Space Pilot 3000

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Season 1 episode
Space Pilot 3000
Space Pilot 3000.jpg
Fry sees the future for the first time
Production number1ACV01
David X. Cohen
Matt Groening
Rich Moore
Gregg Vanzo
Title captionIn Color
First air date28 March, 1999
Broadcast numberS01E01
Title referenceThe fact that it is a pilot episode and Mystery Science Theater 3000
Opening cartoonLittle Buck Cheeser by MGM (1937)
Special guest(s)Dick Clark
Leonard Nimoy


Season 1
  1. Space Pilot 3000
  2. The Series Has Landed
  3. I, Roommate
  4. Love's Labours Lost in Space
  5. Fear of a Bot Planet
  6. A Fishful of Dollars
  7. My Three Suns
  8. A Big Piece of Garbage
  9. Hell Is Other Robots
  10. A Flight to Remember
  11. Mars University
  12. When Aliens Attack
  13. Fry and the Slurm Factory
Season 2 →

"Space Pilot 3000" is the first episode of Futurama, the first of the first production season and the first of the first broadcast season. It aired on 28 March, 1999, on Fox. It guest-stars Leonard Nimoy and Dick Clark as themselves in jars. Philip J. Fry, a New York pizza delivery boy, winds up in a cryogenics lab and wakes up a thousand years later, where he meets a cyclops named Leela and a robot named Bender, who all apply for a job at Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth's Planet Express.

The Story

Fry being frozen

Act I: "Here's to another lousy millennium."

Pizza delivery boy Philip J. Fry hates his life; he has to deliver a pizza without pay, his girlfriend dumps him and begins dating a new man, and someone steals his bike, and it all happens on New Year's Eve of 2000. The pizza goes to someone named "I. C. Wiener" in a cryogenics lab, where Fry soon realises that it was a prank call. He sits down and drinks one of the beers, toasting to "another lousy millennium." The bell tolls midnight and he unenthusiastically blows a noise maker when it knocks back in his face, causing him to fall backwards into a cryogenics tube. The tube sets itself for a thousand years and Fry is frozen. As he lies in wait for the next thousand years, the city of New York changes—it is destroyed by a group of mysterious spaceships. It is rebuilt into primitive Medieval-era castles, only to be destroyed again by more ships. By the time Fry awakens, he sees that New York has become an extremely futuristic metropolis and immediately deduces that he is in the future. He realizes that he will never see his friends, family and girlfriend again...and he couldn't be any happier. The Opening Sequence rolls.

Act II: "Have a nice future!"

Fry is greeted by two workers at the lab—one of them gives an extremely melodramatic greeting ("Welcome to the world of tomorrow!"). He is escorted to the Fate Assignment Officer's Office where he meets Leela, a beautiful woman with a huge eye in the center of her face, who explains that it is 31 December, 2999.

A DNA scan reveals that he has only one living relative in this time period: his many times great nephew Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth. Fry begins looking forward to his life in the future until Leela assigns him a permanent career as a delivery boy. Fry refuses to be a delivery boy again, but Leela says that everyone—even herself—has to do a job whether they like it or not, coining the phrase, "You gotta do what you gotta do." She tries to implant a career chip that will label Fry a delivery boy forever, but Fry runs away. Leela ends up falling into one of the cryogenic tubes during the ensuing chase, which sets itself for 1000 years much like Fry's tube. Fry prepares to leave her frozen there but, out of the goodness of his heart, decides to reset the tube to defrost her in 5 minutes. Then he leaves the lab.

After witnessing the wonders of the city and how it has changed, he decides to call his descendant Farnsworth. He gets in line for what he thinks is a phone booth and meets a robot named Bender waiting in line. It turns out the phone booth is actually a Suicide Booth, and that Bender is eagerly awaiting his death. As they go in, the suicide booth asks for "quick and painless" or "slow and horrible". Fry asks to place a collect call, but the suicide booths takes it as "slow and horrible". Luckily, they both manage to avoid death by backing away from the weapons.

