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Entertainment Weekly


Futurama returns — but there's a twist

Everett Collection

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Do you want to return to the 31st century? Better listen up. Literally.

After a four-year hiatus, Futurama is indeed making a comeback, but there’s a catch here. It’s only for one episode, and it’s audio-only.

The 42-minute double-length podcast episode of the Emmy-winning animated sci-fi comedy reunites series overlords Matt Groening and David X. Cohen with the original cast members as Fry, Bender, Leela, Professor Farnsworth, Zoidberg, Amy, and Hermes board the Planet Express headed to deleted file planet Junkleon 7. En route, they cross paths with Klaxxon, which is described as “a nefarious life form composed entirely of soundwaves from 21st-century podcasts.” Fry & Co. attempt to save Earth from Klaxxon’s lethal, destructive soundwaves. In addition, keep an ear out for Borax Kid, Calculon, and “All My Circuits.”

The podcast “radioplay” installment will be available on Sept. 14 on The Nerdist Podcast, it was announced on Friday. (You can also listen on Soundcloud and Spotify.) The price? Free. (Hooray! A happy ending for the non-rich people!) Futurama‘s limited audio reboot experiment is an outgrowth of the Futurama writers and cast reconvening to create original content for the recently-released Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow mobile game, which allows players to go on Planet Express missions as the show’s characters. And believe it or not, Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick was instrumental in bringing this version of Futurama to life. “Last year I cornered two fine gentlemen — Matt Groening & David X. Cohen — and pitched the idea of doing a new Futurama episode as a podcast/radio play because it’s one of my favorite things AND I NEED MORE OF IT,” said Hardwick in a statement. “Today I am drooling with unfiltered joy to say that a) it’s actually happening, b) I got to voice the villain (Klaxxon), and c) I’m a freaking head in a jar in Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, a game I’ve been feverishly playing since it came out. Galaxies of thanks to Matt, David and TinyCo for acquiescing to the maniacal ravings of a well-meaning fanboy.”

Futurama has set off a strangely sci-fi-ish paradox where the episodes inspired the Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow game, and now the game is inspiring new episodes,” Cohen added in a statement. “Hooray for infinite loops!”

Matt Groening

Chronicling the exploits of a pizza delivery guy who wakes up 1,000 years into the future after being accidentally cryogenically frozen and goes to work at delivery company Planet Express, Futurama has survived cancellation more than once. Seventy-two episodes aired on Fox from 1999 to 2003 before the show was canceled; it returned to action in late 2007 with a quartet of DVD movies that were released over a 15-month period. Comedy Central — which wound up airing those films as 16 “new” episodes — fully revived the series by commissioning 68 more episodes before canceling the show, its last episode airing in fall 2013. Fans were treated to an appearance by several of the characters on a 2014 crossover episode of Groening’s The Simpsons. There have been questions and mumblings about whether the show might somehow rise again from its extremely shallow grave over the years, and this new audio-only episode adds another chapter to its never-say-die legacy.

Futurama‘s voice cast includes Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, David Herman, and Frank Welker.

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