Wednesday night was the clever, touching, and surprisingly violent final episode of perennial animated sci-fi sitcom, Futurama. As you may recall from having seen us tout it for several days straight, before and after the telecast on Comedy Central, there was a live roundtable discussion hosted by Chris Hardwick with several members of the cast and crew. They were fun AND informative, if two such things can exist in harmony. Now, if you missed them, or if you just want to watch them again, both pre- and post-episode specials are available to watch on the Nerdist Channel.
The pre-show show consisted of creator Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, voice actors Phil LaMarr and Lauren Tom, and director Peter Avanzino, who talked a lot about the difficulty of cramming the show’s sometimes abundant visual jokes into a 20 minute cartoon. It also appears Lauren’s laugh won her the job, as did Phil’s ability to switch to a Jamaican accent at the eleventh hour. Gotta be flexible. We’re also treated to Groening and Cohen’s favorite scenes/moments from all of Futurama‘s 140 episodes, and they both happen to be from the 2010 episode, “The Late Philip J. Fry,” which is totally one of the best episodes. Also, fun fact: did you know writer Ken Keeler has the rare distinction of having written four separate series finales for Futurama? It’s the show that won’t die!
After the finale episode, “Meanwhile,” Groening and Cohen were back with Chris, along with writer/producer Patric M. Verrone and voice actors Billy West and Maurice LaMarche. When you get those two actors in the same room, you can bet that others find it hard to get a word in edgewise, but it does happen. This 45-minute special talked about the show’s final episode a bit more in-depth, but the panelists also chimed in with favorite guest stars (Billy West tells a fantastic story about speaking to William Shatner on the phone), favorite characters, and the very real probability of a Futurama episode of The Simpsons. Look out for the Nerdist Podcast’s resident guffaw-er Kyle Clark (who isn’t me, you guys), as he gets called “a young Matt Groening.” Also, if Billy and Maurice have their way, there will be a Zapp Brannigan and Kif spinoff series. We can hope, can’t we?!?!
Futurama was and is one of the best, smartest, and most inventive shows ever on the air, and these two specials are a really nice sendoff and postmortem for such a landmark in funny.