Special Report

The 25 Best Episodes of 'Futurama,' According to IMDb

Good news, everyone! After a nearly-decade long hiatus in the acclaimed comedy series by creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, Futurama is set to return to the small screen. Having faced three cancellations in the past, the series has been revived once more through Hulu, and is set to premiere in 2023. (And no wonder: The show ranks as one of the 15 best animated sitcoms of all time.)

With an all-star voice cast comprised of Billy West, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, and more set to return, the futuristic animated comedy will continue the story of 20th-century slacker Phillip J. Fry’s 31st-century adventures with the interstellar shipping company “Planet Express” and its colorful cast of characters. (If you like sci-fi, you’ll want to see this list of the 50 best sci-fi movies of all time.)

With so many previous episodes released, ranging from 1999 to 2013, there are a number of fan favorites out there. To identify the 25 best episodes of Futurama, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the listings for 141 episodes of the show on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, to select those with the highest ratings. When episodes had identical ratings, the ones with the most reviews placed higher. Stars, directors, and summaries of each episode also come from IMDb.

Click here to see the 25 best episodes of “Futurama” ranked

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

25. Bender’s Big Score: Part 4 (2008)
> IMDb rating: 8.4 (273 votes)
> Director: Dwayne Carey-Hill
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In the concluding episode of this four-part special, our favorite interstellar delivery team has to team up with the rest of planet Earth to overthrow a trio of Scammers trying to take over the world.

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Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

24. The Prisoner of Benda (2010)
> IMDb rating: 8.4 (1,970 votes)
> Director: Stephen Sandoval
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In an episode inspired by the 1894 adventure novel “The Prisoner of Zenda,” Fry and the team engage in a hilarious body swapping experiment. David X. Cohen explained that the solution to the multiple body switches was solved in the writing process by writer Ken Keeler, who has a PhD in mathematics.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

23. Time Keeps on Slipping (2001)
> IMDb rating: 8.4 (2,345 votes)
> Director: Chris Loudon
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

The planet of the Globetrotters has come to challenge Planet Express to a game of basketball! In order to secure their victory, Professor Farnsworth creates a team of mutant supermen to combat the alien athletes, but his experiments come at a dangerous cost.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

22. Fry and the Slurm Factory (1999)
> IMDb rating: 8.4 (2,731 votes)
> Directors: Ron Hughart, Gregg Vanzo
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Pamela Anderson

In this Season One episode inspired by Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Fry wins a free tour alongside the rest of the Planet Express crew to visit the famous Slurm factory, which makes his favorite drink. But not everything is as exciting as it seems inside the factory.

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Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

21. Murder on the Planet Express (2013)
> IMDb rating: 8.5 (1,782 votes)
> Director: Frank Marino
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

As the crew get trapped aboard the Planet Express, they are killed one by one by an intergalactic monster until only Fry and Bender remain. This mysterious thriller is a doubly-inspired episode, with notes from “Murder on the Orient Express” and John Carpenter’s “The Thing.”

Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

20. Game of Tones (2013)
> IMDb rating: 8.5 (2,063 votes)
> Director: Edmund Fong
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In an emotional gut-punch of an episode, the Planet Express crew journeys through Fry’s dreams to pull off a mission all the way back in the year 1999. The episode ends with a tear-jerking scene between Fry and his mother, who he hasn’t seen in over a thousand years.

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Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

19. The Day the Earth Stood Stupid (2001)
> IMDb rating: 8.5 (2,309 votes)
> Director: Mark Ervin
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Futurama can’t get enough of evil brains. One season after the war against brain-balls in “War is the H-Word,” Fry once again stands against a swarm of enemy brains, this time invading Earth. His stupidity is the only thing the flying brains cannot intercept, so it’s up to him to save the world from total destruction.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

18. War Is the H-Word (2000)
> IMDb rating: 8.5 (2,448 votes)
> Directors: Ron Hughart, Bret Haaland
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In a scam to get discount benefits, Fry and Bender join the military – but when a war breaks out and the two are enlisted to fight on the front lines against sentient brain-balls, they see the error of their ways in this darkly hilarious episode.

Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

17. Lethal Inspection (2010)
> IMDb rating: 8.6 (2,398 votes)
> Director: Ray Claffey
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In this heartwarming episode, Bender discovers that he has no backup capabilities and therefore has only one life to live, so he and Hermes set out to Mexico to meet his maker and confront him for the production error. Bender never finds him, but it is revealed that Hermes made Bender years ago, and saved him from being destroyed as an infant robot.

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Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

16. The Problem with Popplers (2000)
> IMDb rating: 8.6 (2,428 votes)
> Directors: Chris Sauve, Gregg Vanzo, Bret Haaland
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Gore warning! Kind of. This episode deals with a delectable food source called Popplers that Planet Express finds on an alien planet. They look and taste like popcorn chicken, but Leela discovers that the popular snacks are actually infant aliens. The adult aliens menace Earth, and Leela and the team must stop the invasion before it’s too late.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

15. Anthology of Interest I (2000)
> IMDb rating: 8.6 (2,476 votes)
> Directors: Chris Loudon, Rich Moore, Bret Haaland
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Four brief stories are told in this episode following the creation of the Professor’s “What If?” machine, which reveals to the crew what their lives might be like under different circumstances.

