TITLE: FUTURAMA - VOLUME 7
Release Date: December 11, 2012 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Packaging: Cardboard Sleeve
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running Time: 295 minutes
Running Time of Features: 30 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles and Captioning: English, Spanish, and French Subtitles; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Commentaries (all episodes); Alternate Ending for "Zapp Dingbat"; Christopher Tyng's Big Score; Futurama Karaoke; Möbius Trip; Deleted Scenes
Futurama is back with 13 of the geekiest episodes yet! The animated series that takes place about 1000 years from now returns to DVD (and Blu-ray) with Futurama - Volume 7. The series, from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, originally aired on Fox from 1999 to 2003, and returned in 2010 with new episodes on Comedy Central. With the same writers, producers, animators, and voice actors in place, the series didn't miss a beat in that seven year hiatus. Now, the first half of the seventh season (the second half will air next summer) is available on DVD in this two-disc set.
Volume 7 begins with "The Bots and the Bees," where Bender is about to become a father... and the mother is the office soda machine. The gang looks to the end of the world in "A Farewell to Arms." In "Decision 3012," Leela is a campaign manager for a presidential candidate whose birth certificate is mysteriously missing. Bender becomes part of the paparazzi in "The Thief of Baghead." Zapp Branningan has a new girlfriend in "Zapp Dingbat," but Leela is horrified to discover it is her own mother! In "The Butterjunk Effect," Amy and Leela become addicted to a performance boosting nutritional supplement. Hermes gives his body some mechanical upgrades in "The Six Million Dollar Mon."
In "Fun on a Bun," Fry is the victim of a sausage making accident. Bender discovers that he lacks free will in "Free Will Hunting." The Professor's parents return from virtual retirement in "Near-Death Wish." In "31st Century Fox," Bender becomes the hunted after saving a robotic fox from hunters. The crew stages a casino heist in "Viva Mars Vegas." Volume 7 ends with "Naturama," where Bender and the crew are reimagined as wild animals in a nature documentary.
The episodes are presumably unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "The Bots and the Bees" (21:37)
2. "A Farewell to Arms" (21:38)
3. "Decision 3012" (21:38)
4. "The Thief of Baghead" (21:38)
5. "Zapp Dingbat" (21:39)
6. "The Butterjunk Effect" (21:37)
7. "The Six Million Dollar Mon" (21:37)
8. "Fun on a Bun" (21:37)
9. "Free Will Hunting" (21:37)
10. "Near-Death Wish" (21:51)
11. "31st Century Fox" (21:37)
12. "Viva Mars Vegas" (21:37)
13. "Naturama" (21:50)
Once again, the "environmentally friendly" cardboard packaging that fans seem to not particularly enjoy has been used again. The key idea here is that the packaging uses no plastic, except of course the plastic that it is wrapped in that immediately goes into the garbage. The cover art for the package features a large photo of Zoidberg with a purple background, and on the back, there is a brief description of the episodes on the set along with a listing of special features. Inside the cardboard sleeve, you'll find, well, another cardboard sleeve that contains the disc. It is like one of the older digipacks that we rarely see on DVD sets these days, but there are no plastic holders for the discs, and instead, the discs are held inside of cardboard sleeves. On the far left panel, there is a listing of episodes, along with descriptions (something we rarely see on Fox DVD sets these days, by the way!), and the other two panels contain the two discs. The disc artwork has the series logo on a purple background, along with other series related artwork.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc is very simple, with some music (not the theme song) playing in the background, along with video clips from the episodes. Options from the main menu include Episodes, Set Up, and Extras. Selecting Episodes takes you to a list that gives you options of Play All and a list of all of the episodes on the disc. Some more music (again, not the theme song) plays in the background on this menu. Once you select an episode, you get another menu, where even more music plays in the background, and you have options of Play, Audio Commentary, Chapters, Set Up, and Extras. You'll also find any episode related special features on this menu. Set Up allows you to turn on the subtitles, and Extras gives you a listing of all of the special features on the set that are not episode specific. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
As is the case with virtually all recent animated series, there is absolutely nothing to complain about in regards to video and audio quality on this set. The video, presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, doesn't really have any flaws to be noted, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound audio track is equally as impressive. Perhaps (and I don't know this for certain, since Fox didn't send us this version) it could look better on Blu-ray... but this looks and sounds pretty good as it is. There are English, Spanish, and French subtitles available for all of the episodes, and each episode is also closed-captioned.
