “When a son doesn’t want to play catch with his father something is definitely wrong.” Grandpa Simpson over hears his son and chimes in, “I’ll play catch with you son!” Homer says, “Go home old man.”

It’s really not even close.  The actual exchange is:

Homer: Bart, son, you want to play catch?
Bart: No.
Homer: When a boy doesn’t want to play catch with his old man something is seriously wrong.
Grandpa: I’ll play catch with you, son.
Homer: Get the hell out!
Grandpa: I’m gone.

Disturbing Simpsons – A very strange, bizarrely animated take on “Lisa the Vegetarian”.  Dr. Nick steals her kidney at one point.  (via this and Springfield Springfield’s Twitter feed)

Senior Quotes – Homer Simpson did, indeed, have a great quote in his yearbook. 

Simply The Best #36 (Cartoon Television Shows) – Simpsons is #1, though it comes with the usual Zombie Simpsons cliche:

I don’t feel like it’s been at the top if it’s game for a while but it’s still better than 95% of the shows that currently air.

Oh well. 

I Dreamed a Dream – Summer Story Tellers – I long ago lost count of the number of things I discovered through The Simpsons, this guy discovered show tunes. 

Homer Sees Homer – Click this, right now.  Sadly there’s no location given, which probably saved me a lot of money because I would travel a very long way to get my picture taken in front of such a work of absolute genius. 

Here come the girls! – One writer’s list of her favorite female characters.  Mom and Leela from Futurama are on here, as is this:

Lisa Simpson – “The Simpsons.” (Pretty much my hero when I was growing up. She gave an extremely erudite voice to nerdy bookworm girls everywhere! I wanted to play the saxophone because of her. Sadly I lack any form of musical talent.)

Maggie, but not Marge, also makes the list. 

Is this the very first Homer Simpson? – A root shaped like Homer Simpson was found in China.  (via Springfield Springfield’s Twitter feed, again)

Happy Father’s Day! – Click through for a picture of a sweet looking Marge Simpson cake. 

Hey cartoons, enough with the counting and on and on with the fucking colors. – An impressively unhinged rant (accompanied by lots of images) against today’s gentler cartoons.  Lots of references to Simpsons (sadly there is one image from the Zombie Simpsons era), and only a little bit racist.  Personally, I don’t hate these shows that much – except for Dora the Explorer.  You can get high and watch Teletubbies and be pretty entertained, but Dora should not be watched by anyone over the age of two.  I’m serious about that, it’s actually too juvenile for three year olds. 

American citizens are the mob from The Simpsons, example 25,367 – The quote here is slightly off, but I’m still calling this excellent usage because he’s quoting tv.com, and they’ve got it wrong.  Here it is from tv.com:

Crowd: Down with taxes! Down with taxes!
Mayor Quimby: Are these morons getting dumber or just louder?
Aide: Dumber, sir. They won’t give up the bear patrol, but they won’t pay the tax for it either.

It should read:

Crowd: Down with taxes! Down with taxes! Down with taxes!
Helen Lovejoy: Won’t you think of the children?
Mayor Quimby: Are these morons getting dumber or just louder?
Aide: Dumber, sir.  They won’t give up the bear patrol, but they won’t pay taxes for it either.

Nit, picked.

Courtney Love: Behind the Music – The restart of Behind the Music did Courtney Love recently and Alyx at Feminist Music Geek goes into all the details.  I had no idea Hole had that many albums, shows what I know.  Here’s the Simpsons part:

I found including footage of Love hanging out with Sonic Youth noteworthy, as there were no interviews with band members. Kim Gordon’s insights would be especially useful, as she co-produced Hole’s caustic debut Pretty On the Inside. However, Gordon believes Cobain was murdered, and veiled references to Love’s potentially amoral quest for celebrity in songs like “Becuz” suggest that no love is lost. I remember hearing in the commentary track for The Simpsons‘ “Homerpalooza” episode that Love was originally cast in the episode, but one unnamed act who was in the episode refused to participate if she was involved. I can’t help but think it’s them.

I guess Sonic Youth did more than just steal shit from Peter Frampton’s cooler. 

It’s back! – The first of our three Futurama fans who don’t like Zombie Simpsons:

It was easy to be fearful that Futurama would have come back with the quality of a Simpsons episode from the last decade. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t a little worried even after the movies gave hope. But somehow, Futrama kept things awesome and it all just felt right.

TV Wasteland: Bite My Shiny Metal Butt – More:

Futurama hasn’t taken anything for granted; it fought for its spot in the TV sun and while it hasn’t always been perfect, one at least gets the impression that its creators are laboring to entertain us. The Simpsons, on the other hand, let success go to its head a long time ago. After Brad Bird left the show in the middle of its 9th season, it underwent a slow, steady decline into utter irrelevance, embodying the same lazy clichés it once skewered with such efficiency. It’s a bloated whale looking for a beach–a living tragedy for those of us who adored it in its heyday–and whatever relevance it once possessed has been squandered by decades of creative neglect.