Having failed at suicide again, Bender invites Fry to get drunk with him at a bar. Fry finds out that Bender wants to kill himself because of his programming as a girder-bender for Suicide Booths. Fry convinces Bender to abandon his plans at suicide and the two become friends when Leela finds them.

Act III: "Welcome to the head museum."

Fry and Bender duck into the Head Museum to hide and are greeted by Leonard Nimoy's head. Leela, along with two police officers Smitty and URL, finds the group in the museum, where Fry accidentally bumps into the shelves, knocking Richard Nixon's head down and provoking him to attack. Smitty and URL begin to use excessive force on Fry, but Leela tries to convince them to stop. After the officers insult her appearance (she actually took offense to a statement about her nose instead of her eye), and Leela knocks them out, prompting Fry and Bender to run for it. Leela demands to know why the officers would beat Fry like that—they explain that it's their job, saying "[they] gotta do what [they] gotta do."

Fry and Bender lock themselves in the hall of criminals from Leela. Fry notices that there is a barred window and that Bender can bend the bars so they can escape, but Bender is unable to comply, saying he is only programmed to bend for construction. Walking across the room, he walks into an exposed wire, hitting it with his antenna and electrocuting him. This causes him to break free from his dependency on his programming, and Bender manages to bend the bars apart, reaching the epiphany of bending whatever, whenever, and whoever he pleases. They go deep underground to the ruins of Old New York, where Fry realizes that he has lost everything he left behind in the past. Leela once again catches up with them, but Fry decides to give in to his fate as a delivery boy. But instead of implanting the career chip, Leela sympathizes his loneliness, saying that her parents abandoned her as a baby, thus giving her an unclear perspective of her heritage. She removes her own chip, thus quitting her job, and thanks Fry for helping her realize the nonsensicality of the quote "You gotta do what you gotta do," much like he did for Bender.

Act IV: "We have you partially surrounded!"

Since all three have quit their jobs, Fry, Bender, and Leela realize that they are now fugitives of the law, so they hide at Planet Express where Fry's nephew Professor Farnsworth lives. After confirming his connection to Fry for himself, the Professor shows them his intergalactic spaceship. The building is then (partially) surrounded by the police, so they use the ship to escape. While they take off, the police open fire—but the bell tolls the year 3000, and the ship cannot be seen through the fireworks. Fry, Bender and Leela begin to ponder their lives as they are now unemployed until the Professor decides to hire them for an interplanetary delivery service he founded to fund his work. He even kept the career chips of his old crew as they had apparently been devoured by a Space Wasp (in actuality they had been stung to death by Space Bees). Fry is assigned to be a delivery boy...and he couldn't be happier.


The time lapse effect while Fry is frozen was inspired by The Time Machine.[1]

The script for "Space Pilot 3000" went through several major changes during the writing sessions, and combined they had up to two hours worth of material.[2]

From early on, it was important to establish the new major change in Fry's life, that he had come to the future, before the opening sequence of the show.[3] But Fry's way to the Applied Cryogenics' tube and afterwards to Planet Express changed a lot during the script.[2]

In an early script, Fry was supposedly a watchman at Applied Cryogenics, and wasn't a delivery boy at all,[4] something which obviously became a major plot device in the final episode. After coming out of the tube, an early script had him being sold for organs to the professor at an auction,[5] or one where he was forced immediately to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty caught him.[6]

In the original airing, the man entering the tube system said "JFK, Jr. Airport",[7][8] but the line was dubbed over as "Radio City Mutant Hall" after John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s death in July of 1999, and since his death was in a plane crash and the line was about an airport, they felt it was too close to keep,[8] All subsequent airings since then have been replaced with "Radio City Mutant Hall".[8] However, on airings in the UK on channel Sky1, the man says "JFK, Jr. Airport", not "Radio City Mutant Hall".

