We will dance high up balancing ballet… #Choose6 Futurama edition

Recreation of the Earth Flag "Old Freebie...
Recreation of the Earth Flag “Old Freebie”, as seen in the animated series, Futurama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 CodeThe Late Philip J Fry, and Overclockwise justified the return of the series alone.

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Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based PhD student, writer, and policy wonk who writes about law, conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

4 thoughts on “We will dance high up balancing ballet… #Choose6 Futurama edition”

  1. Your linking to those youtube videos has obviously been one straw too many… account has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement.

    On topic though, I think those are all worthy episodes, but I don’t think I could *ever* try to pick a top x episodes from Futurama. While there have been some shockers, there are now far too many good ones to pick from.

  2. Good list…thoughtful.

    Such a great show. I once introduced someone to the show and we watched the whole series in a few day marathon…it was so much fun.

    My selection:
    “Space Pilot 3000”
    “Fry and the Slurm Factory” – the scene where Slurms parties to save the day had me in absolute hysterics – and when Benda tells the Crunka-lunkas to “shut the hell up”.
    “Parasites Lost” – makes me cry (plus I wish the parasites would infect me).
    “The Luck of the Fryrish” – when Bender steals the clover and the wedding band and then offers to “smack up the corpse a little” is a classic TV moment.
    “Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch” – this is an overlooked episode but it’s solid from start to finish. The scene when the celebrant refuses to change the wording and remove smismar is gold.
    “The Late Philip J. Fry” – this /still/ brings a tear to my eye when I watch it (and I watched it many times). It is a brilliant episode and really captures the Fry/Leela relationship.

    Close contenders:
    “Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?” – just hilarious fun (and Zoidberg is cute how he scuttles about).
    “A Bicyclops Built for Two” – again really funny and it captures the loneliness that Leela feels.
    “The Problem with Popplers” – so so funny.
    “Jurassic Bark” – based on the story of Hachi from Japan (which also saw me blubbering like a fool).

    I have Breaking Bad on my drive but have never started it. If it indeed has 2 slow seasons, I lack the patience for that. Game of Thrones was bad enough (and I never even went back and watched more of that).

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