Featured TV on DVD Review: Futurama: Volume Seven

Futurama: Volume Seven - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Usually when a TV show is canceled, that's the end. However, not only did the old Futurama episodes flourish on the home market, four direct-to-DVD movies were made, and eventually the series returned to TV. Is it still one of the best animated shows on TV? Or is age starting to take its toll?

Volume Seven has 13 episodes, starting with...

  1. The Bots and the Bees
    Planet Express gets a new soda machine, Bev. Two things happen as a result. Firstly, Fry becomes heavily addicted to Slurm Loco and as a result begins to glow. Secondly, Bender and Bev have a kid. At first Bender wants nothing to do with his son, but when Bev abandons them both, he is forced to become a father.
  2. A Farewell to Arms
    While fry is fighting a badger for his lucky, and only, pair of pants, he stumbles into a cave filled with ancient Mayan writing. ... Sorry, not Mayan, but Martian writing. They find a temple with an ancient calendar that predicts to world will end that year. That explains all of the apocalyptic weather. They find a way off the planet, but only 30,000 can be saved and one of the Planet Express crew is not on that list.
  3. Decision 3012
    It's election season and Nixon is running and is the easy favorite. That is until Leela gets involved and helps an unknown, but entirely reasonable candidate rise and with the oppositions primary. It looks like he will win it all, until Nixon hires Bender to dig up dirt on this guy. What they find is shocking, if you didn't pay attention to the last two presidential elections.
  4. The Thief of Baghead
    Bender becomes paparazzo and he tries to take a photo of the most acclaimed, and most private actor of all time, Langdon Cobb. Cobb is never seen without a bag over his head, but when Bender catches him in a private moment, he learns Cobb's horrible secret.
  5. Zapp Dingbat
    Leela hosts the 40th anniversary of her parents, Morris and Munda. However, at the party, long simmering problems in their marriage come to a boil. Munda was a serious student of exolinguistics, while Morris was a slacker. She's tired of him not taking her studies seriously and not wanting to explore the universe, now that Mutants are allowed to travel outside of the sewers. They decide to get a divorce and Munda starts dating... Zapp Brannigan.
  6. The Butterjunk Effect
    Leela and Amy become a team in the "Butterfly Derby" on the moon. Think roller derby, except the women wear butterfly costumes and skimpy outfits. At first they are easily defeated, but then they start using Nectar, a "nutritional supplement" that is highly addictive and causes changes in their personalities.
  7. The Six Million Dollar Mon
    After Hermes is fired and replaced by a robot and then is later mugged by a robot, he decides he needs an edge and becomes part robot. At first it is just a chest harpoon, but soon he becomes addicted to cybernetics and he's completely replaced all of his organic parts, except his brain. Meanwhile, Zoidberg is... nope, not going to tell you what Zoidberg is doing.
  8. Fun on a Bun
    The gang from Planet Express go to Oktoberfest; however, in the future, Oktoberfest is a classy and sophisticated affair, not the beer-soaked, sausage-fueled party Fry remembers from his day. People don't even drink the beer, they just swish it around before spitting it out into spittoons. You can probably guess what happens next, but you won't want to see it. Meanwhile, Bender decides he wants to win a sausage making contest and in order to get the special meat he needs, he finds a wholly mammoth frozen in a glacier, but after he and Fry dig it out and start making sausages, there's an accident.
  9. Free Will Hunting
    Bender decides to go to college, borrows money from the mob, falls in with the wrong crowd, gets addicted to a new drug, and is forced into prostitution to pay for drugs. He's arrested, but at his trial he's found not guilty, because as a robot, he has no free will. Hearing he has no free will sends Bender into a depression and he goes on a soul-searching journey.
  10. Near-Death Wish
    Fray and the gang return to the Near-Death Star to visit with Professor Farnsworth's parents, Ned and Velma, who live in a virtual old folks home. After their visit, they take Ned and Velma back to Earth, but there isn't a happy family reunion.
  11. 31st Century Fox
    The gang go to a fox hunt led by the Hunt master. At first Leela is opposed to it, but Bender loves it. However, at the end of the hunt, they learn the fox, and the dogs, are robots. Now Bender is is the one protesting.
  12. Viva Mars Vegas
    The episode begins with the Robot Mafia robbing an armored car, but when the police give chase, they dump the loot. The gang goes to Mars to have a vacation at the casino Amy's parents run. However, they decide to not take Zoidberg, because Zoidberg is poor. (She does say it in a much kinder way than that.) However, he's not poor for long, because the loot the mafia dumped landed on him.
  13. Naturama
    It's a nature documentary in three parts. The first is about the life cycle of the salmon, but with the cast of Futurama as salmon, and a few other species along the way. The second is about the last Pinta Island Tortoise and the birds who try to find it a mate. The final segment is about Elephant Seals and their mating rituals.
Of the 13 episodes on this two-disc set, none are true classics. However, like I mentioned last time, it is not really fair to compare new episodes to the best Futurama has to offer, because the best of Futurama is really damn amazing. About half of the episodes are very good: The Bots and the Bees, A Farewell to Arms, Decision 3012, Fun on a Bun, Near-Death Wish, 31st Century Fox, and Viva Mars Vegas. I also really liked Naturama, but it is a really different type of episode, so it is hard to judge when compared to the rest of the series. Even the weakest episodes, The Thief of Baghead, Zapp Dingbat, or The Butterjunk Effect are good enough to be worth watching more than once. (The three weakest episodes were aired back-to-back-to-back. That's strange.) It is weaker than previous volumes, but still absolutely worth picking up.

The Extras

Like last time, there are audio commentary tracks on all 13 episodes, but you have to go to the menu for each individual episode to find them. I hate that. Zapp Dingbat also has an alternate ending. There are seven minutes of deleted / alternate scenes, some in storyboard form. There is also an eight-minute featurette on Christopher Tyng, who composes the music. The second disc has seven more minutes of deleted / alternate scenes. Mobius Strip has an "aquarium" mode and a "terrarium" mode. You can watch scenes with the Futurama characters as different animals in either an underwater setting or a desert setting. Finally, there are five songs in Karaoke.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but the Blu-ray costs $5 or 33% more than the DVD does, which is a good deal for this type of release.

The Verdict

Futurama is still one of the best prime time cartoons around, but Volume Seven is off its peak quality. There are a ton of extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray are definitely worth picking up.


- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-12-09