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Futurama: Volume 8 (Blu-ray Review)

futurama whysoblu thumbFuturama has ended once again.  After being resurrected by Comedy Central, the animated, sci-fi-comedy series from creator Matt Groening (The Simpsons) has once again reached its end.  However, there is still this final batch of episodes on this Volume 8 Blu-ray release to go over and fortunately it is a good batch.  While I have had my issues with the quality of the episodes during the run on Comedy Central, there were certainly a handful of great ones and this final volume has a very solid set of episodes, with a couple that are really funny and a couple really nail the emotional beats, particularly the finale.  Read on to dig deeper into this final volume.

Series:

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For those unfamiliar, Futurama is the brainchild of Matt Groening (of The Simpsons) and David X. Cohen.  The series set in the 31st century, providing for plenty of science fiction related sights, gags, and satire.  It follows the adventures of the Planet Express delivery crew, which includes clueless Fry, who was cryogenically frozen back in 1999, only to awaken in the year 3000; cycloptic captain Leela, alcoholic and crass robot Bender, the ridiculous Dr. Zoidberg, and the incredibly old Professor Farnsworth, among others, and Scruffy.  Lots of fun and mayhem tends to ensue as the delivery crew sets out on generally dangerous delivery missions.

Episodes Included in Volume 8:

  1. “Forty Percent Leadbelly” – At a maximum security prison, Bender meets a famous fold singer and attempts to make a copy of his precious guitar .
  2. “2-D Blacktop” – Professor Farnsworth joins a gang of street racing punks, and ends up in a two-dimensional world.
  3. “T.: The Terrestrial” – After being marooned on a distant planet, Fry is befriended by a young monster.
  4. “Fry and Leela’s Big Fling” – Fry and Leela’s romantic vacation goes disturbingly wrong.
  5. “The Inhuman Torch” – Bender becomes a firefighter, and ends up housing a solar flare who wants to blow up the Earth from the inside.
  6. “Saturday Morning Fun Pit” – The Futuramagang stars in a trio of craptastic morning cartoons.
  7. “Calculon 2.0” – Calculon (who died in “Thief of Baghead”) is backed up and put into the body of a new robot so he can return to All My Circuits, only to learn that his over-the-top acting was no longer appreciated.
  8. “Assie Come Home” – Bender searches the universe for his shiny, metal ass after an alien street gang has him stripped down to his bulb eyes and mouth grille.
  9. “Leela and the Genestalk” – Leela becomes mutated and is captured by Mom of Mom’s Friendly Robot Company.
  10. “Game of Tones” – The Planet Express crew enter Fry’s dreams and find themselves back in the year 1999 in search of a mysterious alien song.
  11. “Murder on the Planet Express” – The crew get trapped aboard the Planet Express ship with a horrific alien creature.
  12. “Stench and Stenchibility” – Zoidberg falls for a flower vendor, who has no sense of smell, while Bender competes against a cute little girl in a tap dancing competition.
  13. “Meanwhile” – Professor Farnsworth invents a button that can take a person 10 seconds back in time, inadvertently causing major consequences.

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There are some standout episodes, particularly “Saturday Morning Fun Pit”, “Game of Tones”, and of course the series finale, “Meanwhile”, but I was very happy with this final set of episodes in general.  Whether they were hilarious, clever, or affecting in the type of story they wanted to tell, it was great to see the show go out in a good way, rather than continue to deliver episodes that were fairly sub-par (which is evidenced by a lack of a review by me for the previous volume).  While the series still may have been at its best in its early run, the show still had a few highlights and this final selection of episodes has a couple of them.

Video:

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As I have pointed out earlier, Futurama was a show that was well suited for the high definition format well before it became a norm.  This Blu-ray set certainly does the show justice and makes it look fantastic in homes, even more son then when it airs on television.  The 1080p AVC encode brings out all of the great visuals and colors that this show has to offer.  The way the show blends traditional animation with 3D elements is also great to see on Blu-ray as it again emphasizes how much effort is put into making this show look great, in addition to wanting to just be a funny television program.

Audio:

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The sound quality on this Blu-ray set is just as rewarding as the visuals in a sense.  While dialogue heavy, the sci-fi/space environment provides for a lot of great sound effect moments and the use of score and various soundtrack choices is always welcome.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround tracks, again, do great justice to the show and make me quite happy to be able to listen to and view the episodes on Blu-ray.

Extras:

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Once again, I am tempted to go higher on this score, because I love the audio commentaries, but the lack of more features is notable, as is the “eco-friendly” packaging of the set within cardboard cases, though I do like the artwork.  If only more could have went into the fact that this is likely the last season, leading to a more significant send off, with regards to this release.

Features Include:

Full-Length Audio Commentary on All Episodes – Always the highlight for me, with these sets.  Every commentary has some of the writers/producers and cast members and they have a great time together, talking about the show, pointing out some of the obscure gags, and making a lot of jokes.  This is the main reason I like to dig into these Blu-ray sets.

Bonus Animator Commentary on “Game of Tones”

Precious Trimmings: A Compendium of Deleted Scenes

Futurama University: An in-depth three-part exploration of the animation process at Rough Draft Studios, Inc.

Inside Futurama: The Writer’s Room of Tomorrow – A dryly humorous look inside the writer’s room, with some special guests popping up.

Summary:

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Futurama was always a show I was rooting for.  Even if it was not the same after being resurrected on Comedy Central, I was still very happy to enjoy its presence back on the air.  This last set of episodes is a nice way to say goodbye to the series, but then again, the show has been cancelled a few times in the past, so who knows…  With that said, this is a solid Blu-ray package, with some hilarious commentaries once again.  The picture and sound is also great as well, which means that you can see it and you most definitely cannot unsee it!

Order Your Copy Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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