Futurama season 7 finale review

Review Cameron K McEwan 12 Sep 2012 - 07:50

Futurama signs off for now with an uneven but still mightily enjoyable double bill. Here's Cameron's review...

7.12 31st Century Fox

Season 7 comes to a close with a penultimate episode that most definitely ranks as the very best Futurama has to offer. Unsurprisingly, it's a Bender story that tickles so heartily, raising laughs that rank up with the animated show's classics.

After some film-flamery involving new outfits, and hilarious film-flamery at that, the Planet Express gang find themselves at a fox hunt (no one said it would make sense!) with some pro, and some anti the "sport".

What proceeds is a thoroughly entertaining twenty-one minutes or so involving robot foxes, robots dogs and Patrick Stewart! There's also, in all seriousness, some discussion of the actual arguments for and against the disgusting activity, plus some delicious swipes at "twist" movies.

Bender, yet again, reaffirms his role as one of TV's greatest and funniest characters. He may be a one note song (though we do see him fighting for a cause here) but it's a tune you want to hear every day.

Futurama covers new ground, for one of the rare times in this season, and does it superbly; displaying that risks are most definitely worth taking. There are so many astounding moments during 31st Century Fox, too many to list here, that place it in the show's oeuvre at the toppermost of the poppermost.

7.13 Naturama 

Less successful, however, is the final outing for Season 7, a three story anthology in the mould of last year's terrifc Reincarnation. A shame really as the Season 6 finale was so immeasurably entertaining AND bloody clever. Whilst this time round, though still funny in parts, it falls short by a long shot.

Each tale is a Morgan Freeman-esque narrated nature documentary; placing all the familiar (and some rarer species) characters of Futurama as various creatures. Proceedings kick off well with The Salmon - a retelling of Fry and Leela's story (actually, it's nothing of the sort) through the life cycle of the tasty fish.

The narration packs a gigglesome punch with its wonderfully funny and, at the same time, mournful, closing line of, "And so the endless circle of life comes to an end; meaningless and grim. Why did they live and why did they die? No reason."

Bleak and brilliant. This tone continues with a re-imagining Professor Fransworth as the Pinta Island Tortoise on the Galapaolos Islands. Again, there are some cute moments (Zoidberg as the Blue-Footed Booby) and there's another mirthsome "natural" ending - "For, in the end, nature is horrific, and teaches us nothing."

The final chapter focuses on Bender as The Elephant Seal, surrounded by his bitches on the beaches. It's by far the weakest of the three and odd they chose to close with this particular story (perhaps, as it was Bender-centric they felt it would be the winner.)

A slightly disappointing end, but only because its predecessors were so mightily strong. The laughs may have been light and its engagement may not have been as full as the penultimate episode, but Naturama packed enough originality and charm to warrant its place.

Read Cameron's review of the previous episode, Viva Mars Vegas, here

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The first of these, the fox episode, felt like nothing more than a semi-poor Simpsons episode, with Bender doing his best Homer impression for large chunks of the show. Not classic Homer either, but the OTT Homer who's getting zanier and more desperate for the ratings to stay high.

The second was a nice conceit, but it felt a little (lot?) light on the jokes and the concepts alone weren't enough for 20 minutes of TV. It felt like it hadn't been worked on any where near enough to broadcast.

I think I'm possibly harder to please than this reviewer when it comes to humour, but then again I might just have less adjectives ending in -some at my disposal...

As with most Futurama, there's always something you'll laugh at or at least smirk over in every episode, but these both felt like they were drafted in at the last moment to fulfil a larger than expected order of shows. They've set the bar very high since the come back. These 2 episodes limbo under it.

It's been a great season over all, it's a shame it had to end like this and not on a high note.

I'm forced to conclude that Cameron McEwan and I have not merely different but diametrically opposed taste in Futurama episodes! Every episode he's praised I thought was weak; every one he's panned I thought was exceptional. But this is just gobsmacking. "31st Century Fox" was one of the most rote and unimaginative episodes the show has seen since its revival -- not a single joke that couldn't be spotted a mile off, and not a joke we hadn't already seen done better before. "Naturama" on the other hand had me laughing with delighted surprise all the way through. It's a perfect example of the informed, scientifically humor no other show is so well-equipped to provide. I'm sorry, Cameron, you're a swell writer...but it's guaranteed that if you love it I'll hate it and vice versa.

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