Is Futurama 2023 a Reboot? When Does it Take Place?

Hulu’s ‘Futurama’ is an animated sitcom that continues the adventures of Philip J. Fry and the Planet Express crew. The series first debuted in 1999 and has returned from the grave twice, with the 2023 episodes promising a fresh start for the futuristic and science-fiction comedy series. It is known for its time and reality-bending plot devices, which add hijinks and misery to Fry and his life. Given the series is returning after nearly a decade of absence from screens, viewers must be wondering if the 2023 version is a reboot and when the new episodes are set. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Futurama 2023 Is a Revival

‘Futurama’ premiered on March 28, 1999, on Fox, receiving critical acclaim over its four-season run on the network. However, Fox stopped buying episodes of the show sometime around 2003, resulting in its soft cancellation. Four direct-to-video films were released between 2007 and 2009. They were later split into four episodes each and broadcast as the fifth season on Comedy Central, which officially picked up the series for new episodes in June 2009.

After two seasons, split across four parts, the series was once again canceled, with the final episode airing on September 4, 2013. The seventh production season was meant to serve as the final season. However, in February 2022, Hulu officially renewed the series for new episodes, forming the right production season, also referred to as the eleventh release season of the series. The new episodes premiered in July 2023. The latest batch of episodes comes roughly a decade after the series went off the air and has been referred to as a reboot.

The first episode of season 8 (or season 11), titled ‘The Impossible Stream,’ addresses the events of the season 7 finale, and its events are set after its predecessor. Nonetheless, since the ending of the season 7 finale rests the time anomalies caused by Fry, it can be considered a soft reboot of the series. However, the 2023 episodes are mainly a continuation of the series. They are generally better described as a revival of the cult classic series, its second following its renaissance in the late 2010s.

Futurama Set in 3023

‘Futurama,’ as the name suggests, is known for its futuristic setting, complete with technological advancements such as flying cars and time travel. The series’ pilot episode starts in 1999, the same year as the show debuted, and follows protagonist Philip J. Fry, who works as a pizza delivery boy in New York City. The episode sees Fry getting cryogenically frozen and reawakening in the 30th century. The 30th century is the show’s primary setting, and each season is set in the 30th-century counterpart of its release year. The previous series finale, titled ‘Meanwhile,’ is set sometime between 2012 and 2013, when the seventh and then final season of ‘Futurama’ aired.

The 2023 episodes, which Hulu refers to as ‘Futurama’ season 11, are set after the events of ‘Meanwhile’ are undone by Professor Farnsworth. As a result of unfreezing time and resetting the timeline, Professor Farnsworth reveals that timekeeping has been affected. He implies that since Fry’s meddling resulted in time being frozen, many years have passed without actually having any physical effect on the population. Later, the atomic calendar reveals that the season 11 premiere kicks off in 3023, on July 24, the same day the episode was released on Hulu. However, as the episode progresses, Fry continues to binge-watch, resulting in nearly a year passing. Therefore, by the time the episode ends, the year is 2024, which can be expected to be the primary timeframe for the new episodes.

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