Futurama appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I’ve always been impressed with other Futurama releases, and the new series looked great.
From start to finish, the shows offered excellent delineation. They were consistently crisp and distinctive, without any signs of softness. The programs lacked jaggies or shimmering, and I also noticed no signs of edge haloes or source flaws.
Futurama always went with a bright, varied palette, and the new batch of shows followed that pattern. The episodes featured a nice range of hues that seemed lively and dynamic. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. All in all, the episodes provided terrific visuals.
Though not as dazzling, DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Futurama was more than satisfactory. The mixes occasionally boasted lively material, usually due to space flights or mayhem. Those weren’t constant elements in the shows, but they cropped up often enough to add some zing to the series. Otherwise, we got good stereo music and a nice sense of general ambience.
At all times, audio quality pleased. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared bold and full, while effects showed nice clarity. Those elements came across as dynamic and powerful. I thought this was worth a solid “B”.
We find a positive set of extras here. All 13 episodes include audio commentaries. For these, executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen and actors Billy West and John DiMaggio chat on all of them. In addition, we hear from directors Frank Marino (1, 8), Dwayne Carey-Hill (2, 9), Stephen Sandoval (3, 10), Crystal Chesney-Thompson (4, 11), Raymie Muzquiz (5, 12), and Ray Claffey (6, 13), writers Maiya Williams (5) and Lewis Morton (7), supervising director Peter Avanzino (1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13), producers Claudia Katz (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) and Lee Supercinski (3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13), co-executive producers Eric Horsted (1, 6, 7, 12), Dan Vebber (3, 9), Michael Rowe (4, 6, 10, 13), Patric M. Verrone (5, 8, 11), and Josh Weinstein (10, 13), and actors David Herman (2, 3, 9), Tress MacNeille (3, 9), Lauren Tom (4, 6, 10), and Maurice LaMarche (5, 8, 11).
If you listened to commentaries for prior Futurama programs, you’ll know what to expect here. Cohen tends to act as master of ceremonies, and that’s a good thing, as he keeps matter on topic. We learn about the series’ restart as well as aspects of various story/character elements, some animation topics, and performances.
With Simpsons commentaries, the actors usually don’t add much, but that’s not the case here. West and DiMaggio are always irrepressible; they throw out jokes and impersonations that enliven the proceedings. Though the tracks occasionally sag, they’re usually informative and fun.
Disc One includes a collection of 22 Deleted Scenes. These run a total of 10 minutes, 19 seconds, and they mostly consist of finished animation; a few use storyreels, but not many.
The clips also tend to offer brief additions to existing sequences, which makes sense when you figure they average less than 30 seconds a scene. The biggest addition comes from a reveal of the “Sand Hogs” who became the mutants in “Revolting”. Otherwise, we just get short snippets. They’re quick but enjoyable.
On Disc One, we also get a featurette called Behind the Fungus: Makin’ a Hit Song. This four-minute, 59-second piece focuses on actor Billy West as he talks about the creation of a tune used in the “Proposition Infinity” episode; we also get some comments from guitarist Greg Leon. Mostly we watch the two as they wail on guitars. Not much actual info emerges.
We finish Disc One with Previously on Futurama. This goes for one minute, 21 seconds and provides some unused opening animation created for the four direct-to-video movies. It’s a fun addition.
Over on Disc Two, we begin with an “original video comic book” called The Adventures of Delivery-Boy Man. Purportedly “scribbled and performed by Philip J. Fry”, it runs seven minutes, 14 seconds and gives us a program based on the piece seen during “Lrrreconcilable Ndnifferences”. It’s a lot of fun and a nice bonus here.
We can check out the comic with or without commentary from Cohen, Groening and . They tell us about the comic’s origins and aspects of its creation. They give us a good discussion of this extra.
Next comes a music video. “Bend It Like Bender” lasts two minutes, 42 seconds and compiles a bunch of Bender snippets, many from prior incarnations of Futurama. We watch these along with a jaunty little tune. This is a cute extra but not anything memorable.
A live table read for “The Prisoner of Benda” fills 35 minutes, 10 seconds. It gathers cast and crew to offer an initial run-through of that episode’s script. As we listen to the read, we see storyboards for the episode. This is a cool addition, though I’d like the option to watch the actors at work; while it’s nice to see the boards, it’d be just as fun to check out video footage of the run-through itself.
Futurama returns from the dead yet again, and it does so with satisfying results. As usual, not all of the shows are winners, but most are quite entertaining, and a few classics emerge. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals as well as very good audio and supplements. I’m happy to have more Futurama and feel sure fans will enjoy these programs.