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Futurama Lives Again in Podcast Form!

November 13th, 2017
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Good news, everyone!  Futurama, the unkillable show, has returned from the dead yet again, this time in podcast form!  I just listened to the 40-minute Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow Presents Radiorama, available on nerdist.com, and it was amazing, exactly like an audio-play version of a classic Futurama episode.  It was glorious.

Futurama is the often-ignored stepchild of Matt Groening’s The Simpsons.  While I am an ENORMOUS Simpsons fan, and that show is clearly the greater television achievement, I love Futurama so deeply. That show always spoke directly to everything I loved (particularly sci-fi and animation) and found funny.  I also grew to love its sprawling cast of characters so much, to an even greater degree than my love for the inhabitants of Springfield.

Time and again, Futurama has seemed to be dead and gone.  The series premiered on Fox in 1999 and was cancelled in 2003.  I was heartbroken.  Back in 2003, when a show was cancelled, that was pretty much it.  But after the reruns on Comedy Central proved unexpectedly popular, the series was miraculously brought back to life in the form of four feature-length direct-to-DVD films that were released between 2007-2009.  I was over the moon, even more so when that too proved not to be the end, when Comedy Central picked up the show, leading to the production of four additional seasons which aired from 2010-2013. That for sure seemed like the end of the road, but the series has now returned in the form of a mobile game called Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow.  I am not a gamer, so of even more excitement to me was the announcement that, to promote the game, they would release Radiorama on the Nerdist Podcast.

I love Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Podcast!  It’s a series of wonderful in-depth interviews with a variety of fascinating and funny people from across the film, TV, and comedy world.  But I wasn’t sure what a podcast version of Futurama would look like.

To my delight, it’s a perfect recreation of the show, just in audio-only form!  The podcast was written by Futurama co-creator and show-runner David X. Cohen along with Futurama writers Ken Keeler and Patric Verrone.  It stars the entire regular Futurama cast, including Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Phil LaMarr, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, and David Herman.

In this double-length episode, the Planet Express crew unwittingly release Klaxxon, a monster comprised of millions of unlistened-to podcasts that have achieved sentience. Meanwhile, Fry and Leela hit a rough patch, while Bender seeks to reconcile with his mother–who is just a robotic arm — while being given the opportunity to once again costar with the robotic thespian Calculon on the popular show All My Circuits.

Trying to “get the band back together” four years after the show was last in production is a dicey prospect, but Radiorama is a perfect Futurama episode.  It’s as if no time at all has passed, which is an incredible accomplishment.  The episode contains the show’s classic mix of terrific humor, wonderful sci-fi concepts, and great character development.

The idea of Klaxxon as the villain on this podcast version if the show is wonderfully meta, as was the idea of casting Chris Hardwick, the host of the Nerdist Podcast — which is not only a famous podcast but also the host-site for this Futurama adventure — as Klaxxon’s voice.  Mr. Hardwick is great in the role, and Klaxxon is a classic type of Futurama monster.

The episode takes full advantage of this being an audio-only production, with lots of funny sound-effects jokes and other gags based on the idea that we are listening to this story but not seeing it.  It’s very clever!

Getting to hear these amazing actors voice all these characters again is a delight.  This voice cast is truly one of the finest ever assembled. The very funny script gives them lots to play with, and this cast makes to most of it.

While we spend a lot of time with the main characters, the writers cleverly found ways to include many of the show’s vast array of supporting characters.  Before the podcast is finished, we’ve heard from Zapp Brannigan, Kif, President Nixon, Scruffy, Morbo, Hedonism Bot, and many other favorites.  (Though sadly not Lrrr from Omicron Persei Eight!!)

I absolutely adored this podcast. What an expected delight to have a brand new Futurama adventure!!  It’s available for FREE on the Nerdist website right now, so click here and give it a listen!

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