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Futurama May Strike Back (on DVD)

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  • by Nifrith (860526) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:10PM (#12606146)
    .. the Simpsons can kiss my shiny metal ass.
  • Sound Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knoebelsPT (883833) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:10PM (#12606148)
    No commercials, new episodes, no network censors. I'll be the first in line
    • by Fyz (581804) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:59PM (#12606401)
      Unless of course the commercials are for Molten Boron.

      Nobody doesn't like Molten Boron
    • Re:Sound Great (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Scrameustache (459504)
      No commercials, new episodes, no network censors. I'll be the first in line

      Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"

      Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.

      Maybe there won't be commercial breaks, but as sure as [consummer food brand name] is delicious, there will be ads in those DVDs.

    • No commercials, new episodes, no network censors. I'll be the first in line

      I have to register a dissenting vote here.

      Futurama's pop-culture gags were stale. recycled, worn-out.

      The Simpsons is built around the dynamic of the family, you care about the family, satire in the Simpsons can be stinging and timely, but it doesn't carry a series for sixteen years.

      Futurama's rightful center is Leela and Fry, "two lost souls on the highway of life." Watching Fry grow into an adult relationship with Leela is d

  • by PornMaster (749461) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:11PM (#12606153) Homepage
    Well, it makes sense that if they didn't see enough financial benefit to broadcasting it, but there's a strong enough fan base, to sell it to them directly. Capitalism working well. Bravo!
    • by jericho4.0 (565125) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:32PM (#12606273)
      I don't understand the economics of this. Most TV watchers have access to dozens of channels, and that number goes up all the time. Futurama is a widely liked show, compared to much of the content available at any one time, yet it's still not cost effective to broadcast?

      This seems to me to indicate that something is fundamentally wrong with the model, and it will continue to push quality off the airwaves in favour of crap.

      • yet it's still not cost effective to broadcast?

        It's probably not so much that's it's not cost-effective to broadcast, but that it's not cost-effective enough. Networks make most of their money from the "hit" shows, so it's easier for them just to churn out new shows and cancel them after 3 episodes until they land the next hit. Futurama may have been profitable (I have no idea), but they were probably looking for Simpsons type numbers and regarded it as a failure.

        One day someone's going to start pande
        • by OrangeTide (124937) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @04:21PM (#12606542) Homepage Journal
          Basically you can only slice your channel 48 ways (assuming you have 24 hour programming with 30 minute shows). Public corporations need to increase profits due to outside and internal pressure from share holders and board members. But given that the amount of programming you can present has a hard limit, you need to increase the number of viewers to achieve greater profit. Which is why we see these companies pushing the next Survivor or Friends rather than the next great sci-fi cartoon sitcom.

          Cable networks have it a bit easier, often they aren't publicly owned. Or they are some smaller business unit of a larger corporation. As long as the cable network brings in some profits and doesn't seriously compete with the main programming then they have a pretty free hand. Also being subscription based changes the business model a bit.
        • by zaffir (546764) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @04:42PM (#12606669)
          The adult swim show block on Cartoon Network is doing great by offering this "niche" content. They run Futurama and Family Guy reruns every night in addition to anime and some of their own original shows.

          If you get the chance, walk down the hallway of a college dorm building a little after 11:00 PM EST. Nearly every room with a TV in it will have Adult Swim on.
      • Well, it's obviously cost-effective enough to run on at least two channels I get: Cartoon network and TBS.
        • Well, it's obviously cost-effective enough to run on at least two channels I get: Cartoon network and TBS.

          You misspelled "rerun". The main point of this whole conversation is that Futurama was axed a couple of years ago, and we want new episodes, not reruns. I can already buy the entire series on DVD, which I have done, and was very sad to find out at the end that there simply would not be a 5th season box set forthcoming (I don't have cable which is why I got the DVDs in the first place) because the se
      • by SamSim (630795) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @04:30PM (#12606607) Homepage Journal
        Animation costs much more to make than, say, reality shows. For a reality show all you really, honestly need is, I dunno, one camera and an idea. And most seem to get away with just the camera.
      • by nunchux (869574) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @05:05PM (#12606834)
        Futurama is a widely liked show, compared to much of the content available at any one time, yet it's still not cost effective to broadcast?

