Good news, everyone!
Futurama returned to televisions across the globe tonight with back to back episodes. After a painfully lack-luster season six (that I don't think I ever even finished watching) my expectations for quality weren't very high. Futurama just set the standard for quality way too high in the first five seasons. But I wanted to give them a chance and support the brand, as well as Comedy Central.
Season 7, Episode 1: The Bots and the Bees
Bender becomes a daddy, which is cute, but writers throw all sense of time out the window in order to tell the story they wanted to tell. Bender's son seems to age within the course of a few days while Dwight Conrad and Cubert Farnsworth have stayed the same age (essentially, the same as most cartoon characters, including all of the Planet Express crew) for their entire show tenure. But given that they're robots rather than living, breathing, animate objects/beings, I suppose I can let that slide with a stretch of the imagination. The real disappointment was the lack of direction for anyone else in the episode. Fry was the secondary story, but was both sloppily rushed for a joke ending. This episode also sees a far more painful leg-trauma gag without consequence than the second episode.
On the plus side, this episode did have some good gags, and some good sentimental moments for Bender. My highlights of the episode include when they're trapped by a dam, when The Professor examines Bender's son, breast-feeding, and the conclusion to the PSA video shown.
Overall, the episode was pretty much following the same lack-luster trend as the previous season. The writers were more obsessed with sex than actual story telling and great character moments. This episode just made me long for episodes like "The Problem with Popplers" or "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back". And let's not even go into untouchable territory like "Jurassic Bark", "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" or "Hell Is Other Robots". At a stretch, I'd rate this episode... maybe...
3 / 5
Season 7, Episode 2: A Farewell To Arms
Parodying the hullabaloo around the 2012 Mayan calendar, the Planet Express crew finds an ancient circular 3012 Martian calendar warning of the end of the world. Time to pack up a ship and launch only the world's best and brightest! But that doesn't include everyone - someone isn't going to make the cut.
This episode also had some pretty good gags, but the frequency was far less than the previous episodes. And they take the time to randomly hate on Tron: Legacy which is a movie I loved! So I shake my fist at this episode even harder. My highlights include delivering the Martian calendar to Planet Express, Zapp Brannigan attempting to say "testament", and Hermes Conrad trying to rally everyone at the end. And since I'm clearly honing in on the writers who need to get laid, there was another sex-driven moment in this episode where Fry and Leela are about to join "The Balcony Club" for some end of the world sex. The punchline wasn't that funny, and it's really bothersome when they overuse sexuality. If they want to appease the pervert fanboys (hey, myself included) and make an official (non parodying) Futurama porno, they should just do it already. It'd break all kind of new ground.
The real best moment of the episode was predictable, and off-set by super corny punchline at the end. Much like Fry's ending in the previous episode, everything builds up (not much build, and not very far up either) to a bad gag which leaves a bitter taste in my mouth about the whole episode. The great moment sees the writers dig down deep and try to respark that magic from "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings", but never come close enough to really grab the brass ring. A great moment none the less, but a diamond in the very, very rough. Overall rating...
2.5 / 5
On a whole, I shouldn't have even bothered turning this on tonight. I should have clung to my old Futurama episodes on Netflix and much like the Simpsons after season 10, ignored that the show even continued. This wasn't the worst thing on TV, but when I have to watch a show to generously find things I like about it, it's just not that great. Unless you're like me and are really driven out of interest to see what Comedy Central's Futurama produces, don't bother looking for repeats. This is a skip. And for the love everything holy, Futurama, Comedy Central, please leave the memes to the internet.