Futurama season 6 episode 14 review: Neutopia

Futurama returns, and while it's hardly in vintage form, it's not short of laughs...

6.14 Neutopia

Good news everybody – Futurama is back!

Bad news, however, is that UK viewers still have to await news of an airdate for Season 6 (insert your own Bender-esque rant here). Part two of the season has begun in the US (with a double-bill no less!), and first up is a good old battle of the sexes in Neutopia.

The crew of Planet Express immediately find themselves in trouble when their mortgage demands catch up with them, and they need to make some money quick, or they’ll be out on their proverbial collective ear (again!). Suggestions from the boys for a saucy female employee calendar are met with derisionm though, contractually, the gals haven’t got an option.

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After realising that the limitations of a woman trio crew (with Hermes drafting in his wife) would result in a three month calendar, the Planet Express ship is turned into a commercial “airliner”,quickly crashing on a desolate world on its maiden voyage as a customer-paying cruiser.

And it’s here we meet a genderless Rock Monster (a ‘Neuchacho’) who quickly challenges the two sexes for no other reason than to satisfy its curiosity about the differences in human males and females. But it doesn’t end there as the alien has another trick up his sleeve – but I shan’t spoil the surprise for you.

The gags are the main drive of this episode (as the story itself feels like a rehash of some previous stories), though the monotone nature of them – Men Versus Women! – may put some off by the puerile nature of some of the laughs. You may well feel like it’s almost descending into a Benny Hill-style farce. (Bad thing? Good thing? You decide.)

There are also some images that you won’t forget in a hurry: some pleasing on the eye, whilst others definitely questionable in taste. But all immensely gigglesome. (I would say what they are but it would spoil a plot point for you.) Due to the more edgier than normal nature of the story (well, it’s not that edgy but it’ll certainly provoke questions from younger viewers) it’s actually similar in tone to Family Guy. That’s fine for one episode, but one hopes this is not the new template.

It’s a welcome and very fresh return for Futurama. There’s no cloying to the show’s history, and this would be a great “jump on” point for any new viewer. Neutopia is damn funny, if unremarkable, and sees the show firmly on track with bizarre imagery, Star Trek references, and jokes aplenty. And a topless Leela, too…

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