The Series Has Landed
|"The Series Has Landed"|
|Directed by||Peter Avanzino|
|Written by||Ken Keeler|
|Original air date||April 4, 1999|
|Opening caption||"In Hypno-Vision"|
|Opening cartoon||"Baby Bottleneck" (1946)|
"The Series Has Landed" is the second episode of the first season of Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 4, 1999. The episode was written by Ken Keeler and directed by Peter Avanzino. In this episode, several main characters, including Doctor Zoidberg, Amy Wong, and Hermes Conrad are first introduced, and the crew goes on their first mission. After completing their delivery a series of mishaps occurs which puts Fry and Leela's lives in danger and nearly leaves all of them trapped on the moon.
Settling into their new jobs, Fry, Leela, and Bender are introduced to the other Planet Express employees: Doctor John A. Zoidberg, intern Amy Wong, and bureaucrat Hermes Conrad. It becomes apparent that the ship needs a captain, and Leela is chosen. On their first mission, a delivery to the Moon, Fry undergoes severe culture shock. No longer a daring voyage of exploration, lunar travel has become a day trip to an amusement park called Luna Park. By the 31st century, the actual details of Project Apollo are lost and have been replaced by musicals about whalers on the moon and goofy gophers. This upsets Fry, who wants to see the real moon.
In spite of Leela's orders to the contrary, Fry hijacks a car from the lunar rover ride and forces it off its track, taking Leela with him. They fall into a crater, forcing Leela to use up most of their oxygen to save them. Meanwhile, Amy loses the keys to the ship and has to recover them from a video arcade claw game. Bender attempts to help her, but he is caught reaching through the prize slot and ejected from the park, leaving him stranded on the Moon's surface. Running low on oxygen, Fry and Leela take refuge on a hydroponic farm. Bender arrives and seduces one of the farmer's robot daughters and he, Fry, and Leela end up on the run, trying to out-distance both the farmer's shotgun and the lunar terminator. Leela berates Fry for refusing to accept that, apart from the amusement park, the moon is nothing but a wasteland. As night falls on the Moon, Fry and Leela find the Apollo 11 lander and take shelter inside it. Fry apologizes to Leela for hijacking the car from the ride and explains his childhood dream of being an astronaut. Leela sympathizes, and they watch an Earthrise together. Eventually, Amy manages to rescue all three with her newly developed crane operation skills, just before the farmer can kill them.
During the sequence where Amy attempts to retrieve the keys for the Planet Express Ship from the vending machine, an arcade game titled Gender-Neutral Pac-Person can be seen in the background, a reference to the Namco arcade games Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Also, The Goophy Gopher Revue is said to have been sponsored by Monsanto, a bioengineering conglomerate from the United States. Crater Face, the Lunar Park mascot, is a reference to the moon from the 1902 French silent film A Trip to the Moon. Bender impales Crater Face in the eye with his beer bottle after Crater Face attempts to confiscate his alcohol, which is another reference to the film as the astronomers' capsule (which resembles a bottle) hitting the moon's eye when it crashes. The title of the episode itself is a reference to the quote "The Eagle has landed" said by astronaut Neil Armstrong when he and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Fry nearly makes a reference to Neil Armstrong's quote "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". At the "Destination Moon" lunar rover ride, there is a reference to Ralph and Alice Kramden from the sitcom The Honeymooners. When Fry and Leela are on the surface of the moon and it starts to get dark, it is possible to hear in the background the first chord of the song "Breathe" from Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon.
Broadcast and reception
Ken Keeler was nominated for an Annie Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television Production" in 1999 for this episode. For its original run, the episode had Nielsen ratings of 8.1/14 in homes and 6.8/19 in adults aged 18–49. While this was a decrease from the pilot episode it did still build 5% from its lead in, The Simpsons. This was the second episode to air following The Simpsons and the final scheduled to air on Sunday evenings before the show moved to the Tuesday night lineup, where it was expected to suffer in the ratings. In 2006 IGN ranked the episode as number 19 in their list of the top 25 episodes of Futurama due to its humor and the effective way in which it portrayed Fry's discovery of the changes in the future.
- Cohen, David X. (2003). Futurama season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "The Series Has Landed" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "The Series Has Landed at IMSDb". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- "27th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners". International Animated Film Society. 1999. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- Bierbaum, Tom (1999-04-06). "'Futurama' cools, but still holds on to auds". Variety. Retrieved 2006-06-29.
- ""Top 25 Futurama Episodes"". IGN. 2006-07-07. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
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