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FUTURAMA Volume 6 DVD Review

The Planet Express crew wraps up their sixth season.

As a long time fan of "Futurama," the word that Comedy Central had revived the show for a full 26 episode season was some of the best news that I've ever heard. Yes, yes, "Good news, everyone!"

Fortunately, "Futurama" seems to be a hit in its second incarnation and between the four "Futurama" direct-to-video movies (which count as four episodes each), the 26 episodes for season 6 and the 26 episodes to come in season 7 over the next two years, "Futurama" will have added 68 new episodes to its run. That's only four fewer episodes than the original 72 episode run on Fox.

With the release of "Futurama Volume 6," the second half of the sixth season is collected for the first time. And while I'd love to be able to say that "Futurama" is just as fantastic as it has ever been, there are a few episodes that definitely aren't up to par. In some ways, this half of the season has the deck stacked against it because "The Late Philip J. Fry" (an instant classic and one of the best episodes of the series) was on the previous volume.

However, episodes like "Law and Oracle," "Benderama," "Ghost in the Machines" and "Cold Warriors" carry on the tradition of great character beats and smart humor. "Overclockwise" goes even further than most episodes by offering a potential conclusion for the series against the backdrop of a suddenly omniscient Bender. If you're a fan of the ongoing Fry and Leela romantic relationship, "Overclockwise" finally tackles it head on and offers some closure.

Special mention also has to be made for "Reincarnation," a wild anthology episode that reimagines the "Futurama" cast in a black and white Max Fleischer style, 8-bit video game graphics and in an Anime style (pictured above).

"Möbius Dick," "The Silence of the Clamps," "The Tip of the Zoidberg," "All the Presidents' Heads" and "Fry Am the Egg Man" are simply average episodes that sometimes veer into mediocre territory. And unfortunately, "Neutopia" and "Yo Leela Leela" rank among the series' worst episodes. They're just simply not good.

But even the worst of "Futurama" is still light years ahead of most comedies on TV. And this two disk set features commentary on all 13 episodes; which helps improve the viewing experience. Compared to the recently released "Archer Volume 2" DVD, this set has a cornucopia of extras. There are several deleted scenes on both disks, with an extended featurette on the "Science of a Scene;" which follows the creative process of writing, producing, animating and editing a single sequence from "Overclockwise."

Director Peter Avanzino also gets a featurette to talk about "Reincarnation" while Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and a few others answer frequently asked questions from the fans (but voiced by Bender). There aren't hours upon hours of extra features, but it's still a very satisfying package. The only problem I have with this DVD set is the cheap paper packaging; which is an unwelcome departure from the packaging of the first four volumes of "Futurama."

Regardless, any fan of "Futurama" should definitely pick up this set. "Futurama" isn't always perfect, but it's still one of the best animated series on TV.


Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.