Futurama-Season 2 (Box Set) (2000)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love? Animatic
Easter Egg-Gallery: The Class Of Futurama (7)
Storyboards-A Bicyclops Built For Two
Gallery-Still Gallery/Concept Art
Featurette-International Clips (4)
Featurette-Alien Advertisements (4)
Trailer-Futurama Season 1 DVD Trailer
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
David X. Cohen
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
|Smoking||Yes, Robots seem to be heavy smokers in the future.|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Some episodes only.|
As Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth’s catchphrase says, “Good News Everyone”, Futurama Season 2 has arrived here in the merry ‘ole land of R4.
Following on from the success of The Simpsons, the same production team, headed by Matt Groening, has delivered a less commercial, more adult (not that The Simpsons isn’t adult) series that builds upon the references to pop culture and obscure sight gags that worked so well in The Simpsons. Utilising more 3D and other computer animation techniques, Futurama is a positive evolution for The Simpsons' artistic style.
Set in the year 3000, the series is based upon characters who work for an intergalactic delivery company; ‘Planet Express’. This futuristic setting allows the creators to get away with storylines and characters that wouldn’t have fitted into The Simpsons' universe. In some ways it means that Futurama can be every week what The Simpsons is only once a year at Halloween.
In all honesty, this series have become a favourite of mine over The Simpsons despite its poor treatment on Australian TV. The darker, more complex edge to the characters doesn’t seem to have the same level of commercial appeal and perhaps as a consequence, the show has been cancelled in the US. FOX is now only airing ‘new’ episodes not screened from the previous season(s). This is a real tragedy in my mind, but I’m slightly comforted by the fact that there are still many episodes that I haven’t yet seen, and that the series has been given such superb treatment on our beloved format.
The DVD set is collated and ordered by production season, which differs greatly from original airing date, but considering the poor treatment of this series by the FOX broadcast network, this is the best way that they could have been presented on DVD.
|Episode S02E05.||I Second That Emotion |
|After flushing Nibbler down the toilet, Prof. Farnsworth installs an Emotion chip in Bender that allows him to feel Leela’s emotions. Consumed with sadness, Bender goes on a mission down into the sewers to find Nibbler and is confronted by its mysterious inhabitants. |
|Episode S02E06.||Brannigan, Begin Again||After destroying the DOOP (Democratic Order of Planets) headquarters, Zaap Branigan is court-martialled and dishonourably discharged (along with sidekick Kiff Kroeker). Turning to Leela for help, Zaap and Kiff get a job aboard the Planet Express delivery ship, but Zaap turns to mutiny on their first mission. |
|Episode S02E07.||A Head in the Polls||After hearing of big gains in the titanium market, Bender sells his titanium rich body to a pawn shop. Bender’s body is purchased by Richard Nixon’s head in a bid to win the forthcoming world elections and become world president. |
|Episode S02E08.||Xmas Story |
|A Christmas episode with the typical Futurama twist. Santa is now an evil robot, who shoots everyone on sight.|
|Episode S02E09.||Why Must I be a Crustacean in Love||Dr. Zoidberg travels back to his home planet to find a partner to mate with. He has some difficulty attracting females, and asks Fry for help.|
|Episode S02E11.||The Lesser of Two Evils||Prof. Farnsworth hires another robot who is identical to Bender save for an 'evil' looking goatee beard as extra security for the delivery of a jewelled tiara for the Miss Universe pageant.|
|Episode S02E10.||Put Your Head on my Shoulder||Fry and Amy become an item, but Fry quickly realises that he is more suited to single life. Ready to break things off, he is injured in a car accident and the quick thinking Dr. Zoidberg saves Fry's life by grafting his severed head onto Amy's body.|
|Episode S02E12.||Raging Bender||As a result of a brawl in a cinema, Bender joins the Ultimate Robot Fighting League. He is the toast of the town until the fickle audience forces a change of persona...|
|Episode S02E13.||A Bicyclops Built for Two||Leela discovers another cyclops and plans to marry him to perpetuate her race. Fry and Bender set out to gather evidence that all is not as it seems.|
|Episode S02E15.||A Clone of My Own||Disheartened at the prospect of his old age and accomplishments, Prof. Farsworth revives his clone, a 12 year old boy called Cubert. After naming him as his Heir, the professor realises that Cubert has plans of his own.|
|Episode S02E14.||How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back||Hermes misses a promotion and is sent on a vacation to overcome his disappointment. A female bureaucrat is assigned to Planet Express in his place and is turned on by Fry's untidiness.|
