"Futurama" is back, baby!
After a ten year hiatus from its last iteration on Cartoon Network, creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen ("The Simpsons," "Disenchanted") are soaring into a new 20-episode Season 11 of "Futurama" with a new revival series streaming on Hulu starting July 24, 2023 courtesy of 20th Television Animation and Hulu Originals.
This fan-favorite animated sci-fi show first aired back in 1999 on Fox before two subsequent reboots on Adult Swim that ran from 2008-2013. "Futurama" centers around a mild-mannered pizza delivery boy named Philip J. Fry who falls into a cryogenic chamber on New Year's Eve 1999. He awakens 1,000 years later into a marvelous world of "Jetson"-like technology and gadgets where he connects with a one-eyed mutant named Leela and a boozy, bonkers robot named Bender.
The vocal cast showcases many return names including John DiMaggio as Bender; Billy West playing Fry, Prof. Farnsworth and Dr. Zoidberg; Katey Segal as Leela; Tress MacNeille giving voice to Leela's mom, Linda and Nerdbot; Phil LaMarr as Hermes; Lauren Tom portraying Amy; and Maurice LaMarche as Calculon, Kif and Morbo.
The premiere episode that aired July 24, "The Impossible Stream," is packed to the rafters with timely riffs on "The Twilight Zone," tyrannical streaming services, NFTs, Big Tech, non-binary robots, endlessly resurrected shows, VR goggles, "Dune's" survival still suits, cancel culture and talentless TV writers being worked to death.
It all kicks off with Earth time being frozen and Professor Farnsworth off in search of Fry and Leela and discovering them as a pair of octogenarians suffering from the effects of extreme aging. After a quick temporal reboot, Fry, Leela, Bender, Zoidberg and the whole gang are reset to their normal ages and the nostalgic 31st-century hijinks begin rolling out fast and furious.
Farnsworth's atomic calendar reads the year 3023, so 23 years have passed since that big time halt and Fry is angered that he's not accomplished anything at all.
Determined to correct this, he pledges to watch every TV show ever made in the last two decades. The 4th most popular streaming service, Fulu, has him fully covered with mountains of content to ingest and his lifetime of laziness acting as preparation for this seemingly impossible media odyssey.
After an ill-conceived plan to binge every show at once in a comfy lounge chair and special goggles that drill directly into his cerebral cortex, Fry beings to lose touch with reality. Fearing that his consciousness will be severed after the final episode of a cancelled robot soap opera called "All My Circuits," Leela and Bender fly the Planet Express to Fulu's corporate offices to demand that they bring back the series to save their friend. They convince the android executives to greenlight the thrice-axed show and new episodes are suddenly being cranked out before Fry runs out of content.
With Fry's brain accelerating in a "precarious binge state," any alteration in the streaming speed, even reloading the Doritos bowl, could have dire results.
When the director becomes a casualty from shooting too many new "All My Circuits" episodes, Leela steps in as executive producer and demonstrates her impressive skills delivering orders to the mechanical actors. Fulu's execu-bots arrive to re-cancel the show, but Farnsworth has a new plan to kidnap the cast and shift Fry's focus slowly back to the real world by having the robots perform live. After an explosively funny final twist, Fry suddenly appears alive to reveal that he actually exited the custom binging suit days ago and was simply catching up on his reading.
Season 11's debut is a fun return to "Futurama" form and we can't wait to witness more of Groening and Cohen's brand of animated hilarity wrapped in a sci-fi bow.
"Futurama" Season 11 airs weekly each Monday exclusively on Hulu.