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Top Ten Episodes of ‘Futurama’

Top Ten Episodes of 'Futurama'

Travel Forward to the Year 3000

When it comes to animation, many tend to forget that it is not exclusively for kids; some animated shows or movies can be for older audiences, especially animated sitcoms. One show that accomplishes this is none other than Futurama (1999-Present). The series follows the adventures of Philip J. Fry (Billy West) and friends in the year 3000. Through its multiple cancellations and revivals, this seven-season show, or 11 depending on what order, has gone on to be one of the most critically acclaimed animated sitcoms of all time. So in honor of its 25th anniversary, here are the top ten episodes of Futurama. Minor Spoilers Ahead! 

10. “Meanwhile”

In this episode, Fry decides he wants to propose to his girlfriend, Leela (Katey Sagal), only for Professor Farnsworth’s (Billy West) new time warp invention to mess with things. This was meant to be the series finale, according to IMDb, (the third finale for the show) and while it didn’t end up being true, it does still work as a finale of sorts, as it’s the final episode of the Comedy Central era of Futurama. The stakes are fairly high, and there is a sense of urgency near the end to resolve the time warps. 

The episode continues to show how strong the bond between Fry and Leela is. Their willingness to do anything for each other is well-displayed and pleasant to see. West and Sagal’s chemistry helps drive this episode. The final scene between the two is a sweet and fitting resolution. There are other elements that help make this episode work. Professor Farnsworth has some good moments, and the whole idea of time warps makes for some creative scenes. All in all, “Meanwhile” serves as a wonderful conclusion to the Comedy Central era of Futurama.

9. “The Late Philip J. Fry” 

In this episode, Fry, Bender (John DiMaggio), and Professor Farnsworth travel through time in a time-forward machine with Fry fearing he won’t be able to travel back in time for his date with Leela. This is the highest-rated episode from the Comedy Central era according to IMDb, and it’s not hard to see why. The concept for this episode is interesting and leads to many great jokes. The dynamic among the three works well, as they have excellent banter. From Farnsworth stopping the machine to get rid of Hitler, twice, to Fry missing seeing the dinosaurs, there are so many funny moments.

Another great aspect of this episode is it touches upon themes of existentialism, including an amazing part where the three reach the end of time. Then there is Leela searching for Fry which, like with the episode “Meanwhile,” demonstrates the powerful emotional connection those two have. In the end, “The Late Philip J. Fry” is a delightful watch from beginning to end. 

8. “Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch” 

In this episode, Kif (Maurice LaMarche) becomes pregnant, seemingly with Amy’s (Lauren Tom) kids. There are lots of entertaining moments here from learning of Kif’s species biology to visiting his homeworld. Then there is Zapp (Billy West) who has some of the funniest moments. Plus, there is a mystery of if Amy is the mother, which leads to plenty of comedic scenes. 

One of the best parts is everything with Amy. Throughout the episode, Amy is worried about being a parent. It not only works as being both funny and serious, but serves as a nice relatable story to those who have fears of raising a child. Additionally, Lauren Tom’s performance is amazing, as it helps balance everything. The final scene between Amy and Kif is rather touching. When all is said and done, “Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch” is an amusing yet earnest story that many parents will certainly enjoy. 

7. “A Bicyclops Built for Two” 

This episode follows Leela as she thinks she finally found another cyclops like her named Alcazar (David Herman). One of the biggest mysteries in the show for the longest time was the origin of Leela, so seeing her potentially find another piece of the puzzle is fascinating. Then there is a tragic side to it where after it is revealed Alcazar is a jerk, Leela doesn’t want to leave him, since she thinks they’re the only two left of their species. There are lots of underlying themes of loneliness and wanting to fit in that are brilliantly showcased. It is sad to see Leela not know who she is or where she came from, so on the one hand, audiences can be happy she may have found something to give her an idea but on the other hand, what she did find is not good for her and she should leave Alcazar.

Aside from all that, there are tons of other positive things in this episode, such as the internet. So many of the jokes here have aged remarkably, including VR chats, a bunch of annoying ads, “adult sites” that ask for a person’s age that anyone can easily get past, scam artists, etc. This episode came out in 2000 and is more relevant now than it ever was back then. All in all, “A Bicyclops Built for Two” is an insightful look into Leela’s character and the internet. 

6. “The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings” 

This episode follows Fry, who makes a deal with the Robot Devil (Dan Castellanetta) to switch hands so he can play an instrument to impress Leela. Like with “Meanwhile,” this was at one point the final episode, this time for the original Fox era. While it is not as emotionally powerful as “Meanwhile” per se, there is still lots of love here. The episode shows the great lengths Fry is willing to go for Leela with him accepting the risks that come with it. This episode is a pivotal moment for their relationship and it is delightful to watch. 

