Futurama: Groening and West say Season Six May Happen

FuturamaThe fourth and final Futurama direct-to-DVD movie has just been released, aptly named “Into the Wild Green Yonder.” And while the DVD seemingly ends the series, the future of the animated characters is still very much up in the air.

Created by The Simpsons’ Matt Groening and David Cohen, Futurama revolves around a slacker named Phillip J. Fry (Billy West) who is cryogenically frozen. He awakens in the year 2999 and ends up taking a job as a cargo delivery boy at Planet Express. He encounters a strange crew of characters, played by West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, Maurice LaMarche, Frank Welker, Tress MacNeille, David Herman, Byrne Offutt, Kath Soucie, Dawnn Lewis, Tom Kenny, Danny Jacobs, and Phil Hendrie.

Sandwiched between The Simpsons and The X-Files, it debuted to 19 million viewers on Sunday, March 28, 1999. The following week, it drew 14.2 million. For episode three, it was moved to a Tuesday night timeslot and attracted 8.85 million. The series was created in four seasons but the network broke it up into five, aired episodes out of order, and changed its timeslot numerous times. By the end of its run, the show was averaging 6.4 million viewers. As a consequence, the show was cancelled by the FOX network

Though the series seemed dead, the show’s cult following spelled successful syndication on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and massive DVD sales. As a result, the studio decided to revive Futurama in four made-for-DVD movies, “Bender’s Big Score,” “The Beast with a Billion Backs,” “Bender’s Game,” and “Into the Wild Green Yonder.” Following the DVD releases, the movies were split into four parts each, reworked and then combined with new footage to create 16 new episodes of the TV show. The new installments are currently airing as a new season on Comedy Central.

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DVD sales have been consistently strong for the new films. And though Fox has yet to indicate if there will be additional adventures of Fry and the gang, both Groening and West are optimistic.

The show’s creator recently told CNN, “We hope [this isn’t the end]. If it is, we feel we’re offering an emotionally satisfying conclusion to this epic science fiction saga. But we did leave the door open just a bit in case we get renewed… We’re having discussions and there is some enthusiasm but I can’t tell if it’s just me.” He enthusiastically told Total Film, “We would love to continue making more Futurama episodes in whatever form… except Pogs. I think we haven’t even exhausted all the story ideas that we came up with back when the show started in ’99.”

Cohen added, “Every morning, and I’m not making this up, I find myself thinking in the shower about the next episode that we’ll do after this one. I have it mostly worked out, so we’re ready to go if the call comes in.”

West recently told a convention audience, “They [the DVDs] sold so well that Fox started talking about doing a sixth season for television. So, I’d love that. I’d absolutely love that.” On the Hippojuce podcast, he later said, “They’re trying to figure out how to maybe do a sixth season. They’re talking about it… I hope it’s [on a] network.”

Time will tell if “Into the Wild Green Yonder” is merely the end of Futurama, or the beginning of a new life for the show.

Canceled and renewed TV show

11 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Brandon says

    That hippojuice interview just seemed filled with stupid questions. And obnoxious ones too. Eddie Murphy IS a good voice performer. Thanks to Billy West for defending him, Robin WIlliams, and so on and so forth. ANd what kind of question is that about voices being interchangeable between characters??

  2. Lukas says

    I really hope Futurama will be back. I’ve just finished watching Into the Wild Green Yonder, and I must say I liked it, even the ending. But nonetheless I really, really want more! I don’t care which network does it, but just bring it back!

  3. Ren says

    I have a feeling that “production season 6″ will be produced. Any way you look at it, it works out on both ends. What I am saying is that in “Into the Wild Green Yonder”, the film ends “open-ended”.

    If FOX decides not to continue the series, then the end of “Into the Wild Green Yonder” stands. But if FOX decides to continue, then the door is open to new possibilities. As Matt Groening said, all the story ideas have not been exhasusted. That’s a good thing.

    The one thing I can say was when Leela stated that they are back after two years (Bender’s Big Score), I thought that was an error. After I watched the DVD extras, I found out that production work on Season 5 begin in 2006. When Futurama ended in August 2003, it was part of the 2003-2004 TV Season. So in conclusion two years out of production is correct.

  4. Andy says

    john, no! there was only five seasons, season 1-4 ended with, “Devil’s Hands are idle playing things” then they came back with the 4 movies as season 5. so look it up before u talk

  5. Skip says

    Ruthlessly stole from AS? They purchased the Futurama license after Adult Swim’s expired. It was just business as usual. Besides, AS has a bunch of crap shows on now anyway.

  6. someguy says

    No mention of the show making a come-back through Adult Swim’s airing before Comedy Central so ruthlessly stole it away from them?

    I buy the DVDs, but I won’t watch it on Comedy Central. SOBs ruined my nightly line-up on Adult Swim.

    You could have at least mentioned Adult Swim.

  7. giddeon says

    I’ve bought every one of the dvd’s (episodes and films) and i’m glad to see it’s not gone unnoticed. What with all the crap they’re more than happy to make – then cancel after (in some cases) half a season wondering what went wrong it’s amazing to me how these networks can even funtion.
    If, as a TV executive, you find yourself thinking “I wonder what programs we can make to draw the viewers in” then you’re probably suffering from a short memory. Remember the really good shows you like to cancel? yea? Then i think we’ve sound you’re problem.

    Bring it back, fans of the show will follow it wherever they decide to throw it about.

  8. R.J. says

    Hope this show comes back. Evar since the show’s cancelation, i always hoped that the show would come back . Just hope that FOX makes a good desidon about this one.

  9. says

    @John: You’re sort-of correct.
    Apparently, there are two ways to look at the show’s seasons. FOX aired them out of order and broke them up into five seasons (eps 1-9, 10-29, 30-44, 45-56, 57-72).

    The production was done in four seasons (13 eps, 19 eps, 22 eps, and 18 eps) and are released that way, in the correct order, on the DVDs.

    It’s a bit confusing. Thanks for the comment!

  10. John says

    Futurama aired 5 seasons between 1999 and 2003. Season 1 was short. Comedy Central is airing the films as Season 6, and all this talk of new episodes must be Season 7.

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