Up to this point in its existence, Futurama has been like a cat with endless lives. But it appears that it's just burned its ninth and final life, with Comedy Central announcing they would not be renewing the cult cartoon for an 8th season.
It's not as if the show is a stranger to cancellation or at least the specter of it hanging over its metaphorical head, with Fox having officially cancelled the show in 2003 after a four-season run. And then questions of renewing after the four movies aired. And then more questions after Comedy Central picked it up and aired a first order of 26 seasons. In other words, producer and creator are a rung below surprised about this latest plug pull, as Cohen told EW:
I felt like we were already in the bonus round on these last couple of seasons, so I can't say I was devastated by the news. It was what I had expected two years earlier. At this point I keep a suitcase by my office door so I can be cancelled at a moment's notice.
Comedy Central's EVP of Programming, Dave Bernath, is grateful they resurrected the show for as long as they had, but feels it's "the natural end" to the cartoon. And he's probably right:
That's a helluva run that few shows achieve, and especially given the fact that it came back to life, it's really an amazing story. I'm more thankful and feel a sense of gratitude toward the whole process — and that we found a way to keep going for 52 more episodes — than I really am even thinking about the ending. It’s a blessing that it came back and lasted so long.
Groening seems to be okay with whatever happens, whether that means the show is picked up again somewhere else or it's aired its final episode:
We've been in this situation before and it's tempting when you're doing episodes that are as good or better than anything you've ever done to continue doing it. We're catching our breath and seeing what the fans have to say. The experience of this show has been so much fun from the very beginning to now — everybody is so happy to work on this show — that it'd be a shame if we all went our separate ways… We would love to continue. We have many more stories to tell. But if we don't, this is a really great way to go out… I think these episodes are the best ones we've ever done.
Here's the thing, though: "Seeing what the fans have to say"? Fans already got what they wanted...and then stopped watching. It's not that the shows are no longer good. In fact, they're probably some of the best Futurama episodes ever made. But fans have shown they only truly care when the show is in danger of being killed, then promptly stop supporting it. Or, at least, they steadily drop off until it's just not financially feasible to keep airing more episodes.
But you never know. As Cohen deadpanned:
As I said three times before, this is definitely the absolute end of the show. I don't know why nobody believes me when I say that.
As Bender would say...