From Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, came Futurama, the story of Philip Fry as he left his mundane life as a delivery boy in 1999, to become a delivery boy in the year 3000! He entered a whole new world in future New York, and more than the technology changed. He stepped into a world of mutants in the sewers, aliens walking among us, and new standards of tolerance and intolerance, fashion, entertainment, and who knows what else.
Many of the futuristic aspects of AD 3000 New York are as we'd expect, such as flying cars and cybernetic enhancements and routine space travel. But this is a comedy, and there's all kinds of wacky hijinks are going on. Even when you suspend your disbelief, though, some things are still a bit odd about this vision of the next millennium. Out of many odd things about the future, what are 10 that stand out the most?
UPDATE: This article originally contained one incorrect entry that falsely posited Uncle Harold Zoid as Dr Zoidberg's grandfather. It has since been removed.
9 Mutant discrimination
Overall, the world of Futurama shows an extremely diverse and generally tolerant society. We have aliens, robots, cyborgs, and historical figures of all kinds rubbing shoulders, after all. Richard M. Nixon's preserved head is the world president, and the Space Pope is a lizard! Why, then, is society so oppressive toward human mutants? They're confined to a series of sewers, and need permission just to walk the streets. It's taken for granted, but really sticks out.
8 Owls are the new rats
In real life, cities have to deal with pests such as cockroaches, mice and rats, bed bugs, etc. Fast forward one thousand years, and now the biggest pests are... owls?
They're not ugly or unsanitary, and in fact they catch and eat a lot of mice! They are to rodent pests what bats are to mosquitos, so it's impractical to send exterminator squads to get rid of owls.
7 Zapp and his captaincy
Captain Zapp Brannigan has the rank, but hardly the leadership. He's more interested in fame and self-indulgence, and while he's hilarious on screen, Zapp is a despicable person. Yes, his antics caught up to him when he misused a laser and destroyed the new DOOP space station, but given everything, you'd think he would have faced a court martial long before this! Zapp goofs off, wastes a ton of resources (and soldiers' lives) on nonsense, and annoys everyone while doing more harm than good. Maybe he gets away with it with sheer charisma, but someone is bound to look at the numbers and realize that he's a massive liability for any space fleet.
6 Citizens of the Near Death Star
For those not familiar with the concept, a memory upload is the act of creating a digital imprint of a person's mind and storing it in a computer. This isn't possible today, but scientists are exploring the possibility. In Futurama, this has become real, and every senior citizen over a certain age is required to undergo this process in the Near Death Star.
But why keep the bodies alive? As Leela jokes, keeping them alive for the energy output is not practical, and it'll take more power to sustain their bodies than can be harvested from them. It may make more sense to perform the upload and destroy the bodies. Grim, but practical.
5 Stop making Titanics!
The real Titanic sinking was a major maritime tragedy, and unsurprisingly, no ships have been called by that name ever since. Doing so would feel horribly unlucky, and might be seen as mocking the many people who died in the incident. As of 3000, a huge space liner is built, and not only bears the name Titanic, but actually looks like the famed 1912 ocean liner! It "sinks" when it gets too close to a black hole, but future shipbuilders weren't done yet. They made a "Land Titanic," which sank into the sewers at a great loss of life. Quit building the darn things already!
4 The Talking Heads
This is an anatomical problem not only in Futurama, but also in other works of fiction: talking severed heads. How are they talking, when these heads don't have vocal cords or lungs to push air?
They should just be moving their mouths, silently. Let's not forget how these heads eat, but for what stomach?
3 Bad Business
It's a miracle that Planet Express has kept its doors open for this long. Seriously, it is! For the sake of humor, the Planet Express crews often bungle their deliveries, or they make such small deliveries, they couldn't possibly make a profit. No one there, except for Leela and Scruffy, take their jobs seriously, so Professor Farnsworth must be up to his eyes in debt. There was an episode where the company went broke and a Gordon Gekko character exploited them, but really, you'd think that would have happened much sooner.
2 Leela, dead-eye
For a time, everyone thought that Leela was a stranded alien, until we learn that she is a mutant human, and her parents have been right under her feet this whole time. But one thing stayed the same: her single eye! Leela is a skilled pilot and a great shot, but her anatomy doesn't make for binocular vision at all. She has no depth perception, which normally comes from the overlap of each eyeball's field of view. Maybe she's got implants to help, but that's never mentioned at all.
1 The robots didn't take our jobs!
Even now, there are concerns that automation of labor may drive many people out of a job, while others like how fast and precisely robotic arms can build things. By the year 3000, though, this predicted robo-apocalypse has not taken place. Manual laborers are human and robot alike, most of all with Scruffy the janitor (pictured). He's skilled, but also weirdly lazy at times, and refuses to do an ounce of work if he can get away with it. A robot would be much more diligent, granted it doesn't have Bender's personality!