        Futurama was also a very expensive show. There's a huge list of writers, producers and God-knows-what-they-do executives who are paid quite a bit of money per episode. That's the real problem with the networks-- it's not the actual cost of making a show, it's that every production is top-heavy with people in suits who are paid ghastly sum to give notes. I'm speaking from experience here-- the contact list for a typical network production (animated or live) has more executives than cast and crew. And with so many people with veto power, it's really difficult for something without a very broad appeal to survive.

        Futurama is and was great, but it should have been a cable show. With a low overhead it would have found a comfortable audience and could have lasted for years. But at a network, the cost per episode was literally dozens of times what it costs to produce a cable show like Spongebob or Aqua Teen-- and since it wasn't a hit on the scale of The Simpsons, it had to go.

      • Network President: "Greetings gentlemen, you already know my Execubots. Executive Alpha, programmed to like things that are seen before. Executive Beta, programmed to roll dice to determine the fall schedule... And Executive Gamma, programmed to underestimate middle America."
    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @04:48PM (#12606719) Homepage Journal
      it makes sense that if they didn't see enough financial benefit to broadcasting it

      Futurama, like firefly, was scheduled during a "sport overtime" timeslot, i.e. it aired rarely, and sometimes only the confusing second half of the 24 minuttes would air, etc.

      Your options are:
      1. The person in charge of the schedule has never watched sports in his life and doesn't know that it tends to go long, and therefore made a mistake.
      2. The person in charge of the schedule didn't like Futurama and decided to have it cancelled by making sure no one can watch it regularly (that person cannot make the call on which show get financed and which get the plug pulled, but they have power over scheduling, and timing is everything on TV).

      Mind bogging incompetance, or mean spirited abuse of power. I'm gonna go with mean spiritted: I don't think someone that incompetant would ever earn the right to make that decision, especially since it happened again to a similar show on the same network not long afterwards.
  • by cocoacow (838794) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:13PM (#12606164) Journal
    I think this is proof that adult entertainment is really evolving. And who do we have to thank for all this wonderfullness? Adult Swim [adultswim.com].
    They have really shown the world that we want more animation, just like they get in japan. And what better then more episodes of my most favorite show of all time, (besides the simpsons). Seems the quick dissemination of television shows to DVD also really helps show those network borgs just how much we really love a show. Take that Nielsen!
  • Sweet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lullabye_Muse (808255)
    I just started my futurama collection yesterday volume one is better than the Simpsons, season one content wise.
  • This is my favorite series.
  • by vitalyb (752663) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:18PM (#12606187) Homepage
    I'd hate to offend anyone this is really just what I believe Futurama is. Shows continue if they hit the largest common dominator of the mob watching the show, sadly (aka "2 Fast 2 Furious") the common dominator is quite low.

    Result:
    Simpsons are on their what? 10th season? Futurama was canceled after 5 seasons (and correct me if the numbers are wrong, that's not the point).

    I like Simpsons as well (even if not too much) but as far as humor goes, Futurama is more witty, complicated and deep.
    • Simpsons are finishing up season 16 now, FYI. :)

      They are contracted through another 1 or 2 seasons, and they are contracted through 2010 for syndication.

      Please correct me if I'm wrong...
    • Futurama was cancelled after 4 seasons actually. The show ran 5 "seasons" because FOX kept screwing Futurama over (placing it RIGHT after sports events for one), and they had nearly a whole season worth of episodes left over by the time "season" 4 ended.

      That's why there are 4 volumes for sale on DVD.
  • by prostoalex (308614) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:18PM (#12606188) Homepage Journal
    Last year Fox started airing "My big fat obnoxious boss" - a reality show, a blatant rip-off of NBC's The Apprentice, but with a bunch of humorous twists, and parts of it were pretty funny.

    Well, they unexpectedly pulled the show after Episode 5, apparently could not compete with Desperate Housewives during the same time slot, so they figured some show about UFOs was worth it, while Obnoxious boss was not.

    They posted the remaining episodes on www.fox.com/bigfat (the link doesn't work anymore) later, with a new episode published every Friday. I am not sure what their traffic numbers were, but a lot of fans of the Boss downloaded the complete episodes.

