Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Futurama Is Coming Back

Taking a page from the "Family Guy" resurrection guidebook, the canceled Fox animated comedy is returning with an order from Comedy Central for 26 new episodes to run over two seasons.

"Futurama" creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen already are working on stories for the new batch of episodes of the sci-fi cartoon, slated to premiere on Comedy Central in mid-2010.

Just like with "Family Guy," whose improbable return was triggered by big DVD sales and solid ratings for the show's reruns on Cartoon Network, the performance of "Futurama's" repeats on Comedy Central and on DVD was key to its resurrection.

The 26-episode order from Comedy Central was preceded by four feature-length original "Futurama" specials: "Bender's Big Score," "The Beast With a Billion Backs," "Bender's Game" and "Into the Wild Green Yonder," which have done well on DVD and on Comedy Central. (The most recent special, "Yonder," premieres on Comedy Central in September.)

Comedy Central was happy with the specials and with the 72 produced episodes of "Futurama" it acquired from 20th Century Fox TV in 2006.

"Futurama," which aired on Fox for five seasons (from 1999 to 2003) centers on Philip Fry (Billy West), a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999, and wakes up 1,000 years later with a fresh start at life and a "diverse" new group of friends including Leela (Katey Sagal), a tough but lovely one-eyed alien, and Bender (John DiMaggio), a robot who possesses human characteristics and flaws.

When the series returns with originals in 2010, it will be seven years after the show's last original episode aired on Fox. That is a much longer hiatus than the three years "Family Guy" spent on the bench before being summoned back by Fox.

All key voice cast members are expected to return for the new original episodes of "Futurama," along with the series' core writing team.

Storyline-wise, the new episodes will pick up where the most recent DVD special, "Yonder," took off -- with the main characters fleeing death and flying into the unknown.

For 20th TV, which has the right to shop the new "Futurama" episodes to a broadcast network, which would get first window over Comedy Central, this marks the second time in four years that a studio series has defied the odds and refused to die.

"When we brought back 'Family Guy' several years ago, everyone said that it was a once in a lifetime thing that canceled series stay canceled and cannot be revived," said 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. "But 'Futurama' was another series that fans simply demanded we bring back."

Hell yeah, at least Comedy Central knows good TV when they see it. I'm a huge Futurama fan and I'm really excited about this. It finally means that Futurama wont be returning in movie form, but rather TV episodes. Although the wait for 2010 is going to be long, I'm sure it will be worth the wait. Also glad to see the cast returning as well.


David Bishop said...

This is one of the more exciting things I've heard today. Awesome.

Farzan said...

It sure is David, I jumped up in joy because of this news