Simpsons creator Matt Groening, then, has devised another new animated show. This one, due on Netflix next year, will be called Disenchantment and, for 10 episodes, will follow the medieval fantasy adventures of a boozy princess named Bean, her imaginatively named elf pal Elfo and her demon Luci. According to Groening, it will be about “life, death, love and sex”.
Sounds vibey. And you know what else was vibey? That’s right, Groening’s other show, the sci-fi cartoon Futurama. Launched in 1999, it was initially cancelled in 2003 but returned after a fan outcry and bowed out after seven seasons in 2013. Join us, readers, as we remember the best ever adventures of Fry, Leela, Bender, Professor Farnsworth and the gang.
Space Pilot: 3000
Season 1, episode 1
Where it all began. There’s a huge amount of backstory and information about the Futurama universe packed into this short episode, which moves breezily and with plenty o’ laughs. Here we learn that Fry is a pizza delivery guy who’s been cryogenically frozen and wakes up 1000 years in the future, where he meets a Cyclops named Leela and a robot named Bender. And the rest, as they say, is history. No, wait, is it the future? This time stuff makes our heads hurt.
A Big Piece Of Garbage
Season 1, episode 8
There’s a huge ball of interplanetary space rubbish heading directly to Earth, and Professor Farnsworth is in direct competition with his foe Dr Ogden to prevent it from causing death and destruction. Surprisingly, Fry comes up with the winning formula: fight garbage with… garbage. As a piss-take of Michael Bay’s highly mockable blockbuster Armageddon, this is anything but rubbish.
Fry and the Slurm Factory
Season 1, episode 13
Yes, this is a parody of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as the gang take a tour behind-the-scenes at the making of their favourite drink, Slurm. When you find out where Slurm comes from, though, your stomach will turn. Bender almost gets turned into a drinks can, we meet the factory’s suspiciously familiar Grunka-Lunkas and Fry’s appetite for Slurm proves formidable. The episode has it all, so there’s no wonder this has gone down as a fan favourite.
The Problem With Popplers
Season 2, episode 15
Like The Simpsons, Futurama was often as its best when it lampooned someone or something. This episode takes aim at big business fast-food retailers, as the gang land on an alien planet and discover a delicious, chicken nugget-like snack food named Popplers. The food is tasty and even addictive, causing Leela a crisis of conscious when she discovers it’s a sentient being. You’ll never look at a McDonald’s the same way again (though you will definitely still eat there).
The 30% Iron Chef
Season 3, episode 22
Bender, as you may remember, longs to be a chef, an ambition that is made problematic by his inability to taste. So he asks for the help of famous chef Elzar, who refuses. Instead TV chef Helmut Spargle teaches Bender how to make lip-smackingly good food, resulting in a cook-off between Elzar and the newly talented robot. The only bad thing about this episode is that it puts paid to all those gags about the character sneakily discarding the food Bender’s cooked them.
Season 4, episode 7
An unusual episode in that it largely consisted of flashback to Fry’s pre-space days, as he discovers his fossilised dog Seymour and begins to reminisce about his favourites times with the loveable pooch. Professor Farnsworth plans to clone Seymour, Bender gets jealous and it all gets awks. Everyone loves dogs, though, and everyone loves Futurama, so this one’s a winner.
Where No Fan Has Gone Before
Season 4, Episode 11
The title to that Popplers episode is a reference to the Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tibbles, and this one goes even further, casting some legendary Stark Trek actors – Leonard Nemoy, William Shatner, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols – as themselves A deranged fan is holding their disembodied heads hostage, see, so the gang step in to save them. We’ll leave you to see if they live long and prosper.
Season 4, episode 12
What a strange episode this is. The Planet Express crew are dispatched to collect honey from a giant space bee honey colony, but Fry is shockingly impaled by a massive bee stinger and dies. This causes Leela to have all manner of bizarre, grief-stricken hallucinations. The resolution is a bit “it was all a dreeeaaam”, but it’s the journey there is hella fun and the episode is commendably odd.
The Late Phillip J Fry
Season 7, episode 7
This one has gone down in Futurama folklore as a top-drawer stuff. Professor Farnsworth’s time machine only travels into the future, so when Fry and co. accidentally send themselves forwards in time, they keep going into the future in the hope of finding someone’s who’s intended a time machine that goes backwards. All worth it for this this Professor Farnsworth gag: “This time machine goes forward in time. That way you can’t accidentally do something disgusting like sleep with your own grandmother.”
Season 7, Episode 26
Futurama had admittedly patchy final series – though nothing on The Simpsons post season 11 – but it bowed out in style, rewarding Fry and Leela with the happy ending that we all wanted for them. Time freezes but they grow old together, until Professor Farnsworth returns to fix everything, offering to head into to the past to prevent the time freeze from every happening. The happy couple agree to “go around again”, an unexpectedly moving line in a show that never failed to surprise.