April 26, 2006

Animated Manhattan: Futurama

Part 8 in an ongoing series looking at New York City in animation.

FuturamaOn December 31, 1999, pizza delivery guy Philip J. Fry delivers a pizza to a cryogenics lab in Manhattan and through a series of unfortunate events is accidentally frozen for 1000 years. While he’s in deep freeze, we can see time passing visibly outside the window. We see New York City completely destroyed by aliens (except, for some reason, the building the cryogenics lab is in) and eventually rebuilt as New New York City, where Fry wakes up on New Year’s Eve, 2999.

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That’s the premise of Futurama, the cancelled animated series by Simpsons creator Matt Groening which aired on FOX for four seasons and can now be seen in syndication and on DVD.

FuturamaIn New New York, the subway system has been replaced with the New New York Tube System, which whisks people across town. In Fry’s first experience with the tube system, we see it snaking through the city. It goes underwater, passing a sunken Circle Line Cruise boat. It winds past the Statue of Liberty (was it recreated? or is it still standing?), which supports the tube where the torch used to be.

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In the pilot episode, Fry takes a tour of underground New New York, where the remnants of New York City can be found. The Chrysler Building’s once shiny spire lies on its side. Rockefeller Center’s skating rink has become the swamp-like home of an alien creature.

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Some of old New York City has been recreated a bit differently in New New York. Luna Park, for example, is no longer an amusement park in Brooklyn. Luna Park is now an amusement park on, well, the moon.


And in memory of Madison Square Garden, a new sports arena has been erected: Madison Cube Garden.


Thankfully, a good slice of pizza can still be found in New New York. Original Cosmic Ray’s Pizza serves its customers a steaming slice as only an Original Rays Pizzeria can.


IMDb Rating: N/A
BCDb Rating: N/A
My Rating: 8/10

(My rating is for the series’ depiction of NYC only)


Excellent series.
There are four (count ‘em, four!) Futurama feature movies on the way, hopefully all filled with futuristic NYC settings…

I just posted something about the movies coming on my blog as well. Have a look!


If only the Madison Cube Garden spun like the Astor Place cube (the Alamo)!

There is a later episode where they go back underground to the old New York. Fry hops onto Bender’s back, who then makes an announcement something like “this is a B train, making all local stops”. When they arrive and and Fry gets off, there is a homeless guy asleep on Bender’s back. Awesome. And very New York accurate. I give Futurama a 10 for its animated New York-ness.

PS Groening signed a deal to make several new seasons and a Futurama movie. WHOOHOO!