BREAKING NEWS: Futurama Returns Without Original Voice Cast

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This is bad: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118006123.html?categoryid=14&cs=1&nid=...
The bottom line is that 20th Century Fox is looking at once again resurrecting Futurama as a series, and giving them a two-season deal, but with built-in raises the original voice cast is now too expensive for them to use, and unless they're willing to slash their previous salaries, they've already been effectively fired.

The AV Club is reporting here http://www.avclub.com/articles/futurama-to-get-recast-updated-and-update... that a final decision about whether or not the show is even coming back hasn't been made yet, and will ultimately be based on fan response at Comicon. It's also rumored that they're going to be having an open audition at Comicon for new voice talent.

This story was originally reported a few days ago by Forces of Geek here http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2009/07/is-fox-planning-to-recast-futurama.html but I've been holding off printing it until we got some verification, which the Variety article would seem to have provided. Also, I was having computer problems which have kept me mostly offline for the past week.

Futurama has always had a troubled history. It only made it on the air because of a contract Fox had made (Back in the days before they sucked) with Groening to develop new shows. Ultimately, they had to turn one of them in to a show, or else default on the contract, so Futurama grudgingly came to the air, and for the first season it struck me as entirely unfunny. In the second year it kind of found it's voice, however, and it was a pretty consistently funny show, though it took me a while to adjust to Billy West, who always sounds like Billy West to me. (Though he does a good Burgess Meredith, I must say). Even so, no one was watching, and Fox has always had a weird habbit of hyping the hell out of their shows, and then banishing them to 7PM when no one's running. I can't remember if it was Futurama or King of the Hill, but I was listening to a producer for one of those shows talking about how they got the promo's back that said "Sunday night 7:30 - futurama! 8:00 - the simpsons! 8:30 - Blah blah blah, 9:00 -blah blah blah, and Family guy at 9:30! Be there! It all starts at 8:00!" and realizing they were doomed.

My own feelings are mixed, frankly. I seldom watched the show during its initial run, but I liked it in repeats. I was vaguely interested in the show coming back, and I liked the first DVD movie, but The Beast With A Billion Backs just icked me out http://www.republibot.com/content/dvd-movie-review-%E2%80%9Cfuturama-bea... and though I haven't reviewed it yet, "Bender's Game" was rather lackluster as well. I haven't seen "Wild Green Yonder" yet. I think I prefer the show as a known quantity, a dead and crunchy little nugget of a show that's fun to find, fun to watch, fun to talk about and quote, but without all the crazy changes in quality that bedevil ongoing shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy. Bringing it back from the grave thus far has seemed to loose some of the spark it originally had (But which seldom attracted me), and recasting it with new voice actors strongly runs the risk of turning it in to a zombie program that no one will like, and which will devaluate the franchise as a whole.

I mean, come on, did anyone continue to watch "The Teenaged Adventures of Pebbels and Bamm Bamm" after Sally Struthers left the cast?

I thought not.

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