Good news for us Futuramaphiles--a new, feature-length DVD, Bender's Big Score (with Sarah Silverman as one of the voice actors), went on sale this week; it's the first of four DVDs with all-new material that will be released over the next year. Wired magazine is celebrating with a feature story in the print edition of the December issue along with a trio of online-only treats: a behind-the-scenes slideshow, a sidebar about the show's unabashed geekery, and a fascinating story about the original Futurama--the famous ride in the General Motors Pavilion in the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. There are even video excerpts of To New Horizons, a documentary about the Futurama ride.
GM's Futurama--known as the Futurama--"presented a utopia forged by urban planning," according to the online article (un-bylined, but probably by Chris Baker, the author of the feature story. No, not that Chris Baker). It also had an influence on language: Although -arama had been used to create new English words since the early 19th century, the Futurama brought the suffix into widespread use. (Read more about -arama at The Straight Dope.)
Television's Futurama (1999-2002), while best known for its math and science in-jokes, also played with language. In the world of the show--set in the 31st century--French is a dead language. (When the show was dubbed in French, German was the dead language.) In other linguistic developments, the word "Christmas" has been replaced by "Xmas" (and evergreens by palm trees) and "ask" has been replaced by "axe." "Slurm," the name of a ubiquitous beverage on the series, will be recognized by computer folk as an acronym for Simple Linux Utility for Resource Management.
According to the Wired article (print edition):
Some jokes in Futurama were written in a strange alphabet that fans had to decrypt. "Most were jokes about aliens eating people," [show co-developer David X.] Cohen says. "Like, an alien sign on a restaurant says TASTY HUMAN BURGERS." He checked the Web a few hours after the pilot aired and discovered that the freeze framers had already cracked the code. A trickier alien alphabet was devised.
For those of you who really want to read the signs in the background, Omniglot provides a decoded version of that alien alphabet.
Read my previous post about the original Futurama taglines.