This set has commentaries for each and every episode on the set, and actually it goes a step beyond that. The second episode on the set, "A Farewell to Arms," has not one, but two commentaries. Episodes and commentators are as follows:
1. "The Bots and the Bees" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Eric Horsted, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Peter Avanzino, Stephen Sandoval, Lee Supercinski
2. "A Farewell to Arms" -Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Josh Weinstein, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Peter Avanzino, Lee Supercinski
*Bonus Animator Commentary - Claudia Katz, Peter Avanzino, Raymie Muzquiz, Aldin Baroza, Darin McGowan, Mike Wodkowski, Chad E. Cooper
3. "Decision 3012" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Patric M. Verrone, Josh Weinstein, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Peter Avanzino, Lee Supercinski
4. "The Thief of Baghead" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Patric M. Verrone, Josh Weinstein, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Peter Avanzino, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
5. "Zapp Dingbat" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Patric M. Verrone, Eric Rogers, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Peter Avanzino, Frank Marion, Claudia Katz
6. "The Butterjunk Effect" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Patric M. Verrone, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Lauren Tom, Maurice Lamarche, Peter Avanzino, Crystal Chesney-Thompson, Claudia Katz
7. "The Six Million Dollar Mon" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Michael Rowe, Dan Vebber, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Peter Avanzino, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
8. "Fun on a Bun" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Michael Rowe, Dan Vebber, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Peter Avanzino, Stephen Sandoval, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
9. "Free Will Hunting" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Michael Rowe, Dan Vebber, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Peter Avanzino, Raymie Muzquiz, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
10. "Near-Death Wish" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Michael Rowe, Eric Horsted, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Peter Avanzino, Lance Kramer, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
11. "31st Century Fox" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Patric M. Verrone, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Peter Avanzino, Edmund Fong, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
12. "Viva Mars Vegas" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Josh Weinstein, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Peter Avanzino, Frank Marino, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
13. "Naturama" - Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Michael Saikin, Neil Mukhopadhyay, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Peter Avanzino, Crystal Chesney-Thompson, Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski
The episode "Zapp Dingbat" contains an alternate ending, and to see this alternate ending, you have the choice of watching the entire episode with it included.
"Too Good for TV: A Smorgasbord of Deleted Scenes" (Disc 1: 6:56; Disc 2: 6:35) is a collection of deleted scenes from the set. Like many animated series, these are fun to watch for this series, and a lot of it is good material that was simply cut due to time constraints.
"Christopher Tyng's Big Score: A Jam Session with Futurama's Innovative Composer" (8:25) takes us behind-the-scenes with Christopher Tyng, who composes the music for the series. We get to learn a bit about his life, and he also makes a little music here as well.
"Möbius Trip: Infinite Futurama Screen Loops" is a set of, in my opinion, very lame special features. These are some scenes related to the series that can loop forever, and you can choose from an aquarium or a terrarium when you watch these. My advice is to just skip this special feature completely.
Finally, we have "Futurama Karaoke," where you can sing along with some of the songs featured in the series. Lyrics appear on screen, and you can view the songs with the vocals before you do it alone on all of them. Songs included are "Welcome to Robot Hell" (2:06), "The Toy Shop's Going to War" (1:47), "That Was Then and This is Too" (1:23), "The March of the Non-Union Elves" (2:05), and "Even If It's Not a Good Idea (The Bureaucrat Song)" (1:39).
I have to admit: up until this DVD, I haven't watched a single episode of this series since the new episodes began airing on Comedy Central. Although I still can't say that I enjoy this series as much as I do other animated series, I have to say that these new episodes really do stay true to the original version of the series, and there really hasn't been any decline in quality from those original episodes. It is also nice to see that Fox is continuing to do excellent quality DVD sets for these new releases, although I am still not a fan of the cardboard sleeve packaging that the producers asked Fox to use for these releases. If you're a fan of the series, you'll definitely want to pick up this set for your collection.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 12/17/12
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