    I'd assume Fox would be pretty open to the scheme where they charge $1 or so per download (the obnoxious boss ones were not-DRMed, just regular WMV files, as far as I can remember). Makes sense with the amount of shows they keep cancelling and each show having a "long tail" following of maybe tens of thousands fans, but not millions, to make it justifiable to air on primetime TV.
    • Why offer the ability to download an ep of a show when you can charge 40+/- dollars for a 10 ep DVD.
      • Most TV shows seem to be in the $40-50 range per season, so maybe 20-24 episodes, depending on the show and the season.

        That's somewhere around $2/ episode, plus your getting extra's like deleted scenes and commentaries, etc. However, by the time a show makes it to DVD they've already made the money on it from advertising, so the DVD sales are just gravy.

        I think there is a market for either direct to DVD or downloadable new syndicated content, though. Throw in some clever product placement, charge $2.50 a

    • Last year Fox started airing "My big fat obnoxious boss" - a reality show, a blatant rip-off of NBC's The Apprentice, but with a bunch of humorous twists, and parts of it were pretty funny.

      I see too much Apprentice simply from the ads, and you're telling that there are people who not only watch the actual show, but also blatant dumbed down rip offs? And they are willing to go through the hassle of downloading it in .wmv to see it?

      Apparently TV's good money isn't in smart sci-fi, it's in staged contests :
  • How long... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cyno01 (573917) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:18PM (#12606193) Homepage
    Before TV is nothing but a preview for DVDs or some sort of streaming on demand system. How many cancled shows have been released on DVD with a bunch of episodes that never even aired?
    • How many cancled shows have been released on DVD with a bunch of episodes that never even aired?

      Clerks - The Animated Series absolutely rocks. Two episodes aired, the remaining 4 that were produced were only seen on DVD

  • DVD is nice and all, but I'm still waiting for the video game to come out. :-)
    • The Futurama video game came out like a year or more ago.
    • I'm still waiting for the video game to come out.

      Why? It's a videogame based on a TV show.
      Unless this is the first videogame based on a TV show you ever had the misfortune to try, you know it's not going to be good... that's a fundamental rule of videogames: They suck if they are based on a TV show (i.e. the game devellopers are bound by contract to agree to every whim of the TV execs).
  • by SpryGuy (206254) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:18PM (#12606199)
    I'm not sure how they really expect to do this if they're going to go direct to DVD. It seems to me that if they were interested in funding new episodes, they'd want to show them on their station, collect the ratings numbers and ad revenue, and THEN release them on DVD some time later. Wouldn't that end up making them more money, or at least give them a better shot of making a profit?

    I do hope they create more episodes though. I loved Futurama. I worry, though, if they can get all the same cast and talent back.
    • by ucblockhead (63650) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:41PM (#12606320) Homepage Journal
      Not necessarily, as airtime is a limited resource. They probably assume that they can put another show in its place that'll bring in more ad revenue. This is quite rational if a show has a strong fan base but gets low overall numbers.


      The shows that do best are stuff that appeals enough to lots and lots of people so that they watch it instead of the other channel. (Roughly speaking.) Lots of people watch stuff on TV just because it's there. A show that most people don't care for but that a few people love will do horribly.


      DVD sales are the opposite. A show makes lots of money on DVD if it can convince someone to pay $59.95 or more for a season. The only people who are going to do this are rabid fans. So on DVD, a show with a bunch of rabid fans will do better than a show that everyone sort of likes but no one loves.


      That's why a "Firefly" can sell more DVDs than "Everybody Loves Raymond". Fewer people like "Firefly", so it got poorer ratings. But the number of people who loved "Firefly" is greater than those who loved "Everybody Loves Raymond", so it sold more DVDs.


      If shows start going "straight to DVD", it could be very good for those of us who likes niche shows. Producers will have to worry less about appealing to the entire TV viewing population and will pay more attention to the rabid fanbase.

      • But the number of people who loved "Firefly" is greater than those who loved "Everybody Loves Raymond", so it sold more DVDs.

        But I thought everybody loved Raymond?

        (I can't believe nobody took that one before me!)

