Good news, everyone! Futurama, the beloved animated science fiction series created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, follows the Planet Express crew on their intergalactic deliveries in the year 3000. In addition to many other references, the series carries a cargo bay full of allusions to TV’s seminal sci-fi franchise, Star Trek.
We’ve combed through Futurama season 3 and season 4 to find 10 more references to Trek. (Check out our other Star Trek references on Futurama articles, here) Does this batch of allusions include your favorite Star Trek reference from the series?
Early in the Star Trek: The Original Series season 1 episode “Operation — Annihilate!,” Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) reveals a pattern of destruction that is crossing the universe in a straight line. The cause is ultimately revealed to be creatures that are compared to individual brain cells.
In Futurama season 3’s “The Day the Earth Stood Stupid,” Hermes Conrad (Phil LaMarr) observes a pattern of destruction that is crossing the universe in a straight line. The cause is ultimately revealed to be caused by the Brain Spawn, a species comprised of enormous free-floating brains.
Learning from Landru
In the TOS season 1 episode “The Return of the Archons,” Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the USS Enterprise visit Beta III. There, they find a society ruled by a draconian artificial intelligence named Landru. Ultimately, Kirk and Spock convince the computer that it is the source of evil in Omega III. This causes it to destroy itself. This is one of four instances in which Kirk thwarts an artificial intelligence to death (along with “The Changeling,” “I, Mudd,” and “The Ultimate Computer”).
In the Futurama season 3 episode “A Tale of Two Santas,” Turanga Leela (Katey Sagal) attempts to destroy Robot Santa (John DiMaggio) using the same method. She argues that Robot Santa is evil, and therefore must destroy himself. Unfortunately, Leela’s attempt fails as Robot Santa’s head was built with “paradox-absorbing crumple zones.”
The More Things Change…
In the Futurama season 3 episode “I Dated a Robot,” Philip J. Fry (Billy West) and Leela revisit the 3000’s era internet, as introduced in season 2’s “A Bicyclops Built for Two.”
This time, a background gag demonstrates that some parts of Star Trek fandom will remain the same, even 1000 years into the future. As the pair pass “OldTREK-vs-NewTREK.web,” two Trekkies argue within. After one asserts that Kirk could “kick Picard’s ass,” the other argues, “At least Picard had the guts to admit he was bald!” The pair continue to shout as Fry and Leela continue to their destination.
Proud Star Trek Tradition
In the Futurama season 3 episode “A Pharaoh to Remember,” the PlanEx crew makes a delivery to Osiris IV, a planet that bears an uncanny resemblance to Earth’s Ancient Egypt.
“This is also from the proud Star Trek tradition where there’s a planet that’s exactly like some ancient time on Earth,” acknowledges episode writer Ron Weiner in the season 3 DVD set commentary track for the episode.
I Left My Hearts in San Francisco
In Futurama season 3’s “Bendin’ in the Wind,” Bender Bending Rodriguez (DiMaggio) takes part in a concert performance with Beck (himself). But soon he’s enraged the crowd and his co-performers alike. This leads to a chase sequence that culminates in a confrontation between Bender and Beck at Fisherman’s Worf.
So Star Trek
In Futurama season 3’s “Godfellas,” Bender is accidentally launched from a torpedo tube during a battle with Space Pirates. This leads to an episode-long space voyage. During the journey, Bender becomes god. Later, he meets the remains of a computerized space probe that collided with god (West).
In the commentary for “Godfellas,” during the scene in which Bender meets god, episode director Susie Dieter observes, “This is so Star Trek for me.” While the scene doesn’t parody a specific Star Trek episode, you can see what she means. There is a strong resemblance to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but that storyline is more directly referenced in a subsequent Futurama episode.
Wall Street Arena
In Futurama season 3’s “Future Stock,” PlanEx undergoes a hostile corporate takeover by Steve Castle (David Herman). This culminates in a showdown at the Stock Exchange, which is now on a space station orbiting Earth.
The establishing shot of the Stock Exchange includes a number of jokes among the ticker symbols. These include “Kirk” and “Gorn,” referencing the legendary battle between Kirk and the Gorn captain in the TOS season 1 episode “Arena.”
In Futurama season 3’s “The 30% Iron Chef,” Bender leaves home and pursues his dream of becoming a chef. But along the way, he rides the intergalactic rails.
In the establishing shot of the space train, we see that one of the cars is labeled “Wrath-of-Conrail,” a combination of the real-life company “Conrail” and the title of the second Star Trek movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Qo’noS sweet Qo’noS
The Omicronians Lrr (Maurice LaMarche) and NdNd (Tress MacNeille) first invade Earth in Futurama season 1’s “When Aliens Attack.” But in the season 4 episode “Love and Rocket,” the PlanEx crew visits their homeworld, Omicron Persei 8.
In the Futurama season 4 DVD commentary track for the episode, the creators discuss the fact that this is the first appearance of Omicron Persei 8. However, there may be another reason the planet looks familiar. “[J]ust see a Star Trek episode with planet Klingon, it’s pretty much the same thing,” remarks episode writer Dan Vebber on the commentary.
The Klingon Embassy
In Futurama season 4’s “A Taste of Freedom,” John Zoidberg (West) takes a bite out of an Earthican flag during a Freedom Day celebration. This offends the crowd so badly that he is forced to flee from the scene in terror.
As he crosses Washington, D.C. in an attempt to find sanctuary, he passes by multiple embassies. These include the Klingon Embassy, which is bright pink and bears a striking resemblance to a Barbie Dreamhouse. This similarity is no coincidence. In the episode commentary, Cohen said, “The Klingon Embassy used to be the Barbie Homeworld Embassy. ” Cohen explained that after seeing the gag repeatedly during production, they eventually updated it to the “Klingon Embassy.”
- David Aja Shares Art Created for THE MARVELS Cast and Crew - December 7, 2023
- What to Expect From the STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS Season 2 Special Features - December 6, 2023
- Home, Home Again: 10 Earth-Based STAR TREK Episodes - December 6, 2023