Looks like Futurama has officially been picked up for a new season, courtesy of Comedy Central. This is good news! It looks like the money I dropped on the mixed bag the movies ended up being might’ve been worth it!
…so why did I spend the next half hour after I read the announcement arguing with people about why it’s a good thing?
The Futurama movies certainly had something to do with it. Sure, there were decent (and occasionally great) jokes thrown in, but now that they’re over and done with two major problems seem to stick out. The first is length – the movies all tended to drag at one point or another, or got too caught up in the plot to remember to be funny. The second, of course, was the insistence on cramming in appearances by all the beloved Futurama characters. It’s tough to blame them, but the movies did suffer from focusing too much on why you should look back fondly on the series, rather than the new material in front of you.
Thankfully, both of my concerns will, in theory, be addressed by the return to an episodic format. The apparent return of the show means they won’t need to trot out every great character all at once, and the shorter run time will presumably lend itself to the tighter, one-great-joke-after-another stride the series did so well, assuming they haven’t lost their touch. And I guess that is the biggest concern. People look at Family Guy and say that it wasn’t nearly as strong after coming back from the dead (I can’t really comment, since it was never my cup of tea), and The Simpsons has been going for so long that most people (myself included) wonder if there’s only so much you can do with a given cast of characters. (To put it another way, there’s only so much fun you can have with a moldy corpse. Trust me.)
So yes, there are some legitimate concerns, but there’s no reason to condemn the new season already. I’m fully able to compartmentalize good portions of a series from bad in my mind (hi there, Metal Gear), so worse comes to worse I’ll always have the original season to look back on fondly. Let’s give this season the benefit of the doubt before doing that, though. I know you can find a way to not be cynical about this, Internet. I believe in you.