Monday, November 19, 2007

Futurama (Volume Two)

Futurama (Volume Two)
Matt Groening's second season of the 31st century sci-fi sitcom Futurama maintained the high scripting standards of the first and also well brought improved digital animation. Couch potato Fry now seems thoroughly reconciled to his new existence, transported 10 centuries hence to "New New York" and working for Professor Farmsworth's delivery service. He's surrounded by a cast of freaks, including the bitchily cute Amy (with whom he has a romantic brush) and Hermes, the West Indian bureaucrat. Most sympathetic is the one-eyed Leela (voiced by Katey Segal). Like Lisa Simpson, she is brilliant but unappreciated; she finds solace in her pet Nibbler, a tiny creature with a voracious, carnivorous appetite. By contrast, Bender, the robot, is programmed with every human vice, a sort of metal Homer Simpson with a malevolent streak. In one of the best episodes, Bender is given a "feelings" chip in order to empathize with Leela after he flushes Nibbler down the toilet. Elsewhere, Fry falls in love with a mermaid when the team discover the lost city of Atlanta, Fry and Bender end up going to war after they join the army to get a discount on gum, and John Goodman guest stars as Santa Claus, an eight-foot gun-toting robot. Brimful with blink-and-you'll-miss-them hip jokes (such as the sign for the Taco Bellevue hospital) and political and pop satire, Futurama isn't a stern warning of things to come but rather, as the makers put it, "a brilliant, hilarious reflection of our own materially (ridiculously) overdeveloped but morally underdeveloped society." --David Stubbs

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