Ahead of its third season releasing this year, what better time than now to look back on The Boys? It premiered and soon became a flagship show for the Prime Video brand. Its uber-gritty, so-called mature tone set The Boys apart from the mostly homogenous pack that is the mainstream of the comic book and superhero format. It was a certainty that expansions would be made to the world overseen by showrunner Eric Kripke, and Diabolical, the first addition to the universe, is a hit. This eight-episode collection is a hybrid of canon-recognised narratives mangled in with the usual outlandishness that we’ve come to expect from Billy Butcher and company, resulting in an easily watchable and equally entertaining offshoot.
A blasphemous bludgeoning of the Fast & Furious series and elements of Wacky Races are the clear cash-in antics of the straight-to-DVD field. Tom and Jerry were common bedfellows of the bargain bin back in the day. Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry is one of the many, many quality offerings that pair nostalgia with a shameless mockery of some popular aspect of culture at the time. Slapstick takes a backseat as sight gags and scriptwriting are relied on. A bold move for a series that still relies on two mute protagonists, with the one time they moved away from that rightly considered a bastardised development of everything the series before it got right. Give the animals speech and it may as well be a whole different concept.
Firing out four feature films in just two years is, probably, the result of caffeine-fuelled nights, coke-fuelled days and a hell of a lot of overtime. Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs is nice enough, at least, to get the burnout away from its audiences as fast as it can. That is the offering here. Burnt out brains who have conducted finer works come together and cobble a few leftover stories together. That is what this feels like, anyway. Who knows whether that is the sad case of Futurama’s fine return to feature filmmaking. Bookended by stronger features, at least this brief setback gives the writing team some space to grow creatively, seeing what sticks and, unfortunately, what does not.
“You were fired two years ago, that’s when we were fired by the delivery network,” opens Professor Farnsworth (Billy West). His miniature tirade, calling those who cancelled the show “asinine morons,” saying they were “not just fired, beaten up too,” and “ground up into a fine, pink powder,” is, presumably, the fate that met with those Fox executives that decided to cancel Futurama in the first place. Fair play to them, they have seen the error of their ways and given full, free comedic reign to some surely disgruntled employees. Futurama: Bender’s Big Score is the first of four feature films the Futurama team created after their return to the big leagues of cable television. Filled with meta humour for the many returning fans, it is like they never missed a beat.