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Count me among those folks who were elated when FUTURAMA found a second life on cable television, when Comedy Central resurrected it from the Network TV cancellation graveyard. Although Matt Groening’s other series, THE SIMPSONS, has managed to remain a fixture on the Fox Television Network since 1989, FUTURAMA failed to catch fire in the same manner, and was eventually axed by Fox in 2003, despite being a funnier and more inspired animated series. Fortunately, FUTURAMA found its niche with audiences through syndication on Adult Swim, as well as through video sales, which resulted in an exclusive syndication deal on Comedy Central in 2008, that evolved into the cable network ordering the production of new episodes. FYI… reports indicate that the latest order for new episodes is expected to carry FUTURAMA through 2013.

For those unfamiliar with FUTURAMA, the series features the continuing adventures of one Philip J. Fry, a 20th century pizza delivery boy, who was cryogenically frozen for a thousand years… and now works as a delivery boy for Planet Express, a company owned by a distant relative- Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth. Planet Express employees also include Turanga Leela, the one-eyed captain of the Planet Express Ship, and Fry’s long time love interest. Bender Bending Rodríguez is Fry’s foul mouthed, lying, kleptomaniac, borderline sociopath robotic best friend and designated ship's cook. Dr. John A. Zoidberg (my favorite character) is Planet Express’s incompetent crustacean staff physician, who lacks a basic understanding of human anatomy. Amy Wong is a long-term intern at Planet Express who sponges off her wealthy parents, while Hermes Conrad is the office paper pusher and bureaucrat, with an eye for saving the company money. The vocal talent behind FUTURAMA features Billy West, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr and Lauren Tom.

FUTURAMA: VOLUME 6 ($40) comes to Blu-ray in a two-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes: The Silence Of The Clamps, Mobius Dick, Law & Oracle, Benderama, The Tip Of The Zoidberg, Ghost In The Machines, Neutopia, Yo Leela Leela, Fry Am The Egg Man, All The Presidents’ Heads, Cold Warriors, Overclockwise and Reincarnation. A few of the episodes favor storytelling and character development over the jokes; but overall, this is a very solid and highly enjoyable collection of new FUTURAMA adventures.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made all thirteen episodes that comprise FUTURAMA: VOLUME 6 available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentations are pretty stellar for the type of 2D animation involved. Fans will be tickled to see how crystal clear the animation looks on Blu-ray. The lines of the animation are super-crisp and perfectly defined. Colors pretty much leap off the screen, with the primary, secondary and tertiary hues being fully saturated. Stability and clarity of the colors never fail to impress. Blacks and whites are pure. Contrast is excellent. Not produced on film, all the episodes that comprise FUTURAMA: VOLUME 6 are free from the grain and print flaws.

All of the episodes that comprise FUTURAMA: VOLUME 6 are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. Like previous collections, the episodes found on FUTURAMA: VOLUME 6 offer sitcom sound, with modest embellishments. However, said embellishments are handled somewhat better here than they were in said previous collections. There is a modest use of directional effects, but due to the talky nature of sitcoms, much of what we hear is front and center. The surround channels are occasionally employed for active effects, but it is ambience and musical fill that tends to occupy the rear channels. Dialogue is very cleanly rendered and the actors' voices maintain a natural timbre. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. Starting things off are running Audio Commentaries for all thirteen episodes participants on various episodes include executive producers Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and Ken Keeler, co-executive producers Michael Rowe, Josh Weinstein, Patric M. Verrone and Eric Horsted, producers Claudia Katz and Lee Supercinski, supervising director Peter Avanzino, writer Eric Rogers, directors Frank Marino, Steven Sandoval, Crystal Chesney-Thompson, Raymie Muzquiz, Ray Claffey, Edmund Fong and Dwayne Carey-Hill plus voice actors Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Phil LaMarr and Dawnn Lewis. Featurettes and other programs include: Professor Farnsworth’s Science Of A Scene (seventeen minutes), Reincarnation Explained! With Director Peter Avanzino (seven minutes) and Futurama F.A.Q. (Frequently Axed Questions) (eleven minutes). A collection of Deleted Scenes closes out the standard supplements. FUTURAMA: VOLUME 6 is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

I am glad that FUTURAMA has been reincarnated on Comedy Central and hope the cable network keeps ordering new episodes for decades to come. The Blu-ray presentations of the episodes contained in FUTURAMA: VOLUME 6 are awesome. Highly recommended.


Futurama 6 [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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