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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Science Fiction > Satire > TV > Futurama - Volume 8 + Simpsons - Season Sixteen (2013/Fox Blu-ray Sets)

Futurama - Volume 8 + Simpsons - Season Sixteen (2013/Fox Blu-ray Sets)

Picture: A-/B+ Sound: B Extras: B-/C Episodes: A/B

One series comes to end, while another continues to go strong; here on Blu-ray everything lasts forever.

Futurama - Volume 8

Futurama - Volume 8 contains the final 13 episodes of the groundbreaking series created by Simpsons visionary Matt Groening. The history of Futurama has been discussed multiple times here on this site; having been a fan favorite series, only to be canceled by FOX, and later resurrected on home video/new episodes on Comedy Central.

In its 8th Volume Blu-ray set, Futurama makes the best of the time it has left continuing down the path of unbridled insanity it always has. Futurama is the best of both worlds; benefiting from the genius of the Simpsons (learning from its successes and follies) and having a degree of that sporadic absurdity that Family Guy fans love so much. In the 31st century Futurama is not confined to the restraints the Simpsons have been of heightened reality; instead diving in head first to embrace robots, aliens, mutants, time travel, spaceships, and so much more.

The final 13 episodes don't exactly wrap up the series as there is not much to conclude. Being a series that embraced its randomness, Futurama shoots from the hip as it travels through the 31st century. There are some special moments between Lela and Fry that emphasize their strange love story, a well written episode that plays like a multi-part Saturday morning cartoon spoof, and we even get an episode that shows series sad sack (Dr. Zoidberg) finally catching a break as he finds love. Other than that it is business as usual for Planet Express with Bender’s boozing, stealing, and scheming taking front and center; as well as the antics of the demented Professor Farnsworth consistently getting the gang into and out of trouble.

Since 1999, the creators of Futurama have managed to deliver a series that is truly enjoyable; being the embodiment of hilarity, pop culture, and supreme creativity. Many fans (including myself) will be sad to see it go.

Matt Groening, as well as some of cast members have alluded that Futurama may have some life left in it; being shop around to other networks/formats. With such an immense fan base; it surely would be a shame to let the series go so soon. So FOR NOW this is the end of Futurama, but let's hope the series is only frozen in time to be thawed for future generations (networks) to enjoy.

Simpsons - Season Sixteen

Whereas Futurama may have had a smattered history, The Simpsons have been going strong for over 20 years. Their time on home video has seen them transition from VHS to DVD and now on Blu-ray. For the most part (with the exception of Season 20) the seasons have been released in order with 1 through 12 solely being on DVD and 13 through 16 now being available on both Blu-ray and DVD.

The content is so wide ranging on The Simpsons that it almost seems like real life with us just peeking through a window into their world. Granted (as previously stated) it has developed into more of a heightened reality over the years for the sake of comedy; it is impressively intriguing nevertheless. And if any animated series thinks they have a creative idea, remember how South Park put it, Simpsons did it!

In Season 16 we see such great moments as Tree House of Horror XV, Mobile Homer, Midnight Rx, and Mommie Beerest. Some people (even myself at times) like to say that The Simpsons of today are not as good as seasons 1-9; but after 20 years and no signs of stopping, I think they are as strong as ever.

The comedy of The Simpsons is solid and exceedingly creative. My one complaint about the series would be that over the years (somewhat emulating South Park) has become overly topical, focusing heavily on the pop culture of today. Even going back a few years some of the references are lost on me and whereas literary references and pop culture trends of yesteryear are timeless, the minute details fall to the wayside.

A great series that has given so much to the world of television that there may never be another like it; animated series of today are standing on the shoulders of giants… and they are yellow.

Technical Features:

The picture quality of Futurama in its 1080p 1.78 X 1 format is stunningly well done. With near perfection the animation of Futurama boasts of brilliant colors, dark inky blacks, and an ultimate clarity. Some of the best TV animation I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. The sound is a DTS-HD Master Audio that (whereas not quite as good as the picture) is very well done. The full speaker range is utilized, though more so coming from the front. Dialogue takes priority for this soundtrack, with some atmosphere, music, and ambient noises established from the surrounds; this keeping the viewing experience from being completely immersive.

Extras for Futurama include the following:

  • Episode Commentaries

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Futurama University

    • Takes a look behind the scenes at the process of animating the series

  • Inside Futurama: The Writers' Room of Tomorrow

The technical features of The Simpsons are not nearly as nice as Futurama (being an older series upconverted) they are solid enough. The picture is presented in a 1080p AVC Encoded, MPEG-4, 1.33 X 1 full screen that gets the job done, but does not quite live up to the full Blu-ray experience. The colors are better than the previously reviewed Season 14, but still seem a tad bogged down, not being as bright as they should be. The same goes for the clarity as it is by no means bad, but far from HD; lacking those strong distinguishing lines like that featured in Futurama (reviewed above). The sound remains a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that comes heavily from the front, with the surrounds kicking in for the musical numbers, action sequences, and minimal ambient noise. There is no major distortion or errors in the sound; but is not overly dynamic either.

The Extras are fun and plentiful including some great bonus episodes. The Bonuses for The Simpsons include:

  • Greetings, Junior Scienteers! Featurette

  • Table Read

  • Audio Commentaries on EVERY episode with writers, actors, and directors

  • Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentaries

  • Live it's the Simpsons Featurette

  • Bonus Episodes

    • Holidays of Futures Passed

    • Bart to the Future

    • Lisa's Wedding

  • Multi Angle Animation Showcase

  • Original Sketches

  • Living in the Moment

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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