Futurama Season 1 (1999)

Futurama Season 1 Review…………………………………………………………………….

Futurama Season 1 Review

Futurama is a sci-fi comedy TV show created by Matt Groening. The first season aired in 1999 and it featured thirteen episodes, most of them excellent.

Now first let’s talk about the show in general before diving into the episodes individually. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would because it is such a pleasant mix of science fiction and comedy. It is a light sci-fi, but a really entertaining one. The world building is excellent with a great attention to detail and I loved how epic in scope it felt in just its first season. The animation is not only excellent, but even stupendous for TV standards as it looks so polished. And the humor is of course really good and delivering more often than not with the satires and parodies in particular being the highlights.

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No!

Oh, they’re tormenting me with up-tempo singing and dancing.

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Futurama Season 1 Review

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The characters are a mixed bag because some are more interesting than the others. Let’s state whom I didn’t care for first. I don’t get the appeal of Doctor Zoidberg, at least not so far as he isn’t as well utilized as the others and doesn’t appear all that much in the first season and when he appears, he is forgettable. Hermes Conrad is also very forgettable and I have to say that once again, as is usual for animated comedies, the female characters are lacking and they are not funny at all and are just there for plot progression. That is the case for Leela, but she has her moments whereas Amy Wong is much weaker.

But Professor Farnsworth is hilarious and in fact he is the one who probably made me laugh the most with such a great, subtle humor. Bender is also really good and he is the character that got a lot to do in the first season and was thankfully memorable and even genuinely funny at times. The same goes for Fry. He is a typical character at first, but he grew on me later on and the interactions between him and the others on the team are particularly terrific. But of course Zapp Brannigan is the standout supporting character and whenever he was in the episode, he was bound to make it great with his signature sexual/narcissistic humor that consistently amused me. And of course Kif is very good and the highlights are his annoyed expressions.

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Futurama Season 1 Review…………………………………………………………………….

Now let’s talk about the episodes. I have to say that Space Pilot 3000 is one of the weakest episodes of the season as it is such a regular pilot that introduces the series in a solid manner and it instantly hooks you in, but the exposition is too strong leaving the episode itself heavy-handed. The Series Has Landed is an improvement and even though it is overly sentimental, it is a still a very good story.

I, Roommate is the first truly great Futurama episode that benefits from a particularly strong relationship between Fry and Bender and the two steal the show as this is their episode. Both are looking for a place to live and I really liked how they interacted with each other. They are very similar to each other which is why they are great companions.

Love’s Labours Lost in Space is without any doubt the very best that this season has to offer! The episode is not only perfectly constructed with a very entertaining story and a great use of its characters, but also genuinely hilarious with a lot of funny moments. Zapp Brannigan is such a fantastic character and watching him try to seduce Leela is bound to make you laugh. But the subplot with animals is also pretty good with Nibbler being cute and fun.

Fear of a Bot Planet is another amazing episode that benefits from a particularly strong storytelling and attention to detail. We learn a lot about the robotic planet they visit and a lot of the humor with the robots was super funny and also very clever. The highlight is the movie the robots see where humans are evil.

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Futurama Season 1 Review…………………………………………………………………….

A Fishful of Dollars I wasn’t such a big fan of because I just do not really like Mom’s character. She only got one episode here and although Fry and some of his scenes here are excellent, her scenes were typical and she is too much like a Simpsons character for which I fault Matt Groening as he is the creator of both shows.

My Three Suns is another flawed episode. I found the plot amusing and it was definitely fun to watch, but the humor is lacking and the storyline and the overall tone here is too silly. A Big Piece of Garbage benefits from such a great use of Professor Farnsworth as the entire episode revolves around him with many humorous results.

Hell Is Other Robots is satirical and sometimes a bit too much, but watching Bender get addicted to electricity turned out to be an entertaining experience and one of the highlights when it comes to adult humor as the allusions are very strong this time around.

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Futurama Season 1 Review…………………………………………………………………….

A Flight to Remember isn’t as funny as it should have been, but it surely is well crafted with a Titanic parody being memorable and again Zapp being very well used plus we get the seeds planted for a possible Leela/Fry relationship.

Mars University is one of the season’s weakest episodes as I just wasn’t invested in this story about an extremely smart monkey who is Doctor Farnsworth’s experiment. I agree with the critics that the episode focuses on Guenter way too much given the fact that he may not ever come back. An odd choice.

When Aliens Attack is certainly convenient, but I found the inclusion of 20th century television in its story really well done with Fry being the standout character here. Also, the line about the shows and how people like them to remain the same was very smart and truthful.

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Futurama Season 1 Review…………………………………………………………………….

Fry and the Slurm Factory is one of the best episodes here owing to a very good humor and such a terrific parody of ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ which lifts its parody material to greater heights and featuring Fry at his absolute funniest.

Overall, the first season of Futurama had a lot of exposition to go through and some of the episodes here weren’t as great, but it is a great achievement that even those lesser episodes are still solid and the other half are all great or at least very good episodes. There are no bad parts here and although some characters still need work, as the very first season, Futurama more than manages to satisfy and make you laugh.

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Worst Episodes: Space Pilot 3000 and Mars University.

Best Episodes: Love’s Labours Lost in Space, Fear of a Bot Planet and Fry and the Slurm Factory.

My Rating – 4.1

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