When it comes to the comedy part of this episode, most of the funniest moments are with the Robot Devil. Seeing how he tricks people into giving up something and for it in turn to backfire on him is hilarious. Not to mention, he has one of the funniest lines in the series that can also serve as advice for any writer, “You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel. That makes me feel angry.” At the end of the day, “The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings” is a terrific episode that never stops being funny. 

5. “Space Pilot 3000” 

The first episode of the series follows Fry as he is accidentally frozen in a cryo chamber and travels from the year 1999 to the year 3000. This is easily one of the best first episodes of a show. Everything from the premise to the characters and worldbuilding are all laid out in a way that comes across as natural. The characters initially click with each other and already form fun dynamics, particularly Bender and Fry. This is also the beginning of some of the show’s recurring gags, such as Bender telling people to bite his shiny metal behind. 

Some of the gags also work as worldbuilding, such as a museum that preserves celebrities and historical figures by placing their head in a fish tank, essentially prolonging their life. It is a simple, yet effective, joke that gives this show its own identity. The animation is incredible and has a good use of color. The character designs are also decent. When all is said and done, “Space Pilot 3000” is a wonderful start to an iconic animated sitcom. 

4. “Fry and the Slurm Factory” 

In this episode, Fry and the gang win a trip to get a free tour of the Slurm factory, a place that makes the fictional soda Slurm. This episode parodies Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and not only does it do this fantastically, but it also works as making fun of many food and drink companies. Whether it be the commercialization or the addictiveness of the product, they are all done magnificently. They even got the musical bits from the original movie here and they are amusing. 

Another splendid thing done here also works as a clever commentary on the horrors of these companies with the gang learning the dark truth of how Slurm is made. It shows how companies like this in the real world can disguise themselves as being fun and innocent when in reality, many are filled with greedy people and harsh working environments, such as the case in this episode. This episode has some of the best writing in the series. Overall, “Fry and the Slurm Factory” is a gratifying experience that works as a smart satire. 

3. “Godfellas”

This episode follows Bender, who gets lost in space and ends up raising a colony on his body. Any storyline with Bender as the center focus is always enjoyable for one reason or another, and this episode continues that trend. Having Bender essentially be good to a small group of people who live on him is both clever and hilarious. The people themselves are portrayed in an innocent manner, which makes everything that happens with him both tragic and a little amusing for fans of dark comedy. This episode also shows Bender actually trying to help others which is nice and also leads to some comedic moments when it backfires. 

There is also a part of the story where Fry and Leela try to find Bender which works to show how much Bender means to them. Through all the remarks Bender says at the others’ expense, he is still their friend, so seeing the others look for him is touching. In the end, “Godfellas” is a glorious episode that proves why Bender is one of the best characters in the series. 

2. “Leela’s Homeworld” 

This episode follows Leela as she finally learns the truth about herself and where she comes from. As stated in the episode “A Bicyclops Built for Two,” the mystery of Leela’s origins was built up for a long time so fans could finally get answers here. The answers that are given make sense with what has been established in the show so far and are consistent with Leela’s character. It leads to a heartfelt moment when Leela finally learns the truth. Another positive thing about it is it leads viewers to rewatch the series up to this point to look for any clues that hint at this revelation. 

This episode also shows how dangerous toxic waste can be. While the way it’s done here is extremely exaggerated and mostly not realistic, it still demonstrates how harmful it can be. At the end of the day, “Leela’s Homeworld” is a satisfying conclusion for Leela’s origin story arc. 

1. “Jurassic Bark” 

In this episode, Fry finds the fossilized remains of his old dog Seymour from the past, and he considers cloning him to get Seymour back. This is by far the saddest and most spectacularly written episode of the entire show. Any time Futurama delves into Fry’s past is interesting, and here it shows the kind of life he had. At the start of the series, it comes across like no one cared for Fry in the past, so Fry didn’t seem to care that much that he left them all behind. Yet this episode, and subsequent others, show that he meant more to people and animals in the past than he realizes. 

The best and worst part of this episode is the flashbacks showing Fry and Seymour. It’s the best in that it shows a cute bond between the two. It’s the worst in that it shows just how loyal Seymour was to Fry, with the inevitable realization from viewers that he never got to see Fry again after that. It can also work in a way as a reminder of how many people will outlive their pets, but that connection they make with them never goes away. All in all, “Jurassic Bark” is a marvelous episode and demonstrates why this series was a hit with fans. 

Futurama can be streamed on Hulu. 

Futurama (1999 – Present) Official Hulu Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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I am from Michigan. I am a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University majoring in Film Production with a minor in Media Production.

Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.