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Futurama is an animated science fiction comedy that ran on Fox from March 28, 1999, to August 10, 2003, then on Comedy Central from March 23, 2008, to September 4, 2013. It was developed by Matt Groening. The sitcom recounts the exploits of lazy Philip J. Fry, who is cryogenically frozen for 1000 years and then resurrected in the 31st century. Fry finds work with the one-eyed Leela and the robot Bender at an intergalactic transportation firm. Groening conceived the series while working on The Simpsons in the mid-1990s, and enlisted David X. Cohen to help him build plots and characters in order to present the show to Fox.
Following Fox’s termination, reruns of Futurama were broadcast on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block from 2003 until 2007. That year, it was resurrected as four direct-to-video pictures, the most recent of which was released in early 2009. Comedy Central and 20th Century Fox Television have reached a deal to syndicate the current episodes and run the films as 16 new half-hour episodes, resulting in a fifth season.
Comedy Central renewed the program for 26 new half-hour episodes in June 2009, which aired in 2010 and 2011. The program was renewed for a seventh season, the first half of which aired in 2012 and the second half in 2013. An audio-only episode of The Nerdist Podcast featuring the original cast members was published in 2017.
Futurama earned critical praise throughout its run, earning 17 Annie Awards (seven of which were won) and 12 Emmy Awards (six of which were won). It received four Writers Guild of America Award nominations, with the episodes “Godfellas” and “The Prisoner of Benda” winning. For the episodes “The Problem with Popplers” and “The Futurama Holiday Spectacular,” it was nominated for a Nebula Award and earned Environmental Media Awards. A tie-in comic book series, video games, calendars, clothing, and miniatures are among the merchandise options. Futurama was named one of the top 60 greatest TV cartoons of all time by TV Guide in 2013.
Futurama is set in New York at the turn of the thirty-first century, at a world where technological marvels abound. The metropolis of New New York was erected on top of the ruins of modern-day New York City, which has turned into a catacomb-like place that serves as the city’s sewer, dubbed “Old New York.” The Populuxe aesthetic is reflected in a variety of technologies and buildings. In a world where issues have become both more serious and more prevalent, global warming, inflexible bureaucracy, and substance misuse are just a few of the themes given a 31st-century exaggeration. Other Earth locales are treated in the same way that New York has become a more extreme version of itself in the future; Los Angeles, for example, is represented as a smog-filled apocalyptic wasteland.
Between now and the 31st century, several technical advancements have been accomplished. The Head Museum, which was created by Ron Popeil (who has a cameo in “A Big Piece of Garbage”) and keeps a collection of heads alive in jars, has resulted in many historical figures and current celebrities, including Groening himself, being present; this became the writers’ device to feature and poke fun at contemporary celebrities in the show. Several of the preserved heads on display are those of persons who died long before this technology existed; one of the most notable instances is Earth president Richard Nixon, who died in 1994 and appears in several episodes. The Internet is sluggish and mostly consists of pornography, pop-up adverts, and “filthy” (or Filthy Filthy) chat rooms, while being totally immersive and embracing all senses”even containing its own digital universe (akin to Tron or The Matrix). Some of it has been altered to contain instructional content presumably aimed at children. Television is a popular source of entertainment. Self-aware robots are a frequent sight, and the exhaust from their alcohol-powered systems is the primary source of global warming. The wheel has been forgotten and replaced by hover vehicles and a network of enormous, transparent pneumatic transit tubes (no one but Fry appears to remember the concept).
Common animals, as well as mutant, cross-bred (occasionally with humans) and alien creatures, still exist in the environment. Spotted owls, ironically, are frequently demonstrated to have displaced rats as prevalent domestic pests. Although rats still exist, they occasionally act like pigeons, and pigeons still exist. For the past 800 years, anchovies have been extinct. Although Leela claims in one episode that the effects of greenhouse gases have been countered by nuclear winter, the impacts of greenhouse gases continue to be seen on Earth. In a previous episode, the impacts of global warming were somewhat alleviated by the dropping of a massive ice cube into the ocean, and subsequently by moving Earth farther away from the sun, which also lengthened the year by one week.
Religion is an important aspect of civilization, even though the major religions have changed over time. The First Amalgamated Church was formed by a merger of the major religious sects of the twentieth century, while Voodoo has become mainstream. Oprahism, Robotology, and the forbidden religion of Star Trek fandom are among the new faiths. Father Changstein-El-Gamal, the Robot Devil, Reverend Lionel Preacherbot, and the Space Pope, who seems to be a gigantic crocodile-like creature, are all religious dignitaries. Robots are linked with several important holidays, including the homicidal Robot Santa and Kwanzaa-bot. While just a few episodes in the Futurama world are solely on religion, they do tackle a wide range of topics such as predestination, prayer, the nature of salvation, and religious conversion.