Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Time Travel and Body Swapping

One of the bright spots of the 2010 summer TV season has been the return of Futurama on Comedy Central. It's had a long and spotty history, starting with how it was often preempted by football back in its early days. I've been a fan of the show since it aired and lamented its loss along with other fans. Now, of course, the show is back producing new episodes and I've been enjoying it. Two recent episodes, however, rank right with the best episodes of the whole series.

"The Late Philip J. Fry" was a time travel story and I'm a sucker for those. It is centered around the budding relationship between Fry and Leela. Leela is upset at Fry for never being on time and he responds by swearing he will be on time for a big birthday dinner. On his way, he is persuaded by the Professor to join him in a quick time machine test run that will last only a minute. The problem is that the Professor screws up and they go a bit farther in time than planned. Another problem? The time machine can only go forward. The story is then split between their (Bender is along as well) quest to find a backwards time machine and the future of the Leela and the rest. It's funny and touching and the ending totally works.

Even better than that was last week's episode, "The Prisoner of Benda." It takes another science fiction trope, body swapping, and melds it to the emotional needs and issues of the cast. Bender wants to steal a crown, Leela thinks Fry only likes her for her looks, the Professor is tired of being old, and Amy has her old cravings for food. Initial body swaps occur and things get crazier from there but there is also a real (and gross) payoff for Leela and Fry's arc. Even Scruffy gets a poignant moment. It is funny and creepy and full of heart and is one of the best epsidoes ever of the series.

1 comment:

  1. I'd never seen Futurama, but after I read this post last week I tried watching on Comedy Central's website. I didn't realize they don't have full episodes available, and was getting random clips from both of these episodes. I was massively confused until I figured out they weren't full episodes.