Where No Fan Has Gone Before

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"Where No Fan Has Gone Before"
Futurama episode
Futurama ep65.jpg
Melllvar and the original cast of Star Trek
Episode no. Season four
Episode 11
Directed by Pat Shinagawa
Written by David A. Goodman
Production code 4ACV11
Original air date April 21, 2002
Opening caption "Where No Fan Has Gone Before"
Opening cartoon "Hiss and Make Up" by Merrie Melodies (1943)
Guest actors
Season four episodes
List of Futurama episodes

"Where No Fan Has Gone Before" is the eleventh episode of the fourth season of the American animated series Futurama, and originally aired on April 21, 2002, in the United States on Comedy Central. Set in a retro-futuristic 31st century, the series follows the adventures of the employees of Planet Express, an interplanetary delivery company. In this episode, the Planet Express team and most of the main cast of Star Trek: The Original Series face a court-martial after visiting the forbidden planet Omega 3.

An existing idea to feature the cast of the series was scrapped, and replaced with a new script written by David A. Goodman, after the newly hired writer was identified as the biggest Star Trek fan on the staff. All of the main cast of The Original Series agreed to appear, with the exception of James Doohan, who played Scotty, resulting in the creation of a new character called Welshie. "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" was received positively by critics, with praise directed at the various Star Trek homages. The script was nominated for a Nebula Award, losing to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Plot[edit]

Zapp Brannigan holds a court-martial of Bender, Leela, Fry, and most of the cast of Star Trek: The Original Series, for travelling to the forbidden planet Omega 3. He orders the group to recount the events that led to the court-martial. Fry explains that he had learned that Star Trek is forbidden in the future after the show became a worldwide religion; all of its fans were killed during the Star Trek Wars and the "sacred" tapes of its 79 episodes and six movies were sent to a forbidden planet. Leonard Nimoy's head at the Head Museum denies knowledge of the show, but realizes he cannot escape the truth and recounts to Fry how the rest of the cast left Earth.

Fry, Leela, Bender, and Nimoy's head journey to the forbidden planet. There they find several original sets from Star Trek, and most of the original cast with their bodies and eternal youth. An energy being named Melllvar appears and explains that he became an obsessed Star Trek fan after watching the tapes over and over again. Melllvar gives Nimoy a body, and orders the actors and the Planet Express crew to participate in a Star Trek convention until the end of time. Welshie is killed in a show of force to force their obedience. While Melllvar forces the cast to perform his fan script, Bender, Leela and Fry escape in the Planet Express Ship. Fry convinces the crew to attack Melllvar to save the actors, but Melllvar destroys the ship's engine as he drags it back to the planet.

After seeing the Planet Express crew's attempt to defeat him, Melllvar wonders if they are more worthy of his adoration than the Star Trek cast, and decides to settle the question with a battle to the death. After several minutes of fighting (with the exception of Leela and Shatner, who end up making out), Melllvar's mother appears and makes him come home for dinner. While he is gone, the two groups combine the engine of the cast's ship with the hull of the Planet Express Ship to escape. To lose enough weight to lift off, the cast jettison their bodies. Melllvar follows the crew into space with his own ship, a Romulan Bird of Prey. Brannigan boards the Planet Express Ship and starts the court-martial. Leela points out that while the court-martial is in progress Melllvar is still chasing them. Fry convinces Melllvar that he cannot spend his life watching Star Trek, and Melllvar agrees to end the chase and "move out of [his] parents' basement." The crew returns with the tapes to Earth. The cast goes with them, deciding that immortality is not worth living with "one really annoying Star Trek fan."

Production[edit]

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (pictured in 2009) recorded their voice work for this episode together.

The writer for this episode, David A. Goodman, said that making this episode was a "dream come true" for many members of the crew including himself.[1] At the time he was hired onto the staff, they were already talking about creating a Star Trek-centric episode. The initial idea was to have a giant Kirk and Spock fighting over New York-New York Hotel and Casino. Executive producer David X. Cohen assigned the writing task to Goodman, as they agreed he was the biggest Trek fan of the group. They agreed to drop the story idea with the giant characters and gave him two weeks to write the script. The deadline was complicated as Goodman had to spend the first week on jury duty, and then broke his ankle. Despite this, he described "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" as the most fun he has ever had writing a script.[2]

