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Screen Cravers: Wumbo Reviews TV and Movies! (Futurama)

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All right, because crushing wants me to post more, I thought I'd do so in the form of this thread right here! I will be starting a new review thread to coincide with my Hot 100 rankings. But what to review? What to review...

Well, how about you decide?

I've been going back and forth on whether I want to review TV shows or movies, and I figured the best way to find out is leave it up to a good ol' fashioned democratic vote. Because those always go well! So vote for whether you'd like me to review movies or TV in this thread and by the end of the week, I'll make my selection based on your votes.

Now, I do have some shows and movies in mind (no guarantee I'll get to all of 'em though), so if you'd like to have a more informed vote, check out the spoiler tags. If you'd rather not be spoiled, then don't, but do still vote if you're at all interested!

TV Shows:

Spoiler

Recess

Arthur

The Simpsons

Seinfeld

Corner Gas

Breaking Bad

SpongeBob SquarePants

Futurama

King of the Hill

Malcolm in the Middle

 

Movies:

Spoiler

Disney animated canon

DreamWorks

Pixar

Adam Sandler

Robin Williams

Jim Carrey

Will Smith

Eddie Murphy

Complex's Worst Sequels of All Time

Disney direct-to-DVD sequels

Vote away!

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I voted for movies.  Having seen you talk about television shows before, that would be a natural topic to review with ease.

Movies I haven’t seen you talk about as much and I think would be a good challenge for you.

Whatever crushing says, goes.

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Ooooohhhhh, that is tough. I'm generally more interested in TV shows, but I've more often seen you discuss TV shows in the past than movies and I like variety. Plus, I like the broader range being offered with the movie list so far, so movies.

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All right! So we've got a steady set of votes in favour of TV. But there have also been some good points about my reviewing of movies. So, why not both?

Now, don't worry. Your votes weren't in vain or anything. I'll be mostly reviewing TV with some movie reviews thrown in. Welcome to Screen Cravers, Wumbo's venture into a world outside of his music bubble where he tries his hand at different sorts of reviews!

Full disclosure: these reviews are gonna be a little all over the place. Depending on the content and length of content I might do an episode-by-episode retrospective, or maybe just a Top 10. Or something else? Who knows? I'll try to be as thorough as possible with my reviews, but some things are just too big to tackle as a whole, especially with all the stuff I've got going on outside of this.

That's another thing: these reviews are likely going to be very sporadic. I'll update when I can, but my outside life and my Billboard project come before this. So, no promises on when things come out, though I'll try to keep it fairly regular.

So let's get things started with what appears to be the most popular choice for TV:

Futurama

You'd think I would be more familiar with this show, given my love for The Simpsons. But honestly, while I watched The Simpsons religiously, Futurama tended to slip by me. So what better way to start things off than jump into a series that will be seen with mostly fresh eyes? I'll probably get this one done episode by episode, so stay tuned!

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1 hour ago, Wumbo said:

All right! So we've got a steady set of votes in favour of TV. But there have also been some good points about my reviewing of movies. So, why not both?

Now, don't worry. Your votes weren't in vain or anything. I'll be mostly reviewing TV with some movie reviews thrown in. Welcome to Screen Cravers, Wumbo's venture into a world outside of his music bubble where he tries his hand at different sorts of reviews!

Full disclosure: these reviews are gonna be a little all over the place. Depending on the content and length of content I might do an episode-by-episode retrospective, or maybe just a Top 10. Or something else? Who knows? I'll try to be as thorough as possible with my reviews, but some things are just too big to tackle as a whole, especially with all the stuff I've got going on outside of this.

That's another thing: these reviews are likely going to be very sporadic. I'll update when I can, but my outside life and my Billboard project come before this. So, no promises on when things come out, though I'll try to keep it fairly regular.

So let's get things started with what appears to be the most popular choice for TV:

Futurama

You'd think I would be more familiar with this show, given my love for The Simpsons. But honestly, while I watched The Simpsons religiously, Futurama tended to slip by me. So what better way to start things off than jump into a series that will be seen with mostly fresh eyes? I'll probably get this one done episode by episode, so stay tuned!

Have fun exploring my favorite cartoon of all time.

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All right, well, a week later, let's get things started!

Now, as I said, Futurama is one of those shows that I more passively watched than anything. As a kid, the world and characters were certainly inventive designs, but the stories never really grabbed me, and for whatever reason I never felt the urge to catch up on it later like I did The Simpsons. So consider this my adventure into a world unknown: the year 3000. Let's get it started.

