(written from a Production point of view)
Futurama is an animated show that ran on the Fox network from 1999 to 2003, and is currently run on Comedy Central. Created by Matt Groening, also the creator of The Simpsons, the show parodied the gamut of the science fiction genre but held a special affection for Star Trek. Star Trek sound effects were often used in the show.
Episodes (1999 to 2003)
"Space Pilot 3000"
The opening spoofs the opening sequence from the original series, and Leonard Nimoy later makes an appearance, played by himself. The doors slide open in a manner very similar to Star Trek, as noted by Fry, and the ship uses sound effects identical to those in TOS as Fry attempts to fly it.
"Brannigan Begin Again"
While trying to explain what DOOP (The Democratic Order of Planets) is to Fry, the Professor states it is like the United Nations, which still leaves Fry confused. Hermes then explains that it is "like the Federation, from your Star Trek program", which Fry perfectly understands.
"Why Must I be a Crustacean in Love?"
After assaulting several people at a gymnasium, Zoidberg returns to his home planet to find a woman with whom to mate. During the mating season, the males will sometimes fight to the death for the opportunity to mate with a specific female. The episode parallels the TOS episode Amok Time, and Zoidberg's condition is similar to Vulcan Pon farr. During Zoidberg's fight with Fry, the organist plays the fight-scene music from TOS, which is the national anthem for Zoidberg's home planet.
Hermes is assimilated by a brain slug. He exhibits many of the mental characteristics of being assimilated by the Borg including the drive to assimilate other beings. Fortunately, assimilation can be easily reversed by removing the brain slug from his head.
"Anthology of Interest I"
"Roswell That Ends Well"
The end of the episode, when Bender loses his head in the past, only to have it recovered in the next scene 1,000 years later, is a parody of the same thing happening to Data in TNG: "Time's Arrow". Both may also be a reference to Marvin, the Paranoid Android, who suffers a similar fate in Douglas Adams' novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Also note the table top in the diner: it has a Federation insignia that you can see when Fry flips it up, nearly castrating his grandfather, Enos. It is also notable that the method of time travel is visually similar to that in Star Trek: First Contact.
"The Day the Earth Stood Stupid"
There is a scene where Hermes Conrad notices a "systematic progression planet by planet" of destruction through the galaxy. This mirrors a scene in TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!" where James T. Kirk notices the same linear progression of mass insanity in their galaxy.
During the Emmy Awards, one of the categories awarded included the "Best Product Placement." Of the three placement nominations, the first was entitled "Star Trek: The Pepsi Generation," showing a still image of Spock holding a can of Pepsi.
"Anthology of Interest II"
"Where No Fan Has Gone Before"
The episode featured the voice talents of all of the original cast, with the exceptions of DeForest Kelley, who had passed away, and James Doohan, who refused to be a part of the show. Perhaps as a result of this, the working title of the episode became We Got Everyone But Scotty. DeForest Kelley was portrayed as a character in the episode, but did not speak. Doohan did not appear, as he had been replaced by "Welshie" for the Star Trek Musical, since Doohan could not yodel (this was simultaneously a gag based on the "fake Jan" who replaced an unwilling Eve Plumb in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour in 1977). The antagonist of the story was Melllvar, a cloud creature that was animated using a similar effect as the Companion (see photo), and Trelane's parents from Squire of Gothos. The episode also featured a brief voice appearance by Jonathan Frakes.
In the DVD audio commentary, David A. Goodman, the writer of the episode, notes his pride in having included a large number of references to the original series, particularly those items which he claims "the people on the internet" had not found on their own. In particular he noted that in "Shatner's Log", a play on the legendary captain's log, the line "The impossible has happened" is the same line given in the opening log in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before". It was partly through Goodman's work on this episode that he was approached for a position on Enterprise.
- After the regular Futurama introduction, the Planet Express Ship is shown flying across a backdrop of stars; this is similar to the opening sequence seen at the beginning of each original Star Trek episode. The music being played during this sequence are also similar to the music used for the Original Series opening. This classic Trek star backdrop is used throughout the episode.
