Back in the day, when someone asked “what was the best science fiction currently on television?”, I know folks expected something along the lines of X-Files, Farscape, Star Trek, Dark Angel, or Smallville out of me, but for my money, it was Futurama. It wasn’t a space opera in science fiction trappings nor did it feature an overarching mythology. Perhaps because it was animation played for laughs—especially since it was from the creators of The Simpsons—the show might not get the respect due it. (Plus, animated science fiction apparently needs to have the words Heavy Metal or Aeon Flux, or be an anime to get any traction.)

Both Futurama and Family Guy found a new lease on life in reruns on the Cartoon Network before the former went back into production for Fox and the latter spun into a series of direct-to-DVD movies. Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder is the fourth and possibly last of these movies. Futurama is the kind of science fiction I like: smart, assumes its fans are smart, and delivers. Jokes about DNA, higher math, and the moons of Mars run through the opening credits alone. The show also assumes a knowledge of pop culture, which means sometimes there are jokes that only ten people will get, but if you’re one of the ten, you’re REALLY going to laugh. That’s part of the problem as well as the delight.

The movie plays like 4-5 episodes overlapping into a neatly complex story building to a crescendo of ridiculousness. The whole gang returns as the show opens with scenes of Mars Vegas, classic Las Vegas-type hotels demolished to make room for newer ones. Amy’s (Lauren Tom) father plans to eliminate portions of a solar system to make the universes biggest miniature golf course, crushing whatever species get in his way. In turn, she and Leela (Katey Sagal) join a militant eco-feminist collective, which leads to them being doggedly pursued by Captain Zapp Brannigan.

“If only I could explain that I’m on a secret mission against evil.” –Fry

On the other hand, Fry (Billy West) inadvertently develops the power to read minds and is recruited by a secret organization to stop a great evil running loose in the galaxy. On the other hand (this being Futurama, almost everyone has more than two hands), Bender (John Di Maggio), becomes entangled in an affair with the wife of a local mafia don-bot.

At the heart of the movie is a call to environmental concern and protection. One of the lessons from the Genesis account of creation, right after God created all things and declared them “good” (even “very good”), is that we were created to be stewards of creation. Yet, we’ve lost our connection with creation, continuing to develop new ways to either insulate ourselves from it or encroach our brand of civilization into it. Our souls are starved for God’s creation while occupying a unique place within it. Rich Vincent puts it this way:

The ancients maintained the tension of humankind’s unique relationship to God and to the earth by teaching that humankind exists as the nexus between heaven and earth. Humankind shares in the divine life and yet also is deeply grounded in the earth. As such, humankind is a microcosm of reality – encompassing divinity and creation. This particular combination of qualities is communicated by the fact that humanity bears the divine image (Genesis 1:26-27).

“There’s no scientific consensus that life is important.” –The Professor

As with all things Futurama, Into the Wild Green Yonder features a slew of pop culture figures, including Snoop Dogg and Penn Jillette . As a bonus, it finally puts a resolution onto Fry and Leela’s near-romance. There’s almost no need for a review. If you love Futurama, you’ll love this. If you don’t, you’re probably not even reading this anyway. Hopefully this won’t be the last of these movies. Buy this already, you meatbag humans.