I promise that for the entire duration of this post, I’m not going to make a joke involving Professor Farnsworth’s catchphrase – with one word changed to spin it from a positive to a negative.
Terrible tidings, people!
(I changed all three. Do something.)
Futurama has made its last space-time continuum gag. After an unlikely 140 episode-run – which was briefly interrupted by its first cancellation – the sci-fi sitcom from the creators of The Simpsons has been retired by Comedy Central executives, with the final run of episodes scheduled to air in the States over the summer.
It’s been an especially weird journey for the makers of the show; from their regular ratings wins through the new millennium and a steady decline which resulted in the programme’s cancellation by Fox in 2003 after four seasons.
It never got the same love from the network as it did for Groening’s more famous creation; being subjected to that awful American habit of “let’s just show this whenever” – usually being dropped from its Sunday night schedule when a sporting event overran its allotted time, or moved to Tuesdays then quickly moved back and pre-empted by sport again. This happened so often that at one point, the time between completion of an episode and its airdate was a whole year.
After four full seasons (the last ones of which made it to an actual fifth “season” year, mostly out of order and many weeks between them being shown at all), no new episodes were ordered by Fox and the programme wrapped production sometime in 2003.
Of course, this didn’t stop Fox from flogging off the syndication rights as soon as was humanly possible, which were picked up for broadcast on the Adult Swim channel between 2003 and 2007. Fans’ dedication kept Futurama in the frame, and the rights for rebroadcast were eventually acquired by Comedy Central, who also set out to make four feature-length films – ‘Bender’s Big Score’, ‘The Beast with a Billion Backs’, ‘Bender’s Game’ and ‘Into the Wild Green Yonder’ – which were released as four feature-length DVDs and constituted an official season five of sixteen episodes; four per story, which aired from March 2008.
Comedy Central then went on to make a further two seasons of 52 episodes, each split into two parts and aired in that peculiar way the Americans have.
Season 7B will begin in June; the final episode is scheduled for 4th September.
Will you be watching?