The pilot episode was also used to establish the first alien language, by introducing a sign saying "Drink Slurm" in plain English, and one where "Drink" was written using AL1 glyphs.[9] Unfortunately, for the show's makers, fans had broken the entire language a few hours after its first airing, and also cracked the "Venusians go home" line later in the episode.[10] This led them to create the second alien language, which would first appear in much later episodes, which were intended to be a lot harder than AL1.[11] But even that was cracked, but only after a few months.[11]

When establishing a pilot episode, the writers decided to put in little secrets around the episode, that they would be able to pay off later.[3] Though, while they on the commentary say "secret" a lot, only Nibbler's shadow has been a thing they have paid off from the pilot episode, and it may be possible to question whether there actually was more.

The final shot where the Planet Express ship flies out made Gregg Vanzo fear whether they were capable of maintaining this production level on a weekly basis.[12]

The probulator scene was also supposed to be much longer,[7] with certain flashbacks to Fry's past being shown to the viewer before progressing into the story, but this was too long as was scrapped in the final version,[13] but several of these flashback stories of Fry's past later turned into a story arc.

Animation wise, the pilot episode was also hard, as the show required more 3D than the producers, writers and animators had been used to, particularly from The Simpsons. The opening sequence alone was directed by Mike Smith,[14] and there was original fear about the opening sequence being too fast compared to the other opening sequences of the day.[15] The theme music, as well as the rest of the music on Futurama was done by Christopher Tyng.[16]

Leela's nose had apparently become a heated argument between the animators and Matt Groening,[17] he wanted her nose to be of a larger than usual size for cartoon heroines, but the animators tried to draw it smaller because they felt it looked hideous.[17]


"Space Pilot 3000" aired on 28 March, 1999, 20:30 between The Simpsons and The X-Files. In a review by Patric Lee for Science Fiction Weekly, who had only seen the first episode at the time of publication, described Futurama as a clever upstart, but did not feel it was as funny as its predecessor, though, it was certainly worthy of further viewings.[18] Rob Owen for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that the episode contained a similar skewed humor as The Simpsons, but felt it was not as funny and smart, however he attributed these issues to the fact that the pilot episode served for a lot of character introduction, and he felt that the show was "off to a good start".[19]

Andrew Billen of New Statesman considered the first episode unoriginal, but praised its humorous background jokes such as during the sequence when Fry is frozen, but also criticised its use of in-jokes, such as Matt Groening's head at the Head Museum. He remained somewhat enthusiastic about the show.[20] Joyce Millman from Salon Entertainment, on the other hand, praised the pilot's perception of American culture and the show's premise.[21]

Despite airing between The Simpsons and X-Files it was Fox's most viewed show that evening, and gained exceptional high numbers according to Nielsen Ratings with 11.2/17 in homes.[22] And was in fact the most viewed pilot episode on Fox when it aired.[23]

This episode was named #17 on IGN's list of top 25 Futurama episodes.

