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Listen Up...'Futurama' is better than 'The Simpsons'

The internet nearly collapsed in on itself when the news broke last week that hit sci-fi series Futurama is being revived. Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s series has dodged cancellation a couple of times before, however, given that it ended in 2013, nearly ten years ago, the news came as a surprise – and a welcome one at that. Following the madcap adventures of Fry, Bender and the rest, it remains an intriguing situation to see what this new Hulu revival will be like. 

The news of Futurama’s return also sparked one of the most highly-charged debates of the modern era: Is Futurama better than The Simpsons

In short, the answer is yes. Whilst The Simpsons is iconic for so many reasons, and the effect it has enjoyed on popular culture has been nothing short of gargantuan, it is well known that The Simpsons was at its zenith between seasons two/three to 15. The Springfield-based show is now on its 33rd season. Whilst we could spend all day talking about the multitude of iconic characters, plotlines, easter eggs and gags, the consensus is that The Simpsons ran its course a long time ago. After all, season 15 first aired in 2003.

Then we have Futurama which, as a series, with much meaning placed on the word ‘series’, functions much better than The SimpsonsFuturama often gets overshadowed by the cultural significance of its older sibling, which is strange, as, in reality, it trumps The Simpsons in almost every department. 

One way in which Futurama can boast to be significantly better than The Simpsons is through its innate storytelling ability. Although The Simpsons has explored every genre and storyline under the sun, the narratives in Futurama are almost always stronger. Being set in a science fiction world allows the show to push the barriers of storytelling far further than The Simpsons, practically giving the writers free rein to explore whatever themes and tropes they desire.

It might be considerably nerdier than its counterpart, but still, Futurama has a consistently fluid and expansive mode. In contrast, The Simpsons would only be given licence to think outside of the box via spheres such as ‘The Treehouse of Horror’ episodes. 

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Another way that Futurama trumps The Simpsons is via the love story between Fry and Leela that runs throughout the whole series. A genuine story arc, it gives the series the pulp that The Simpsons lacks. Of course, there are many episodes in which Marge and Homer’s relationship is explored, in a non-chronological way, but this doesn’t carry the series as it does for Futurama, nor does it give the show an authentic tangible feel. Through Fry and Leela, Groening and Cohen are afforded the opportunity to explore the human relationship, warts and all, whereas there is a distinct lack of this depth in The Simpsons. Detailing further, Futurama is brimming with unique narratives, and duly, has a lot more drama than The Simpsons. Even now, looking through a reflective lens years later, it is much more engaging this way. When watching The Simpsons, you might often get distracted, but for the most part, when viewing Futurama, the audience remains fully immersed.

Whether it be ‘Jurassic Bark’, ‘The Luck of the Fryish’ or even ‘Leela’s Homeworld’, there are numerous Futurama episodes that left a mark on us, that we’ll likely take with us to the grave. Again, I’m struggling to think of more than a few Simpsons episodes that have the capability to leave such an indelible emotional imprint and, given the sheer amount of content that show has produced, it’s a damning verdict.

Ultimately, it’s a question of consistency and continuity that helps Futurama outdo The Simpsons. Over its 140 episodes. Futurama has managed to say a lot more than The Simpsons has in 700. Thus, in terms of averages, Futurama has a much higher ratio of good episodes, proving that a run like The Simpsons has had can often be detrimental to a series’ longevity. However, we’ll see how this point holds up when the new series is released. I have high hopes, though. 

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