Futurama (animated series)
Futurama was first introduced on the Fox Network in 1999, and was set in the year 3000. Characters on the show include Phillip J. Fry ("Fry"), who was cryogenically frozen just before New Year, 2000, and thawed out in time to usher in the year 3000; Turanga Leela ("Leela"), a one-eyed alien woman who works with Fry at the Planet Express Delivery Service; Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Fry's great-great-...-great grand-nephew who runs Planet Express; Bender Bending Rodriguez ("Bender"), a foul-mouthed, hard drinking robot ("bite my shiny metal ass"), built in America's heartland of Mexico; Hermie (Hermes Conrad), a Jamaican bureaucrat with a flair for filing; Dr. Zoidberg, a lobster-like alien who provides spurious medical advice for the crew; intern Amy Wong, heir to an unbelievable fortune; and many side characters who have been introduced.
The world of Futurama is a fairly grim version of the future. Unlike past cartoons like The Jetsons, Futurama portrays a much less idealistic view. While the Jetsons showed an efficient, clean, happy future, Futurama's version of the year 3000 shows humans still dealing with many of the same basic problems of the 20th Century, albeit with a different spin.
Race issues in the year 3000 are now centered around Human / Alien relations, with problems such as Alien immigration plaguing Earth. Although Earth is now populated by super-intelligent robots, their intelligence has made them lazy and surly, and often unwilling to assist their human creators. Earth's government (now united under a single President of Earth) remains corrupt, and apparently very US-centric (the flag of Earth, for example is a modified Flag of the United States). Inter-planetary relations are poor, with constant wars and invasions, often poorly planned and fought for stupid reasons.
Depsite this, Futurama's world also showcases numerous technological advantages that have been developed by the year 3000. Along with robots, space ships, and floating buildings, the show also introduced many memorable inventions such as the "Smell-o-scope" and the "What if Machine" as well as less inspiring inventions, such as coin-operated "Suicide Booths" and horribly inefficient "transport tubes."
Much of the shows humor comes from the way characters make passing references to significant historical events of the past thousand years. Between 1999 and 3000:
- Cows and anchovies become extinct
- The Second Coming of [[Jesus Christ occured, but apparently had little effect on society
- Earth was repeatedly invaded by various foreign planets
- Al Gore somehow managed to become "Emperor of the Moon"
Most celebrities from the 20th century, 19th century, and earlier are alive and well in Futurama's world, thanks to cloning, head preservation, DNA splicing, or various other forms of regeneration. Most commonly they are sentient living heads in jars. There are two jarred heads of Grover Cleveland, presumably for some reason related to his being the both the 22nd and the 24th President of the United States. The head of Richard Nixon was elected President of Earth; his 31st century term of office was no improvement on his 20th century one.
In 2001, during the show's third season, it was quietly announced that Fox Television was canceling production of the series. While Futurama is currently in its fifth season, there were actually only four production seasons. Due to numerous preemptions and other schedule shuffles, Fox had enough new episodes backlogged for another full year of shows. These delays account for the difference in Fox's broadcast season number and production season number (Note: the production season forms the basis for the DVD and video sets). The fate of new Futurama episodes remains somewhat uncertain, but Fox has been showing episodes sporadically as of 2003 (its fifth broadcast season). Cartoon Network is currently showing old episodes in syndication.
Unique Development Studios is working on a Futurama video game.
The 72nd and last episode, called "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" was aired on the 10th of August, 2003. With this episode, the 5th season and the whole series ended.
Danny Elfman composed the theme song of Futurama.
Planet Express, the fictional delivery service in the series is managed by Professor Farnsworth. Farnsworth's crew members are Fry, Leela, and Bender.