Futurama appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 TVs. Within the constraints of SD-DVD, the shows displayed excellent visuals.
Sharpness seemed terrific. From start to finish, the programs offered solid delineation, with a consistently concise and tight presentation. I noticed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to materialize in these clean transfers.
Futurama used a bright palette that came across well. The colors were always lively and dynamic, with no issues on display. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows were smooth and clear. I found a lot to like about this very positive presentation.
While not particularly impressive, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks of Futurama were perfectly adequate. The shows offered a good sense of environment and used a few action scenes to open up matters in a decent way. Not a lot of these moments occurred, but they worked well when they did, and the general sense of setting satisfied.
Audio quality was always very good. Speech sounded natural and warm, with good intelligibility and no defects. Music was lively and dynamic, and effects fell into the same realm. Those elements appeared concise and accurate through the flick. Nothing here dazzled, but the tracks seemed positive.
Expect extras that echo those from earlier packages. All 13 episodes include audio commentaries. For these, executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, supervising director Peter Avanzino and actors Billy West and John DiMaggio chat on all of them. In addition, we hear from co-executive producers Eric Horsted (1, 10), Josh Weinstein (2, 3, 4, 12), Patric M. Verrone (3, 4, 5, 6, 11), Michael Rowe (7, 8, 9), Dan Vebber (7, 8, 9), directors Stephen Sandoval (1), Frank Marino (5, 12), Crystal Chesney-Thompson (6, 13), Raymie Muzquiz (9), Lance Kramer (10), and Edmund Fond (11), producers Lee Supercinski (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) and Claudia Katz (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12), writers Eric Rogers (5), Michael Saikin (13) and Neil Mukhopadhyay (13), and actors Maurice LaMarche (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12) and Lauren Tom (6).
We also get a “Bonus Animator Commentary” for “A Farewell to Arms”. Alas, I rented these discs and forgot to make a tape of this one before I returned the set. As such, I can’t say anything about the track other than to note its existence!
These commentaries follow the template set in prior volumes. Cohen acts as the most prominent participant, mainly because he likes to explain references and scientific theories. The actors play a pretty active role as well and lend a party vibe to the proceedings.
This means you should expect the same kind of material we found in the past, and I think that’s a good thing. I’ve always enjoyed the Futurama commentaries, probably more than the chats for The Simpsons, largely due to the fun that comes with the actors. Sure, West and DiMaggio can take things “off-topic” at times, but dadgummit, they’re a blast to hear. The commentaries move well and add value to the set.
Both discs include collections of Deleted Scenes. Disc One’s run a total of six minutes, 56 seconds, while Disc Two’s go for six minutes, 34 seconds. They mix final animation with story reels; the latter show storyboards accompanied by audio.
We get deleted scenes for 11 of the 13 shows: “The Bots and the Bees” (three scenes), “A Farewell to Arms” (two), “Decision 3012” (two), “The Thief of Baghead” (three), “The Butterjunk Effect” (two), “The Six Million Dollar Mon” (one), “Fun on a Bun” (three), “Free Will Hunting” (two), “31st Century Fox” (one), “Viva Mars Vegas” (two) and “Naturama” (two).
Most of these offer short extensions to existing scenes. Probably the most substantial relates to Bender’s rap song from “Hunting”. That tune shows up in a semi-unrelated way at the aired episode’s end, but the deleted sequence shows how the program meant to use it. Nothing amazing shows up here, but the snippets tend to be amusing.
Disc One also includes a featurette called Christopher Tyng’s Big Score. This lasts eight minutes, 25 seconds and shows the series’ composer at work. We find an enjoyable take on the music of Futurama.
On Disc Two, we locate Mobius Trip. This delivers “infinite Futurama screen loops” and lets us view “aquarium” or “terrarium”. This act like virtual environments, though with a Futurama bent; for instance, as they show the altered characters from the “Naturama” episode. These are cute additions.
Finally, Futurama Karaoke lets you “sing along with your favorite characters”. This area takes five songs from the series and allows you to croon along with or without vocals. It’s a fun extra.
While not the best package of Futurama episodes, “Volume 7” still musters a lot of entertainment. The volume comes with ups and downs but nonetheless provides more laughs than groaners. The DVDs offer excellent visuals along with good audio and a pretty informative set of bonus materials. Fans will get a kick from this fun package.