Latest TV Leads

25 Best 'Futurama' Characters

Liam McKeone
Futurama
Futurama /
facebooktwitter

Futurama is being revived. Again! The long-running cartoon made by Matt Groening is getting another chance in the streaming era as Hulu picked up the rights to put on an 11th season. Who knows what it will look like after the series wrapped up perfectly in Season 10 following a handful of cancellations, but who cares? In the immortal words of Bender Bending Rodriguez: "I'm back, baby!"

In honor of this occasion that will be arriving at a yet-to-be-determined date, here are the 25 best Futurama characters ranked accordingly.

25. Lrr, Ruler of Omicron Persei 8

Lrr usually played the antagonist when he came on-screen, often merely to eat humans in the early seasons. He was explored in the later seasons and proved to be a lover of reality television, a troubled husband, and a loving father. Lrr's appearances were not frequent but enjoyable and his struggles with keeping his weight down remain relatable.

24. Flexo

Flexo is one of the many quasi-Benders that populate the Futurama universe and he's unique because he is actually good. Despite all signs to the contrary, Flexo ends up doing the right thing during his appearances. And he has an A-plus goatee.

23. Chef Elzar

Chef Elzar is based off Emeril Lagasse, and I would appreciate that more if I were older. Seeing as I am not, I just like Elzar because he grows increasingly bitter about the presence of the Planet Express crew wreaking havoc in his restaurant over the years. That and his spice weasel is a laugh every time.

22. Leo and Inez Wong

The parents of Futurama mainstay Amy Wong, Leo and Inez play a wonderful role of what Elon Musk would be like if he actually managed to colonize Mars -- extremely rich with a lot of land that they shamelessly exploit for the purpose of making money. Unapologetically slimy. Extra points to Leo for originating one of the better overarching storylines in the show when he tries to create a mini golf course out of a solar system and nearly killed off the only evolutionary power in the universe as a result.

21. Robot Santa

Every long-running animated show loves its holiday episodes. There are few better than Futurama's take on Christmas, during which a Robot Santa rampages throughout the world and attempts to destroy anybody who has been naughty that year. Which, thanks to a programming defect, means he tries to destroy everybody. Turning Christmas episodes into survivalist horror is a tremendous stroke of creativity and it comes around beautifully near the end of the show, when Robot Santa teams up with Kwanzaa-Bot and the Hanukkah Zombie.

20. Morbo

Morbo the TV anchor is one of my personal favorites so the fact that he's ranked this low shows my objectivity. He's a perfect foil for his on-screen partner, the over-the-top perfect Linda van Schoonhoven, He also has my favorite line of the whole series: "Windmills do not work that way. Goodnight!"

19. Hypnotoad

All hail Hypnotoad!

18. Hedonism Bot

Just a barrel of laughs as a character. A very gross robot who lives for life's greatest pleasures and is willing to literally die for them. It's tough for a character to be this nasty while still being able to appear on cable television and the writing team toed the line beautifully. A disgusting pigbot who steals the scene every time he's on-screen.

17. Wernstrom

The ideal foil for Professor Farnsworth, Wernstrom embodies the obnoxious academia attitude well and eats crow often enough that the viewers see him as yet another bumbling fool in a sea of many and need only watch until the end of the episode to see him fail. That means he can play the parts of evil villain and comedic relief in a 20-minute span. Impressive range!

16. Richard Nixon and Agnew

The head of Richard Nixon is used as the medium through which the writers communicate their aggressive 2000s-era satire, which means he's the conduit for most of the best jokes in the show. Agnew, remarkably, has nearly as many good moments despite not having a head.

15. Nibbler

Nibbler comes onto the scene late, relatively speaking, but ends up being important. A high ranking for the character who somehow is more important to the overarching plot of the show than anyone else and is also adorable.

14. Robot Devil

The conduit for most of the religion jokes in Futurama, the Robot Devil serves as the catalyst for some of the best plots in the show. "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" is arguably the best episode of Futurama and the Robot Devil's one-liners about Fry's hands are gut-busters to this day.

13. Yancy Fry, Sr. and Mrs. Fry

The parents of our protagonist, Yancy Fry, Sr. and his wife are not regular characters. Yet they get a spot anyway. Yancy Fry, Sr.'s obsession with those damn commies is good for a laugh every time. And passionate viewers know we couldn't make a list like this without expressing our appreciation of Mrs. Fry's love for her sports team, a love that runs so deep she was more interested in the Mets game on her handheld radio than holding her newborn son.