Additional Info


The poster and promotional picture for this episode
  • Since Leela becomes the ship's pilot, the title of the episode can be interpreted as referring to her.
  • The first shot of New New York was also the first 3D sequence in the show, and an experiment of sorts.
  • Leela is officer 1BDI ("one beady eye").
  • This episode is one of three episodes that do not feature Dr. Zoidberg, the others being "Mars University" and "Brannigan, Begin Again".
  • It took the cartoonists over 2 years to come up with the look of the characters on the show.
  • The original Alien language devised by the writers and hidden throughout the episode was solved completely by the fans after only one airing. The second one, however, took them several months to solve.
  • When Fry is delivering the pizza, he passes by a sign written in Chinese. When translated, the characters say "young" and "women." This probably being loosely translated to mean 'young women'.
  • Even though the show is supposed to begin in our time (1999), it is still in the future. (It premiered in March, showing December in the show.)
  • In the rough draft version of the script, Michelle was named Janet, and Fry was actually named Curtis Fry. It was changed to Philip in honor of Phil Hartman, who was set to have a recurring role as Zapp Brannigan on the series until his unfortunate death.
  • John DiMaggio (Bender) had originally auditioned for the voice of the Professor, and co-creator David X. Cohen had actually considered doing the voice of Bender.
  • This was voted the best episode of Futurama during the Adult Swim marathon.
  • The ship of the game Monkey Fracas Jr. at the start of the show looks very much like the Planet Express ship. It is a foreshadowing of things to come.
  • This episode is the highest rated pilot episode in the history of the Fox Broadcasting Company.
  • URL says he is going to "get 24th century on his ass"; "get 24th century" has the same meaning as "get medieval". Partway through Fry's frozen suspension, possibly around the 24th century, there was a medieval-type period, with New York rebuilt as castles before being destroyed again and rebuilt as the futuristic city.
  • Bender takes Fry to hide inside the Head Museum saying, "It's free on Tuesdays." 31 December 2999 will be, in fact, a Tuesday (assuming the same calendar is used in the future).
  • Bender excretes a brick, a reference to a common slang phrase. He continually does this throughout the series when scared. He also does it after eating Olestra chips.[3ACV13]
  • The places in the first countdown scene appear in this order:
  • All the people in line before Fry select the "quick and painless" method of killing themselves.
  • If one looks closely at Leela's computer screen, it actually reveals that Fry's full name is "Phillip J. Fry", which becomes an established fact in "The Problem with Popplers" (however, his name is spelled with two Ls instead of one). His blood type is said to be B.
  • When Leela points to the, "You gotta do what you gotta do" poster, notice that the man in the poster has 5 fingers, unlike everyone else in the show who has 4.
  • The fact that Leela gets angry at Smitty for insulting her nose is reminiscent of the character "Cyrano de Bergerac" from the eponymous play by Edmond Rostand.
  • Even when this episode plays on Comedy Central, several scenes are edited out for time, so some dialogue and conversations are not seen.


