Friday, September 3, 2010

Futurama - Season 6

The hardest part of writing this was determining what number season to call it. Any number from 5 to 7 might have applied. Do I count the show's original run as four or five seasons, basing it on the production order or the televised order? Do the televised versions of the movies count as a season? Ultimately I went with this as the sixth, because I couldn't even be writing this at all right now if I went with production seasons since this current one is only half over, and counted the movies as a precursor rather than an official season.

Boy what a waste of words. Anyway, I was kind of worried about the show for a while. Like the movies, it was still entertaining, but had failed to yet reach any of the heights from the series' best episodes in its original run. Was I doomed to watch one of my favorite series ever gradually decline into unwatchable crap? But luckily, things started really picking up somewhere around halfway through this run. "Lethal Inspection" attempted sentiment but only ended up bothering me with some inconsistencies about Bender's origin (yes, I'm a giant dork, why do you ask?), but the next episode more or less got it right with Fry and Leela, and featured one of the series' best sequences ever. And then after a merely decent cat episode, it ran off several in a row that were as funny and inventive as the show has ever been, minus a couple of the true greats. It looks like they more or less righted the ship, and they're not even half done with the current production order.

So while I'm happy to see the show back and doing pretty well, part of me wishes it had stayed canceled. Now, I would never say I don't want there to be more of a show I love that's course hasn't fully run out. But when something has a perfect ending already, there's at least a nagging thought that it should stay ended. Futurama's first series finale was heartbreaking, but it also managed to send off the series brilliantly, with some of the best comedy in the whole show and a truly sweet ending. And it's getting to the point where that sort of emotionally perfect conclusion will get harder and harder to reach. There's only so many times the show can put Fry and Leela together and then split them apart again before I stop caring about the characters. The handling of their relationship was the most consistent issue I had with this season. They declared their love at the end of the fourth movie, but in half the episodes it seems like they're dating or at least considering it, and in the other half it's like nothing ever happened. It's inconsistent and lazy and annoying. It shouldn't be this hard to figure out what the situation is, right? Amy and Kif have been together for years with only a couple hiccups, and it's worked out fine. But whatever, it's a cartoon and I should worry that much, right? There's a new anthology episode in November and then thirteen more episodes next year, and that's all that really matters.

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