Futurama lives! For one night at least. The long-running sci-fi cartoon spoof, which signed off last year, is making a time-traveling comeback on The Simpsons (Sunday, Nov. 9 at 8/7c on Fox). Despite the fact the shows are set 1,000 years apart, the crossover makes sense, given that both series were created by Matt Groening and share a similar animation style. "At the table read, I said, "Let's celebrate this joyous reunion between Matt Groening's left and right brains,'" says Simpsons executive producer Al Jean. "And I really think that's what it is."
A long-running ban on time-travel for the Futurama gang has been lifted, which allowed the Planet Express crew to visit 21st-century Springfield. Longtime Futurama showrunner David X. Cohen signed off on the plot, which, Jean jokes, "like all good science fiction, is stolen from Harlan Ellison." In the episode, titled "Simpsorama," — written by Simpsons producer J. Stewart Burns, who previously worked on Futurama — cranky robot Bender comes from the future to hunt down a member of the Simpson family who has unknowingly triggered a worldwide disaster a millennium later.
Futurama has been resurrected before — it's already had runs on Fox, direct-to-video movies, and Comedy Central — but just in case this is really the end, Jean and his team wanted to reward the show's notoriously detail-oriented fans, who are known to obsessively decipher alien languages and spot hidden gems in the background. "We put in references to just about every Futurama side character, and it's filled with little Easter eggs. If you're a fan of the show, you should pay close attention," he says before laughing. "I guess it's a little redundant to say, 'Futurama fans, pay close attention.' That's sort of a prerequisite."