WHAT'S COOKIN': Futurama's risqué fifth and most likely last season.
WHAT ARE THEY UP TO: Hot, dirty sex and nudity.
WHEN & WHERE CAN YOU FIND 'EM: Sundays, 7 p.m., Fox (when it's not pre-empted by sports events, holidays and bar mitzvahs)
WHY IN THE WORLD: After years of being neglected by Fox, creator Matt Groening and executive producer David X. Cohen decided to go out with a loud, moaning bang.
HOW'S IT GOING DOWN: Since television animation requires a longer production schedule, Futurama will be finished posting and sound mixing the remaining 16 episodes originally intended for the series' third and fourth seasons even before season 5 debuts. And during the process, Cohen felt they nothing to lose by sexing things up.
"We're trying our best to be unsuitable for 7 p.m. this season - we have nothing else to lose this season, so we felt we would throw caution to the wind," says Cohen. "I think we're daring them to keep us on at 7 p.m., essentially."
So what kind of dirty stuff can fans expect? Cohen emphasizes "gratuitous sex."
"With Futurama, we've really gone wild both with sci-fi concepts and with nudity," adds Groening. "There's a lot more nudity this upcoming season. I can't believe we're getting away with it. And it's nudity fans crave."
True, Bender will be getting a sex change operation to become a Fembot so he can compete in the robot Olympics. but Groening says the sex he's talking about isn't of a robotic nature.
"Fans crave robot nudity? I don't think so," muses Groening. "There will be human and alien nudity. Sexy nudity. A lot of video frame grabs are going to be posted on the Internet."
Other titillating episodes will be the birth of Kif and Amy's baby - but it's not Amy who is carrying. Meanwhile, alien poachers are after Fry's "horn." 'Nuff said.
"This is a show we've always envisioned to be 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. to appeal to the same age demographics as The Simpsons," says Cohen. "We have a problem if we're too early or too late, which is a handicap for any show and it's especially a handicap since we're in one of those too-early slots."
Only time will tell if sex will save Futurama or send its remaining episodes into television limbo, where last year's "A tale of Two Santas" ended for a full year before Fox finally had the Christmas balls to air it.
"My buddies and I do adult animation," concludes Groening. "We can't help it if Fox has its own peculiar programming wisdom."
This article is from the October issue of Cinescape
. Buy it if it's available in your country! Probably a rare direct interview which fans will want to own!