Futurama is an American science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening, the person behind The Simpsons, and you can check out my Top 10’s on The Simpsons here and here. It ran on Fox from March 28th 1999 until August 10th 2003 where it was cancelled. It was later revived by Comedy Central and aired from March 23rd 2008 until September 4th 2013 where it was again cancelled. However there is still the potential for a revival at some point down the line, and in fact on November 9th 2014, a year after it’s cancellation by Comedy Central, a crossover episode between Futurama and The Simpsons aired, entitled Simpsorama for The Simpsons twenty sixth season. Futurama focuses on Philip J. Fry, who is cryogenically frozen on New Years Eve 1999, remains suspended for 1000 years until he is reanimated in the 31st Century, where he goes to work for an interplanetary delivery service known as Planet Express, owned and operated by a distant descendant. The main voice cast is Billy West who voices several roles on the show including the main character and delivery boy Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth who is Fry’s descendant and owner of Planet Express and Doctor Zoidberg who is Planet Express’s incompetent physician, as well as being an alien species known as a Dacapodian. Katey Sagal who voices Turanga Leela, most commonly just called Leela, the one-eyed captain of the Planet Express ship, initially believed to be an alien, but later discovered to be a human mutant. John DiMaggio who voices Bender (full name Bender Bending Rodríguez) a robot, created for bending metal girders. Phil LaMarr voices Hermes Conrad, a Jamaican accountant and bureaucrat assigned to Planet Express, and rounding off the main cast Lauren Tom, who voices Amy Wong, a long term intern at Planet Express, as well as a wealthy member of the Wong family. Today I’ll be doing a Top 10 list of my favourite Futurama episodes, which you can check out below.
1. Parasites Lost
Not only does it explore the relationship between Fry and Leela that’s a core part of the entire show, but it gives Fry a moment of genuine growth, not only in the short term, via the temporary improvements made by the parasitic worms but also because it showed that he would rather be himself than who the worms made him, and I was deeply touched by the end of the episode where Fry practices the holophoner, trying through his own merits to learn the instrument to impress Leela.
2. Future Stock
This episode could easily take the top spot just for the line “My only regret is… that I have… boneitis” but overall it’s a really strong episode, featuring another cryogenically frozen person from the 20th century, he and Fry bond over their shared experiences, and That Guy, as he is known in the episode, although apparently his name was Steve Castle, tricks Fry and takes control of Planet Express.
3. The Honking
This episode and Jurassic Bark are the episodes which come to mind immediately when I think of Futurama, and is a fun and eventful episode that features Bender being cursed to become a were-car, the machine equivalent of a werewolf. Also I liked the idea of robot ghosts, it gives new meaning to ghosts in the machine.
4. The Problem with Popplers
I’ve had the Fishy Joe’s jingle stuck in my head for years, and you can check that out here. But this is a top episode, not only does it feature my favourite alien species, the Omicronians, but also the episode title is based on one of my favourite episodes of Star Trek, The Trouble with Tribbles.
5. Jurassic Bark
So this is a very powerful episode, it’s deeply emotional and tugs on the heartstrings but it also showed more of Fry pre-cryogenic freezing which is always interesting. I always struggle to watch it because I hate to see a sad dog, but it’s also a riveted episode that shows even in a comedy show, that things can be bittersweet or melancholic or just plain sad, and still fit in well.
6. Fry and the Slurm Factory
This episode makes me really thirsty every single time I watch it, but other than that it’s a great episode that parodies Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a personal highlight was the whole Slurms MacKenzie thing which was just fantastic.
7. A Fishful of Dollars
This episode always makes me want anchovy pizza, which is more of an American thing, but something I developed a real taste for while living in Glasgow. Also I just love Fry losing it after finding out thanks to the miracle of compound interest that he’s rich. Is it just me by the way or do advertisements in dreams sound like a cool idea? I also like that Fry can easily handle just returning to being an average joe, sure he was swept away by the crazy amount of money, something he didn’t have in the past or the future (his present) but he dealt just fine in the end.
8. Mars University
The whole Animal House…sorry Robot House subplot with bender was hilarious, but honestly the star of this episode was Guenter, he managed to balance arrogance and intellectual superiority with genuine vulnerability, not bad for a cartoon money wearing a hat. I just enjoy this episode so much, it’s just a very easy, engaging reference that balances the main and subplot perfectly.
9. How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back
Is a strong episode for Hermes, not only does it reveal a lot more about someone who had previously been somewhat unknown quantity, speaking of which I’m still waiting for my Scruffy background episode. But in a very organic way it revealed more about the world of Futurama, including the whole bureaucracy system. I also till the day I die won’t be able to get the Bureaucrat song out of my head, and if you want to be similarly afflicted then you can listen to the song by clicking here.
10. The Sting
This episode, even though it is the last entry on the list is a really strong episode, it balances emotional and funny really well, has musical numbers and lovely murderous bees but perhaps most touchingly it continues the development of the relationship between Fry and Leela. Don’t worry, be Happy!
Honourable mentions go to Möbius Dick, Game of Tones and Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love? which I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top 10 list.
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