From 1999- 2003, Matt Groening’s second-love to “The Simpsons,” “Futurama,” had a cult following that loved every second of the intergalactic tomfoolery featured in every episode. However, despite solid ratings during it’s run on television, FOX decided to pull the plug for reasons that are still unclear to this day.
It’s been almost six years since the sci-fi animated sitcom was taken off the air, but during the show’s exodus, hardcore fans of the series have still managed to get their fix, thanks to numerous DVD box sets and at times, a weeknight time slot, thanks to Adult Swim.
Nevertheless, Groening and company felt it was time to give fans something new. From the depths of television purgatory enters “Bender’s Big Score,” the first of four animated films the team will be releasing. By the end of it, not only is it worth the near-six year wait for hardcore fans, it also does a great job of introducing new fans to the series.
Focusing mainly on the relationship between the show’s main character Phillip Fry [voiced by Billy West, who also does the voice of Dr. Zoidberg] and his best friend and robot, Bender [voiced by John Di Maggio, who’s done voiceovers for everything from Final Fantasy video games to Kim Possible during his decade plus career], “Bender’s Big Score” continues to do the same things that made “Futurama” such an entertaining show in the first place.
For those who aren’t familiar with the show, “Futurama” is basically a Star Trek and Star Wars nerd’s version of humor. The same way “The Simpsons” uses pop culture to make audiences laugh, “Futurama” does the same thing, but mixes pop culture with sci-fi culture and creates a new world, doing everything from making Richard Nixon’s head the President of Earth to having suicide booths all over “New” New York City instead of phone booths. The end result is a great tribute to every nerdy show or movie you could never admit to watching that is side-splittingly funny and equally as charming and witty.
Luckily for fans, “Bender’s Big Score” doesn’t ever try to stray away from the things that made “Futurama” so much fun in the first place. Instead, it brings back every character [as well as introducing a few new ones] and serves up an extra-big spoonful of one of the most underrated television shows of all time in an 88-minute dose that you won’t soon forget.
Old fans of the series will be happy to know that “Futurama” is just as funny as it used to be and new fans will wonder why they never watched the show during its first run ob TV. With three more straight to DVD films out as well, the laughter won’t be over for quite some time.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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