Pat Shinagawa, who directed the episode, added that there was a certain amount of jealousy that she got to work on this episode whereas executive producer Matt Groening stated that while he is a fan of the Star Trek franchise he has never seen an episode of The Original Series in entirety, but has seen Star Trek: The Motion Picture.[3][4] All of the living members of the original Star Trek cast agreed to appear in the episode with the exception of James Doohan, whose agent replied with "No way."[1] Because of this, the episode's working title was jokingly named "We got everybody but Scotty" and so Scotty was replaced with "Welshie".[1] William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy recorded their lines together, which was unusual as actors using record solo. Following his work on Futurama, Goodman went on to join the writing staff on Star Trek: Enterprise.[2]

A number of designs for the energy being were considered for this episode; however, the final version was decided upon due to a desire to keep the design simple.[5] Shinagawa noted that even so, the final design for Melllvar is more sophisticated than some energy beings featured in the original series.[3]

Themes and cultural references[edit]

This episode contains many story elements based on episodes of Star Trek.[1] In the DVD audio commentary, Goodman noted his pride in having included a large number of quotations from The Original Series, particularly those items which he claims "the people on the internet" had not found on their own.[1] He noted that in "Shatner's Log", based on Star Trek's "Captain's log", the line "The impossible has happened" quotes the opening log in "Where No Man Has Gone Before".[1]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Although the episode was not the last episode produced for season four, it was used as the season finale for the fourth broadcast season,[6] being broadcast on April 21, 2002, on Comedy Central in the United States.[7] The episode was subsequently nominated for a Nebula Award in 2004 for best script, but lost to the 2002 film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.[8]

Prior to the broadcast, Dusty Saunders previewed the episode for Rocky Mountain News, calling Futurama "under-appreciated" and that this episode had "Lots of fun and fantasy at the expense of the noted sci-fi series."[9] Zack Handlen, while writing for the A.V. Club, gave the episode an 'A' grade. He said that the storyline could have been seen as "pretty mean-spirited if there wasn't such a clear thread of Trek love running through the episode".[7] He felt that having the framing device set during the event rather than afterwards as "delightful",[7] and that the Star Trek references were both "relevant to the story and funny in their own right".[7] Andy Wilson reviewed the episode for BigShinyRobot, calling it the "greatest animated homage to Trek ever" and "one of the best episodes of Futurama".[10]

IGN ranked the episode in tenth place in their list of the top 25 episodes of the series in 2006, calling it "ultimate fan service episode",[11] but "one that any sci-fi fan, Trekker or otherwise, can still enjoy".[11] The popularity of this episode combined with the large volume of Star Trek references has made this episode a touchstone among Trekkies according to Chris Baker at Wired.com.[12] This episode, along with "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles", was the great moments of the fourth season by David Hofstede in his book 5000 Episodes and No Commercials: The Ultimate Guide to TV Shows on DVD.[13] "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" was included in the Volume 4 release on DVD, including several deleted scenes,[14] which was first released on August 24, 2004, in the United States.[15]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Goodman, David A. (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  2. ^ a b "Interview With Federation Author David A. Goodman". StarTrek.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Shinagawa, Pat (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ Groening, Matt (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ Cohen, David X. (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ Cook, Lucius (April 26, 2004). ""Hey Sexy Mama, Wanna Kill All Humans?": Looking Backwards at Futurama, The Greatest SF Show You've Never Seen". Locus. Archived from the original on January 13, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d Handlen, Zack (July 23, 2015). "Futurama: “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”/“The Sting”". A.V. Club. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ "2004 Nebula Awards". Locus. April 17, 2004. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Critic's Choice: The Best of the Arts this Week". Rocky Mountain News (HighBeam Research). April 20, 2002. Retrieved February 2, 2016. (subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ Wilson, Andy (May 11, 2013). "TREK: Futurama: "Where No Fan Has Gone Before"". BigShinyRobot. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". IGN. September 9, 2013. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  12. ^ Baker, Chris (December 17, 2007). "Videogames & Futurama, Part 1: Raiders of the Lost Arcade". Wired.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2008. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  13. ^ Hofstede (2006): p. 120
  14. ^ Patrizio, Andy. "Futurama Volume 4". IGN. Archived from the original on December 24, 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  15. ^ Bovberg, Jason. "Futurama: Volume 4". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 

References[edit]

  • Hofstede, David (2006). 5000 Episodes and No Commercials: The Ultimate Guide to TV Shows on DVD. New York: Back Stage Books. ISBN 978-0-823-08456-2. 

External links[edit]