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REED Writes About The FUTURAMA DVD!!

Published at: Jan. 29, 2002, 9:35 p.m. CST by staff

I am – Hercules!!

Don’t fret, my fellow Americans. One day soon, this DVD will also be ours. Oh yes – it will be ours. Here's Reed:

Hey Herc, absolutely love the column and thought you might be interested in a review of the first season of Futurama on DVD which I got in the UK today (no US release yet I'm afraid) as I know you're a fan:

Ah, so the day was finally here... With clammy hands and sweaty brow I made my way into my local Woolworths to purchase the eagerly awaited First Season DVD set of Futurama! Despite the RRP being £39.99 Woolworths had it for a Slurmtastic £34.99! could my day get any better? I should think so! Opening the DVD you get a sense that alot of effort was put into the outside packaging. The outside cover slips off over the top to reveal a cut out box with the three DVDs inside. One thing about the plastic cover is it's easily scratched so the constant pulling off and on might unfortunately wear away the design that has been printed on the inside. It's a great design though which reflects the cool and great designs of the series it self. There are two clear 'portholes' on either side too, showing you the outside of the box it covers. The box is covered with a lush design of the city with it's many streams of traffic, flying cats, and large billboards: very cool. Unfortunately you then have three thin plastic DVD cases, the tarditional sort you would get with film releases, which have been slotted into the box. Would a fold out box set like the Simpsons been to hard? These have great drawings of Fry, Leela and Bender wizzing through the NNY tube system on the spines of them but unfortunately have a completely different style of cover. You may have seen it on various sites recently, it's the designs which appeared some time ago on Video releases in Germany(or some other European country, I can't remember). While it's an ok cover, it feels completely out of place from the rest of the box and does spoil the over all effect. The backs are ok though and give brief over views of each episode. The inside of the cases look great and the discs themselves have great scenes of a couple of characters on them. The great thing about it is when you take out the disc there is a picture of what happens next in the scene behind it!

On to the discs: I won't go into the content of the episodes because by now you'll have made up your mind wether you like this season or not and nothing I say('It Rules!' etc...) is going to change your mind.

Once you get past FOX's annoying legal statements for about 10 countries you get to the opening menus which are basilcally long shots of NNY with either Fry, Bender or Leela in the foreground. While these are way better than the bland menus on the Simpsons set, it's still static and has a soundtrack in the background of busy traffic which soon becomes annoying. One very cool feature of the menus is that when you click and item the text changes to the alien alphabet briefly, just before you go to the next screen. The other screens are still shots of a screen from the Planet Express bulding or elswhere and and have nice, faint reflections of different characters behind the menu options. The chapter selection screens are the best though as they are covered in little clippings of items or scrawly to-do lists which may well have come from each episode. These are a great touch and well worth taking a look at because, well, they're damn funny!

The episodes themselves are presented in their original 4:3 ratio with a dolby stereo soundtrack. The picture quality for the traditionally animated parts of the show come across clear, with no smearing or pixelation. The blacks, a large problem on the Simpsons releases, appear solid and retain the depth they were meant to have. Even a shot in 'A Flight to Remember' with a black-haired man against the background of space is not that bad despite one of the commentators pointing out that they shouldn't have done it. Also, the blurring effect which bizzarely occurred when fading in from black on the Simpsons release is no where to be seen here. But it's in Futurama's famous 3D sequences that the format really shows it's worth producing fantasticly clear and dazzelling viewing that really show off the quality of the work the 3D animators do. The battle sequence in 'When Aliens Attack' is the most obvious example and really is a real feast for the eye balls.

Then we come to the sound track, which is(for normal stereo) quite excellent! The sounds come across crisp and clear the depth is fantastic. Nothing shows of the quality of sound more than the remixed version of the theme for 'Mars University' which zings away like it nothing else(incidently, the reason why the idea of multiple remixes was dropped was because the remix didn't come across as well on normal TV. Now it get's a proper showing, as it was meant to be heard.

The extras are quite a mixed bunch really with contents ranging from great(the picture gallery and commentaries) to not so great(the featurette) The script is great and contains many funny scribbles by David X Cohen. Unfortunately there's only one script. Why? The storyboard is very good too and gives an idea of how much of each show is planned out shot for shot. The animatic is also great. The stills gallery, though, is fantastic and contains a massive 64(I think) development sketches which are fascinating! The deleted scenes are cool too but, seeing as they were cut from the episodes for specific reasons, don't expect anything amazingly funny. The real gem of the extras though, which makes up for the lack of a decent behind the scenes documentary, are the commentaries. These bustle with humour and brilliant insights into the series. What comes across strongly, though, is that these guys are so enthusiastic about the show! There's usually at least 5 people commenting on each episode while they're not commenting on the making of the show they're cracking jokes at each other, the show, FOX or any one else they fancy. Out of all the DVD commentaries I've heard these are by far the best. The real stand outs on them are the inexhaustable John DiMaggio and the ever informative and witty David X Cohen. The best commentaries are probably 'When Aliens Attack' and 'Hell is Other Robots' but they are all great.

