'Futurama' has a direct-to-DVD mission


"Futurama" is coming back. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is expected to announce at Comic-Con International the first original "Futurama" productions since the animated show went off the air in 2003.

"Futurama: Bender's Big Score" will be released Nov. 27 directly to DVD. It's the first full-length "Futurama" feature based on the TV series; three more films will be released individually through 2008, all with the original creative team and voice cast on board.

The plot centers on the "Futurama" crew fighting to save Earth in an epic battle against nudist alien Internet scammers. Bender the robot soon comes under the alien's spell and is sent back in time to loot the Earth of its greatest treasures; at one point he runs into Al Gore, who guest stars as himself, during the 2000 presidential recount. Other guest stars include Coolio and Sarah Silverman.

"Futurama" is the second Fox TV series to spawn a made-for-DVD program. Two years ago Fox's home entertainment unit released a direct-to-video feature based on the "Family Guy" series, "Family Guy Presents: Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story."

"Futurama" is slated to return to the air next year with at least 13 episodes being produced for Comedy Central. Although the direct-to-video productions may be edited for later TV broadcast, they will appear on DVD first, Fox senior vp marketing communications Steve Feldstein said.