Cohen Talks the Return of Futurama
Tonight marks the return of Futurama with 26 new episodes on Comedy Central (10:00 /9:00c). Like Family Guy, Matt Groening's follow-up to The Simpsons has been given new life by Comedy Central and Fox TV, thanks to the success of four DVD movies and late night reruns on Adult Swim. In tonight's one-hour premiere, the Professor tries to resuscitate the crew, and Leela and Zapp find themselves stranded on an Eden-like planet. David X. Cohen, the exec producer, tells AWN what's new with Leela, Fry and Bender and the rest of the satirizing sci-fi gang.
Bill Desowitz: How's it going so far?
David X. Cohen: I have to say that it's gone smoother and better than I thought. It's one of those things where you worry at first if you're able to get back into the swing of things after a choppy existence like ours. But it really felt natural, largely because we worked on those DVD movies in the interim. Everything was still relatively fresh in our minds. And the best thing of all, we were able to get back our whole team up and down the line. Some people are a little uncertain about that, but I do want to clarify that we got every cast member back and all of our writers are veterans from as far back as the original Fox run; and our same animation studio, Rough Draft; and our same composer, Chris Tyng; and the same Matt Groening.
At the same time, we have upgraded a few things: it's widescreen and high-def. So Futurama plus.
BD: What have been some of the new challenges?
DXC: It's gotten a little more challenging to come up with the stories and we're putting more work into that because now we've got the honor of having a pretty good body of work. It's getting harder to come up with stories that are entirely new. This was a problem The Simpsons faced about 15 years ago. I think we've done a very good job, actually. But it's required a little more work at that stage. Now on the bright side, current history is giving us plenty to deal with since we were last on the air.
Some examples: one of our early episodes of the new season is about the social networking of the future. That's obviously something we didn't have to deal with in 2000. So we have the 31st century versions of those things. And we have another episode that is about a ballot proposition called Proposition Infinity to legalize robosexual marriage, which is the marriage between a human and a robot.
DXC: The situation we present is based on the eyePhone of the future, which is actually a device that is implanted in your eye and makes everything you see readily postable on the internet. So if you witness something embarrassing about Leela, for example, to pull one out of thin air, you can immediately post it and cause trouble between friends.