Basically, if you call yourself a true Futurama fan you NEED this set! Is it better than the Simpsons release? Yup! Is the translation to DVD great? You betcha! Is it worth robbing a bank to get the money? maybe not Is there room for improvement? definately! Is a good start? Oh YES!!

  • Content: 9/10
  • Picture: 8/10
  • Sound: 9/10
  • Extras: 8/10
  • Value for money: 8/10

      Futurama season 1 is on general release from 30th century Fox home entertainment in all good stockists priced £39.99 or less.

      hope it's of some interest:)

      take care

      reed





      To order boxer shorts adorned with the image of a green, handicapable “Buffy” fanatic, click here.

Readers Talkback

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  • Jan. 29, 2002, 9:45 p.m. CST

    GOD DAMN YOU FOX YOU BASTARDS! WHAT POINT IS THERE IN NOT RELEA

    by Smeg For Brains

    And on a related note, please release the King of the Hill DVD's here as well.

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 9:50 p.m. CST

    ME WANT NOW! NOWNOWNOW!!!

    by Fuckleberry Hinn

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 9:55 p.m. CST

    It'll be ours...

    by droog

    ...probably when it enters syndication. which means probably not actually any time soon, unless Herc knows something i don't... US home video release for television tends to be a lot longer since they make a big deal over that sorta thing (see: lengthy Buffy DVD wait). not that it really matters to me, since i already picked it up :p

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 10:49 p.m. CST

    It's not FAIR!!! *Sniff!*

    by Gregzero

    Oh well, guess I'll just have to dust off the ol' Apex and go Region 0 on that mutha! I wonder...is Futurama any more popular over there? Relative to what we get in the states, what time is it on? Does it get pre-empted by Soccer...I mean...Football? It's nice to know I am not the only one burning the midnight oil about this sucker, and this show really makes me happy. Like cowbell...the perfect cure...

  • Jan. 29, 2002, 11:05 p.m. CST

    *ahem* NORTH AMERICAN release. We Canadians want it too.

    by Tall_Boy

    that's all I have to say about that. Even though I think FUTURAMA got better as it went along, I still wouldn't mind a DVD.

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 12:17 a.m. CST

    What's Futurama?

    by TalkbackersSuck

    Oh yes, Futurama. One of two good shows on Fox (24 being the other) but Fox refuses to play it or give it a good timeslot. Forget about Season One on DVD. Why not release Season Four on DVD since Fox refuses to air the show because they have good shows like That 80's Show and whatever the hell else they pollute the airwaves with during the week. Unfortunately, due to Fox's great scheduling Futurama is done at the end of the year because it has no audience. A round of applause to Fox for ruining a great show.

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Futurama in the UK.

    by statto4ever

    To answer someone's question. In the UK Futurama has regular slots on both Sky One & Channel 4. It is never pre-empted by football as football is always on one of the dedicated sports channels. Football is usually on a sunday or monday (with some exceptions). Whlst Futurama airs on a Thursday on Sky One, I couldn't tell you when it airs on CH4 though.....

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 1:58 a.m. CST

    At least I know I can some day watch the show

    by coop

    I am so sick of this show being pre-empted for everything. You would think FOX would at least re-run the episodes later in the week or later in the season. Why is it that I have only seen a handful of episodes and every time it's a re-run, it's one of those? I can only assume that if this show is in (did someone say?) season 4 that there are at least 40 episodes out there that I haven't seen unless they are only making 5 a year. At least now I know that some day I will get to see ALL the episodes (hopefully even that cencored Christmas one that many of us never got to see.) I wish FOX never got into the Sports game. Kiss my shiny metal ass you thick necked meatbags!

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 2:01 a.m. CST

    late night typos

    by coop

    I meant censored.

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 3:55 a.m. CST

    they have to wait for syndication in U.S.

    by johnnysunshine

    The reason dvd's of tv shows are released earlier in the UK is because there is way more money over here in syndication than in dvd releases and shows are worth more to other networks if viewers can't go buy them. A show usually needs to run all its episodes in syndication once before it can be released on dvd. In other countries there aren't all these cable networks etc. to syndicate to so it makes more sense to release them on dvd. This is why you can buy seasons 1-3 of Buffy on dvd and 4 and 5 on vhs in the UK, but season one has only just been released here. You guys have at least another year before Fox considers releasing Futurama over here.

