'Futurama's' future is reruns

— A prediction: Viewers eons from now will give "Futurama" the credit it deserves today.

Oh, it may not make them laugh. But when the show's time finally comes, this shrewd cartoon series could well be endorsed as an accurate picture of life, circa A.D. 3000.

For now, however, we ancients of the 21st century who love it will continue to celebrate "Futurama" as unbeatable satire -- even as its prime-time cycle nears an end.

Fortunately, "Futurama" reruns air on Cartoon Network at 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays as part of that network's "Adult Swim" program block. Next month, the second "Futurama" season will be released on DVD by Fox Home Entertainment.

And on Fox, the final new "Futurama" episodes can be seen Sundays at 6 p.m. through Aug. 10.

Granted, four years in prime time is nothing to sneeze at -- unless compared to "The Simpsons," still going gangbusters on Fox after 14 years.

Matt Groening's big "Simpsons" follow-up, "Futurama" has always been overshadowed by his brilliant first-born.

Who knows why? The verbal humor, sight gags, wicked cultural jabs and general irreverence that make "The Simpsons" great are found full-strength on "Futurama," as is spectacular voice talent (including Billy West, John DiMaggio and Katey Sagal).

What's more, "Futurama" took a bold step beyond "The Simpsons" (based as it is in Homer Simpson's hometown of Springfield) to take on the entire universe from a vantage point a thousand years away.

In one episode, the main character, Fry, draws on 20th-century logic to argue that TV should avoid all cleverness, since "clever things make people feel stupid, and unexpected things make them feel scared."

As viewers eons from now may discover, "Futurama" never bothered to take its own advice.

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