- Zapp Brannigan says, "Bring in the accused," a line taken from the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
- Fry enters the courtroom in a robotic wheelchair that emits beeps for communication identical to the one used by Christopher Pike from TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II".
- The Planet Express crew is charged with visiting the forbidden planet Omega III, for which the penalty is "twelve concurrent death sentences." Similarly, Talos IV, the planet to which Spock took Christopher Pike in the two-part episode "The Menagerie", is a forbidden planet in the Star Trek universe, punishable by death under Starfleet General Order #7.
- According to the video Nichelle Nichols plays, Star Trek evolved into a religion in the 23rd century; this may be a reference to the fact that the events of Star Trek: The Original Series occurred in the 23rd century.
- A sign in front of the Church of Star Trek: "Ceiling of the Christine Chapel Closed for Renovation", refers to Dr. McCoy's assistant, played by Majel Barrett, in addition to being a reference to the Sistine Chapel.
- The Star Trek "priest" orates: "And Scotty beamed them to the Klingon ship, where they would be no tribble at all", referring to the events of "The Trouble with Tribbles". The crowd chants, "All power to the engines!"
- The crowd is dressed in the traditional uniforms of Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Two people in this crowd have the appearance of the black-and-white aliens from "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield".
- The Church's influence caused Germany to be briefly renamed "Nazi Planet Episode Land" (referring to the episode "Patterns of Force"). In reality, because of laws limiting Nazi imagery, that episode is rarely seen in Germany.
- "He's dead, Jim!", one of Leonard McCoy's famous lines, is repeated during a scene when Trekkie virgins are thrown into a volcano.
- This death is described as "the manner most befitting virgins." This may be a reference to the episode "Arena", in which the Metrons tell Kirk that he will settle the conflict between the Enterprise and the Gorn "in the way most suited to your limited mentalities."
- One of the Trekkies being executed is wearing a shirt that reads, "Beam Me Up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life here."
- All the tapes of Star Trek are fired out of a ship on a torpedo, and land on the forbidden planet Omega III, just as Spock's body was ejected onto the Genesis Planet at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Similarly, the Genesis planet became a "galactic controversy" and a forbidden planet by the time of the events of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- Fry talks to Leonard Nimoy, asking him if he remembered the episode where he "got high on spores and smacked Kirk around" (TOS: "This Side of Paradise").
- When Nimoy's head leaves the shelf, Jonathan Frakes' head moves forward to exclaim, "Yes! Front row!" Frakes played William T. Riker, first officer in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Nimoy to Shatner: "Bill, you are, and always shall be... my friend," a reference to one of Spock's lines to Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- The landscape of Omega III features the mountainous Vasquez Rocks, where the episodes "Shore Leave", "Friday's Child", and most notably "Arena" were filmed, are shown on several occasions throughout the episode.
- Various sets from the series can be seen on Omega III, including (in order of appearance): "Spectre of the Gun" (incomplete Wild West buildings), "Who Mourns for Adonais?" (Greek ruins), "Bread and Circuses" (TV backdrop of the Colosseum), "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (the three disembodied brains of the Providers), "The Ultimate Computer" (the M5 computer), and "The City on the Edge of Forever" (The Guardian of Forever).
- The Star Trek actors' ship was pulled down to the planet surface, where they were given youthful bodies and everything was provided for them. This is similar to what happened to Zefram Cochrane in "Metamorphosis".
- Fry asks Walter Koenig to repeat something with his Russian accent, and then to say "nuclear wessels," a line from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
- Melllvar, the entity on Omega III, resembles the Companion from "Metamorphosis" and the vampire cloud from "Obsession" in appearance and various other energy beings from The Original Series in its powers.
- Melllvar speaks lines reminiscent of the "God" that resided behind the Great Barrier from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier such as "It is I" and "You doubt me?" (paraphrased as "You doubt my power?").
