Given that the quality of the "Futurama" direct-to-DVD movies declined with each subsequent release, it was entirely within reason to expect that the show wouldn't be as good as we remembered when it returned to the airwaves on Comedy Century last night.
Fortunately, that wasn't the case. "Futurama" was as funny as ever with two new episodes that picked up right where the movies left off, but didn't linger on them at all.
The first episode, "Rebirth", featured the crew being put back together -- literally -- after crashing through the wormhole it entered at the end of "Into the Wild Green Yonder". Everyone was restored fine except Leela, who ended up in a coma. That led Fry to create a Leela robot, which made things awkward when the real Leela woke up. Only, it turned out that Fry was a robot replacement too, and the real Fry didn't get spit out of the stem cell restoration chamber until near the end of the episode. It was just like right level of absurdity to feel like a classic Futurama episode.
In a running subplot, Bender's new power supply fed him excess energy and he had to keep partying to burn it off. Maybe it was just the fact that we haven't had new "Futurama" episodes in years, but somehow this never got old for the entire half-hour. And it led to my favorite exchange of the episode, after Bender got fixed:
Bender: Aww, sweet mercy. My hellish nightmare is over. I never have to party again.As good as that was, everything about the second episode was better. Zapp Brannigan-focused episodes have always been among "Futurama"'s best, and "In-a-Gadda-Da-Leela" was no exception. Zapp's increasingly pathetic confessions over the last seven minutes of the episode drew more and more laughs. I also liked the spoof of the first "Star Trek" movie with the "V-GINY" villain (an obvious reference to V-GER in both name and purpose). And nothing was better than the interspersed newsreel-style clips with the story being told from Zapp's egotistical perspective.
Fry: Well, that's that then. We're back everyone!
So consider my expectations raised for the rest of this season. "Futurama" is indeed back. PAAARRRR-TAAAAYY!