Futurama season six began a few weeks ago on Comedy Central, and, following the largely disappointing and disparately structured DVD movies, I was a little nervous the writers wouldn’t be able to get the show back on its feet again. Luckily, barring the first episode, which bordered on weak, they’re certainly getting there, even if we may have to wait a few months for it to truly return to the excellent form of season four.
‘Rebirth’, the first episode of this new season, showed the story of how the characters came back to life after dying in a spaceship crash, following the events of Into The Wild Green Yonder. The jokes were hit-and-miss while the storyline, which saw multiple versions of Fry and Leela co-existing in an odd resurrection concept, would have benefitted from being a little less convoluted as a return episode.
‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela’ sees Zapp Brannigan and Leela getting trapped together on what seems to be a Garden Of Eden-style planet…but in the end, it all turns out to be Zapp Brannigan’s scheme to have it off with Leela. The sheer arrogance of the Captain is still a delight to watch – here, we see Brannigan at his most self-serving, and it’s as fun to see as it ever was. It wasn’t quite as funny as I was hoping for, but by the end the show finds its feet.
‘Killer App’, the third episode, a damning indictment of Twitter culture and the iPhone, was by far the best of the three. It saw the characters buying a device known as the ‘eyePhone’, before competing for followers on a Twitter-style site. ‘Killer App’ is pretty decent, even if the Scottish, singing ‘Boil’ named Susan on Leela’s arse made for a rather unfunny side story. The sheer scorn leveled at the unending nonsense of Twitter made this a fun episode for me, though – how far would you go to increase your follower count?
I’d say the greatest achievement of these opening three episodes was that they adhere to Futurama’s trademark balance of comedy and pathos. Even if the jokes were generally hit-and-miss, you can see a quality curve forming – let’s remember that it’s been a good seven years since this show was in its conventional format, so a period of readjustment was always going to be necessary. I’m excited to see where the show goes in the coming months.