Futurama is BACK! – And finally (though I thought Family Guy only got canned once):

With the premiere of the new season now over and fans around the globe rejoicing in the Matt Groening created masterpiece’s return, I am left, still in awe at the fact that Fox made one of the worst decisions in the history of TV (Ok, they have made WAAAAY more than one). Fox, you SUCK! I really cannot stand the fact that you can keep a piece of shit like “The Simpsons” on air yet have cancelled Family Guy twice and Futurama years ago. At least they gave King Of The Hill a fair run/final episode.

Fuck you Fox.

Well done, all around.

26
May
10

Zombie Simpsons Is Off the Air, How About Some Futurama News?

I remain at least slightly nervous about the return of Futurama, but this interview with David X. Cohen (who was David S. Cohen during his time on The Simpsons) is pretty reassuring.  Everybody’s back and Fry and Leela will not be getting married and moving to the suburbs.  The concepts are a clever as ever, and Cohen discusses a number of them.  This may be my favorite:

the Professor invents a time machine that only goes forward in time. Once they start going, there is no hope of return. And the initial goal is to just go a minute forward into the future and test it out, but the Professor trips and they’re immediately 1,000 years in the future with nowhere to go but forward. So they spend the episode going further and further through all future history trying to find the technology for a backward time machine.

There’s a lot more there for anyone else who’s looking forward to the return to the 31st century. 

27
Jul
09

A Little First Hand Context

Yesterday we tweeted (twat?) about Groening saying the show would never end.  Now comes some much needed context from someone who was actually there:

Futurama: Sadly, none of the voice actors were at the panel because of labour disputes, but Matt Groening was hilarious. He was absolutely fixated on giving out prizes to people asking questions and he didn’t even seem to care about answering them. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him on the street corner trying to hustle with his own merch. In any case, not much was shown or talked about. Next!

The Simpsons: Again, Matt Groening was mainly giving out prizes to Q&A people while other writers answered questions. Although, he did say that he and Danny Elfman make the “s” sound at the end of “The Simpsons” at the beginning of the credits. Fun trivia! Then someone from the Guiness Book of World Records came out and gave them two honours, one for the longest running sitcom in the world and another for being voted one of the most important records in the last 100 years. Good for them! To which Matt Groening shouted to the crowd, “There is no end in sight. Simpsons forever!”

Okay, so he was getting his dick sucked by that Guinness Book of Records crowd and had a bunch of fanboys shouting his name when he said it.  I had this horrible vision that he was in some kind of a sit down interview or something.  So while we’re still saddled with two more seasons of Zombie Simpsons, nothing has substantively changed beyond that.  Whew.

(Also: I continue to think the Futurama voice actors will get back on the show once FOX gets them to agree to work for Itchy & Scratchy money, but that FOX is serious about going forward with new voices, which would amount to little more than a desperate money grab, cannot be doubted.)

17
Jul
09

Still Careful About What I Wish For

Furutama Replacements

“You’ll be the captain; you’ll be the delivery boy; and you’ll be the alcoholic, foul mouthed-oh god, you’re alive!  I mean, thank god you’re alive!  Sorry, check back in three days, a week at the most.” – Prof. Farnsworth

This is fresh in from the Rockin’ Rumor Department, but it looks as if FOX is at least thinking about recasting Futurama.  Phil LaMarr’s Facebook page says this:

Phil LaMarr is happy for my friends at Family Guy (Emmy nomination!) and very unhappy for my friends at Futurama (replacing the cast!)

Forces of Geek has a full casting notice for Fry, Leela, Bender, Farnsworth, Zoidberg, Mom, Brannigan and Kif.  This is, obviously, not a final decision and speculation is already rampant that this is just a squeeze play for salary negotiations.  So it may be a tempest in an internet teacup, and let’s hope it is because if they replace the voices for the Futurama return it would suck balls.

This is pretty much exactly what I was talking about last month when the news came that Futurama was coming back.  A show like this is not something that can just be turned off and then turned back on again and the road back to production can be bumpy as hell.   Anyway, here’s hoping.

(Via Traveling With Jim’s Weblog)

30
Jun
09

Pointless Show Comparisons

When I was taking that quiz Dave put up yesterday I noticed that there were links to quizzes for Family Guy, South Park and Futurama as well.  Rather than add to internet’s already vast archive of arguments over the relative merits of these shows, I’m simply going to point out a telling numerical discrepancy.

In raw numbers The Simpsons quiz had 63 characters, the South Park and Family Guy quizzes had 42 each and the Futurama quiz had 30.  But the Simpsons quiz doesn’t have more characters because it’s been on longer.  In fact, all of the 63 characters were on the show by Season 9 (nary a Zombie Simpsons creation in the bunch).  But that doesn’t tell the whole tale because there are, by my count, only six characters in the quiz that weren’t already on the show by Season 3.  (Cletus didn’t show up until Season 5, Brandine, Disco Stu and Homer’s Mom appeared in Season 7, and Duffman and the Cat Lady showed up in Season 9.)  In other words, it took The Simpsons less than sixty episodes to have 57 characters memorable enough to be on an internet quiz.

