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Futurama: How Many Series Finales Have There Been - And Which One Is The Best?

Over the years, Matt Groening's sci-fi comedy series "Futurama" has established itself as one of the most lauded animated shows in television history — attracting a passionate cult fanbase and winning multiple Annie and Emmy Awards during its original seven seasons on the air. In spite of the immense praise that has been heaped on the show, longtime fans of the series will know that "Futurama" has actually been canceled twice – once in August 2003 and again in 2013.

Even more absurdly, the show has technically aired four different series finales during its time on air; each one offering a dramatically different ending for the iconic Planet Express crew. The first "series finale" that the show aired was "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings," which concluded the series' original run on Fox. The second finale came with the direct-to-video film, "Into the Wild Green Yonder," intended to serve as a true ending for the series before "Futurama" was revived in 2009.

Similar to "Into the Wild Green Yonder," the Season 6 episode "Overclockwise" was written as a series finale due to uncertainty about the show's renewal with Comedy Central. Finally, the show received its true series finale with the final episode of Season 7, titled "Meanwhile." This episode centers around a time-looping device created by Professor Farnsworth (Billy West), which Fry (West) accidentally breaks — freezing time for the entire world except for himself and Leela (Katey Sagal). What follows is a heartfelt account of their long, happy life together, and their subsequent decision to relive it all after successfully reconstructing the time loop device.

Fans have a clear favorite among the finales

Although each of these "series finales" essentially hinges on the relationship between Fry and Leela, it's worth noting that every single one has a remarkably different story. "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" focuses on Fry's musical talent with the "holophonor" and ends with a performance that showcases his love for Leela. "Overclockwise" sees Bender (John DiMaggio) gaining the power to predict the future and ends with his optimistic predictions for Fry and Leela.

"Into the Wild Green Yonder" is a particularly dense story that centers around an imploding violet dwarf star that actually turns out to be the only surviving egg of an extinct species. This film ends with the Planet Express crew entering a mysterious wormhole to escape from an enemy ship, as Fry and Leela profess their love for one another before they embark on this new adventure. 

With so much variation between all of these "finales," it's nearly impossible to decide which ending was truly the "best" for the show –- though "Futurama" fans have established a clear favorite among these particular episodes. "Meanwhile," is currently the highest-rated of these episodes, earning a 9.4/10 rating on IMDB from over 4,000 unique reviews. Despite being much more ambiguous than the others, Season 4's "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" comes in a close second with a 9.1/10 rating. "Overclockwise" and "Into the Wild Green Yonder" round out the list with an 8.0/10 and 7.2/10, respectively. 

While it's clear that fans currently believe "Meanwhile" to be the best "series finale" in "Futurama" history, the series' second revival means that they'll have yet another series finale to look forward to in the future.