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Lucky Brits. Fox execs are shits.

    by WarDog

    Bastards keep sacrificing Futurama to pro football, which, thank God, will be over after this Sunday (for the rest of the season anyway.) I' frankly astounded they're releasing this Season 1 DVD set already, when they have only tested the waters with the Season 1 of The Simpsons. I would have liked to have learned just how many episodes are on these three DVDs, because now I can't remember how many there were. I was taping them from the beginning, but then Fox keep fucking us over and it wasn't regularly broadcast, so I gave up. At least we'll have DVDs in the future. Now, when will those morons at Warner Bros. release B5 on DVD???

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Babylon 5 on DVD

    by gurglesnap

    The first season of Babylon 5 is coming out. Check out www.thedigitalbits.com for the date. I forget when they said it's coming. But some time this year. I'd tell you the month, but their server is down right now. On a related note, I hate hate hate Fox. 98% of what they do sucks out loud, and they screw over the other 2%. Bah.

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Futurama is currently the most consistently funny program on tel

    by Sod Off Baldric

    Unfortunately, even that fact can't stop Fox from pre-empting it. I don't see why they don't just stick it on after The Simpsons (where it belongs). I truly believe that all studio/television execs are simply strategically-shaved chimps stuffed into business suits. Anyway, I can't wait until we get Futurama (and The Tick; both live-action and animated) on DVD here in the states.

  • Jan. 30, 2002, noon CST

    Someone answer this...

    by Gregzero

    Talkbackerssuck (the user, not a statement), where did you hear Futurama gets canceled this year? I had heard that they were going to go at LEAST 5 full seasons so they could get syndication. Is that the minimum for syndi? Or is it, like "x" amount of episodes? Any smart talkbackers out there? Help!

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Futurama could have been the new Simpsons for Fox. . .

    by gurglesnap

    They should have replaced the Simpsons with Futurama. Ideally, they would retire the Simpsons tv show and graduate to Simpsons movies, written by top notch people instead of whoever's hacking the episodes out these days. Meanwhile, Futurama could get turned into another cash cow for them. Then they'd be getting profits from syndicating the old Simpsons episodes for all eternity, producing Simpsons movies and tie-ins, PLUS building an audience around Futurama so they can do the exact same thing in a few years with that property. Instead, they've bled the Simpsons dry and locked Futurama in a cold, dark, metaphorical basement to wither and die. But what do I know? I'm not a TV exec. (You can tell because I don't breath through my mouth.)

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Syndication:

    by BurninBullwinkle

    Like it's been stated, the unofficial drawline is 100 episodes. After that, shows will go into syndication. This is because they can more or less show a run of the program three times in a year at the rate of five eps per week. (It's been a while since my Radio and TV in Society class, so if I get some of this wrong, bear with me.) This isn't always the marker, of course. Star Trek was able to find success in syndication with only three seasons under it's belt and became a phenomenon. And longevity doesn't automatically lead to syndicated success. After all, when is the last time you saw Caroline in the City re-runs? So basically; unless a series is really, really special (I've seen Police Squad re-run on Comedy Central. Brilliant stuff!) You need between 50-100 eps to start, with all following eps to be added. If the reruns retain a good viewer percentage the show will be on the air almost forever. Eventually they will probably end up on Nick at Nite and TV Land, being deemed "classics". ;) (It's very complicated and stupid in the US. Hopefully the popularity of X-Files, Simpsons, Buffy, etc. DVDs in this country will change the way TV companies approach syndication deals in the future.)

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Get your Futurama DVDs here...

    by Hecatonchires

    yeah, you can order it through Amazon in the UK. Doubt there would be any problems on shipping them to the states. Just be sure that your DVD can play other regions as well as that your TV can show PAL too. Since most modern equipment can do this, you'll be set. Here's a quick link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005UWNO/o/qid=1012417501/sr=8-1/ref=sr_aps_d_1_1/202-2926058-7719802

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Gregzero

    by TalkbackersSuck

    I haven't heard that Futurama is OFFICIALLY cancelled after this year. It just seems likely given that Fox almost never airs it and when they do there are no ads. Plus, they constantly pre-empt the show. So the show can't build the audience it deserves. Meaning its ratings are non-existent and Fox (being that they are a business, afterall) is obviously more interested in ratings than a good show. I hope I'm wrong and Futurama lasts for years and replaces the sad pathetic mess that is The Simpsons.

  • Jan. 30, 2002, 6:28 p.m. CST

    I'll pay for it

    by X-Girls

    sure.

