In honor of new 20-episode order of Futurama premiering in 2023, it's time to revisit the original series that made fans all over the world rejoice in the 30th-century antics of Bender, Leela, and Fry. The show, created by Matt Groening of The Simpsons, was not renewed between 2003 and 2008, when Comedy Central picked it up from its first network. Here are some of the highlights of that initial run.
[warning: spoilers are likely imminent]
Episode #28 - "The Problem With Popplers"
This iconic episode pairs some of Futurama's most constant laughter with an amusing premise: the Planet Express crew find a source of delicious food on an alien planet that they then sell on Earth as fast food, only to later discover that Popplers are the babies of the powerful Omicronians. Never a show to shy away from making fun of people, Futurama manages to skewer the fast food industry, vegetarians, consumerism, animal rights, and anyone who cares about any of these things simultaneously.
Episode #34 - "Parasites Lost"
Of course, the will-they-won't-they relationship between Fry and Leela will always have a special place in Futurama history. 'Parasites Lost' is one of the first where their relationship seemed possible, albeit with the fact that Fry's body and mind were literally altered by parasitic space worms.
Episode #36 - "The Luck of the Fryrish"
Though, at its core, Futurama is a comedy show, it has some seriously moving emotional episodes. After a couple of years, we got to dig into Fry's past in the 20th century by focusing on the bane of any young adult's existence: his more successful older brother.
Episode #46 - "Time Keeps On Slippin'"
Fry and Leela's potential relationship is definitely touched on in this episode, but it's also just a brilliant sci-fi premise that, no matter how ridiculous it gets, keeps you on your toes as to what will happen next by brewing some excellent drama.
Episode #51 - "Roswell That Ends Well"
The first of two Futurama episodes that won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, this Area 51-centered time travel adventure is one of the must-see-to-believe moments. Let's just say, the lovable goofball Fry is really put through the sci-fi ringer on this one.
Episode #61 - "Jurassic Bark"
When Fry's dog from the 20th century has a chance to get a second life, Bender's jealousy grows to astronomical proportions. Fans have mused over this episode for decades now because of its heartfelt story... and its absolutely devastating ending.
Episode #66 - "The Sting"
Another of the most inventive episodes of the show, 'The Sting' is nearly a grief-stricken psychological sci-fi thriller, that forgoes the laughs for most of its runtime when Fry... dies!... and Leela is too broken up to function with his death on her conscious.
Episode #69 - "The Farnsworth Parabox"
The best drama and laughter generated from Futurama was definitely from their best sci-fi premise, and 'The Farnsworth Parabox' really has it all. To top it all off, we find out that Fry and Leela got together in a parallel universe... and the only thing separating the realities was the outcome of a coin flip! Incredible.
Episode #72 - "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings"
Hands down, this is the best written episode of Futurama. When the writers foresaw that new episodes might not be ordered by Fox, they designed 'The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings' as a series finale of sorts. It features a deal with the Robot Devil, more potential Fry-and-Leela romance, an extended opera sequence, and a long-running joke about the definition of irony, of all things. In short, it's utter TV brilliance.
You can watch every episode of Futurama (including the new ones) on Hulu!