Futurama Returns From Suspended Animation

Even the savvy prognosticators behind Futurama - the absurdist animated science-fiction comedy set in the 31st century - could not have predicted the convoluted path their series has taken since its 1999 premiere.

A victim of frequent preemptions and extended hiatuses, it was canceled in 2003 after 72 episodes on Fox. But thanks to robust DVD sales and strong ratings in repeats (first on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and then Comedy Central), the show was revived for four DVD-movies. When those sold well, Comedy Central ordered 26 new episodes, the first two of which air Thursday at 10/9c and 10:30/9:30c. "You hope that your show is going to be Star Trek, when the fans will not let it die for decades after it goes off the air," says exec producer David X. Cohen, who developed the show with The Simpsons guru Matt Groening.

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