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Some Of The Best Futurama Episodes From The Comedy Central Era According To Fans

With a revival happening soon at Hulu in 2023 (CNN), "Futurama" has now officially been canceled and resurrected 3 times. Even in an era where television shows often return a few years after the supposed series finale, that's very unusual.

But then, "Futurama" was a very unique series: a sci-fi animated comedy which combined co-creator Matt Groening's trademark dark humor with real-life scientific formulas and a genuine heart. Characters like the alcoholic robot Bender (John DiMaggio) and Hermes (Phil LaMarr) were ridiculous, but fans also came to really care about Fry's (Billy West) on-again, off-again relationship with Leela (Katey Sagal).

The show first ended at Fox in 2003, then Comedy Central brought the characters back for several direct-to-video animated films, as well as two new seasons, before airing the last episode, "Meanwhile," in 2013. The Comedy Central era of the sitcom is arguably not as well regarded as the Fox run of episodes (Sports Alcohol), but fans still have their preferences from these seasons.

The Late Philip J. Fry and Lethal Inspection are classics

u/-GI_BRO made a post to ask other fans on the r/futurama subreddit what their favorite episodes from the Comedy Central era were. Their pick was a good and poignant one, "Lethal Inspection," an episode which reveals the origins of Bender, as well as Hermes' unexpected connection to him.

One Redditor echoed many other comments by suggesting Season 6 installment "The Late Philip J. Fry," writing, "That one really stuck with me." u/Semi_Legal_Immigrant agreed and replied that the episode, where Fry is accidentally caught in a time machine that only moves forwards, is "far and away the best in the CC era."

Other suggestions were less about heart and more about the funny bone. "The Duh-Vinci Code" was often cited in part because "there are just so many great lines," as u/kemick wrote. "Law and Oracle" was offered up by u/paradise_demise for the sheer number of jokes in the episode, including this exchange highlighted by u/Crownlol: "Bender would never share!" "THE VERY IDEA!" If the Comedy Central run wasn't quite as good as the first few seasons, it still had some pretty great episodes.

It'll be hard for a revival to top previous finale Meanwhile

Hulu has ordered 20 new episodes of "Futurama" so far (via The Hollywood Reporter), but it'll be hard for any real, permanent series finale to come close to "Meanwhile," the 2013 conclusion to the show's Comedy Central run.

The episode is hilarious, especially when Fry's grisly demise is replayed over and over thanks to the time button, but it's also a worthy, romantic conclusion to Fry and Leela's arc as a couple. Fry and Leela have been kept apart in multiple timelines, and here they end up spending a lifetime together, traveling through a world frozen in time while enjoying each other's company.

But the beauty of the episode is in the very end, when Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) reappears and offers to reset the show's timeline to right before he invented the time button. The AV Club gave "Meanwhile" an A grade and praised the show's implication that the "Futurama" narrative is a loop, writing, "Maybe that's how you say goodbye: by saying hello again." Leela and Fry agree to "go around again," even losing their memories of growing old, because they can always be together, and there's still something profound and romantic about that nearly a decade later.