Fall TV Preview: Tricks and Treats
Vol. 5 No. 6
by Annabelle Villanueva
Futurama, Matt Groening's loopy animated satire of the sci-fi genre, scored
terrific ratings when it premiered after Groening's other show, The
Simpsons, last spring. But when Fox moved the series to its regular slot on
Tuesday nights, Futurama's fans got ticked off and the audience numbers
fizzled. Thankfully, the network saw the error of its ways and decided to
shift the cartoon back to where it belongs - following The Simpsons on
"Obviously it's the time slot we've always wanted to be in and the spot that
makes the most sense," says series co-creator David X. Cohen. "We always
thought it wasn't much of a stretch to say Futurama is half-Simpsons and
half X-Files, so what better place to be than between those two shows?"
Futurama's first full season will feature most of the 30th-century faces
audiences became familiar with last year, including several appearances by
everyone's favorite egomaniacal starship captain, Zapp Brannigan.
"One of my favorite episodes is our space-Titanic episode," Cohen says.
"Fry, Leela and Bender go on a well-deserved space cruise, not knowing that
Zapp Brannigan has been made honorary captain of the ship for its maiden
voyage. He makes the ship go through a swarm of comets which he refers to
as 'icebergs of the sky.' Then the rest of the episode is like The Love
Boat, and all our characters have romances. It's pretty crazy."
Of course, "pretty crazy" is pretty much the status quo for Futurama.
Expect Fry and Leela to get plenty of dates during the season (although the
pair do have a close encounter of their own in the Titanic/Love Boat
episode). The show also dabbles with more CGI effects and features many of
the guest voices that have become trademarks of both Futurama and The
Simpsons. John Goodman will play a malfunctioning robot Santa Claus in the
show's Christmas episode (he tries to kill people who are naughty). Bob
Barker hosts the Miss Universe contest and former Simpsons writer and Late
Night host Conan O'Brian's head does stand-up comedy ("or at least as much
stand-up as you can do when you don't have any feet," Cohen quips).