Space Pilot 3000

Image result for space pilot 3000

We start things off rather abruptly, as Fry, a young pizza delivery boy, accidentally gets transported into the year 2999, right before New Year's Day. There, he meets several of the main characters of the show, namely, Leela, Bender, and Farnsworth, and after some mishaps, happily accepts his new position as space cargo... delivery... boy.

So, the pilot episode. They definitely don't waste any time with the premise of the show, dropping Fry into his new environment almost immediately. I'm not entirely sure what to make of these characters yet, as it is only the pilot, but it's safe to say they all make decent first impressions. Fry is kind of your bumbling loser protagonist, Leela's the badass woman, Bender's a sour but likable robot, and Farnsworth... well, I don't know much about Farnsworth yet, but I'm sure that's to come.

Lot of clever jokes peppered in here. Groening wanted to keep The Simpsons grounded in realism, but with a setting as explosive as one thousand years into the future, you can't really do that with this show. And I can already see that they use the environment given in very clever ways, portraying many of the future gadgets and lifestyles as mundane to everyone but Fry. It brings to mind "Lisa's Wedding" for me, the only Simpsons future episode worth remembering. Though this series definitely does a lot more world-building, which it should, as we're going to be living in this world for much longer than the first episode. And from the suicide booth to the celebrity heads, they definitely have a lot of fun with it. (The Dick Clark head is the best joke in the episode.)

From what I hear, the series will delve deeper into Fry's turmoil at being sent a thousand years into the future, but here I feel it's kinda downplayed, maybe slightly to its detriment? They hint at it here and there, such as when Bender shows Fry Old New York, but for the most part it's played for laughs. Again, I'm sure the series will do more with this idea, I just felt like perhaps more time could have been dedicated to it here. There's a lot of chase scenes and maybe some of it could have been cut to make room for a more emotional moment.

As is, though, the episode does a fine job in introducing the series. We get a lot of fun characters' introductions, a strange new world to explore, and a premise that's interesting to follow. Can't wait to see more!

8/10

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The show gets a lot better later on. Some of my favorites include:

Anthology of Interests 1 & 2

The Late Philip J. Fry

Jurassic Bark

The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings

Three Hundred Big Boys

The Problem with Popplers 

When Aliens Attack (first episode I ever watched)

Mars University 

Fry and the Slurm Factory

 

That's all I can think of now. But the series gets better later on.

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The Series Has Landed

Image result for the series has landed

On their first mission, Farnsworth's new crew travels to the moon and makes a pit stop at the amusement park there. Disillusioned by the phoniness of the amusement park, Fry opts to escape with Leela to show her what the moon meant to him a thousand years ago.

So we've got our second episode of the series, with expansion on the characters we already know and the introduction of three new regular players: Amy, Hermes, and Dr. Zoidberg. I remember of the few episodes I caught in my youth I enjoyed Zoidberg a lot, and yeah, he's definitely a fun, kooky character. The interplay between different species in this universe adds to a lot of the show's clever humour. I especially enjoyed Zoidberg mistaking Fry's warblings for an insult against his mother. As for the other two characters, Amy is fun enough as the plucky crew member who wants to prove her worth. Not much is set up about Hermes yet, at least not that I could tell, but it is only the second episode, after all.

Again, a lot of clever jokes, almost stealth jokes as you might not even pick up on them your first watch-through. Just these brilliant little lines that showcase the comic writing genius of Ken Keeler: "Oxygen doesn't grow on trees" is a personal fave from this episode. You gotta love the quiet sadness of whoever's in that Craterface costume, too. I think we've all been a Craterface at some point or another. Poor guy.

It is also interesting to see the dichotomy between Fry's wide-eyed euphoria at being on the moon and everybody else's passive feelings towards it, particularly Leela. I'm not sure I buy it as an emotional arc to take seriously, and it really does get heavy-handed towards the end, but I do like the revisionist history in the theme parks. The notion that Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners was a space travel pioneer because of his moon-related threats toward his wife is fucking hysterical. I enjoy the humour-based approach as opposed to the serious, heavy-handed approach that takes hold in the final scene.

Overall though, a great episode. A lot of things worked well enough that I'm inclined to give it as many points as I can. There really were a lot of clever jokes here, and already you can see the series being fleshed out.

8/10

Scattered Thoughts and Observations:

I really wasn't expecting the "blackjack and hookers" line to pop up so soon. That's like, an all-time classic line from the series! It's funny as hell in context of the scene and Bender's character.

There's something to be said about the commercialism angle of the future world. Bender's "Jerusalem" line sums it up well.

