• Reviews 

    Futurama – "Rebirth/In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela"

    By | June 25th, 2010
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Good news, everyone! Futurama has returned on Comedy Central for a brand new sixth season!. All of your favorite characters are back, and Zoidberg, for 26 brand new episodes! Well, sort of. Twelve episodes have been slated for this new season, and the 12th episode will be the 100th episode of Futurama. So it’s still good news regardless.

    So with the return of Futurama comes reviews from your favorite television show reviewer. Now that Doctor Who is almost over, I need a new science fiction based show to tell you all to watch. How perfect is it that one of my all time favorite comedies is back on the air after being cancelled, revived, and cancelled again?

    Although – I could hate it. You never know. The new season could be terrible. It could be an entire season worth of Jurrasic Bark‘s.

    Follow me behind the cut as I take a look at the first two episodes of a more liberated season. As a note, some mild spoilers are discussed. Nothing to ruin your evening, but if you haven’t watched the episode yet and don’t want to anything/go in fresh, you might want to hold off.

    As our crew blasts through a wormhole, it turns out that they had used Earth’s central shipping wormhole and had ended up fearing nothing, making the whole experience some kind of comedy central channel (*snicker*). Unfortunately, Zapp Brannigan is still after them in the Nimbus due to their “terrorist actions”, and they all crash land on the planet. Everybody except the Professor dies, and it’s up to him to use stem cells to rebuild all their bodies in a big vat of goo – that is, everybody except for Fry, who made it through with only burns and frizzy hair. As the Professor and Fry bring everyone back, it turns out that Leela comes out in some kind of coma, Bender wasn’t fixed properly and needs the Doomsday device planted inside him to keep him alive but can only be stabilized by non-stop partying, and Zoidberg still doesn’t understand basic human anatomy (sorry, Hermes). And so Rebirth begins to bring back our favorite space crew.

    The first episode of the new Futurama is easily the stronger one, as it plays off some of Futurama’s strongest aspects – clever time lines and quick dialogue. Futurama has always had a very smart way of dealing with it’s time line, and it’s nice to see the writers haven’t forgotten how to do this. Futurama’s time line via the grand scheme of things is pretty crazy, and the first movie showed that they can handle time travel with only minor continuity errors. With this episode, it’s very easy to see how things were laid out, and watching it a second time makes a lot of the jokes much funnier, such as the Professor’s comment about Fry’s memory loss at the beginning of the episode. Plus, you have to love that even after all this time, the dialogue is still incredibly sharp and witty, because who didn’t love Zapp Brannigan’s “over my dead body” line?

    Another great thing about this episode is that, despite what one might think in a rebirth episode, is that it doesn’t spend a lot of time on fan-wankage. What I mean by that is that, with the movies there was a lot of returns and guest appearances etc to pay off old jokes for fans. It’s a nice way to end a show, sure, and that’s what they thought they were doing. However, with the ability to bring the show back, they focused on writing a show, not a new set of old jokes paying off for old fans. That’s not to say there are no call backs or references, but I expected to see a full episode of “Oh, look! It’s so and so!” Instead we were done with all the reintroductions in the first five minutes to instead wrap up the question of how Fry and Leela would be with each other in the new series.

    Continued below

    Of course, the first thing you can immediately also notice is that due to the change of network and time line, some of the jokes begin to get a little bit racier – but we’ll get more to that with the second episode.

    The second episode, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela”, features the looming threat of an evil Death Star-like entity which we learn is called the V-GINY (due to a series of unfortunate and double entendre’d events). This being censors planets that are inappropriate, obliterating them out of existence. It’s up to Leela to stop it in a special one-man ship, and Zapp Brannigan decides he wants to tag along. However, in trying to stop the mighty V-GINY, they end up fleeing from it, crash landing on a mysterious planet, which leaves Fry and the gang to try and figure out how to explain to the rest of the planet that they need to stop sinning with cold hard logic and reason.

    This episode is a little bit weaker than the first, but it’s still a good episode. The double entendre is very heavy in this episode, and it’s clear that the writers and cast are going to be pushing some boundaries while they’re on a new network at a new time. Assarama Futurama always got away with some more adult comedy (especially in comparison with the Pimpsons Simpsons), but this episode makes it very apparent. There are so many jokes about inputs, you’d be shocked to see it on FOX (unless it was called Family Guy). It doesn’t feel too overdone, but there are a couple points where I felt they maybe lagged on a couple of seconds. I also kind of hope that Futurama doesn’t make the same folly other shows on the network have made and spend each and every episode parodying something out of pop culture versus just telling funny stories with pop culture references, because the last thing I need is Futurama to be preachy (although a quick look at plot synopsis’ for upcoming episodes does make it look like there will be a little bit).

    The episode still features a lot of great comedy, such as Zapp Brannigan’s Transcredible Exploits, which is a hilarious send up of old fashioned pulp action TV. There’s also a moment in the episode where they clearly take a shot at FOX and what FOX would have allowed them to do as first Zapp and Leela calls out organized religion (or at least the bible) as being disgusting and then there is a hilarious reference to wardrobe malfunctions and censorship. Granted, this whole episode has that tone of making fun of the fact that what they can get away with more and will be censored less, but the few choice moments where it’s really obvious are still pretty funny. That and Zoidberg’s soon to be classic (I hope) love of Parcheesi.

    So it’s still a fun episode, but it doesn’t match up with as good as Rebirth is and it’s probably one of the episodes that, if/when I put Futurama in my DVD player to watch it in the background, I won’t be stopping a lot to watch. Though, calling an episode of Futurama “not as good as others” isn’t really saying much considering 95% of the shows entire content is hilarious and back to back amazing (not to show bias or anything).

    And such is our return of Futurama, Matt Groening and David X Cohen’s finest collaboration. The season promises to be an entertaining one for those that have read plot synopsis, and next week’s especially sounds hilarious. For those that don’t want to know, I’ve politely whited out the text, but for the rest of you, the episode synopsis for Attack of the Killer App is: The episode will feature what ends up of Facebook, iPod, iPhone and Twitter in the future. Mom is to control Twitter, while Bender hacks into Facebook. Fry and Leela get the citizens of Earth to use their iPhones and iPods to decide who will win. So that should be good! Keep your eyes open as I take you through the rest of the season as it happens, and I can only hope that the comedy levels stay up.

    //TAGS | Futurama

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."


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