People from both the fanboy and hip hop worlds were excited to hear that Matt Groening’s Futurama was coming back to TV. But today there is some not so great news for fans: the return of Futurama will not feature the return of any of the voice actors. From Entertainment Weekly:
Twentieth Century Fox, which is still producing the series even though new episodes will air on Comedy Central, is recasting the major voice roles for the show. That means no more Billy West (Fry, Professor, and Ziodberg), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, among others), or Tress MacNeil (Mom, and several others).
Fox released a statement saying “We love the Futurama voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands. While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on.”
Summer bummer. Replacing a voice actor* on an animated show is almost worse than replacing an actor whole cloth on a live-action show, because when you replace an actor whole cloth it’s weird, sure, but eventually you can move forward (isn’t that right, Sarah Chalke?). When you replace a voice actor, it just sounds wrong. Like you’re watching a dubbed version of the show for Europe (GROSS!).
That being said, as someone who doesn’t really care that much about Futurama one way or the other (sorry fanboy and hip hop worlds. It’s got some laffs, and I will watch it sometimes, but it’s no Simpsons, which peaked 39 years ago and should probably just go off the air by now, and it’s not even as good as South Park, which is another show I don’t care about) I’m intrigued by who they have hired for the new cast:
TV’s Corbin Bernsen will be playing ALL of the characters on the relaunch (relaunch!) of Futurama. You have to admit that this is a pretty bold move that I just made up. Congratulations, Corbin Bernsen, and welcome back into America’s homes. Sustained! (Thanks for the tip, Tyson.)
*Also, don’t play games, Twentieth Century Fox. I doubt that the voice actors of Futurama made exorbitant salary demands. “We love the Futurama voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their $500 per episode and cab fare demands.”