Good news everybody, the Guinness World Record holding Futurama (current Most Critically Acclaimed Animated Series, in case you’re wondering) is back on DVD!
Of course it hasn’t really been away with four specials popping up (which some of us already refer to as Season 5, annoyingly) in the past few years.
Season 5 (or 6, *coughs*) returns to the more usual series format of thirteen episodes, originally broadcast in 2010 (or last year in the UK). Right from the off, Rebirth displays a show burning with cleverness and delighting in spadefuls with its knowing glances to its own return.
Thankfully, the self-referential gags are sparse and, indeed, Futurama‘s continuity is slightly put into another room and ignored. And, by that, I mean the relationship between Fry and Leela. It gets mentioned occasionally (and examined wonderfully in the brilliant time-travelling episode, The Late Phillip J Fry) but the makers have shrewdly returned the good old an-episode-is-just-an-episode format.
It also means that Season 5 is a great hopping on point for new viewers as previous knowledge is not even remotely necessary.
And the power of good it does too, freeing writers to fill every instalment with a multitude of laughs, some cerebral and some not so (thank you, Bender).
It’s bang up to date with Attack of the Killer App offering up a not-so-subtle, but damn funny, satire on Apple whilst The Duh-Vinci Code is almost like old-skool Futurama – seeing the Professor and Fry discover the extra-terrestrial truth about Leonardo da Vinci.
This collection is an absolute blast and sits proudly amongst the best that Futurama has to offer with its incredible writing and superbly-voiced characters. The only downside is that you’ll be yearning for more. Don’t worry though, Season 6 will be along in a few months.
Extras: Accompanying the main content is an equally strong collection of extras, headed by audio commentaries for each episode. Featuring the likes of Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Billy West (the voice of Fry), Maurice LaMarche (Kif) and John Di Maggio (Bender), amongst others, these are an utter treat for fans and the cast and crew are a delight to listen to.
Other highlights include: Previously on Futurama, specially filmed intros to the specials episodes (cut down from their original feature length into four parts) from various characters; Bend It Like Bender, a montage of Bender’s greatest moments; and a live table read of The Prisoner of Benda, which also includes production art as a guide.
Those behind this release clearly love the show and want to share the love with those similarly disposed. As a package, the set is flawless on all counts and makes you wish all television DVD and Blu-ray releases had this kind of care and attention paid to them.
Released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 26th December 2011 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
What did you think of Season 5? Let us know below…