Archive for June, 2010

The Best Futurama Episodes Ever (So Far!)

Futurama Thursdays 10pm / 9c
Recap-O-Rama: 5 Seasons in 7 Minutes
Futurama New Episodes Futurama New Episodes Ugly Americans

Good news, everyone! My grumpiness over Seth MacFarlane’s dominance in the world of animated sitcoms has slightly subsided! This has happened not because I suddenly find any of his shows particularly funny, but because the universe just got one or two iotas less hilariously cruel, although several iotas more hilarious overall: Futurama is returning to air! Even if you’re not a superfan, you can catch up on what you’ve missed with the above recap video from Comedy Central.

I must begrudgingly admit that we have Family Guy to thank for this. That show’s unholy resurrection after strong Cartoon Network rerun ratings encouraged Fox to invest in a series of Futurama DVD movies, which were also broken up into a sixteen-episode fifth season of the show for Comedy Central, long after it went off the air in 2003 (which itself was awhile after it had ceased production). The success, in turn, of those DVDs, combined with the continuing fragmentation of the TV landscape, convinced Fox to produce another batch of genuine episodes for Comedy Central. Thirteen will air this year, and thirteen in 2011, with the possibility for more down the road, but let’s not get greedy.

I’m not one of those people who disavows any Simpsons episodes made after 1998 (or, even more frightening, 1995, or 1992! These people exist and they are really depressing!). However, I don’t think there’s any question that for the years Futurama aired (1999-2003), it was superior to the then-current Simpsons episodes. The sum total Futurama may not be as majestic as Seasons Three through Nine of The Simpsons, which as far as I’m concerned represents one of mankind’s more impressive achievements, but it is better than seventy-some episodes of just about anything else save maybe Seinfeld.

In celebration of the return of one of the best shows of the past decade or six, Marisa and I have been systematically watching every episode of Futurama ever produced; we’re concluding this evening with the final DVD movie, Into the Wild Green Yonder, and going straight into the two new episodes airing at 10PM on Comedy Central. This nerd download has put me in a good position to count down the top seven episodes of Futurama. There were only seventy-two episodes in the original run, and the movies are sort of a different beast, so I’m keeping it to the top ten percent (but for the record, The Beast with a Billion Backs is probably my favorite of the four DVD experiments). Into the breach, meatbags:

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6 comments June 24th, 2010

World Cup 2010: The Commercializing

So the World Cup starts in two days. It’s exciting! We’ve been in a bit of a dead sprint getting all the pre–World Cup stuff done here at work, but now it’s really just time to wait till the games start on Friday (at 9:30 in the morning. I’m sure you can find a bar that has breakfast specials if you’re really interested in South Africa v. Mexico). So I thought I’d take a bit of a look at the TV aspect of the tournament, or at least the pre-tournament TV aspect: The commercials. I will not lie; there have been some fantastic commercials in advance of SA2010. Here are a few of my favorites.

Nike: Write the Future

It scares me a little to imagine how much this cost. Nike’s three-minute opus features about a dozen of the biggest names in the game, including a few who won’t be playing in South Africa (Brazil’s Ronaldinho, seen here doing his trademark samba over the ball, failed to make his team’s final squad of 23, because Brazil is just so good that they cut players other countries would kill to have. Also, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, the guy in orange at the beginning, has a broken arm and might not play). My favorite section is about 45 seconds in, when England’s Wayne Rooney sees the outcome of one play, if he makes a tackle or if he fails, and there’s a brief clip of American superstars (the closest thing we have to superstars!) Landon Donovan and Tim Howard laughing at him. Then, of course, he plays table tennis with Federer, which is hilarious. And I really enjoy the concept of Ronaldo: The Movie, starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Basically, this commercial makes me want to watch soccer. And buy Nikes. Mission accomplished!

ETA: Seth Stevenson over at Slate points out that the commercial was directed by clever Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu (hat tip to Friend of the ‘Faux Ali). Seth also spotlights another of my favorite moments in the spot and uses a particular bit of British football slang I love: “Later, Cristiano Ronaldo fantasizes that a successful World Cup will land him an appearance on The Simpsons (he nutmegs Homer, who exclaims, “Ronal-d’oh!”) and make him the subject of a blockbuster bio-pic starring Gael García Bernal.”

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5 comments June 9th, 2010


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