Click here to see cultural mentions made in this episode.
  • The space ships destroying the cities were similar to the ones in The War of the Worlds.
  • The first scene (Fry teaching a kid how to play a video game) might be a reference to WarGames. In the movie, the first scene with David Lightman has him playing Galaga. He has to go and gives control of the game to a kid.
  • One of the billboards in the future shows Angelyne, a real-life busty female entertainer that has billboards hanging around the Los Angeles area. In the cartoon billboard, she's hooked up to some sort of respirator.
  • According to Groening, the inspiration for the suicide booth was the 1937 Donald Duck cartoon, Modern Inventions, in which Donald is faced with—and nearly killed several times by—various push button gadgets in a Museum of the Future.
  • Professor Farnsworth is named after the inventor Philo Farnsworth, a Utah native and television pioneer whose invention was premiered at the 1939 New York World's Fair, along with the Futurama exhibit.
    • It is later revealed in the episode "All the Presidents' Heads" that Philo Farnsworth is indeed a distant relative of the professor.
  • The feeding lady at the head museum is wearing a uniform like that at the corn-dog specific restaurant, Hot Dog on a Stick.
  • Fry's outfit is based on James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.
  • In addition to the setting, part of the original concept for the show was that there would be a lot of advanced technology similar to that seen in Star Trek, but it would be constantly malfunctioning. The automatic doors at Applied Cryogenics resemble those in Star Trek: The Original Series; however, they malfunction when Fry remarks on this similarity.
  • The introduction is reminiscent of Star Trek intros in TOS and Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Space: The Final Frontier..." becomes "Space: It seems to go on and on forever...") and has similar music and voice-over.
  • Leonard Nimoy says that he no longer does Spock's Vulcan salute, 'Live Long and Prosper'.
    • It is presumed in this episode it is simply because he has no hands, but the truth behind this statement is seen in the future episode, "Where No Fan Has Gone Before".
  • The rows of jars containing heads, with the one jar containing Nimoy's head in front to greet people, is reminiscent of the original series Star Trek episode "Return to Tomorrow", where the alien minds were preserved in glowing spheres, with Sargon in the one sphere in front.
  • The relationship formed between Fry and Bender in this episode has been compared to the relationship between Will Robinson and Robby the Robot in Lost in Space.
  • When Fry walks out of the lab, an ad on a taxi behind him reads "Got Protoplasm?", a reference to the "Got Milk?" advertising slogans.
  • Another running gag of the series is Bender's fondness for Olde Fortran malt liquor, named after Olde English 800 malt liquor and the programming language Fortran. The drink was first introduced in this episode and became so closely associated with the character that he was featured with a bottle in both the Rocket USA wind-up toy and the action figure released by Moore Action Collectibles.
  • In the earliest glimpse of the future while Fry is frozen in the cryonic chamber, time is seen passing outside the window until reaching the year 3000. This scene was inspired by a similar scene in the 1960 film The Time Machine based on H.G. Wells' book The Time Machine.
  • When Fry awakens in the year 2999, he is greeted with Terry's catchphrase "Welcome to the world of tomorrow." The scene is a joke at the expense of Futurama's namesake, the Futurama ride at the 1939 World's Fair whose tag line was "The World of Tomorrow".
  • The heads in jars in order shown: Johnny Carson, Lucille Ball, Ed Begley, Jr., David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Elizabeth Taylor, Dennis Rodman, Billy Corgan, Matt Groening, Barbra Streisand, Rodney Dangerfield, a Hindu person (possibly Gandhi) and Dick Clark.
  • There are numerous Simpsons references:
    • Rodney Dangerfield is drawn similar to his appearance in the Simpsons episode "Burns, Baby Burns" as Larry Burns.
    • There's a Ralph Wiggum-like character when Fry rides the tube.
    • When Fry is going through the transport tubes, he passes by Blinky, the three-eyed fish.
    • Fry's middle initial is J. This seems to be a popular choice for Matt Groening characters, having used it for Homer Simpson, Marge Simpson, Bart Simpson and Abraham Simpson. Matt uses the "J." middle name, referring to one of his favorite shows, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
    • The chef on the Panucci's Pizza box is very similar to the chef Luigi Risotto.
    • In the Simpsons two part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", Waylon Smithers dreamt that Mr. Burns was in a race on the TV. The intro to the race was an information text saying "In Color". The same font and color like in "Space Pilot 3000". It is also interesting to note that "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" aired four years before "Space Pilot 3000" did.
    • Fry has 9 spikes in his hair just like Bart Simpson.
  • The film Sleeper has much the same premise as this episode. Also, the suicide booths are similar to Sleeper's Orgasmatron.
  • The cryogenic chamber may be a reference to Red Dwarf. The main character Dave Lister is punished by being put in a cryogenic chamber for 15 years, except something goes wrong and everyone dies on the ship due to a fatal radiation leak. Lister is left for 3 million years until the ships computer decides that the radiation level is safe enough for him to be released.
  • When the head of Richard Nixon says "You just made my list!", this is a reference to Nixon's Enemies List, a list of over 200 people whom he believed were part of a conspiracy against him.
  • The man who uses the Tube Transport System before Fry says "Radio City Mutant Hall", a reference to Radio City Music Hall. His original line was "JFK, Jr. Airport", a reference to the John F. Kennedy International Airport. The line was changed after the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr. (though it can still be heard in the animatic).
    • Although the JFK, Jr. reference has been dubbed out (even on the DVD) in the Spanish dubbed version of this episode the man can still be heard asking to be taken to JFK, Jr. Airport.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is referenced as the number "3000" is written on the moon. It looks like the MST3K logo, a planet with the name on it. It's even in the same font.
  • Fry is playing a video game called Monkey Fracas Jr. at the pizza place, narrating it as he plays. The game starts out as a space shooter similar to Asteroids, Gradius and/or Defender, then approaches a Saturn-like planet at the end of the level. At that point, the planet breaks in half, and an ape resembling Donkey Kong emerges. The ape throws barrels at the spaceship and destroys it. The game's name itself is a parody of Donkey Kong Jr.
  • The gag of Fry & Bender hiding with their heads looking through shelves and being disguised by lots of other heads is from Young Frankenstein.
AKBAR sign.



