Save Futurama

I want to hear how it ends.

Leela

Series Run Finale on Fox

I have never been so obvious in a title before.  This week marks the release of what could be the final piece of the Futurama franchise.  That makes me very sad. I have seen every episode and DVD movie numerous times, and the characters are as real to me as any fictional people can be.  If I had my way there would at least 4 more seasons of the show on television, and a few more movies.  I honestly believe that the creative team, who seem so passionate in their commentaries, are capable of exploring a wide range of story possibilities in the universe they have created.

I actually came to love the show a couple of years after the original run ended.  As a huge sci-fi nerd it’s amazing I missed it the first time.  I wasn’t watching much tv as an undergrad, so that likely explains how it escaped my attention.  But ever since I first saw a rerun on Teletoon, I’ve been hooked.  Even though it is a cartoon show, the characters have a great deal of depth without sacraficing the kind of superficial personality quirks that make for a funny program.  I want to laugh at obvious foibles, but I also need to connect with each character.  Although Fry is dumb and often self-centred, he can also be sweet, heroic, and willing to do the right thing, especially if it helps Leela.  The ensemble fits so well together that I don’t believe there is one dominant character, though Fry, Bender, and Leela do drive the majority of stories.  The group certainly seems like an ordinary arrangement of friends/coworkers, even though they inhabit a bizarre future.

It is the vision of Groening et al that most impresses me about Futurama.  Rather than taking either an apocalyptic or completely optimistic view, the writers and producers have created a future that is wacky but almost believable.  I believe they ask the question, what if people don’t change that much in a thousand years, besides developing space travel, recycling everything, and living with sentient robots and aliens.  The earthicans of Futurama place less value on life (see suicide booths) but also live a much more carefree and open existence. They just don’t take themselves too seriously. It is probably a lesson we could learn.

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