The time that animation geeks have been praying for is almost upon us; Futurama will be returning to the airwaves this June on Comedy Central, and today we have promo images from the first new episode of the show to air in seven years!
These new images hint that we'll be getting back the same Futurama that 20th Century Fox axed back in 2003, chock-full of crazy characters and mockery of the past. Can't wait.
Like Family Guy, Futurama was an animated show that Fox launched to help build a solid block of animated programming around The Simpsons around the turn of the Millennium. Not a company for original ideas, Fox tapped Simpsons creator Matt Groening to come up with another cartoon franchise they could ride until the wheels fell off (the point where we find ourselves with The Simpsons nowadays).
Well, Groening delivered, but in true Fox fashion they determined that since Futurama wasn't selling lunchboxes and action figures two seconds after its premiere, the show must therefore be a failure (a bit of exaggeration but you get the idea). After the first season aired in 1999, the network bounced Futurama all around their schedule to the point where you never knew for sure when a new season was starting, or what time the show would actually air (see also: King of the Hill). When viewers found it too hard to follow along, Fox used the low "ratings" as prime justification for canceling the show. Not at all a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Again, like Family Guy or King of the Hill, smarter heads knew quality when they saw it and made treasure out of Fox's suppossed trash. When Cartoon Network starting airing Futurama during the mid-to-late Oughties, the show soared in popularity, DVDs sold, and then Comedy Central came-a-calling. The rest is fortune and fate; as my mother always says, "Cream will rise to the top, no matter what."
Enough of the history lesson, here are the images:
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I have always liked this show, and the greatest irony is that Fox was screwing with it the most when the show had just hit its hot streak (The brain invasion, the Roswell episode, Fry becoming his own grandfather). With The Simpsons already running on legacy fumes, Family Guy seemingly getting weaker by the week and even South Park starting to show its age, will Futurama live up to its name as the future contender for animated comedy king? Guess we'll find out soon...
Futurama will air its sixth season on June 24th @ 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.