  • Jan. 31, 2002, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Remember when RC weren't going to be a problem?

    by Nitflegal

    Remember when they came out and it was solely for anti-piracy? All movies would come out around the same time in the various regions? With an oily grin the video companies told us it wouldn't be a problem. I have movies that I love that are only available in RC2 and RC5 and can't watch them because of a %@#* line of code. Can't put them on my computer because the damned software won't read anything but RC1. I could hack my program but then have to worry about the stability of the system and the hardware itself. So we can't watch Futurama in the US but Europe can. Probably fair revenge for us getting Hollywood movies before them but it still irks me. No compatability issues like VHS, just assinine behavior on the part of the execs. Matt

  • Jan. 31, 2002, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Region Coding: The Devil?

    by BurninBullwinkle

    Nah. Just his servant. You know. Like Rick Berman and the obnoxious British guy that sets stuff on fire in the infomercials. Just how much is an APEX all-region player? I should be getting some money soon and I think it'd be a good way to blow it. *BWA-HA-HA!* Hey, sorry to shout, but since I've already sent e-mails and gotten no response, COULD SOMEONE LET ME CHANGE MY E-MAIL ADDRESS FERGOSHSAKES? The one listed doesn't even exist anymore!

  • Jan. 31, 2002, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Why I Am Happy To Live In Sunny UK And WHY These Fuckers At Fox

    by Silent_Bob_of_ST

    The Execs at Fox don't know wat to do with a good show. Futurama has constantantly amused and delighted me since its release on Uk TV and despite already having all episodes on video (TV recorded) I will still buy the DVD box sets all of them that fox bothers to release cus if they aren't going to treat the show with the respect that it deserves well the i fucking will. Sky in Uk has a channel deidcated to shows such as Futurama, Simpsons, Family Guy, King of The Hill, Buffy ect all of the best shows America produces on one channel which earlier went through and briliant period of showing a Futurama episode EVERY OTHER DAY. Despite their being no sign of Season 4 in Uk Sky continues to show at least one episode a week in a prime time slot why can't Fox treat Futurama with the same respect as a Brilliant show in US. People may care why i am bothered about wat happens stateside does well because if their is no US audience then no more Futurama for UK if Fox cancels this show with out even giving it a chance I will personaly fly over there and kick their asses!!

  • Jan. 31, 2002, 7:47 p.m. CST

    I wonder how long it will be before...

    by magic_ninja

    people on the internet start trashing Futurama as savagely as they do the Simpsons?

  • Jan. 31, 2002, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Married..with Children

    by Movie Maven

    I was just wondering if people would be interested in Fox starting releasing the seasons of Married..with Children on dvd. This is a show that I would love to have on dvd

  • Feb. 1, 2002, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Married...with Children DVD!!!

    by magic_ninja

    what a great idea, but they'd have to exclude all the episodes that had Seven in them.

  • Feb. 1, 2002, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Apex 1500's at wal mart

    by SiNaPsE

    If everyone is done moping on and on about how you cant watch the Region 2 DVD's, id like to share something with ya'll. At Wal-Mart their is an Apex Digital AD-1500 DVD player for 89.95. Grab it, but make sure that the serial number starts with A-D. (The serial number is attached to the box via a small sticker in the bottom left corner of the front of the box.) Then download this file: http://www.dvd-wizards.com/darrenk/Hiteker_1000/AD1000CDR.ZIP Rename the file "u1500am.rom" Burn it using Nero to the root folder of an ISO CD-R Hope this helps. also. go to www.dvdstreet.infront.co.uk they have cheaper prices then amazon when it comes to region2 DVD's -Lou

  • Feb. 1, 2002, 3:41 p.m. CST

    It's the Government! Run E.T.!

    by BurninBullwinkle

    Mwwaaaaaaaaaaah! (Sorry... Family Guy moment. THAT'S a show I want on DVD.)

  • Feb. 1, 2002, 7:29 p.m. CST

    SOMEONE NEEDS TO SAY IT: "FUTURAMA" HAD A FUNNIER FIRST SEASON

    by Lt. Torello

    Sure, most series need a few eps to find their way, but "The Simpsons" (which I love, by the way) didn't really lock on to the funny until late Season Two. Aside from the bowling episode with Albert Brooks, the bulk of Season One was pretty lame by later standards. The series writers will tell you pretty much the same. Early "Futuramas" didn't always hit the mark but a good number of them did, especially the ep introducing Zapp Brannigan.

  • Feb. 8, 2002, 2:18 a.m. CST

    dvds

    by Mithril

    Oh, BurninBullwinkle, there are Family Guy DVDs already out in Europe... God, we seem to be ahead of the US in many ways. Oh well, on to the Futurama DVDs. Have any of the other owners checked out the easter eggs (one per DVD that I've been able to find)? Not that exciting, but the Buffy-themed one was quite enjoyable. And I enjoyed the commentaries a lot. My favourite bits: "naked pictures of Gene Wilder" and of course "the pasta maker's here!" Great! I wonder when Buffy's season 4 is being released on DVD here in Europe? No sign of it yet, but I have ordered Angel season 2, ST-TNG and Robin of Sherwood. Oh, and all you North Americans, just wait for the Buffy season 2 DVDs, because then you can listen to Jane Espenson gush in the commentary every time Angel's naked chest is seen in "What's my line"... Christ almighty...