When Hulu announced that it was bringing back Futurama for a new season, I had mixed feelings of apprehension and excitement. However, with the original cast and crew on board, I had hope that season 11 would be a success. After watching the first three episodes, I am pleased to say that my faith has been rewarded.
Futurama originally aired for four seasons on Fox from 1999 to 2003. Although Fox never formally canceled the series, they stopped buying new episodes after 2003. In 2006, Comedy Central brought back Futurama in the form of four direct-to-DVD movies, which were later split into 16 episodes for season 5.
Three years later, Comedy Central ordered 26 new episodes of Futurama. The sixth season premiered in 2010 and was followed by another 26 episodes. The seventh season would be the network’s last, with the series finale episode “Meanwhile” airing on September 4, 2013.
In preparation for the latest reboot of Futurama, I spent the last few weeks binge-watching the entire series. While the original Fox run is widely regarded as the best, with its clever jokes and emotionally impactful storylines, there are exceptions in later seasons. Standout episodes from seasons 6 and 7 such as “The Late Philip J. Fry,” “The Duh-Vinci Code,” and “Game of Tones” prove that the series still had a lot to offer. The exceptional series finale “Meanwhile” perfectly concluded the show on its previous occasions.
Although the third finale was poignant and perfect, co-creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen left open the possibility for future adventures. Ten years later, Hulu decided to seize that opportunity and release 20 new episodes, which they labeled as season 11. (Hulu reorganized the previous seasons.)
The future is here, as the first three episodes of Futurama season 11 are now available to stream on Hulu.
The season premiere, “The Impossible Stream,” picks up where the show left off in 2013, with Professor Farnsworth, Fry, and Leela breaking free from the stasis field that Fry accidentally triggered. Similar to the first Futurama DVD movie, “Bender’s Big Score,” the premiere pokes fun at the show’s history of cancellations and revivals. Fry, feeling unaccomplished, decides to binge-watch every show, a relatable concept.
In the following episodes, “Children of a Lesser Bog” and “How the West Was 1010001,” the reboot explores different aspects of the show’s universe. “Lesser Bog” is a direct sequel to a season 4 episode where Kif gets pregnant, and it cleverly references that the children won’t hatch for another 20 years. While the episode doesn’t fully deliver on that premise, I hope to see more of the kids in the future. “How the West Was 1010001” takes a satirical approach as the Planet Express crew heads West to mine for thallium and convert it into bitcoin. It may require some familiarity with the cryptocurrency scene to appreciate all the jokes, but the silliness of Futurama‘s American West in 3023 is entertaining on its own. Additionally, beloved side characters like the Borax Kid and the Robot Mafia make their return.
Upcoming episodes will cover topics such as cancel culture, anti-vaccine hysteria, and Amazon’s dominance in online shopping. While Futurama‘s biting social commentaries are entertaining, I’m eagerly anticipating the character-focused stories that made the show stand out in the first place. It’s the perfect balance that sets Futurama apart from other animated sitcoms.
Meanwhile (did you catch the reference?), I’m thrilled to have the show back. These wacky humans, aliens, and mutants haven’t overstayed their welcome, even after surviving three network changes over the last 23 years.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.