    • a lot of movies get produced by large production houses only to be released on dvd and never shown on the big screen. take "Equilibrium" for example, or half of disney's movies.
    • It seems to me that if they were interested in funding new episodes, they'd want to show them on their station, collect the ratings numbers and ad revenue, and THEN release them on DVD some time later.

      You got your "they" confused.

      They are the Fox DVD execs, they want to sell more Futurama box sets, because Futurama box sets have brought them great profit.
      The other batch of execs, the Broadcasting subdivision, don't want to air Futuramas, but the DVD people don't care if the Broadcasters want to air them
      • Well, okay, good point. But Fox has cable outlets as well. I think the grandparent post is right. By also producing for some kind of cast, the costs can be divided among the two divisions, and there's an opportunity to add to the revenue with the airing receipts.

        Didn't Groening say that one reason Futurama's broadcast future was dicey was that, unlike King of the Hill, Fox didn't own any of the production? So, hmmmm.

        On the other hand, straight to DVD has got to mean a lower budget (in current dollars) per
        • I think the grandparent post is right. By also producing for some kind of cast, the costs can be divided among the two divisions, and there's an opportunity to add to the revenue with the airing receipts.

          I'm not disagreeing with the cost/benefit logic, I'm just saying that the way Fox behaves is a classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.

          They aren't acting in their collective, long term best interest, but in short sighted, selfish ways.
  • by tfcdesign (667499) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:25PM (#12606243) Journal
    Bring new episodes to TV on Adult Swim! Geeze, you'd think these guys who are running the show would have a clue about market and demographic.
    • Hopefully the guys at [AdultSwim] will buy the rights to play the new episodes and air them after they run through all the older ones. It may be a while without any Futurama, but hopefully they will show them! I love watching Futurama at 11!
  • obligatory quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:33PM (#12606282)

    "That's not why people watch TV. Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared."

    I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but if you read slashdot's headers there'll be random futurama quotes on each server reply. eg:

    X-Bender: Well I don't have anything else planned for today, let's get drunk!

  • This is something that it seems like Matt Groening has been pushing for for a while now. Every once in a while you'll see a Futurama reference in Matt's Simpsons. I'm sure he's happy Fox is considering reviving his hilarious futuristic show, but he'll probably end up pushing for it to go back on the air too. With the recent success of the return of Family Guy, I'm willing to bet it will go back on Fox rather than straight to DVD, given it's picked back up at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:36PM (#12606293)
    Morbo is pleased.
  • Yes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by radarsat1 (786772) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:42PM (#12606327) Homepage
    I cannot freaking WAIT to downl.. I mean... BUY this!

    ("I kid, I kid!")
  • by Jesse_132 (830242) <anotherjesse@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:44PM (#12606334) Homepage
    It would be great if apple could leverage their iTunes music store by adding the ability to buy episodes directly.
    • It is coming. And it will be cheaper than the half-assed Windows Media Centre as well. Airport Video will stream 720p HDTV from your Mac where you bought the series, Decomp will happen on dedicated hardware in the Airport Video, you computer will be the storage and purchase hub. A remote will hook up to the Airport Video, so you can control it via the screen or without (for music).

      The digital hub becomes a reality.
  • by mrshowtime (562809) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:44PM (#12606335)
    Every few months or so a "story" pops up that Fox is thinking about renewing Futurama or doing the straight to dvd thing. This is usually drummed up by some Futurama Fan site that is Jealous of Family Guy's success and thinks that because "crappy Family Guy" was renewed that Futurama should be renewed also. Discounting the fact that Family Guy is one of highest rated shows on Adult Swim and the second highest selling dvd-t.v. show of all time.

    Problem is, Fox does NOT OWN FUTURAMA, Matt Groining does. The main reason Fox let Futurama die in the firtt place is because of that very reason. Dvd sales of Futurama have not been a barn burner and given the very high cost of producing a Futurama episode I doubt even if Cartoon Network picked up some of the bill it would even be profitable.

    Everyone seems to forget that Fox was contractually obligated to the four seasons that aired, and sneakily pre-empted Futurama so that there would be a backlog of episodes so they could tell M.G. "Sorry Matt, there is a backlog of episodes, so we don't need a fifth season," without upsetting the Goose that laid the Golden egg (Simpsons being that egg).