  • David Duchovny is seen in the Head Museum, but Calculon claims to be him in "The Honking".
    • Calculon may be lying or exaggerating somehow, being the dramatic robot he is.
    • Or perhaps an acting unit named after Duchovny could have been built.
  • At the Cryogenic facility, right where Fry shouts "Pizza delivery for..." the desk is positioned almost parallel to the window, but when Fry sits down at the desk, it's positioned perpendicular to the window.
  • In the 2999 countdown, Bender pulls the arms off the chair he was sitting on. A moment later, an armchair is missing.
  • Leela wasn't wearing a ring prior to the hand-holding scene with Fry.
  • After Bender gives Leela her ring back she puts it on, but then a second later it's gone.
  • They misspelled "Barbara" Streisand. It's actually Barbra.
  • When Leela calls for backup, her wristlojackimator is on the wrong wrist.
  • Bender breaks two bars from the window when they are trapped in the cellar. In the next shot, he holds the bars, but they have re-appeared back in the window.
  • The crowds in Paris at the New Year's countdowns for New Years' 2000 and 3000 are identical.
  • It's dark outside in New York at midnight when Fry is frozen, but a long shot of the planet actually shows the eastern half of the United States as being in sunlight.
  • Fry wasn't frozen for exactly 1000 years, as he was frozen at 00:00:07, January 1st, 2000 but was un-frozen the December 31, 2999. This may be explained by the leap days/seconds/weeks/years. (See more here.)
  • When Fry and Bender are at the bar, the barman hands Bender a bottle of liquor. He takes a big swig of it, but the level in the bottle remains the same.
    • However, the beer may have completed a loop in a suitable manner to be effected by inertia so as to remain in the can, save for a small dribble.
  • Also while at the bar, Bender claims to not need alcohol. This is contradicted by several later episodes where bending units are said to require alcohol to function.
    • Bender is shown in "Hell is Other Robots" to have switched to all natural mineral oil in order to kick the alcohol habit and join the church. Thus it seems he does not need alcohol just something liquid to power his circuits. In those other instances since alcohol is readily available that may be why it is the first option suggested
  • The year 2000 or 3000 are not the start of the new century or millennium contrary to what "Space Pilot 3000" says. In the Gregorian Calendar, this distinction falls to the year 2001/3001, because the first century began with year AD 1 (there was no year zero), and the thousand years spanned to years 1-1001.
    • Though, it is only Fry that specifically mentions it is a new millennium, which was commonly accepted among people that 1999/2000 was a change to a new millennium. One can suggest that the first millennium only contained 999 years and be done with it.
  • When Fry is queuing for the booth, he opens the piece of paper, showing the picture and writing. Just before he steps in to the booth, it changes color and goes blank, then in the next shot it's back as before.
  • The career chip storyline is almost wholly abandoned after this episode. After being introduced here, it is contradicted several times throughout the series through job changes, incompetence, examples of a free market economy and references to the Earthican dream. Supposedly, you are required to work the job you have the chip for and the assignment is permanent.
  • There is a bad framing error when Bender was carrying Farnsworth onto the ship.
  • During the Countdown at '9' when they showed Egypt, the people didn't seem to resemble Egyptians.
    • After 1000 years, the people who live there might have changed.
  • Since New New York was built on top of Old New York, the building the cryogenic lab was in should have been underground as well.
    • Actually, no—the lab was on the 64th floor of the building, which is much farther up than the ceiling of Old New York suggests.
    • The lab might be part of the city that survives at the same ground level to some degree.
    • Another possible explanation is that the lab was simply rebuilt in New New York, and the cryogenics tubes were then moved to the second building.
  • Prof. Farnsworth's slippers change color and shape from one scene to the next.
  • The last set of buildings built before Fry wakes up look different than it does when Fry wakes up and looks out the window.
    • It could be that those buildings were constructed shortly after the rise of New New York, and since then had been knocked down to create new buildings/public transport systems (you know, just like in real life).
  • Fry mentions Star Trek without getting arrested.
    • However, when the door hits him, it cuts him off before he finishes the words.
  • Because the world has different time zones, the whole world would not be counting down at the same time.
    • The fact that the countdowns are shown at the same time does not necessarily mean that they are happening at the same time.
  • The results of the probulator claim that Fry has got one living relative, his nephew, the Professor, but in Bender's Game, Igner is the Professor's son, so Fry and Igner are relatives as well.
    • Although no one seemed to know that and Mom wanted that fact to be kept secret, so it's likely Mom had erased that from the files well before Fry entered the year 2999.
  • When Fry falls into the cryo-tube, multiple mistakes can be found.
    • His whistle drops right next to the chair, but, when the scene cuts, it is gone.
    • He quickly hits the ground, flips upside down, and finally stops once he hits the inside of the tube. If that had really happened, the beer in the can he's holding would have spilled all over him.
    • Since time is moving quickly, the space ships destroying New York would be moving much faster.
  • On December 31, 2999 New York will have a Waxing Crescent Moon. At the end of the show there was a Full Moon with "3000" to celebrate the New Year. (However, when Fry gets frozen on December 31, 1999 there is a Waning Moon outside the window, which is the correct moon phase for what New York had on that date.)
  • During the countdown scene at the end of the episode (in the year 2999), France is shown, yet the inhabitants there use the English language instead of French. It is assumed that French in the future is a dead language; this idea is supported in a later episode where Professor Farnsworth invents a universal translator that can only translate into "an incomprehensible dead language".
    • A dead language can mean a language that no longer changes, such as Latin.
  • In the intro, the Statue of Liberty holds a gun in her torch hand, but during the episode, she is holding part of the Tube Transport System.


