One of the freshest, most enjoyable shows on television, and one with a terrible time slot, is Futurama.  Fans of the Simpsons and fans of great animated television in general have been watching this show although it seems that Fox has been doing all it can to make that difficult.

Moore Action Collectibles got the license to do action figures last year, and these figures have been hotly anticipated every since.  But did MAC have what it took to produce a blockbuster line?

The figures just started shipping last week, first to comic shops and stores like Media Play and Sam Goody.  I picked these up at a local Media Play for $13 each - when they hit bigger retailers, I suspect they'll be closer to $10 each.  There are four figures in the set - Leela, Fry, Bender and a small version of the Planet Express ship.

Packaging - ***
The bubble packaging for this line is pretty good.  The colors and graphics fit the humor and style of the show, and the text on the back detailing the 'parts' of each figure is well written.  My only suggestion would be to give a little more (or any) information on the accessories that each figure comes with.

Articulation - ***
What's happening - I'm giving a MAC line high ratings on articulation!  No, Satan isn't wearing snowshoes, but the articulation on these figures is certainly an improvement over recent releases.

While these figures have about as many points as the Buffy figures, these joints are far more useful. There are cut joint biceps and thighs, neck, elbows, waist, knees and wrists.  Leela gets an extra point for her articulated pony tail.  Her stance makes some of her leg articulation worthless, but in general the sculpting works with the joints this time, and you can actually pose these figures in a wide variety of ways.

On the minus side, the joints are still a little on the cheap side - be very careful with Leela and Fry's wrists in particular.

Accessories - ****
Now this is what accessories are all about!  For each figure, we get a fantastic display base, well sculpted and accurate to the character.  There are also pegs for their feet, and unlike other figures in recent years from other companies, they actually fit in both feet at the same time!

The small accessories are also terrific.  Bender comes with a small bar to bend, a bottle of Olde Fortran, a can of Mother's Robot Oil, and a stack of money.  Leela has Nibbler, Nibbler's litter box, and two very cool blasters.  Fry comes with Lightspeed Briefs, a blaster, a can of Slurm and a can of Angry Norwegian Anchovies.

The Planet Express ship is the greatest rip off in this whole set, and thankfully is the short pack. At least the ship comes with some cool aliens, but it's poor value hurts the line overall.  It's way out of scale with the figures, of course, and it's construction is fairly cheap.

Sculpting - ***
Sculpting is good throughout, but some things are superior to others.  Bender is the best figure of the three, with a very accurate look.  His door even opens up!

Leela and Fry aren't bad, although moving up to this 6" scale hurts them a bit.  Cartoon figures aren't particularly detailed of course, and in this large of a scale that becomes very apparent.

The sculpting on the accessories and display bases is excellent - the blasters have that look of a 1940's sci-fi serial!

Paint - **
Here's the one place this line really gets hurt.  People have been complaining about the paint all week, but it's not that it's really sloppy.  Most of the figures have good lines, and there isn't a lot of over spray.  But there is something very weird about the paint on these figures.

The figures look like customs.  That's the best way I can explain it - the paint is 'thick' looking, similar to the paint work on many customs that folks do in this scale.  This is particularly true of the flesh colors on Leela and Fry, and the whites of their eyes.  I'm not sure why they didn't do the plastic in flesh tones to start, or why the paint seems to be so clumpy, but it does hurt a set of otherwise terrific figures.

Be selective in picking out your figures, and pay special attention to their eyes, and to the Nibbler accessory that comes with Leela.

Value - **1/2
If I was only discussing the three actual figures, this score would have been much higher.  With great accessories and great articulation, these will be worth the ten bucks most stores sell them for.  But the ship is certainly a very poor value, and hurts the line overall.  If you can wait to find them at ten bucks, you should - the $13 is too much unless you're one of those folks like me that wanted them RIGHT NOW.  Also, Tower Records will have an exclusive four pack that should cost $40.

Overall - ***
I wanted to give this line a higher score.  I really do like them, and I am happy I bought them even at $13.  But if I strip off my feelings for the show, my excitement at getting figures of this property, and look at it honestly and fairly, the paint work and the very cheesy ship hurt the line overall.

I'm hoping MAC corrects the problems, and we see at least one or two more sets from this show.  I want Zoidberg!

BTW, if you're looking to download full episodes of the show, check out this Futurama site.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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