Another great science fiction phenomenon which has featured the talents of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner is about to get a new life. 20th Century Fox has announced it will produce 26 new episodes of the animated comedy Futurama, to air on Comedy Central (or possibly FOX). Details below, plus a look at some Trek/Futurama connections.
Good News Everybody! – Futurama returns 2010
Futurama went off the air in 2003 with only 72 episodes, but it has found a new life in repeats (sound familiar), and later with four DVD movies. Comedy Central (owned by Viacom who also own Paramount) has found success running the repeats and DVD movies and they wanted more original content. Variety has confirmed the story from Collider, and added new details.
All of the original voice cast will be returning and the new episodes will begin airing on Comedy Central in mid-2010. The deal calls for 26 new episodes. 20th Century Fox also has the right to sell the episodes to a broadcast network (probably FOX), but they would still run on Comedy Central in repeats.
Star Trek and Futurama
Futurama has looked to Trek for jokes since its pilot episode (dozens are cataloged at Memory Alpha and The Infosphere). The Trek references go from the subtle (like using the ‘door swoosh’ and red alert sounds from TOS), to the overt like voice cameos from Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, William Shatner and Jonathan Frakes (many appearing in multiple episodes). References have covered every Trek show, including Enterprise.
The most overt Star Trek reference was the season four episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" which was about how Star Trek was banned in the 31st century, and included all of the above voice cameos. Here is a clip from that episode (with more at comedycentral.com)
The Trek refs started from the beginning, here is Nimoy’s first cameo, from the Futurama pilot episode:
|Spock’s Brain (in a Jar)
And more recently, in this clip from the 2008 Futurama DVD "Bender’s Game", you can see a transporter accident joke and a cameo from George Takei (with Enterprise/Bakula reference).
So we should expect that the Trek jokes to keep coming in 2010. What will the writers of Futurama have to say about the new Star Trek movie?