|Episode S02E16.||The Deep South||On a rare day off, the Planet Express team relax fishing. After hooking a huge fish, the ship is submerged and the crew discovers a lost underwater city inhabited by mermaids and mermen.|
|Episode S02E17.||Bender Gets Made||Bender joins the Robot Mafia, but things turn sour when his first big score involves the Planet Express crew.|
|Episode S02E19.||Mother's Day||Mother's Day in the year 3000 sees all robots lavish presents on 'Mom', president of Mom's Friendly Robot Company. Mom proceeds to use the robots to orchestrate her world domination plans.|
|Episode S02E18.||The Problem with Popplers||Bender, Leela and Fry discover an irresistible snack on a previously undiscovered planet. When it is discovered that the snack is actually the young of the notorious Omicronians, they seek restitution from the Earth Government.|
|Episode S02E20.||Anthology of Interest 1||Prof. Farnsworth invents a 'what if' machine and the crew pose it questions such as what if Bender were 500 feet tall, or Fry had never woken up in the year 3000.|
|Episode S03E02.||War is the H-Word||Bender and Fry join the army to take advantage of the military discounts. War breaks out the same day, and they are thrust into combat under the command of Zapp Brannigan. Incensed at being unable to join because of her sex, Leela joins up under the guise of her alter ego, Lee Lemon.|
|Episode S03E01.||The Honking||Bender inherits a Castle from his uncle, and in a homage to classic horror movies, is transformed into a killer car after dark.|
|Episode S03E03.||The Cryonic Woman||Fry discovers his girlfriend from the year 1999 frozen in a cryonic chamber. They are frozen together again and awaken in a strange land where children rule the earth.|
Transferred from a digital source, these episodes are a joy to watch. The discs are presented in a 1.33:1 full screen format, as originally broadcast, and are not 16x9 enhanced.
The episodes are quite sharp, and stand up well to 2.5m projection. I feel that they could have been a touch sharper, but I'm tainted by some reference level DVDs which are slightly better. Perhaps the low pass filters could have had a higher frequency used during the encoding process, but in any event, the sharpness is quite good.
There is no hint of grain or low level noise in this transfer whatsoever. Shadow detail is acceptable - the nature of the animation doesn't cause the DVD any difficulty.
The colour balance and saturation in these episodes is superb. It is a real treat to watch, like most modern animation.
Having been transferred from the digital source, there is no evidence of film artefacts on these DVDs, however there are some small examples of aliasing that can be seen on a hovering platform in Brannigan, Begin Again at 9:17 and again on some jar stands in Put Your Head on my Shoulder at 0:30.
Anthology of Interest 1 contains a very noticeable instance of interlacing error at 11:07. It is surprising to see this considering the fact that I was viewing this using a de-interlacer, but it was vividly apparent. In the context of the scene, it is possible that it was done purposefully.
The only two other notable issues that I have with the transfer presented here are with haloing and overscan. All episodes exhibit haloing around solid objects which may be as a result of edge enhancement, but considering the nature of the original medium, I'm surprised this was needed. I also investigated long and hard to ensure that the haloing was not as a result of my system, swapping cables and players and the discs on other systems; all to no avail. The haloing is there, and I found it mildly annoying. The second problem was with the horizontal overscan irregularities that plagued the episodes. Since I'm watching the episodes on a CRT projector, I'm able to set up the image so that the full picture information is displayed on the screen. In a conventional television, there are black strips down the sides of the tube face which hide the outermost parts of the image. This is done to hide things such as teletext and timecode information that may be seen, and to protect the fact that not all video signals are of the same horizontal and vertical amplitude. In any event, at numerous times throughout many of the episodes (and yes, I do have them all documented if you really want to know) the picture fluctuates the horizontal width by a degree of a few pixels. The whole image does not fluctuate, only the last few millimetres of the left and right of the picture disappear and re-appear. I'm not sure exactly what causes this, and am open to suggestion - it may be the result of the compilation of the animation frames and some not being exactly the same width as others. I want to stress, however, that most viewers will never experience this problem, as most display devices will hide this problem from view.