    The ONLY way Futurama would see the light of day is if M.G. paid for it himself. End of Story.
    • by aslate (675607)
      Every few months or so a "story" pops up that Fox is thinking about renewing Futurama or doing the straight to dvd thing. This is usually drummed up by some Futurama Fan site that is Jealous of Family Guy's success and thinks that because "crappy Family Guy" was renewed that Futurama should be renewed also. Discounting the fact that Family Guy is one of highest rated shows on Adult Swim and the second highest selling dvd-t.v. show of all time.
      Wrong: The Futurama community knows that it's basically dead, we
      • I'm inclined to agree with you on this. If you ever watched the commentary for all 80+ episodes of the series, they discuss this topic stating it would be extremely difficult to revive the series due to most of the crew moving on to do other work elsewhere in the industry.

        Of course, I'd love to see this proven wrong, as Futurama was a fantastic series, but I really don't see this happening, unless much of the staff is replaced with newer (and possibly less skilled) people.
    • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @04:29PM (#12606603)
      Except that Billy West (voice of Fry, Prof. Farnsworth, Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan) has indicated [billywest.com] that David X. Cohen (writer, exec producer) has talked with the Fox executives, and they were very open to going forward with this. This isn't just rumors from some comic con, this is coming from the actual people who make the show.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @03:47PM (#12606346) Homepage Journal
    I want to see more of the intrigue and backstabbing of The Empire between the undoubtedly short reigh of Empress Sato and the arrival of "our" Spock and Kirk in Mirror, Mirror.

    Send those direct to video, or if it's too expensive to film, direct-to-the-bookstore.
  • How horribly buzzwordy. What's wrong with simply saying "new episodes of Futurama"?

    -Stephen
  • Super news on the potential for a rebirth.

    What does my plate say ladies/gents? :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/21274068@N00/830844/ [flickr.com]

    Hedley
  • by miyako (632510) <miyakoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 22, 2005 @04:04PM (#12606422) Homepage Journal
    I'm really glad to see that it's being considered, though I'm not going to hold my breath. It always stuck me as odd that Family Guy got so much more support than Futurama. While I think familiy guy is a perfectly good show as shows go, I think that Futurama is perhaps the best pure-comedy show I've ever watched.
  • "PUNY FOX EXECUTIVE, you will bring back futurama or suffer the wrath of MORBO!!!"

    "aah hah hah. that's nice."
  • If its like the last several seasons of the simpsons then I am not interested. Matt Groening in his Life In Hell comic strip during the 2004 US presidential election cycle made some sort of promise that it would be just anti-bush only. I took that to mean just the life in hell comic strip but it turned out to be in the Simpsons. I applaud him for making good on his word (even though I am obviously on the other side of the political spectrum).

    If Matt Groening takes that kind of work to Futurama I would rath
  • by aslate (675607) <planetexpress@NosPam.gmail.com> on Sunday May 22, 2005 @04:50PM (#12606730) Homepage
    Quoted from Billy West's Message Board [billywest.com]:

    Well, I spoke to David X.Cohen because we did promos for a new Futurama compilation and he said that they did have talks with the top guys at FOX and they were extremely impressed with the sales of the Futurama DVDs. The idea was to make a Futurama movie right to DVD and then a 2nd and a 3rd. That's what's being discussed. Fox is trying to figure out a budget for the whole project, and it sounded like David X. was very jazzed!

    I would love more than anything to do that show again. I thought it was best experience on every level... creatively, voice-wise, writing, animation and the laughs. The laughs. Writers and performers that respected each other.


    It's got a bit more effect when you have a quote from a voice-actor talking with a producer.
  • Firefly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Digitus1337 (671442)
    I can't be the only one here that wants to see Firefly back on the air (or DVD for that matter). I don't know how Fox does it, but they let the best shows get started and then cut them down in their prime. Does anybody know what the survivability of a show is like on these stations?
  • by sootman (158191) on Sunday May 22, 2005 @08:48PM (#12608599) Homepage Journal
    ...when I go to buy it, will there be a bunch of football videos on the shelf where Futurama should be?

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