The adventures of a former New York pizza delivery boy after he is cryogenically frozen in the year 2000, and thawed out on New Year's Eve 2999.
88 episodes 1999 - 2003.
When Fry, a somewhat dim-witted 25 year-old pizza delivery boy for Panucci's Pizzas is asked to make a drop at Applied Cryogenics, it's the beginning of a journey that will take him more than a thousand years into the future.
Fry falls into one of the company's capsules and doesn't emerge until the dawn of the year 3000. Here he befriends a beautiful one-eyed alien called Leela (a worker at the New York based cryogenics factory) and a degenerate robot named Bender. The trio track down Fry's great-great-great-etc. nephew, Professor Farnsworth, who hires the three to work for his intergalactic delivery service. Together they traverse the cosmos delivering goods for Planet Express, Leela serves as the ship's captain and Bender indulges in his love of booze, large cigars and pornography.
'Futurama' was the brain-child of 'The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening and very quickly built up a legion of loyal fans. In an interview shortly before the show started (in 1999 as a mid-season replacement) Groening explained his inspiration for the shows concept. "As a kid I saw the 1956 movie version of 1984 on TV. I kept watching this horrible Big Brother dystopia and waiting for the space patrol to rescue everybody. But the space patrol never came! I realized then, as disturbing as it was, that there were really fun possibilities in science fiction."
With a smash-hit animated series already behind him Groening must have felt very confident that the antics of Fry and the weird and wonderful inhabitants of the Futurama universe would capture the imagination, tickle the funny bone and win a loyal fan following. This it did, but certainly not to the extent of the aforementioned dysfunctional family from Springfield. Viewers of 'Futurama' were divided in their opinion, and while those who stuck with it from the early days reaped the benefits as the series developed, there were just as many who didn't stay the course and its fair to say that much of the humour of 'Futurama' was lost on the casual viewer.
Still, the series won an Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour)", got an Annie Awards nomination for "Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television Production", won an Annie Award for Rich Moore's "Directing in an Animated Television Production", gave Ken Keeler a WGA Award nomination for "Animation - any length - one airing time" and helped Patric Verrone to win a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Animation Writers Caucus.
However, by the end of series four there were already rumours that US network Fox was planning to cancel the series. This was all-but confirmed when season five premiered with the announcement that no new episodes were being commissioned. The new season contains a number of season four 'leftovers' and although there has been no official statement of cancellation, John DiMaggio, who voices Bender thinks that the series has reached journey's end. Talking of the new season he feels that should it get "incredibly huge ratings" then there may be another season. But without the networks promoting the series this is very doubtful. So while Groening prepares to take 'The Simpsons' into animated history by making it the longest running US comedy series (real or animated) on television, it seems as though 'Futurama' is destined to return to the cryogenic chamber for some more cold storage.
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