How does the Planet Express crew fare on their latest HD outing?
After finding its footing through most of season five, Futurama felt like it was firing on all cylinders with its most recent revival season on Comedy Central. This was actually the second half of a 26-episode total order for the resurrected series, so Executive Producer David X. Cohen and company as well as the team at Rough Draft Studios went for broke, even approaching the episode “Overclockwise” as if it would be their last (it’s actually the penultimate episode in this set).
Here are the 13 episodes that make up season six, released in what I assume is production and not air date order:
“The Silence of the Clamps”
Law & Oracle”
“The Tip of the Zoidberg”
“Ghost in the Machines”
“Yo Leela Leela”
“Fry Am The Egg Man”
“All The Presidents’ Heads”
Again, it felt like season five was all about finding the show’s footing again and the result was that many of the episodes there felt like they were catching up to the last decade’s worth of pop culture. This season the jokes got back into the groove of observational/sci-fi humor which I’ve always appreciated most about the series. Highlights such as the Tron homage in my favorite episode from the season “Law & Oracle” as well as the gender-swapping, slightly aimless (but still very funny) “Neutopia” which doesn’t top but at least matches the ickiness of the Professor/Zoidberg pairing from last season.
Hermes was the lady, people.
Maybe the best element of the season was the usual mix of implied and explicit backstory for the characters, from the extended elaboration on the friendship between the Professor and Zoidberg (and why crustacean that walks like a malpractice suit continues to keep his job) in “The Tip of the Zoidberg” to Amy’s giraffe harpooning career in the Serengeti in “Mobius Dick.” And of course, it wouldn’t be Futurama without a little bit of heart and the (incrementally) forward momentum of the Fry/Leela romance in a couple of episodes throughout the season.
FEATURES AND THE DISC
The show is beautiful in HD and the thick line work is almost eye-laceratingly sharp on the disc. The audio is a little iffy though (at least on my setup)—some of the dialog kept bouncing between the channels without any context (i.e. a character was speaking in a simple shot but bouncing around between the two front channels). It occurred infrequently, but it was still a little off-putting nonetheless.
In terms of features, every episode includes commentary with some of the show’s writers and producers and while the group may lapse into the occasional, brief quiet spell (never more than a few seconds), it’s still a fun listen as they talk about anything from the inspiration to a particular episode to the origins of Melville’s Moby Dick. Both discs also feature deleted scenes and the second disc has my favorite feature on the entire set, the “Science of a Scene” minidoc detailing the making of an effects-heavy scene in the “Overclockwise” episode. The production staff walks you through the step-by-step process of bringing the idea from the page to the screen with a highlight booth reading by stars John DiMaggio and Billy West as Bender and Fry.
The whole set comes in eco-friendly cardboard packaging across two disc adorned with a quad-toned gray, turquoise, white, and purple color scheme which is actually quite nice.
Futurama Season 6 is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD now.