Futurama—the sci-fi toon about a bumbling cosmic delivery crew made up of aliens, robots, mutants, and humans—was unceremoniously dropped by Fox in 2003. But big-time DVD sales, combined with the show’s popularity in reruns on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, turned Fox’s faux pas into every fan’s gain: new, original movies released straight to DVD.
“Returning to life after you’ve been canceled is such a rare thing, so these movies are a real victory,” says David Cohen, who created the show with The Simpsons honcho Matt Groening. Bender’s Big Score, the first of four full-length movies, was well-received by fans and newbies alike last year. The latest flick in the quadrilogy? Cohen describes The Beast With a Billion Backs (to be released June 24) as “a simple relationship story…between a giant octopus and every living being in the universe.” You aren’t alone in your appreciation of such galactic surrealism: Said mollusk is voiced by comedian David Cross, and hero/idiot Phillip J. Fry’s love interest gets her lilt from King of the Hill vet Brittany Murphy.