- The entity zaps Scotty's replacement (named Welshy), who happens to be wearing a red shirt. This is a play on Apollo zapping Scotty in the episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?". It is also similar to events of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in which "God" zaps those who doubt his power. It also shows the recurring theme of Redshirt security guards being killed off.
- Melllvar gives Leonard Nimoy his body back by enveloping him, much in the same way that The Companion rejuvenated Zefram Cochrane in "Metamorphosis".
- Melllvar says he watched the episodes over and over, especially the five with the energy beings. These may include "The Squire of Gothos", "Metamorphosis", "Day of the Dove", "The Lights of Zetar", "Wolf in the Fold", "Errand of Mercy", "Charlie X", "And the Children Shall Lead", and/or "Return to Tomorrow". The vampire cloud from "Obsession" has been suggested, but it was a gaseous entity, and not strictly an energy being. Melllvar's incomplete memory for Star Trek trivia was part of the joke.
- During Ambassador Sarek's Trivia Challenge (named for Spock's father Sarek, ambassador from Vulcan) one of the questions asks who Kirk left on Ceti Alpha V (as seen in the episode "Space Seed"). Shatner stands up and screams "KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!" as he did in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- During the trivia contest, the prize money's unit of currency are Quatloos, the same currency used by the Providers in "The Gamesters of Triskelion".
- One of Kirk's lines in Melllvar's script states that he loves his ship like a woman. This sentiment is taken from the first season episode "The Naked Time".
- In one of Spock's lines in Melllvar's script, Leonard Nimoy reads, "Fascinating, captain, and logical, too," playing off the fact that Spock frequently uses the words "fascinating" and "logical."
- Bender works inside a Jefferies tube on the Planet Express ship with the same camera angle as was often used on Scotty.
- The starship fires down on Melllvar, as the Enterprise did on Apollo's temple in "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and Vaal in "The Apple". As in the original series, the beams are shown leaving the ship in diverging directions, but somewhere in between they converge so that both strike the target at the same time, in the same spot. The music from this scene is a remix of the incidental music from "The Doomsday Machine".
- The consoles on the star ship explode at critical moments, as happens throughout the series and movies.
- The Planet Express ship is pulled by a ray that resembles a giant green hand, much like the giant green hand that grabbed the Enterprise in "Who Mourns for Adonais?".
- In one line, Nichols refers to kissing Shatner in "Plato's Stepchildren" as something "heroic" she had done. While this was meant to be comedic, this actually was mildly heroic, as well as dangerous, as it has a debated claim as the first interracial kiss on American TV.
- Melllvar forces the Planet Express crew to battle the Star Trek cast to see who is better. This is very similar plot-wise to "The Savage Curtain".
- Melllvar and Fry's list of episodes featuring armed combat to the death included 19 (TOS: "Arena"), 46 (TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion"), 56 (TOS: "Spectre of the Gun"), 66 (TOS: "Day of the Dove") and 77 (TOS: "The Savage Curtain"). Interestingly, they do not mention episode 34, (TOS: "Amok Time"), which features one of Star Trek's most famous fights to the death.
- During their fight to the death, the Star Trek cast and the Planet Express crew are only to use "whatever they can find." Kirk and the Gorn were put in a similar situation in "Arena".
- The music during the fight scene resembles that first used during Kirk and Spock's fight in "Amok Time" and reused later for many fight scenes in the series.
- Shatner rips his shirt, as he did in nearly every Kirk fight scene in the original series.
- When discussing their battle plan, Shatner remarks "Wasn't there an episode where I threw my boot at the enemy?" To which Nimoy replies, "You mean Doohan?" This is a reference to rumors that there was friction between William Shatner and James Doohan. However, they had renewed their friendship when Shatner cared for the ailing Doohan, who was dying of Alzheimer's and finally succumbed to it on 20 July 2005.
- Bender finds a Tommy gun similar to those seen in "A Piece of the Action".
- Nichelle Nichols distracts Fry and Bender with her famous fan dance as seen in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
- The line "There's no right way to hit a woman" is from the episode "Charlie X". Shatner's subsequent attack on Leela ("the wrong way") parodies Kirk's often-used but pointlessly acrobatic combat style. During their fight, Leela lifts a large rock over her head to strike Shatner, as Kirk was menaced by Gary Mitchell in "Where No Man has Gone Before."
