Now We’re Just Doing ‘Futurama’ to Be Doing ‘Futurama’
Good news, everyone! Hulu has apparently decided that they’ll keep making Futurama until we’re in Futurama.
Though the streaming giant hasn’t exactly renewed Matt Groening’s critically beloved and commercially middling cult classic comedy for 973 more seasons, they did announce that, halfway through the 20-episode revival of the series, they will commission two more seasons of Futurama on top of the 10 episodes yet to come. The reaction to the recent 11th season of Futurama among the show’s astoundingly loyal fan base has been a general sense of contentedness — though the writing wasn’t quite as tight as the first 10 seasons and poor Billy West sounds every second of 71 years old, it was still new Futurama, and more Futurama is always a good thing.
Now, with the first half of the revival in the books, Hulu has apparently seen enough to double their order, extending the series through a 14th season and marking an incredibly rare occasion when the headline “Futurama Renewed!” ran in entertainment news outlets without the word “not” in the middle.
When Hulu first announced that they would produce 20 new episodes of Futurama, it felt like the streaming giant was the patron the series always deserved but didn’t find until its golden years — after bouncing around TV networks and surviving multiple cancellations, Hulu seemed to be the first home that had any faith in the series. Despite production of the revival episodes hitting some snags — including the disappointing contract dispute with irreplaceable series star John DiMaggio — the return of Futurama felt like a win for a fan base that was used to decades of disappointment.
Then, when the episodes finally hit streaming this past July, the reaction was a mix of critics and fans questioning whether the negation of one of TV’s most touching finales was worth the watered-down continuation with more optimistic Futurama fans who were just grateful to have the Planet Express Gang back together, even if some of the more topical attempts at comedy fell flat.
Hulu, on the other hand, had their eye on the streaming charts, where Futurama broke into the top three across all platforms, making it easily the streamer’s most popular show during the summer months. With the revival episodes only 50 percent complete, Hulu clearly sees the dollar signs in extending their patronage of the cult hit.
Though most Futurama fans know better than to look a 100 percent horse-fed gift horse in the mouth, the early and enthusiastic renewal begs the question: Does Futurama have that much juice left? Even with this original 20-episode order, there have been some stinker episodes that betray a limited pool of potential plotlines. None of the episodes that did get favorable reviews from critics and fans became that certified banger that fans hoped would justify undoing the excellent work of the original final finale — and, if none of the next 10 episodes give the series that shot in the arm, would 20 more really do the trick?
The decision to double the number of Hulu-made episodes was (as all renewals/cancelations are) a business decision, but should Futurama fans be worried that there isn’t enough creative energy left in the ship to properly deliver?