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In 1997, Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, had an idea in his head for a new animated series set in a futuristic Year 3000. It wasn't until a couple of years later that he got together with Fox Entertainment to thrash out a deal. The deal was sucessful and in March 1999, 19 million US viewers watched the pilot show of Futurama.
The Emmy award winning series was and is loved by millions and Season 4 of Futurama has been completed. Each season has been released in Box Set format but in October 2004, Fox released a Special Edition Set of all 4 seasons in one set.
I bought this set in Novemeber last year as a Christmas present and since then these episodes have been watched over and over again. I've decided to try my first ever DVD review so please bear with me!
I will state now that this set contains 15 DVD's and therefore I will not be reviewing them all individually, so don't panic! I'll pick a couple of episodes from each set otherwise we will be here all week! For those of you who know the characters already feel free to skip the next bit!
A QUICK INTODUCTION TO THE THREE MAIN CHARACTERS
Fry is you average lad, a former pizza deliver boy, who was accidentally frozen on New years Eve 1999 only to wake up a thousand years later and finds New York City full of robots, aliens, stars and moons.
He gets a job with Planet Express Delivery Co, which is run by his great nephew 4 times over.
He becomes best buddies with Bender the Robot and Leela, his would-be girlfriend.
Bender is officially described as a 'Manbot Robot'. It seems it was not intentional for Bender to be the main character in the animated series but with the voice of John Di Maggio and the one-liners that he comes out with have brought him to the forefront.
Bender is 'fuelled' by alcohol, cigar smoke and a strong desire for revenge! His favourite sayings are 'Kiss My Shiny Metal Ass' , 'Kill All Humans' and 'chumps and chumpettes' (boys and girls).
A female babe of a Cyclops! With her one central eye she is the no nonense Captain and Pilot of the Express Delivery Planet ship which is used for their deliveries.
She was abandoned as a baby , brought up at the Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanium. She is tormented by her origins as well as Frys clumsy attempts to get all romantic with her!
THE DVD BOX SET
The 15 DVD's are contained within a colourful picture scattered box (as shown above). Inside, each season is self contained within a further box which all contain pictures from the series. Series 1 is packaged exactly the same as if you had bought that individual series and so on.
I am NOT going to review all 15 DVD's as all the characters run through all the seasons and it would be ridiculous to even consider it. I could give 'one-liners' from each but because of the amount of material contained it would be impossible.
Instead I will give a brief overview from a couple of episodes on each season which hopefully will satisy everybody as those that know of Futurama may have already have seen them and for those that haven't it will give an idea.
3 DVD's contain 13 episodes.
The very first episode in the series was " Space Pilot 3000".
This tells of Frys cryogenic freezing, albeit accidental, and awakening on the eve of the Year 3000 (why does that Busted song keep coming into my head?!). With the help of his two new friends he defies his life assigment as a delivery boy and joins the intergalatic delivery service.
"Fry and the Slurm Factory"
Frys buys a can of 'Slurm' (drink) and discovers a golden bottle top (Willy Wonka take off) and wins a trip to the factory. Wandering off from the tour to see how the most popular beverage is made, Fry is mortified to discover exactly what the secret ingredient of Slurm is!
4 Discs with 19 episodes.
"Why must I be a Crustacean In Love?"
When Dr Ziodburg, a Lobster and colleague of the 3 friends, is feeling fruity during his mating period, he has to decide between mating or death.
"The Problem with Popplers"
Powerful alien beings threaten to eat all of mankind after the Planet Express crew import the alien's tasty offpring as a food product.
4 Discs with 22 episodes.
A miniature version of the Planet Express crew attempt to rid Fry's body of parasitic worms!
"Amazon Women in the Mood"
Fry, Bender and Leela find themselves trapped on a Amazonian planet ruled by women and a man-hating computer.
4 Discs with 18 episodes
Fry has his nose stolen by aliens as they wish to use it as an aphrodisiac.
"A Taste of Freedom"
In celebration of Freedom Day, Dr Zoidburg eats the Earths flag and is therefore sentenced to death.
The overall rating is 12, although each DVD is individually rated as there are 7 discs rated PG, the others 12 as it "contains moderate language, violence, sex and drugs references."
My observations with regard to ratings are :
'moderate language' covers the word Ba**ard, which is the 'worst' swear word in the set, another being 'crap'
Violence covers Bender and his love of revenge and although this is an animated story sometimes the people/aliens bleed after being slapped by an angry Robot!
Sex is probably because Fry gets it on with a girl in his car. Although all you see is Fry disappear horizontally on the back seat, at which point it cuts to a different scene, the suggestion is there.
Drugs would refer to the word 'weed' being mentioned a few times.
I love Futurama! You are nearly instantly aware of the similarity in characters between Futurama and The Simpsons and it has got all the styles of Matt Groening within it. For those of you who like the Simpsons then you may like this as well although it is not everyones cup of tea as the species/creatures can be weird and occasionally there is a more of a sick sense of humour than a funny one. Having said that, this is overall a funny collection of DVD's, a good set to buy if you love the series and, being a Special Edition, may appeal to collectors too.
As Futurama has now sadly come to the end of its life this complete set could be seen as an investment.
It is also what I call a 'marmite' series, you'll love it or hate it, I don't think there really is an inbetween with Futurama.
Being an idea from Groenings head you can almose see the similarity in characters with Fry being Bart, Bender as Homer and Leela as a more stronger minded Marge.
We laughed through most of these episodes, finding them very funny, but BE WARNED, this would NOT be suitable for younger children. The 12 and PG's ratings are justified in my opinion and I am by no means strict about ratings as a rule. I would take each DVD on its own merit but all of these are rated accordingly.
I paid £53.99 online for this back in October 2004, although trying to find it now does not seem to be so easy and I am shocked at the cost of it now. Even Amazon, who are known for good prices have it at an extortionate £99.99.Tesco's are offering it at a whopping £67.99 and Choicesdirect at £55.99 (the cheapest I could find)Even on ebay one was selling for £60.
Whilst you may consider this expensive for a set of DVD's let me put it to you like this, taking into account the price I paid :
15 DVD's......Total Runtime 1359 minutes or approx 22.5 hours....thats £3.50 per DVD or 73p for each of the whopping 72 episodes.
Not a bad deal at the end of the day.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Cast & Crew commentaries & Interviews.
Stills Gallery & Intractive Stills
How to draw the Characters
Plus 'lots of Hidden Extras'
The hidden extras are not that exciting, they tend to be just like a humourous advertising poster, which are based on the movies which have been featured in the episodes.
My son enjoys the audio comentaries as they are funny and you learn the odd secret about the series. i.e The original name for Futurama was going to be Doomsville.
I could have put even more content in but there are a lot of episodes and reviews exist already on each of the individual box sets and I had to draw the line somewhere. I did not want a review that went on forever and I'm sure you wouldn't either! Most of us know of Futurama and for those that don't I hope this helps.
Loads of special thanks go to my son, who with his near perfect photographic memory, has saved his mum watching all the mentioned episodes again!
Thanks for reading x
© HotBabes 2005