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SDCC: Futurama Season 11 Premiere ‘The Impossible Stream’ Review

July 23, 2023 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Futurama - Season 11 - The Impossible Stream Image Credit: Matt Groening/Hulu
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SDCC: Futurama Season 11 Premiere ‘The Impossible Stream’ Review  

The Planet Express crew is back, baby! It’s been ten years since Futurama went off the air with its latest revival on Comedy Central, and it’s back again with a new season, this time on Hulu. Futurama may be 24 years old at this point, but even after all this time, the series hasn’t lost its sense of snappy, clever comedy mixing classic sci-fi with a caustic reflection of pop culture and media. Hulu and 20th Television presented the return of Futurama this weekend at the San Diego Comic-Con, with an early screening of the debut episode of the new Hulu season. Season 11 will consist of 10 episodes out of a 20-episode order.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing situation with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes in Hollywood, none of the voice cast or creators Matt Groening or David X. Cohen were in attendance for the Futurama panel at Comic-Con. However, some of the storyboard artists and directors were in attendance to discuss the show’s return and answer fans’ questions. Of course, the true meat and potatoes was the panel screening an early look at the Season 11 premiere episode, “The Impossible Stream.”

Of course, things pick up with a prologue taking the story back to how the show last ended on Comedy Central with the finale, “Meanwhile.” It looks like Fry and Leela took Professor Farnsworth up on his offer and went back in time, and now they are young again. Essentially, the prologue presents a quick and goofy way for the show to reset the status quo, as it often does. However, it appears that Farnsworth didn’t re-write time to the beginning of the series. Instead, events pick up where they left off when the timestream was frozen for everyone except Fry and Leela at the end. The good news is that Fry and Leela are still together. At the very least, the new season won’t be mired too heavily in Fry and Leela’s “Will they or won’t they” melodrama. Hopefully, Fry and Leela are together now, similar to Kif and Amy for much of the show’s run.

Instead, for the season premiere, Fry feels sorry for himself that the year is now 3023, and he has next to nothing to show for it. He’s accomplished very little in 24 years, so he sets out to watch every television show possible. Unfortunately, binge-watching the famous soap opera All My Circuits is nigh impossible. The show has been canceled and revived so much (Sound familiar?) that there are now thousands of episodes. Leela reveals to Fry that there is an easier method to watch an abundance of TV episodes in one sitting: binge-viewing! Yes, the season premiere is a commentary on binge-viewing and streaming content.

This is where that classic Futurama charm comes through. Futurama has a clever way of commenting on topical, current issues through the lens of people living in an imagined future in 1,000 years, but it does so in a clever, hilarious way that blends sci-fi and comedy like sauerkraut on a hot dog. Of course, Fry commits to binge-watching the entirety of All My Circuits, except this form of binge-viewing is incredibly dangerous and could potentially kill Fry. After Fry enters a bizarre fugue state watching the soap opera, the Planet Express team realizes they have to find a way to continue creating new episodes of the cyborg soap, until they can devise a way to free Fry from his self-inflicted predicament.

For fans of Futurama, the show has maintained the high standard the series set since 1999. The voice cast still brings their A-game, especially John DiMaggio as Bender, the show’s true star and robotic antihero. The series maintains its clever gags and one-liners, along with the brilliant peppering of social commentary. The joke works so well because Futurama has a strong self-deprecating yet resilient charm. All of the protagonists are misfits, morons, or incompetent, but they are still incredibly charming and likable. Even though the episode’s premise was the result of Fry coming up with this misguided idea that he needs to binge-watch a bad TV show, his friends still go out of their way to help him see it through and save his life.

The show has also not lost its sense of wit. The writers have a lot of fun with the idea of how many times the series has come back from the dead. Other animated shows that have survived cancellation have made similar jokes before, but Futurama executes them with the show’s trademark style and flair. Leela and Bender pitching a revival of All My Circuits works tremendously well as a parable for Futurama’s own history. Not to mention, the robot network executives are hilarious, and their resolution for how to deal with acting star Calculon being dead was fantastic. Maybe the writers of Futurama were already aware of what was coming with the current labor strikes, but with the issues surrounding the entertainment industry, some of the jokes in the season premiere were eerily prescient. Not to mention, work on the reboot likely started over a year and a half ago.

TV has changed a great deal in the last 10 years alone. However, it’s still good to see Futurama back doing its thing, Bender causing mayhem, and the gang being back together again. Futurama may not be an animated television masterpiece, but the show and its character have not lost any of their charm, and it will be fun to see how the show continues to mock and satirize modern issues through its unique lens throughout Season 11.


Image Credit: Matt Groening/Hulu

New episodes of Futurama Season 11 will debut weekly on Hulu starting Monday, July 24.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Futurama is back, and it's great to see the whole gang together again. Television has changed, but it’s comforting to see that the Planet Express crew has stayed relatively the same. The quality of the show also remains consistent. While a great deal of the status quo was restored following the previous series finale, some newer developments were satisfyingly left intact. "The Impossible Stream" pokes fun at the evolving TV era of binging content and streaming formats, but it does so through the fun lens of Futurama's unique brand of sci-fi/comedy. Plus, more Bender is always a good thing.