Note: No Crazy Noises this week as Mad Jon is moving to Cypress Creek.

11
Jun
09

Being Careful About What You Wish For

Bender's Big Score1

“We’re back, baby!” – Bender

Futurama is coming back.  The news broke a couple of days ago, and plenty of different outlets used the same hook.  Our beloved SimpsonsChannel:

Good news, everyone! Collider.com reports today that an inside source tells them that another season of Futurama may be coming soon to Comedy Central.

The Nintendians at N-Philes:

Good News, Everyone! Futurama To Make A Return

Even The New York Times couldn’t resist.  Though, being the Times, they had to give it some preparatory context:

In the immortal words of Professor Hubert Farnsworth: Good news, everyone! The animated science-fiction comedy “Futurama,” below, will be getting a new lease on life at Comedy Central

It even translates into Czech:

Good news, everyone, pozdraví zase Hubert J. Farnsworth svého příbuzného z minulosti Philipa J. Frye a vyšle ho s dalšími exoty na novou krkolomnou misi coby doručovatele v zásilkové společnosti Planet Express, která šílenému profesorovi vydělává peníze pro vědeckou činnost.

So, lots of people are happy that Futurama is coming back with a full 26 episode season set to begin next year.  Of course, the more circumspect are at least expressing some caution.  Svip at Futurama Madhouse writes:

But not everyone is cheering, and not just because they are pessimists, even the optimists are using caution. If you have paid any attention to a Futurama community lately, and by lately I mean since the release of Bender’s Big Score, you would have noticed a certain… opinion on the four films.

And that opinion pretty simply sums up to that the four films are not en par with the original four seasons. Not as clever plots, not as good laughs, too much canon contradiction, excessive use of reset buttons, more creepy than entertaining, and so on. Generally, the four films, while most welcome by the fans, they are still not seen as being on the same level as season 1 to 4.

So the main concern becomes; will season 6 be on the same level as the films?

Svip concludes that the pessimism isn’t warranted because Futurama has always worked best in 22 minute chunks.  The movies, which were essentially four 22-minute episodes smashed together (so they could be chopped up for syndication), were simply the wrong format.  It’s a good point and I basically agree, but I’m not going to let go of my wariness just yet.

A creative endeavor like Futurama isn’t something you can just turn on and off with a light switch (Cue Cletus: Duh, light switch?).  Creating something as clever, funny and original as Futurama requires a lot of elements to fall into place, and not all of them can be controlled.  Some of it is just luck and random timing.

The obvious parallel here is the decomposition of The Simpsons into Zombie Simpsons, but there are a lot of other examples as well.  Think of all the crappy movie sequels that didn’t need to be made.  Think of novelists who keep using the same characters.  Even keeping the principal people on a project is no guarantee of success.  Look at the “Matrix” sequels, look at Spider-man 3, hell, look at Ghostbusters 2.  I’m a fan of that film, but there’s no way it’s on the same level as the original.  Fiction tends to go downhill, whatever the format.

That basic principle applies to television series, only instead of sequels it’s extra seasons.  Again, the obvious example is Zombie Simpsons, but how many television shows just lingered too damn long?  There’s a reason the phrase “jumped the shark” gained such widespread acceptance.  Whether it’s The Flintstones bringing in Gazoo or a comedy becoming a soap opera (looking at you NBC), or a drama reaching ludicrous new heights to keep the action building.  Shows get tired all the time.

It can happen for a lot of different reasons, but any ongoing creative project is vulnerable to it.  Plots become increasingly far fetched in an attempt to show the audience something new.  Characters develop enormous back stories which must either be respected (constraining what they can do) or ignored (which often angers fans).  Every fictional world gradually becomes crowded with its own past.

Futurama is well protected against a lot of that.  The universe it inhabits is essentially infinite (they can always go to a new planet).  There are a lot of multifaceted characters (inside and outside Planet Express).  And the show isn’t overly sentimental with its characters (Fry and Leela may be in love, but Bender will always be an asshole).

Nevertheless, bad things can happen, and fictions that are at their best in the later iterations are the exception, not the rule.  I’m certainly looking forward to new Futurama, it was still going strong when it got canned, but I won’t be surprised if the magic is gone.

24
Feb
09

Going Out In Style

“They say the greatest tragedy is when a father outlives his son; I’ve never fully understood why that is.  Frankly, I can see an upside to it.” – Abe “Grandpa” Simpson
Futurama, the longer surviving of the two Simpsons spin-offs, ends today, more or less on its own terms.  It was cancelled back in 2003 but strong reruns on cable got it brought back for 4 direct to DVD movies (each of which is comprised of four episodes condensed together), the final one of which, Into the Wild Green Yonder, came out today.  
Whatever one thinks of the show (I happen to be a fan, but that’s just me), it, unlike Zombie Simpsons, has an ending.  Into the Wild Green Yonder has a “series finale” feel to it, ties things up at the end, and is a pretty decent way to send off a beloved television show.  Pointless debates will never rage back and forth about when the show went to hell, or if its even still funny.  It was on; it was loved; it will be missed; and it will live forever in reruns and home video.  



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