12. Scruffy

Ah, Scruffy. The weird janitor with a forbidden love for his mop and bucket and an utter disinterest in doing any of his work. Sometimes the humor doesn't have to be clever to work.

11. Calculon

The caricature of all things Hollywood in the Futurama universe, Calculon is arrogant, selfish, and downright absurd. Even for Futurama. Which is saying something.

10. Mom and Sons

Mom is a consistent villain in the universe and a chainsmoking icon of corporate greed, willing to do whatever it takes to turn a profit. Conversely, her three sons are all morons on a sliding scale and get slapped in every scene they appear in for their stupidity. An ideal combination.

9. Zap Brannigan

There is perhaps no character with more memorable lines than Zap Brannigan and his misguided sense of righteousness. His sleazy womanizing gets a little old after a while but is offset by his pathetic nature when faced with adversity.

8. Amy Wong

The first Planet Express crew character to appear on the list, Amy Wong's carefree, trust fund baby nature provides a unique perspective to the team. It's difficult to empathize with any of the plots centered around her as a result, which is why she's the lowest of the central cast. Yet Planet Express wouldn't be the same without her red-hot temper and role as the Professor's student who is constantly given more than she can handle.

7. Dr. John Zoidberg

Every good animated show needs a heel. That is Zoidberg, the utterly incompetent and disgusting lobster doctor who can show off a heart of gold but quietly resents everybody regardless. The Futurama writers took a while to balance the relentless mockery of Zoidberg while making him a fleshed-out character, but struck gold once they did. Everybody feels like a Zoidberg sometimes.

6. Hermes Conrad

The number-cruncher of the Planet Express team, Hermes loves bureaucracy as much as he secretly loves the devil's lettuce. Hermes has a few heart-warming storylines mixed in with his frugal day-to-day nature and his never-ending war with Barbados Slim is one of the better subplots in the show.

5. Turanga Leela

Leela is the yin to Fry's yang, the second-most important character in the universe as a badass, purple-haired, one-eyed alien/mutant who doesn't take crap from anybody. Whenever a can of whoop-ass must be opened, Leela is the one they call. She isn't as high on the list as one might expect because she doesn't pack the same comedic punch that other characters do, but she's irreplaceable in the universe and has her moments.

4. Kif Kroker

The abjectly miserable sidekick to Zap Brannigan, Kif is an incredible character for anyone who's had a terrible boss. His worldweary sighs after another Zap goof resonate to the core and the writers' decision to make him a love interest for Amy was a great pivot to include him more often in the everyday plot lines. In a universe filled with the strange and bizarre, there is perhaps no character more relatable than the alien Kif, whose face is misery incarnate as he cleans up another mess caused by his incompetent superior.

3. Bender Bending Rodriguez

"Kiss my shiny metal ass" is the iconic catchphrase of Futurama and will remain so until the end of time. Bender's comically evil intentions stand out even amongst the largely chaotic attitudes of the Planet Express crew. If there's something to be stolen, Bender will be there. If there's a morally wrong opportunity, Bender will seize it. All that makes his few good moments that much more memorable. There is no Futurama without Bender.

2. Professor Hubert Farnsworth

The Professor, constant bringer of good news for the crew that is very rarely good news, is the gem of the show. He's half-mad scientist, half-crazy old man. One day he'll wake up and try to play God. The next he'll invent something he forgot he already invented. The moments where he dances close to the edge of sanity are among the best the show has to offer, and his utter distaste for his moronic nephew/great-great-great-great uncle Fry is a recurring theme for 10 seasons. One of the best animated characters ever.

1. Philip J. Fry

Of course our main character claims the top spot. The viewers watch Fry go from a confused, dumb, stereotypical late-90s video game nerd to a confident (yet still dumb) delivery boy for Planet Express. He is the slapstick comedian of the group, constantly suffering severe injury due to either his incompetence or that of his coworkers who don't really care what happens to him for much of the show. Yet there's always something about rooting for the underdog, and the moment Fry finally captures Leela's affection is the hallmark of the show at large.

There are funnier characters than Fry and smarter characters than Fry, but no character can elicit the same range of emotional response as the protagonist of Futurama.

facebooktwitter