    Fry: Space. It seems to go on forever. But then you get to the end and the gorilla starts throwin' barrels at you.

    Fry: Wait, is that blimp accurate?
    Leela: Yep, it's December 31st, 2999.
    Fry: My God, a million years!

    Leela: I'm sure this must be very upsetting for you.
    Fry: Y'know, I guess it should be but, actually, I'm glad. I had nothing to live for in my old life. I was broke, I had a humiliating job and I was beginning to suspect my girlfriend might be cheating on me.
    Leela: Well, at least here you'll be treated with dignity. Now strip naked and get on the probulator.

    Bender: Bite my shiny metal ass.
    Fry: It doesn't look so shiny to me.
    Bender: Shinier than yours, meatbag.

    [Fry has just been unfrozen.]
    Fry: My God! It's the future. My parents, my co-workers, my girlfriend; I'll never see any of them again. Yahoo!

    Fry: What if I don't want to be a delivery boy?
    Leela: Then you'll be fired...
    Fry: Fine.
    Leela: ... out of a cannon into the sun.

    Leonard Nimoy's head: Welcome to the Head Museum. I am Leonard Nimoy.
    Fry: Spock? Hey, do the thing! [Fry does the thing.]
    Leonard Nimoy's head: I don't do that anymore.

Alien Language Sightings

    Time: 10:27
    Location: Slurm advertisement in O'Zorgnax's Pub
    Language: AL1
    Translation: DRINK

    Time: 15:26
    Location: Graffiti in alleyway
    Language: AL1
    Translation: VENUSIANS GO HOME (Image)

    Time: 19:11
    Location: Aliens counting down to 3000
    Language: ?
    Translation: "6" and "7"


As this is the first episode, every appearance is a debut appearance.
(In alphabetic order)



