There is too much television.
There are also too many books, too many plays, and way too many films. So much so that it must surely be impossible for the ordinary person to keep up with all the best pop culture and literature. My housemate — made of much stronger stuff than me — managed to get through every episode of Breaking Bad. Apparently, it got decent a few seasons in. Myself, I can’t justify sitting through two awful seasons just on the off chance that it eventually gets better.
And it’s worse for science fiction fans. Our television shows last decades. If you were to watch every single episode of Star Trek (in each of its different series), it would take you 533 hours, 45 minutes to watch them all. That’s about 22 days of doing nothing but watching Star Trek, including the absolutely terrible Enterprise seasons.
What we need is a guide. We need the fans to admit that not every single episode of our favourite shows are essential, enriching viewing. We need people to sit down, scratch their chins and answer a simple question: ‘Which six episodes should I watch?’
Here’s my Futurama list:
1. Space Pilot 3000
This is the episode which introduces the basic idea of what’s going on. The characters are introduced (in retrospect, they sound a bit weird) and the world in which the characters inhabit is explored. Also, it’s a fairly solid episode.
2. Love’s Labors Lost in Space
First Zapp Branigan episode and the introduction of Nibbler.
3. Amazon Women in the Mood
Bea Arthur, Zapp Branigan, and death by snu-snu.
4. Parasites Lost
I’m a sap. I really am. I always enjoyed Fry and Leela’s awkward relationship and this was the episode which sold me on it.
5. Jurassic Bark
This is the episode with Fry’s dog.
6. The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings
This was the original final episode, and it was strangely, curiously, wonderfully satisfying. Also, this:
It’s weird that I think many of the newer episodes have been better than those in the original series and yet would recommend somebody watch the older episodes. The newer seasons were definitely the domain of the fans. The jokes were significantly nerdier and there were constant references back to the earlier days. Even then, The Duh-Vinci Code, The Late Philip J Fry, and Overclockwise justified the return of the series alone.