...and they're good! Futurama makes its Comedy Central debut until tomorrow, but we've had a sneak peek at the first two outings. It looks like there's plenty of life left in everyone's favorite animated scifi comedy that refuses to die.
We'll save our complete recap for once the episodes have officially aired, but we have a few spoiler-free initial impressions. Also, be sure to check back tomorrow for our primer on what's gone on previously in the world of Futurama, as well as our exclusive look with show creator David X. Cohen as to what lies ahead in this bold new season.
Anyone who's wondering just how the Planet Express crew get back to Earth after going through a wormhole to the other side of the universe at the end of the last DVD movie...well, the short answer is they cheat. Something called a Panama Wormhole resolves that little plot problem, setting up some not-at-all forced in-jokes about the show's new channel. However, getting rid of Zapp Brannigan and the Nimbus, who were in hot pursuit of our heroes at the end of Into the Wild Green Yonder poses a trickier problem, and in fact, this indirectly sets up the central conflict of the first episode.
What we saw in the first two episodes was good, solid Futurama — they're not all-time classics, definitely, but the episodes showed definite signs of a series that can soon return to the sorts of dizzying heights climbed by "Roswell That Ends Well" or "Luck of the Fryrish." After a couple opening acknowledgments of Futurama's second resurrection, the episodes pretty much just focus on telling stories and cracking jokes, both of which are accomplished, if not spectacularly. (There's also a ton of nudity and a shot of Amy in bondage gear, for those who aren't already convinced the show is worth checking out again.)
In the end, this is still recognizably Futurama, not the pale shadow of its former self many feared when rumors run rampant of the cast being replaced or the budget being slashed. (All the voice actors did indeed return, and I couldn't notice any obvious signs of cut corners on the animation side. This show still looks plenty expensive.) But don't take my word for it: check out both episodes during the one hour premiere event tomorrow night at 10 on Comedy Central.