In yesterday’s Page 2, we referred to a rumor from Collider that Comedy Central had ordered 13 new episodes of the animated series Futurama. Today, we’re hearing from a variety of sources that Futurama is not only back, but that Comedy Central has ordered 26 new episodes. The episodes are scheduled to begin airing in mid-2010.
This is not the first time such a revival has taken place, as many of you will probably remember Family Guy’s resurrection after monstrously strong DVD sales. According to 20th Century Fox TV Chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden:
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. But Futurama was another series that fans simply demanded we bring back, and we couldn’t have been happier when Matt and David agreed that there were many more stories yet to tell.
Futurama’s existence has been a curious one, plagued with stops and starts, and constantly threatened by the Damoclean sword of cancellation. After a few seasons were broadcast on Fox, the show was ignominiously taken off the air. Reruns on Adult Swim helped propel the show back into the popular consciousness, prompting a series of straight-to-DVD films to be produced by Fox (which were then aired on Comedy Central).
I’ve loved Futurama since it first aired on Fox, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of some of post-series films, I was thrilled at the fact that the show was coming back in any form. In particular, the direct-to-DVD model seemed to be an exciting one, both commercially and artistically. If a vocal fan base could continue to enjoy a show through such means, surely it might have implications for the entertainment industry as a whole? In any case, the last film in the series, Into the Wild Green Yonder, was treated by Futurama creators David Cohen and Matt Groening as though it would be the finale. While Cohen held out hope that there would be more Futurama, he didn’t know what form that might take until now.
One of the biggest issues I had with the DVD films was that they felt disjointed. Each film was obviously written with syndication in mind, and had four distinct 22-minute segments. With the exception of Bender’s Big Score, none of them really cohered as a whole for me. Here’s hoping that without the constraints of the DVD/film format, we’ll see Futurama return to the greatness of seasons 3-5.