Italian, French and English subtitles are present on these DVDs. The English subtitles that I sampled seemed accurate enough to the dialogue, and were presented in an acceptable font. There is also French and Italian titling available dependant upon the language setup of your player.
These are RSDL discs, however the layers separate the episodes. Therefore, no layer changes are noticeable.
These DVDs are presented with English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded (192kb/s) audio, French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded (192kb/s) audio, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded (192kb/s) audio and Audio Commentary in English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded (96kb/s).
It's a small shame that we don't get a 5.1 mix here, but the audio is still fully acceptable. It is characteristically front-centric, but there are numerous instances of good surround and subwoofer use, as can be expected in an animated science fiction show with spacecraft and other futuristic design elements.
The audio is clear and easy to understand, and generally does not bring attention to its lowish bit rate, which is pleasing.
Music is used extensively through the series; Futurama is one of the few animation series to use a full orchestra in composing and recording music for the show. Under the direction of Christopher Tyng, the music really adds to the atmosphere of the show, and projects a palpable depth to the series.
|Surround Channel Use|
Main Menu Introduction
Each of the discs has a introduction to the main menu of a clip from one of the episodes modified to bring the menu to the foreground. It is cleverly done, and not overly long.
Main Menu Animation/Audio - Scene Selection Animation/Audio
Skillfully done animation elements and strong sound dominate the various disc menus and are first-rate.
Hosted by series Executive Producer (and series co-creator) David X. Cohen and often featuring the other co-creator Matt Groening, the commentary track brings together various cast and crew who seemingly rotate through the episodes. The commentary dialogue is fun and informative, and there is next to no downtime. If any downtime becomes apparent, the attendees make light of the fact and this quickly sparks fresh conversation.
Featurette - Why Must I be a Crustacean in Love Animatic (20:48)
A good feature showing onion skin drawings of the episode in question which are then sent to Korea for hand drawing and colouring. Includes elements not in the final episode, but also shown later as deleted scenes.
Deleted Scenes (15)
Some interesting and funny deleted scenes of varying quality and degrees of completion. Worthy inclusions on the DVD and some may be even worthy of inclusion into the episodes. A commentary would have been appreciated on these to explain their exclusion.
Easter Egg Gallery - The Class of Futurama
Hidden in the episode main screens are selectable items that reveal yearbook photos and funny comments about the Futurama production crew. There are seven separate eggs altogether over the four discs.
Storyboards - A Bicyclops Built for Two.
Full storyboard sequence for this episode spread over 4 chapters of approximately 50 frames each.
Gallery - Still Gallery/Concept Art
38 separate frames of conceptual art of different characters used in the series which also shows that some of the production crew inspired some Internet nerds used in one episode.
Gallery - Alien Alphabet
Futurama employs an Alien alphabet in some of the advertising seen on the show and in other obscure places. It is an outlet for the creators to include hidden things for fans of the show and I guess to even get some things past censors when required. This single still shot gallery gives the cross-reference of Alien Alphabet characters with standard alphabet characters.
Featurette - International Clips (4) (0:39 ea)
A strange feature which shows a single scene from I Second That Emotion that can be viewed in French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Of average sound and video quality, I think the intention is to illustrate the differing voice characterisations of the different languages.
Featurette - Alien Advertisements (4) (approx 0:10 ea)
A cool little extra that showcases four separate mini ads that play before the start of some Futurama episodes in the vein of "Futurama is brought to you by....". The fourth mini ad "Soylent chow" is not used in any of the episodes, and is presented with lower quality video.
Trailer - Futurama Season 1 DVD Trailer (1:30)
A standard trailer advertising the first season DVDs. Largely redundant in this set, it describes the premise of the show and characters.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This set is due for release on August 12, 2003 in Region 1 and looks similarly specified to the Region 4 version.
The Region 2 release is identical to the Region 4, and I would recommend purchase of Region 4 unless the title is significantly cheaper in Region 2.
The video is very good, with a couple of minor issues including some haloing.
The audio is good, the orchestral score gives it a real depth.
The set is appointed with a comprehensive set of extras, but I'm still left wanting more...
|DVD||Sonken DV-2600 Progressive Scan, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony VPH-1251QM CRT Projector, 100" 4:3 screen, 2.2 gain. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Mordaunt Short MS95 mains, Equinox Eclipse center and 4 x JBL surrounds, JBL sub.|