Future Imperfect

Long ago, when Futurama was initially canceled by Fox, all of the fans were going through the stages of grief at losing such a terrific, clever show. I was one of the bereft, but in an effort to comfort myself, I remember thinking something along the lines of "Well, it's sad to see it go, but at least we have the pleasure of seeing it go out while it was still good. It's likely that if this show went on and on, it'd become as milquetoast as The Simpsons, and nobody wants to see that happen." Then the show got a miraculous second life, but in its sixth season, some of the magic had faded. There were outstanding episodes like "The Late Philip J. Fry" and "Neutopia", but writ-large, the show as whole seemed to be sagging a bit.

That's okay, though. The promise of a shiny new season in June of 2012 had me very excited to see the Planet Express crew back again. I didn't get to watch the episodes as they aired, but the first half of Season 7 just became available on Netflix Instant, and I jumped on it right away.

Uh, oh. It used to be the case that most of the episodes were outstanding. Then it shifted into a few of the episodes being outstanding. Now, there are some outstanding moments in episodes that are pretty good. I phrase it like that because I don't want to give the impression that Season 7A of Futurama is bad or not entertaining. It's still a very enjoyable show, and I'm glad it's still on the air. But this gradual quality slide is what people said around the tenth season of The Simpsons, and that show never bounced back. Futurama starts airing Season 7B this summer. I'm trying to retain cautious optimism about the fate of what has been one of my all-time favorite shows, but if these upcoming episodes follow the same trend they've been on for the last couple of seasons, it may be time to put Futurama into the cryogenic freezer for good.

Futurama - Season 7A (taken on its own): B-
Futurama - Season 7A (as a season of Futurama): C-


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