The animatronic robots being characters themselves/knowing Bender in this future world is deliciously, tragically funny.

Bender singing "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" is going to be in my head for quite some time.

Seriously, poor Craterface.

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>the only Simpsons future episode worth remembering

Holidays of Future Past is great too, best modern Simpsons episode :( 

I loved both of your reviews. Futurama definitely got better as it went on. However It did lost a few of its charm after Comedy Central but it still kept its originality, emotional core, humor and complex characters. So nothing to worry about decline in quality but FOX era is definitely superior. The show's a treat. ;) 

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1 hour ago, Dr. WhoBruh said:

>the only Simpsons future episode worth remembering

Holidays of Future Past is great too, best modern Simpsons episode :( 

Maann I don't know what to tell ya, I watched Holidays of Future Past and just did not get the appeal, felt like every other awkward modern zombified Simpsons episode to me. But hey, you're definitely not alone in that thought, I've heard lots of people praise it. Maybe I just missed something.

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In my personal opinion, "Futurama" definitely had it's share of good humor, lots of celebrity guest cameos done really well, and good episodes. I might comment on some future episode reviews that get posted here, if I have something that I feel is relevant and important to post here. Enough said! ;)

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I, Roommate

Image result for i. roommate

Fry moves out of his workplace to live with Bender. After less-than-comfortable living arrangements, the two seek a new residence elsewhere, but something always seems to go awry.

As the series continues to set up its main characters, locations, and plot points, we see what I can assume will be Fry and Bender's living arrangements for the majority of, if not the rest of, the series. This episode also sets up Bender's alcohol dependency, but not in the way you'd think. Apparently, going without alcohol and staying sober makes him loopy as a human drunk, and from that brilliant subversion to the "five-o-clock rust" he sports around his face, it's all executed perfectly.

I do begin to worry about this series, though. Namely, the main protagonist, Fry. His lackadaisical goofball attitude without much regard towards his friends and co-workers is starting to get tiring. There's only so much you can play with these personality quirks and still keep the character endearing, and they're starting to toe up right to the line with him. It starts to get less "oh, this lovable idiot!" and more so "come on, you idiot".

The ending of this episode is where it really falls flat for me. So Bender snips off his antenna so he can live with Fry at the new apartment, which is apparently a huge sacrifice. He apologizes to Fry (...not sure I follow, but then that's the joke) and... they put the antenna back on and go back to Bender's place? Hold on. A step was missing there, I think. I'm guessing it was trying to be subversive with the whole thing where Fry is prompted to stop Bender from doing it in the first place, but then doesn't, and then... the whole thing gets status quoed anyway? It felt both overwritten and underwritten. But at least now they're happy and living together. Yay?

I'm just not sure how well such a flawed protagonist is going to hold up in the long run. Homer Simpson is similarly flawed with his buffoonery and ignorance, but in its classic years that show always made sure to maintain a certain level of heart where needed. Here, there are emotional stakes, but again, they're played for laughs, almost as though we're meant to hold these characters in as much callous disregard as Fry does. And I'm sorry, but on the scale of interest I have in these characters, Fry is slowly falling more and more towards the bottom. I care more about Bender, and Leela, and Farnsworth, and it frustrates me that this series isn't keeping up with me in that regard. Again, I'm sure this is just a case of first-season syndrome where the characters are still yet to be fully realized, but this episode in particular kind of swung toward a charm offensive, and while still wickedly funny and clever, left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth overall.

6/10

Scattered Thoughts and Observations:

The pest bird being owls in this universe is... an interesting choice. I'm honestly not quite sure what to make of it, I get it's the future, but what does it mean? Are owls more intelligent pigeons? Help me out here.

Bachelor Chow basically amounting to dog food is pretty disgustingly funny.

Couldn't resist the swipe at New Jersey, though it does leave me wondering about the current state makeup of the 31st century. Is this something they'll delve into later? Only time will tell...

Interesting that the people of 3000 have apparently decided to switch back to flip phones as communication devices. Yeah, yeah, sign of the times that this future world has a less futuristic aspect than our world. Honestly, the unfortunate anachronism got a chuckle out of me.

Zoidberg serves lobster claws at the housewarming party. And you thought the Krusty Krab rumours were bad...

There's another weird moment in that party where Amy slips on Fry's minuscule banana peel and then cries out again when Farnsworth walks in. Did he... step on her? Kind of bizarre.

Bender's quirks are quickly making him one of my favourites, and the comedic payoff of the greater room behind his apartment being a "closet" to him is enough to forgive the sloppy ending at least a little.

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