Day Thread 8/1: The Best of NuFu

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over nine years since Futurama returned to us for two post-movies seasons on Comedy Central. The first new episode was broadcast June 24, 2010. My birthday. I was so excited.

It was . . . not great. “Rebirth” was fine, but it didn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to have the characters back and the voice actors — legitimately some of the best in the business both now and all time — were a delight. But the writing was overly wacky and the pacing was stilted. It wasn’t a complete embarrassment, but it didn’t feel like the classic series.

In fact, New Futurama (or NuFu as I and literally no one else calls it) was pretty hit-and-miss for most of its run. Some episodes were stellar, but others just lay there and a few went to depths of awfulness that the original series never could’ve imagined.

Unfortunately, the inconsistency has meant that a lot of people never bothered following the new seasons or watched them only once as they premiered and then forgot about them. And that’s a little bit of a shame, because there are definitely episodes worth watching.

And so, without further ado, I bring you 10 episodes that you should definitely watch or rewatch.

Season 6
Episode 7 “The Late Philip J. Fry”
This episode alone is sufficient enough reason for why the revival was a good idea. It’s a great sci-fi story with an emotional core. It allows us to see an alternate future, has a funny song, and ends with a moment that is once incredibly dark and yet fully in character. It’s classic Futurama that everyone should see.

episode 9 “A Clockwork Origin”
Originator of the meme “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore,” It’s a good episode that takes some interesting turns. It continues Futurama’s discussion about the limits of science and the possibility of god while still mocking those who reject rationalism.  If you’re a fan of “Godfellas,” you’ll want to check this out.

episode 16 “Law and Oracle”
This episode is probably one of the funniest, leaning heavily into send ups of classic sci-fi films like Avatar, Tron, and Minority Report. It also gives some quality time with Hedonism Bot.

episode 17 “Benderama”
A personal favorite of mine, this episode is a feast for anyone who loves classic Bender. As well as some good math jokes and a Patton Oswalt appearance.

episode 36 “Reincarnation”
An “Anthology of Interest” style episode that uses three different animation styles. An experiment for the show, but one that pays off nicely.


Season 7

episode 10 “Near Death Wish”
Good news! It’s A Farnsworth-lore heavy episode! hey, where are you going? No really, it’s very enjoyable. It returns to the Near Death Star and takes some well-earned jabs at The Matrix along the way.

episode 13 “Naturama”
A “Anthology of Interest” style episode, it reimagines the characters as animals. It’s heavily based on real biological science, which is an unusual font for the show’s humor but as a bit of an animal nerd I really dug it.

episode 23 “Game of Tones”
This episode is all about heart. It actually has nothing to do with Game of Thrones, which is fine. It is definitely along the same lines of “Luck of the Fry’sh.” When I first watched it, I surprised to find both that well and my eyes were not as dry as I thought.

episode 24 “Murder on the Planet Express”
Not big on heart, this episode is about wackiness and violence! But it works here.

episode 26 “Meanwhile”
Arguably the second best (after Late Great Philip J. Fry), another solid sci-fi premise leads to emotional beats that — while at this point aren’t exactly original — still feel earned. An ending as satisfactory as the original series finale.


Honorable mentions: “The Prisoner of Benda,” “Overclockwise,” “Viva Mars Vegas,” “Stench and Stenchibility”

And now, briefly, 5 episodes you should never ever speak of again

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