Review By Paul Mount, 4 out of 5

Ok, so FUTURAMA was never going to scale the giddy height of Matt Groening’s other animated series ?a little yellow-skinned family you may have heard of known as THE SIMPSONS. But the warped and wicked adventures of the crew of the Planet Express delivery service deserved far better treatment than it received at the hands of Fox who clearly didn’t quite understand where this off-the-wall sci-fi stuff was coming from. Pah. Their stupidity is our loss so let’s savour these glorious episodes while we can.

Season three sees FUTURAMA cooking on gas. This is THE SIMPSONS on some mind-altering substance. For the uninitiated pizza delivery boy Fry has awoken from cryogenic suspension and finds himself in the year 3000. here he teams up with the girl of his dreams, one-eyed space captain Leela, the hard-drinking, wallet-lifting robot Bender (he bends things for a living), the frankly barmy Professor Farnsworth and an assorted bunch of geeks and aliens who tag along for the ride. The reason FUTURAMA is an acquired taste is because, as its creators intended, it uses every opportunity to parody and poke fun at the conventions of practically every science-fiction show and film ever made. By season three the writers are in full flow and watching these episodes is an exhausting experience. They’re hilarious and exhilarating but so packed with visual gags and sparky one-liners by the time you’ve guffawed at the hypno frog you’ve missed a dozen other quips and in-jokes. These episodes are FUTURAMA at its barmiest; you have to wonder for the sanity of the genius who came up with ‘I Dated a Robot’ which ends with the city under siege by an army of Lucy Lui’s downloaded from the internet. Or ‘The Day the World Turned Stupid’ where space brains turn the entire population of the Earth into mindless vegetables (actually, I think that one’s based on a true story), ‘Amazon Women in the Mood’ featuring the amazing Captain Brannigan and the dangers of death by snoo-snoo and ‘That’s Lobstertainment’ which focuses on my personal favourite character, Dr Zoidberg. Then there’s ‘A Tale of Two Santas’ where the world is endangered by the machbine-gun toting insane Santa robot, the penguin antics of ‘The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz’ and?ell, I could go on. Just treat yourself to this tasty boxset and marvel yet again at how much better American TV is than British.

THE DISCS: Four discs bulging with extras. As if the episodes, crisp, colourful transfers, weren’t enough, there are witty commentaries for every episode, deleted scenes (yes, even cartoons can have them), stills galleries and, as they say, much much more.

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