Good news everyone, Futurama is back, and it almost feels like the animated sci-fi sitcom never even left.
Of course, it did—twice. Futurama fans will need no reminding that the show has been canceled a couple of times across its multi-layered history. Nevertheless, Hulu and Disney+ have proven to be the fandom’s best friends by rolling out new episodes.
Season 11 began premiering in July with The Impossible Stream. Embracing the meta nature of the nature of all reboots, the installment was full of inside jokes and the return of iconic characters.
Episode 2, Children Of A Lesser Bog, definitely keeps them coming, whether that’s bringing back the Grand Midwife or a (former) whale biologist. However, was there any return worth more applause than that of the Nimbus captain himself, Zapp Brannigan?
He’s an absolute fan-favorite and has been ever since he first debuted in Love’s Labours Lost In Space”, and it’s safe to say that we’ll never pronounce champagne the same way ever again.
It was an absolute treat to find the Zapper back in velour uniform after an entire decade off our screens in the latest installment, and yes, he’s lost none of his trademark charm.
When it’s quickly established to be a Kif episode, we know there have to be two things: Zapp and a deep sigh. Fortunately, Zapp first shows up on a video call to his second-in-command and tells him “I have a bit of news to say at you.” Straight away, there’s no room for deliberation… it’s the captain we love to hate and hate to love, alright. There’s a joke about Kif not receiving the many gifts that he’s clearly not sent, so it’s safe to say that nothing has changed between the pair, and we’d never want it to.
He asks the lieutenant to report to duty. “Is it war?” Kif asks, to which Zapp responds “I hope so.” Classic.
When Zapp eventually meets Kif in his old bedroom aboard the ship, he quips “I feel you soldier, and not in a handsy way this time,” because, you know, it wouldn’t be the Zapper without inappropriate sexual remarks. Crossing the line is arguably his definitive personality trait, but the reason the character works so well is that he’s always been the butt of the joke.
Throughout the episode, he gives Kif orders and bosses him around as you’d expect, with the writers evidently compromising nothing that fans cherish the character for. One of the earliest jokes with Zapp is that he’ll have Kif shave him while he’s in the bathtub, and we even get a callback to it here during a scene with Kif waxing his chest in the tub.
Throughout, his stupidity and total cluelessness within his profession are left totally intact, and again, he’s always willing to speak his mind; “sounds like a good job that pays bad,” he tells a bear biologist.
There are a handful of great moments of cowardice with Zapp in episode 2, and the majority of the laughs are down to scenes with him. After Children Of A Lesser Bog, we can’t wait to see what else season 11 has in store for him. Brannigan’s law is in full effect, and the fandom’s happy to obey.
Futurama is now streaming on Hulu in the US and Disney+ in the UK.