Rebirth: 6.5, In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela: 8
Re-launch Overall: 7.5
As noted in my last entry, On June 24th, Comedy Central re-launched the wildly popular former FOX animated series, Futurama after a seven-year hiatus. The season 6 premiere, Rebirth, came into this world with a scream but kind of went to bed 30 minutes later with little more than a whimper.
I’m not sure exactly what the problem was. Maybe I was expecting something a little more grand – y’know, for having been off the air for seven years – or maybe it was just the fact that they spent too much time trying to catch the audience up on where they left off… seven years ago. After all, the running time of a half hour show is only about 23 minutes so if you’re not rapid-firing jokes left and right then you’re really just wasting time. Maybe the problem was that there just wasn’t enough Bender. Hmmm… that very well could be it.
Regardless, some of the jokes were brilliant (the stem cell joke in the first five minutes was the funniest of the whole episode) but a lot of the references that were made seem to be only there to satisfy the most dedicated fans. I enjoyed the episode, myself, but I certainly wasn’t under any illusions that a new viewer to the series would be jumping out of their pants to come back next week after seeing this.
That being said, thank goodness for the second new episode of the night, In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela which was far funnier and far more in tune with the Futurama comedy genius that fans have grown to know and love. Not only was it an episode featuring Zapp Brannigan, but there were easily recognizable and hilarious Star Trek and Star Wars references throughout. That’s Futurama, that’s what I’m talking about.
Overall, the re-launch was good, but not exceptional. It was certainly refreshing to see a new edginess that comes with being on Comedy Central in the 10:00 p.m. slot that we never got to see on FOX in prime time before, but that’s certainly not enough to carry this series alone. Fortunately, based on In-A-Gadda, I do expect that future episodes will be a lot less stiff and a lot more funny…. and, oh yeah… have a lot more Bender.