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Futurama | Volume Four | review | dvd | Lollipop

Futurama Collection Volume Four

(Fox Home Entertainment)
by Grady Gadbow

Matt Groening's earlier creation, The Simpsons is now the longest running sitcom (let alone cartoon) in history, and for good reason. It's goddamn funny, and it keeps getting funnier. There are at least twice the jokes of a regular show because they dispense with the laugh track and the awkward timing that goes along with it. The gags are piled on one after the other at a relentless pace instead of dropped, laughed at, and finally reacted to, like in all those crap shows with human actors.

Futurama never got as much nightly prime-time exposure as The Simpsons, but if we let the Fox Network tell us what to think, we'd be in a lot of trouble. It's the funniest psychological robot, alien, mutant sex/violence adventure comedy ever made. A big part of the appeal is the inherent evil of futuristic creatures. As we learned from a century of science fiction, murderous abominations always result from tampering with the forces of nature, but in a thousand years, we'll have to be a lot more comfortable with mad scientists and maniacal robots. We should be ready by then, especially those of us who've read all the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books.

While The Simpsons had a long developmental trajectory toward excellence, Futurama was hatched fully hilarious, and each episode is as good as the next. The advantage to the newer collections is less chance of episodes you've already seen on cable. Special features don't amount to much, but it's a cartoon; what did you expect, a blooper reel?

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