Kevin: So you know, Futurama is getting canceled again.
Me: What the hell? Why?
Kevin: I don’t know. It’s a real shame.
Me: That’s horrible news. Why don’t more people watch Futurama? What the hell is wrong them?
Kevin: Beats me but to be honest I never watch the new episodes when they air. I just catch the repeats.
That snippet of our conversation perfectly captures the plight of Futurama, a beloved science fiction comedy program doomed to be forever underappreciated and neglected by network executives. Alas, despite a miraculous comeback, we are being forced to say goodbye to it once again. I don’t want to live on this planet any more!
The competition in animated, adult-themed television really heated up in the late 90’s, as The Simpsons faced an onslaught of shows that were all gunning for its spot at the top of the mountain. Some of those shows were terrible, others were decent, but a few have become mainstays in pop culture and to this day are enjoying their own immensely successful runs. Apparently having one prominent animated show wasn’t enough for Matt Groening, so he created Futurama and made all our lives infinitely better. Though innovative and uniquely appealing in its own right, Futurama’s journey has always been a rough one and after being canceled prematurely back in 2003 (another brilliant Fox decision!), it loitered for years in rerun purgatory before Comedy Central had the good sense to produce new episodes. Unfortunately, now Comedy Central is pulling the plug, and in case you couldn’t tell, I’m not happy about it.
In a lot of ways, I prefer Futurama to its competitors. There’s just something strangely engrossing about chronicling the bizarre everyday lives of a cast of freaks and geeks in the distant future, and considering this is a comedy show, it helps that they are all lovable idiots. The gag humor never feels overbearing and I get a kick out of all the nods to nerd culture, especially the incorporation of the original Star Trek cast. Most importantly, it makes me laugh. A lot.
And it’s not that Futurama hasn’t had a good run. I feel fortunate that the show was renewed at all, let alone that it survived for an additional four years of adventures with the Planet Express Crew. Everything at this point is just gravy, but the quality of the content hasn’t waned a bit and it’s a shame that this show has to go away. Maybe this is the end, or maybe it’s just taking a break for a few years before making yet another triumphant return. I’ll cross my fingers for the latter, and hey, if Netflix can bring “Arrested Development” back for one more season, then is it really that improbable that they could do the same for Futurama?