- Fry strikes Dr. McCoy with a two-fisted punch, used commonly in the series.
- Nimoy attempts to use the Vulcan nerve pinch (unsuccessfully) on Bender. (He should have realized that an attempt to use the nerve pinch on a robot would be futile; in the episode "I, Mudd", Spock tries to use it on the android Alice without success.)
- At the climactic moment in the battle, when Leela is holding the rock above Shatner's body, she pauses in the same position in which Spock pauses when he holds the piece of transporter equipment over Kirk during his fight with Kirk in "This Side of Paradise".
- Shatner persuades Leela not to kill him by explaining to her that "this is exactly what Melllvar wants! We're just pawns in his diabolical game of checkers!" This is similar to the moment in "Day of the Dove" when Kirk persuades the Klingon commander Kang to cease the hostilities because they are just pawns in a game being played out by an energy being who feeds off violence. His mixed metaphor is an allusion to the fact that Kirk frequently uses metaphors involving board and card games.
- Fry remarks that Melllvar is "just a child," the same as Spock said of V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, or Kirk said of Trelane in the episode "The Squire of Gothos". Melllvar being chastened by his energy-being mother is a parody of the climactic scene of the latter.
- When the battle ends, Shatner and Leela are shown making out, mocking Kirk's many relationships with women.
- When the combined Star Trek cast/Planet Express ship tries to lift off the planet surface, it is too heavy. This is a reference to the episode "The Galileo Seven", in which the damaged shuttlecraft cannot bear the weight of its entire crew.
- A starship that resembles the Romulan Warbird from "Balance of Terror" combined with a Klingon battle cruiser decloaks (using visual effects similar to the decloaking effects on Star Trek) and fires on the Planet Express ship.
- George Takei quotes a self-destruct code, similar to but not exactly matching the Enterprise self-destruct sequence seen in the episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" as well as in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The code causes Bender's head to explode.
- Fry's speech to Melllvar regarding moving out of his mother's basement is a reference to William Shatner's appearance on a Saturday Night Live skit where he tells obsessive fans to "Get a life" and move out of their parents' basements.
- Kirk's speech "I wonder, my friends, was he really such an evil energy gas?" mimics the musing orations that Kirk gives at the end of many episodes.
- The line, "You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend," is from the episode "Balance of Terror," which, as Melllvar corrects Fry, was episode nine of the series. Fry thought it was episode ten, which is actually "What Are Little Girls Made Of?".
- The last line in the episode (spoken by Shatner) is, "Let's get the hell out of here." This same line was used by Kirk at the end of "The City on the Edge of Forever."
- The ending credits feature a song that musically evokes the Star Trek fanfare, and plays back images from the episode; the last image is Kif Kroker in a parody of the famous "Balok puppet" from the episode "The Corbomite Maneuver", and whose image was the last seen in the ending credits for the entire second season of The Original Series.
- See: "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" at the Infosphere, for episode transcript.
"Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?"
The entire episode is a parody of TOS: "Amok Time", with the doctor, Zoidberg returning to his home planet to mate. There he battles Fry in an arena. Additionally, the national anthem of Decapod 10 is the background music that played during the fight between Spock and Kirk.
"Kif Gets Knocked Up A Notch"
Amy goes to visit Kif on the Nimbus. Kif, frustrated with his long distance relationship with Amy, takes her to the "holo-shed", stating, "it can simulate anything you desire, and nothing can hurt you, except when it malfunctions and the holograms become real," to which Amy replies, "well, that probably won't happen this time." After showing her several possible homes they could move into together, the holo-shed malfunctions and creates real versions of Atilla the Hun, Jack the Ripper, Professor James Moriarty, "evil" Abraham Lincoln, and an evil pony named Spirit. When Kif and Amy report that "the holo-shed's on the fritz again, the characters turned real!" Zapp replied, "Damn. The last time that happened, I got slapped with three paternity suits."
