Futurama Volume 8 DVD Review: Farewell from the World of Tomorrow!

The last chance to enjoy the adventures of Fry, Bender, Scruffy, and the rest.
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Futurama had one of the more unusual runs in television history. It began as a network show, running a few seasons on FOX, mostly as the black sheep of the Sunday-night family. If a show was going to be preempted by football running late, it would be Futurama. So then it got cancelled, but it came back with four direct-to-DVD movies, which developed enough of a following, alongside Futurama reruns on channels like Cartoon Network, that got Comedy Central to bring it back for another run. Its seventh season was split into two parts, and that second part, which makes up Futurama Volume 8, are the final 13 episodes of the show...for now. Also, for good. It isn't going to come back again barring something very unforeseen.

Before these final episodes aired, the folks behind Futurama, Matt Groening and David X. Cohen and what have you, said they thought these final episodes were some of the best the show ever did. They are likely the only ones who feel that, and it would not be hard to view those statements as disingenuous, although it would be unfair to try and parse their true beliefs. The FOX run of Futurama is a stone-cold classic. It was one of the best shows of all-time. The movies were when the first cracks started to show, and then the Comedy Central episodes, much like current episodes of Groening's other show, The Simpsons, were hit-or-miss. That remains the case for Volume 8.

The last 13 episodes are, to put it simply, alright. The show really cranked up the conceptual episodes here, which was something the show often did, and did well. A sci-fi cartoon sitcom could do a lot of things other shows could not, and the animation was always impressive, but the cleverness and ingenuity just wasn't there in the latter episodes. An E.T. parody with Fry in place of E.T. sounds good on paper, but the execution was mostly lacking, a series of gross-out gags. "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" was another of their non-canon three stories episodes, and while it had some nice moments, it felt strange to include that in your final run of episodes. Did we really need Nixon watching a G.I. Joe parody with, like, five episodes left of this beloved show?

That being said, there were a few good, even really good episodes. Perhaps most importantly, "Meanwhile," the series finale, really stuck the landing. It was smart and funny and had dramatic heft. It left the series on a high note, which doesn't make up for some of the slog that came before it, but was a nice thing to see.

For the big-time Futurama fans, who are likely the ones interested in this DVD set, since the show knew it was the last release they would likely ever have, there are some major behind-the-scenes things on here. Plus, the usual audio commentaries on every episode, and Futurama is a show that usually has fun commentaries to listen to.

So yes, the quality of these episodes is not high. However, this is also the final DVD set from Futurama. If you held out on watching the show until the end, why wouldn't you want to pick up Volume 8? It is the last chance to buy something from the show. The last chance to enjoy the adventures of Fry, Bender, Scruffy, and the rest. If you were ever a Futurama fan, especially if you watched the Comedy Central run, this is definitely something worth a pick up.

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