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Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

14. Leela’s Homeworld (2002)
> IMDb rating: 8.7 (2,475 votes)
> Director: Mark Ervin
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

While duking it out with the mutants of the underground, who’ve been spewing toxic waste, Leela learns that she is not the last cyclops from a forgotten world. Rather, she is the child of two mutants, sent aboveground to live a better life than they could give her.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

13. Amazon Women in the Mood (2001)
> IMDb rating: 8.7 (2,805 votes)
> Director: Brian Sheesley
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

After landing on a planet of massive Amazonian women, Fry, Zapp Brannigan, and first mate Kif are taken prisoner. They proceed to engage in an unending cycle of “Snoo-Snoo,” which begins to lose its luster before long.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

12. Space Pilot 3000 (1999)
> IMDb rating: 8.7 (3,813 votes)
> Directors: Rich Moore, Gregg Vanzo
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Diсk Clark

In this, the pilot episode of “Futurama,” Philip J. Fry is an unhappy, unsuccessful pizza delivery boy who accidentally falls into a cryogenic freeze-chamber on New Year’s Eve, 1999. He wakes up in the year 3,000, and meets the Planet Express crew, run by his 30-times great-nephew Hubert J. Farnsworth.

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Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

11. The Why of Fry (2003)
> IMDb rating: 8.8 (2,275 votes)
> Director: Wesley Archer
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Fry learns the unthinkable: He was frozen back in 1999 on purpose! Traveling through time, Fry has the opportunity to go back and prevent himself from being frozen, and returning to his old life. But doing so might spell the end of the world 1,000 years later.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

10. The Farnsworth Parabox (2003)
> IMDb rating: 8.9 (2,447 votes)
> Director: Ron Hughart
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

After Professor Farnsworth creates a box with a parallel universe inside it, Leela is sent in, only to discover another Planet Express, creating a box of its own. The clashing delivery crews collide, and ultimately give one another their boxes, protecting their own universes.

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Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

9. Godfellas (2002)
> IMDb rating: 8.9 (2,877 votes)
> Director: Susie Dietter
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In one of the series’ more philosophical episodes, Bender gets lost in space and becomes the god of a colony of tiny living beings who settle on his metallic body. When they ultimately destroy themselves, Bender is left feeling hopeless and alone until he comes across a mass of space dust and twinkling lights claiming to know everything about him.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

8. Parasites Lost (2001)
> IMDb rating: 9 (2,690 votes)
> Director: Peter Avanzino
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

After Fry eats a roadside egg-salad sandwich, he is infested with worms that make him inexplicably smarter and stronger. As Leela falls for the new and improved Fry, the rest of the crew travel through his body to dispel the worms from his system, and Leela must decide which Fry she cares more about.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

7. Roswell That Ends Well (2001)
> IMDb rating: 9.1 (2,895 votes)
> Director: Rich Moore
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Traveling back in time to Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, Fry and the gang are involved in a series of historical hijinks, including Dr. Zoidberg being researched by scientists, Bender being mistaken for a UFO, and Fry accidentally killing his grandfather and becoming his own grandfather after falling for his grandmother.

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Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

6. The Sting (2003)
> IMDb rating: 9.2 (3,098 votes)
> Director: Brian Sheesley
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

After going on a mission which causes the deaths of the previous Planet Express crew, Fry is stabbed through the chest by a giant bee, and seemingly dies. As Leela mourns him, she dreams of him night after night and feels like she is going crazy. It’s revealed in a sweet-as-honey twist at the end of the episode that Leela is the one who got stung, and has been in a coma all this time, while Fry has been at her bedside day-in and day-out.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

5. The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings (2003)
> IMDb rating: 9.2 (3,130 votes)
> Director: Bret Haaland
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In an attempt to impress Leela, Fry makes a deal with the Robot Devil to swap hands, making him a master musician. After he writes an opera for Leela, the Robot Devil enacts his own plans, deafening Leela and giving her robotic ears to hear Fry’s creation, then double-crossing Fry by marrying her. The only way for Fry to get her back is to give up the devil’s hands – but will Fry be willing to give up his newfound skill?

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Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

4. The Late Philip J. Fry (2010)
> IMDb rating: 9.4 (3,589 votes)
> Director: Peter Avanzino
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Fry and Leela finally have a date! But before he can make it, Fry, Bender, and the Professor experiment with the Professor’s new time-travel machine, which will let them move one minute into the future. When it all goes wrong, however, Fry must watch the universe begin and end continuously, waiting for the moment when he might see Leela again.

Source: Courtesy of Comedy Central

3. Meanwhile (2013)
> IMDb rating: 9.5 (3,617 votes)
> Director: Peter Avanzino
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

In the (so far) last episode of “Futurama,” Professor Farnsworth creates a button that can send a person ten seconds backward in time. When Leela and Fry use it, they are stuck in an endless time loop, losing everything and everyone they love. When they find the Professor, he gives them a solution: go back in time, all the way o the very first episode, and start over again. Fry and Leela hold hands, and walk through the time portal together.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

2. The Luck of the Fryrish (2001)
> IMDb rating: 9.5 (4,415 votes)
> Director: Chris Loudon
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Fry takes Leela and Bender on a secret mission to retrieve his lucky seven-leaf clover from his famous late brother Yancy’s grave. Fry believes that his brother stole everything from him growing up, including his first name. By the end of the episode, however, we learn that Yancy missed Fry and named his son after him.

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Source: Courtesy of Fox Network

1. Jurassic Bark (2002)
> IMDb rating: 9.6 (5,599 votes)
> Director: Swinton O. Scott III
> Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille

Quite possibly the most famous and heart-rending episode of the series, “Jurassic Bark” tells the tale of Fry and his dog Seymour, who were inseparable until New Year’s Eve, 1999, when Fry was frozen. As Fry finds Seymour’s mummified remains in the future, he must decide what life he wants for his pup, ultimately letting him stay dead. We learn, in an emotionally devastating final scene, that after Fry’s disappearance, Seymour waited for him outside his pizza place every day until he died.

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