The final stage of Kif's pregnancy is called "the quickening" which is also the final stage of the Teplan blight.
"The 30% Iron Chef"
Bender rides the Wrath-of-Conrail train company. A reference to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
A Taste of Freedom
After desercrating Earth's flag, Zoidberg runs from an angry mob and runs pass several planet embassies, one of which is the Klingon embassy, though the design of the embassy looks more like a Barbie dollhouse.
"Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles"
At the beginning of this episode Professor Farnsworth uses the Planet Express ship's headlights/phasers and accidentally destroys Deep Space 9.
In the audio commentary, the production staff comment that this does not mean they disliked Deep Space Nine and add they thought it was one of the best Star Trek series, "especially when Worf got there".
Later in the episode, Leela reads the titles of stories from the book A Child's Garden of Space Stories. One of these stories is "Charlotte's Tholian Web", a reference to the classic TOS episode "The Tholian Web".
"The Beast with a Billion Backs
Before and after their date with Yivo, the leaders of various interstellar governments discussed Yivo around a conference table. The table had a three-screen apparatus similar to the conference aboard the original Enterprise.
In Bender's Game, George Takei's head and Scott Bakula's head participate in a demolition derby, both are flying one-man ships stylized after Star Trek inspired designs: Takei is flying a ship of the Template:ShipClass, while Bakula is flying a ship of Template:ShipClass. During the derby, Takei pulls his ship up alongside Bakula's ship and slams the latter ship into the wall, yelling, "way to kill the franchise, Bakula." Takei then slams into Bakula once more, causing the destruction of Bakula's ship, moments before his own ship is also destroyed in a fiery inferno.
"Into the Wild Green Yonder"
In the opening to Into the Wild Green Yonder, the Planet Express ship flies by the Botany Bay hotel when the crew is arriving at Mars Vegas.
Later, while trying to save a leech, Leela mentions that "leeches may not cuddly like Pandas or Tribbles"
While surveying the Milky Way Galaxy for life, Bender acts as the ship's Science Officer looking through a sensor much like the one on board the USS Enterprise.
Episodes (2010 to present)
The V-Giny space probe is destroying obscene planets on its way to Earth. The probe is the fusion of the V-Chip and USAF Flying Destiny probes; "V-Giny" is a portmanteau of the two antecedent craft. See Nomad and V'Ger.
Janeway's Guide is a reference book that lists various spacecraft; V-Giny is not listed.
George Takei's head moderates a debate over the legality of robosexual marriage. This parallels the real-world debate over same-sex marriage in the United States that was inflamed when the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2004. Takei is openly gay and and a gay rights supporter.
- In the DVD commentary to "Love's Labour's Lost in Space," Zapp Brannigan was described as being "40% Kirk, 60% Shatner." The idea for Zapp's first officer, Kif Kroker, was "what if Spock hated his captain."
- "Three Hundred Big Boys": In the episode, Crewman Kif is imprisoned on Commander Riker's Island (which was apparently a pun on the actual prison named Riker's Island).
- "Brannigan's Law", a take-off of the Prime Directive, states that a starship crew cannot interfere in the affairs of alien worlds, as named after Captain Zapp Brannigan, who doesn't understand what it means, but merely enforces it.
- Flexo, Bender's "evil" twin, has a goatee like the mirror Spock.
- In "Put Your Head On My Shoulder," one of the brand new cars is the "Plymouth V'Ger," a play on both the V'Ger probe and the Plymouth Voyager vans.
- In "The Problem with Popplers," (itself, a play on "The Trouble with Tribbles"), Leela explains when the crew needs food that a nearby planet "is Class 'M', therefore there should at least be some "Rodden berries" there."
- "Fry and the Slurm Factory": In this episode, The Professor and Leela are playing three-dimensional Scrabble, a parody of the game of three-dimensional chess featured in the Star Trek series.
- "The Cyber House Rules": In this episode, a doctor creates a fake second eye for Leela using "phaser-eye surgery."