'Futurama' gets new life as film

The Baltimore Sun

The Simpsons spin-off Futurama may still be canceled, but the cult favorite has found a new life as a series of direct-to-DVD movies. Tonight, Comedy Central returns the gang to TV as it re-airs the first Futurama feature, Bender's Big Score.

The film picks up where the show left off, with a sly reference to being canceled (Fox dumped it in 2003 after four years of monkeying with its time slot). Fry and the gang are charged with making a delivery to "the Nude Beach Planet," where characters' naughty bits are cleverly covered.

While there, they meet vile nudist aliens, who con everyone at Planet Express and take control of the company. All the voice actors have returned - John DiMaggio as Bender, Katey Sagal (of Married With Children) as Leela, and master voice artist Billy West (who voiced both Ren and Stimpy) as Fry, the Professor and Zoidberg.

The quality of the animation is superb, as it was on the TV show, but this time around the action is in widescreen. It's further proof that it's better to die and be revived than stretch it out and exhaust all possible story ideas. (9 p.m., Comedy Central) ***

Last gasp: Are they out of money already? The short season of Secret Millionaire ends as Salt Lake City software titan Greg Haerr goes undercover in Las Vegas and prepares to play Santa. (8 p.m., WBFF-Channel 45)

Late-night guests : Adam Sandler visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; Will Smith stops by Late Show with David Letterman.

no z on tv

David Zurawik is on vacation. His column returns next week.

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