Friday, September 9, 2011

Futurama - Season 6-B

Futurama continues to have the messiest mishmash of seasons and non-seasons I've ever seen. Although they aired in a chunk last year, culminating in what Comedy Central called a season finale and being released together on a DVD set, the 13 episodes from 2010 are apparently only the first half of what is officially "season 6". The second half just finished airing. They're doing thee same thing again, with the show getting renewed for 26 more episodes of a season which will air in two parts in 2012 and 2013. They can do whatever they want, I guess, it's just kind of weird.

Anyway, these episodes were about on the same level as the ones from last year, just a bit less up and down. Nothing ever got as bad as the eyephone episode, but nothing was as consistently funny as the robot evolution one either. The thing that bothered me the most was that they attempted several times, as in last year's "The Late Philip J. Fry", to capture the touching side of the show that used to come out of nowhere and really tug on the heartstrings. Episodes like "The Luck of the Fryish" and "Jurassic Bark" were easily among the show's best, both because they were really funny and because they came around to end up hitting on some really emotionally resonant moments. This year, episodes like "Cold Warriors" and "Overclockwise" attempted the same, but those moments felt less earned, less integral to the story, and more like the show was just trying to capture some magic they lost in the years the show was dead. I don't want to be overly dramatic, but in 26 episodes, I've enjoyed most of what they've done, but I've come to believe they will never quite find the same groove they had when the writers were all peaking together.

Not that there wasn't good stuff. I didn't think I needed to know how Dr. Farnsworth and Dr. Zoidberg met, but the episode that explored that was surprisingly one of the best. I miss the concept of the original anthology episodes, but this year's out-of-continuity three-parter, "Reincarnation", was possibly their best ever, changing up the show's visual style without compromising the fun of the comedy. I continue to be disappointed by the way they still haven't figured out where to go with Fry and Leela's relationship, but when they actually do get back to it, it tends to work well. I just remembered something else that bothered me - I always liked Hermes partly because he avoided a lot of really easy Jamaican jokes, but since they've moved to Comedy Central and gotten used to looser standards, he's turned into a regular old pothead. I'm trying to talk about why I still like the show and I keep remembering how it bothers me. It's just to be expected when one of your favorite shows ever goes away for a while and isn't quite the same when it returns. I still think it's worth watching though, the writing is just less consistently brilliant, and they might be running short on great ways to play with old sci-fi tropes. I'll definitely keep watching through the next production season, at least.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I am glad this season is finally coming out as a complete set. I was excited that the show was returning but I didn’t get a chance to watch many episodes due to the disjointed scheduling of the show. I just added it to the top of my Blockbuster Movie Pass queue and I should have it by this weekend. I am especially looking forward to the “Reincarnation” episodes. The Movie Pass is one of the best choices I have made for entertainment. For $10 per month I get streaming and disk rental including Blu-rays and video games. As an employee I feel the Blockbuster Movie Pass is one of DISH’s best features.