Good news, everyone! Futurama is back… Again.
The adventures of delivery boy Philip J Fry, frozen in time and awakened in the year 3,000 was intended as Matt Groening’s sci-fi cousin to The Simpsons.
In the years since it was rudely cancelled after five seasons, series co-creators Groening and David Cohen have brought it back to life as a series of straight-to-DVD movies that are also cunningly able to split into episodes for showing on other channels.
The latest – Into The Wild Green Yonder – sends Fry, alcoholic robot Bender, kick ass lady mutant Leela and the rest of the oddballs on an epic quest to prevent dark forces from invading our universe.
You know, just the average, every day story that delves into biology and physics, with a little environmental message on the side.
We sat down with Groening and Cohen, plus voice cast members Billy West, Lauren Tom, Maurice LaMarche and Phil LaMarr to dig for fascinating nuggets about the new DVD and the show itself.
1. Doing multiple voices in one scene is easy. With training.
Billy West: I usually do about three or four in any one. I had training for that - I worked on a show back in 1999 for Nickelodeon, called Doug.
He was this sweet kid, and his nemesis, Roger, the bully kid, was based on a kid that I knew. And I was going from this needle-nosed voice for him to this mellow, kid and I'd just read one after the other because they don't want to go back and mix and match.
There was one time where a voice came out of me that wasn't supposed to. Everyone was, like "oooohhhh."
Phil LaMarr: On most animated shows, anyone doing more than one voice needs to read through it once as one character and then again as another. Not Billy.
In the first episode of Futurama, there's a scene where the professor brings Fry in to meet Dr Zoidberg. I was there, and Billy did all three of those voices on the fly. No breaks, no multiple takes. And Zoidberg is not a normal voice!