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Western Animation / Futurama

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"Welcome to the world of tomorrow!!"

Good news everyone, we're going to describe Futurama here!

Created by Matt Groening and co-developed by The Simpsons writer David X. Cohen, this Fantastic Comedy of an Animated Series follows the life of Philip J. Fry (Billy West), a pizza delivery boy in New York City. Right as the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 1999, Fry falls into a cryogenic tank and gets frozen for a thousand years. He emerges from his cryo-nap on the morning of December 31, 2999 to find a world of space travel, robots, aliens, mutants, and a buttload of new technology. After making friends with a suicidal, hedonistic robot named Bender (John DiMaggio) and a buxom, take-no-prisoners cyclops named Leela (Katey Sagal), Fry tracks down his closest living relative — Professor Farnsworth (West), an elderly Mad Scientist and Fry's great-great-something-nephew — and becomes a delivery boy for Planet Express, Farnsworth's package delivery business, which allows him to have all kinds of adventures.

Upon Futurama's release, many people expected "The Simpsons in SPACE!", but the show proved those fears unfounded soon enough. It also started as a Fish out of Temporal Water series, but as Fry got used to everything (which didn't take long), it became an ensemble comedy set in the future. (Fry still regularly needs strange futuristic concepts explained to him, though.)

Futurama has a well-established Canon — which plays into numerous episodes at times — and the occasional dramatic moment hidden amidst the comedy. Episodes notable for such moments include "Roswell That Ends Well," "The Why of Fry," "The Sting," "The Luck of the Fryrish," "Jurassic Bark" (whose Downer Ending had the producers getting hate mail from viewers who had cried), and "The Prisoner of Benda" (which popularized a new mathematical theorem for brain switching).

A large portion of the original writing staff, all of whom had college-level educations, left all potential breaks from reality up to the Rule of Funny and inserted numerous mathematical, engineering, and scientific jokes (ranging from subtle to extremely obscure) into the show.

Although the show parodied almost every popular sci-fi franchise under the sun at some point, it's particularly fondly remembered among Trekkies for its frequent affectionate ribbing of Star Trek, with several episodes even being Whole Plot References to classic episodes of the original series — like "The Problem with Popplers" ("The Trouble with Tribbles"), "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" ("Amok Time"), and "Spanish Fry" ("Spock's Brain"). These homages eventually culminated in the episode-length Star Trek tribute "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", where every then-surviving member of the original series' main cast (except James Doohan) guest stars as themselves.

The show has gone through a wide variety of different formats but is generally considered all part of the same ongoing narrative:

  • The original run on Fox lasted four seasons from 1999 to 2003. The network cited disappointing ratings as the reason for its cancellation, but the creative staff cited its poor timeslot.
  • Four direct-to-DVD movies released between 2007 and 2009. High ratings with reruns on [adult swim] spurred this development, the films were later cut up into a sixteen-episode "fifth season."
  • Uncanceled by Comedy Central in 2010 due to the success of the DVD movies, producing two additional seasons to end in 2013. Depending on the media releases and the streaming services regarding the four movies this incarnation is either seasons five and six or seasons six and seven (some even break the two Comedy Central seasons into four seasons, for simplicities sake TV tropes lists it as seasons six and seven).
  • Uncanceled again by Hulu in 2023, as the creative team has repeatedly said they have more stories to tell. The new incarnation started airing July 23rd, 2023.

In 2014, the series had a crossover with The Simpsons titled "Simpsorama"; this was followed by a 2017 one-off audio drama on the Nerdist Podcast called "Radiorama" (to promote the now-defunct mobile game Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow). Fortnite had a rather Weird Crossover (even by Fortnite standards, then again, it's not the first time they crossed over with an adult cartoon, and wouldn't be the last) with the show two days after the season premiere.

Tropes related to the Futurama comic book series by Bongo Comics have their own page. See here for the Episode List.

I, Troputer, have decided on the fate of the scroller. Troputer sentences DEATH ("Gasp!") TROPE OVERDOSE ("Alright! Whoo!") note 

"Farewell from the world of tomorrow!!"


Hugh Mann

A Decapodian wears a rather flimsy disguise in order to steal a disc from Earth's military. Zapp Branigan falls for it of course.

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