Wednesday, April 2, 2008

You might have to make a metaphorical deal with the devil... and by devil I mean Robot Devil, and by metaphorical I mean get your coat.

So we haven’t really talked about animated shows.

Nor have we talked about one of the finest animated shows ever created… I speak of course of “Futurama”

Amidst the science fiction genre are all manner of supernatural beings and situations. Aliens and robots are standard characters, and we can visit all different kinds of planets and situations that would not normally be possible. The beauty of "Futurama" though, is that all these things are done in a very intelligent way. Listening to the audio commentaries on the DVD, one can see just how much (sometimes unnecessarily complicated) thought goes into a lot of simple decisions. In a first season episode where the characters are on the moon, the animators and directors had long conversations about how to properly depict the moon, what side would be lit, what part of planet earth you would be able to see from the moon, and how the leftover lunar lander would be depicted.

In a later episode involving time travel, the writers and directors deliberately chose situations and events that would be rare, appropriate for the show, and SOMEWHAT plausible for the situation. They made the directorial choice to have time travel be something that could happen, but not happen so much that it could be done whenever the characters wanted.

In addition to the various supernatural characters and events on the show, “Futurama” does what any decent science fiction show does, and it does it very well at that. It comments on present day society. An entire show is dedicated to global warming, for example. Feminism, various prejudices, organized religion, and even issues regarding Native Americans are all fodder for the science fiction institution. Science fiction shows can get away with a lot of things that shows set in the present day cannot. The robot character Bender drinks and smokes cigars and is generally a self centered mischievous troublemaker, but he is a robot, so it’s ok.

“Futurama,” like most shows that were cancelled too early, has a very dedicated fan base that picks apart every episode, discovering all the nerdy in jokes, and techno-speak. There are many of these fan sites, but I stumbled across this one in case anyone was interested.

All in all, “Futurama” was a great show with compelling characters that supported its wonderfully fun vision of the future.

Finally, all I have to say is "I apologize.... for nothing!!"

1 comment:

Rebecca Roth said...


I love Futurama! I want to live in the future where I can travel in tubes and see previous presidents heads in a jars of water. The show is genius and nothing beats it. No matter how many times I've seen it, I always watch it again. Great post!