Episode Credits

See Also


  1. ^ "[The Fry in tube time lapse scene] is inspired by the – you know – The Time Machine."Groening, Matt (Transcript)
    Groening, Matt. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  2. ^ a b "We were very over ambitious in the beginning and we really probably had 2 hours of material for the pilot and realised we could not possibly use it all."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  3. ^ a b "This is a tough thing, to get the show off the ground. And pilots in general probably are pretty tough for everybody. But to do a show where you're setting up a story that takes place a thousand years in the future, and what we tried to do, we tried to lay in a lot of little secrets in this episode that we would pay off later."Groening, Matt (Transcript)
    Groening, Matt. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  4. ^ "In some very early conception of the series, Fry wasn't even a delivery boy, he was a night watchman at the cryogenics lab. One very early one."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  5. ^ "In one of the early drafts, when Fry was first woke up, he was immediately dragged to an auction, where he was bought by the Professor for spare organs."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  6. ^ "There was another early version of the script, in which Fry woke up and went straight to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty for processing. And he fell out of the head of the Statue of Liberty and the statue moved and caught him."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  7. ^ a b Animatic for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  8. ^ a b c "It actually aired once with that guy saying he wanted to go to JFK, Jr. Airport and then there was the tragedy with JFK, Jr. in the plane crash, so we decided, because it was a plane and an airport, we should change it."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  9. ^ ""Drink", it's the alien language letters say D-R-I-N-K; "drink Slurm", elsewhere in this episode we showed a banner all in English, that said "drink Slurm". That was our clue to people, how to translate those five letters, D, R, I, N, K."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  10. ^ "We thought it would be more challenging than that, but people were pretty on the ball."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  11. ^ a b Cohen, David: "So, we later introduced a second alien language, which is much hard to translate and people finally got it, but only after—"
    Groening, Matt: "Did they get it?"
    Cohen, David: "Yeah, they got it. Took a few months though."
    Cohen, David, Groening, Matt, Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  12. ^ "That whole sequence, I think came out really good. I remember seeing it, and hoping, "god, I hope we can do this on a weekly basis"."Moore, Rich (Transcript)
    Moore, Rich. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  13. ^ "It was another long scene here in the pilot, actually which was even partially animated where we had decided to rewrite it, where this complicated device was hooked up to Fry's head, when they were studying him and we saw all these scenes from his past, including his birth and going up to college, at Coney Island."Cohen, David (Transcript)
    Cohen, David. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  14. ^ "Directed by Mike Smith, a great animator."Moore, Rich (Transcript)
    Moore, Rich. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  15. ^ "This opening sequence; when we saw it for the first time – fully animated – we thought; "oh, this is too fast, you can't see what's going on, that's too crazy"."Groening, Matt (Transcript)
    Groening, Matt. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  16. ^ "Great voices, great writing, and– great music Chris Tyng did, great animation– incredible animation."Groening, Matt (Transcript)
    Groening, Matt. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  17. ^ a b "Actually, the nose thing, that was a– that was a big thing to actually get the designers to draw her nose that big, because they thought it was hideous. That it– that cartoon heroines must have tiny noses."Groening, Matt (Transcript)
    Groening, Matt. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  18. ^ Lee, Patric (22 March 1999). "The future's not what it used to be". Science Fiction Weekly. Retrieved on 16 April 2009.
  19. ^ Owen, Rob (26 March 1999). "Simpsons meet the Jetsons; 'The Devil's Arithmetic'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved on 16 April 2009.
  20. ^ Billen, Andrew (27 September 1999). "Laughing matters". New Statesman. Retrieved on 16 April 2009.
  21. ^ Millman, Joyce (26 March 1999). "That 31st century show". Salon Entertainment. Retrieved on 15 April 2009.
  22. ^ Bierbaum, Tom (30 March 1999). "Fox sees 'Futurama' and it works". Variety. Retrieved on 16 April 2009.
  23. ^ DiMaggio, John: "Wasn't this the highest rated debut in Fox history? Am I mistaken in saying that? I think it was."
    Groening, Matt: "I can't remember. It did really well. And much to the surprise of Fox, because they were very alarmed by this show– this episode."
    DiMaggio, John, Groening, Matt. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.