Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Farewell Futurama, Take Three
In case you haven't heard, Comedy Central has announced that it's discontinuing Futurama after its next 13 episode run, which will begin in June and end at the beginning of September.
For those of you who have been keeping score, Futurama first ran on Fox for four seasons, from 1999 to 2003. It came back in 2007 with four movies on Comedy Central (four movies that were subsequently edited into 16 half-hour episodes, which makes me wonder why they were made as movies in the first place). Comedy Central then renewed the cartoon as a half-hour series with two 26 episode seasons, which have aired as 13 episode blocks during the summers of 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. In total, Futurama will leave the air with a total of 140 episodes to its name.
According to what I've read, Comedy Central is cancelling the show due to falling ratings. Then again, Comedy Central has treated new episodes of Futurama as summer-exclusive content, so I can see how fan enthusiasm can diminish during such an unusual schedule. Watching a series from fall to spring and then waiting over the summer for the series to come back in the subsequent fall is a reasonable degree of anticipation; asking viewers to remember to watch a series that only runs new episodes during the summer is probably asking too much of modern attention-deficient audiences. Nevertheless, even though I love Futurama, its sparse run on Comedy Central makes the news of its latest cancellation easier to accept.
Like most fans, I was miffed when Fox cancelled Futurama after doing everything it could to torpedo the show's ratings; thus, the fact that this series came back at all is quite an accomplishment, one that is hard to top for such a cult-appeal show. As long as the final 13 episode block maintains decent level of quality, I honestly can't complain about its latest cancellation. Besides, Futurama produced a respectable amount of ancillary material (a comic books series, a video game, toys, and lots of other fun merchandise), and it won't be kept on the air long past the point where is shouldn't be (such as The Simpsons, South Park, King of the Hill, and Family Guy).
I'll miss Futurama. It was a show that poked fun at sci-fi and was very smart in its own right (it even has its own mathematical theorem), and it has scored dozens of award nominations and wins to prove just how great it is. The TV cartoon universe will be a much smaller place without it.