Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The 10 most likable Futurama characters

Futurama is easily one of the most tenacious shows in television history. Despite being canceled numerous times, it always seems to return – most notably next year, when Futurama gets revived once again, this time on Hulu. But why does Futurama always seem to come back? Because fans can’t get enough of the compelling, hilarious, and oftentimes complicated characters.

From episodes that downright make you cry, like “Jurassic Bark,” to episodes so complex they needed to create their own mathematical formula, like “The Prisoner of Benda,” Futurama is more than a cartoon. It’s deep and it’s smart. Naturally, this lays the perfect groundwork for compelling and hilarious characters that get to experience the rich world Futurama created. But who are the most likable characters in the beloved series?

10. Calculon

Calculon delivers another dramatic monologue in Futurama
20th Century Animation

Voiced by veteran actor Maurice LaMarche (his voice probably sounds familiar because he’s also the voice of Brain in Pinky and the Brain), Calculon is one of Futurama‘s most one-dimensional characters. He’s a hammy robotic soap star and the lead actor in the popular daytime series, All My Circuits. He’s melodramatic, he overacts, and he’s completely self-absorbed.

On the surface, he should be a hated character, but much like Troy McClure in The Simpsons and Lucile Bluth in Arrested Development, when a self-centered character is done right, they can completely steal the show and take control of every scene they’re in. Plus, with lines like, “I’d like to thank the Academy, my agent, and most of all, my operating system, Windows Vista …,” how could you not laugh every time he’s on camera?

9. Hermes Conrad

Hermes looks over his documents in Futurama
20th Century Animation

Sadly, for much of Futurama‘s run, Hermes was a character that was never utilized to his fullest. He had his pot jokes and his trademark “sweet something of somewhere” lines, but as a whole, he was a glorified side character. Luckily, that all changed in season 6’s “Lethal Inspection,” where it’s revealed that Bender was actually a defective robot and should have been scrapped…but Hermes, who was working as the factory’s inspector at the time, couldn’t bring himself to kill baby Bender, ultimately letting him go into the world, despite his defect. It was heartwarming and a total tear-jerker, proving that Futurama still had tons of great stories to tell.

The episode was a critical hit and became one of the most touching in the entire series, and Hermes went from a throwaway supporting character to one of the most likable members of the Planet Express crew. Let’s hope the reboot continues to utilize him to his full potential.

8. Slurms MacKenzie

Slurms MacKenzie rocks out in front of a tie dye background
20th Century Animation

He may have only been in one episode, but Slurms MacKenzie sure made a lasting impact on fans. In season 1’s “Fry and the Slurm Factory,” the series lampooned Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In the episode, Fry and the crew win a trip to the Slurm factory, where an addictive soda is made from the rectal discharge of a giant alien queen.

At the start of the episode, Slurms is the company’s partying surfer-dude slug spokesperson, but once the nefarious secret is discovered, he helps the Planet Express crew escape by partying so hard the walls literally collapse, trapping the alien queen and killing himself. Thanks to his party-hard attitude and his heroism, Slurms MacKenzie is still one of the most recognizable Futurama characters more than 20 years after his episode premiered. Party on, Slurms, Party on …

7. Mom

Mom crafts an evil plan in Futurama
20th Century Animation

Ruthless, successful, conniving, and brilliant, Mom is a force to be reckoned with. She is the owner of Mom’s Friendly Robot Company – the producer of almost every robot on the planet – and she presents herself to the world as a homely, almost Betty Crocker-like older woman. But in reality, she’s a domineering corporate tycoon who wants nothing but power and control over everything she sees.

Her two-sidedness and caustic remarks are fantastic. Plus, with blisteringly hilarious lines like, “One Mother’s Day 70 years ago, the only man I ever loved walked out on me. Some snot-eating bastards say it made me a bitter woman …” you can’t help but love her. Mom’s ruthlessness is oddly likable, perhaps because the character is so perfectly crafted, thanks largely to the voice acting of Tress MacNeille, who also voices numerous characters on The Simpsons, including Mrs. Skinner.

6. Scruffy

Scruffy reads naughty magazines in Futurama
20th Century Animation

An often-overlooked Planet Express crew member is also one of the fans’ favorites. Scruffy wasn’t even included in season 1, instead first properly appearing in season 2’s Anthology of Interest I.  The series even pokes fun at his sudden appearance with Leela saying, “I’ve never seen you before…” after Scruffy walks in, introducing himself as the Planet Express janitor.

Since then, Scruffy has gone on to pop up randomly throughout the series, often looking at naughty magazines and always claiming to be on break. While only on-screen for mere seconds per episode, Scruffy always gets the best lines that really showcase his personality, like in the episode where Hermes asks what exactly it is Scruffy does at Planet Express. Scruffy casually responds, “My job? Toilets and boy-yeh-lers, boy-yeh-lers and toilets … plus that one boy-yeh-lin toilet.” It’s no surprise why he went from a nonexistent character to a regular part of the crew … you just can’t get enough of him.

5. Hypnotoad

Hypnotoad sits on a lily pad in Futurama
20th Century Animation

What’s not to like about Hypnotoad? He’s everyone’s favorite mind-controlling galactic overlord – he’s even the star of his own sitcom, Everybody Loves Hypnotoad. He’s achieved the kind of fame and success only a hypnotic toad can. But Hypnotoad’s fame and popularity have stretched far beyond Futurama.

Nowadays, he’s become an iconic GIF and meme staple, and he’s even the unofficial mascot of Texas Christian University (TCU) and can regularly be found on posters and even on the big screen at their football games. In fact, in the DVD extras for Bender’s Big Score, a full 22-minute episode of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad was released because fans kept demanding more of him.

4. Leela

Leela holds up her official captain's photo in Futurama
20th Century Animation

Leela is a mutant whose parents gave her up for adoption as a baby to trick the world into thinking she was an alien. Why? Because in Futurama, mutants aren’t legally allowed to live above ground. That origin story alone is heartbreaking enough, already giving Leela a depth that few cartoon characters have.

But throughout the show’s run, Leela experienced many more triumphs and heartbreaks, from becoming the captain of the Planet Express ship to the very last episode where she and Fry get trapped in a never-ending time loop. She is courageous, strong, smart, and able to deal with whatever the universe throws at her. Without Leela, it’s unlikely Planet Express would ever get anything done. It’s impossible not to like and respect her for all she does, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s voiced by the fantastic Katey Sagal.

3. Phillip J. Fry

Fry nervously waits for Leela in a restaurant in Futurama
20th Century Animation

The lovable goofball, the bumbling fool, and the downtrodden slacker, Fry is the most relatable character of the entire Planet Express crew. After being frozen in the year 1999, he wakes up in the year 3,000, only to find that everyone he ever knew is long dead and the planet has undergone drastic changes. Audiences are naturally drawn to Fry since he’s the only character from the present day, serving as an anchor for viewers to cling to as he explores this new reality for the first time, just like those watching the show.

But what really makes Fry likable are the moments where he shows he cares. From his beautiful opera to Leela to his undying love for his dog Seymour, Fry proved on numerous occasions that he’s more than just an oaf. He also has a big heart, big dreams, and a real desire to be someone. Plus, who can forget, “Shut up and take my money!”

2. Dr. Zoidberg

Zoidberg is covered in trash sitting in a dumpster
20th Century Animation

Aw, poor Zoidberg. Somehow, he is Planet Express’ doctor, despite his absolute ineptitude and often life-threatening medical negligence. It’s also not uncommon to find Zoidberg loitering in dumpsters, eating trash, and wallowing in his own failure. But it’s these failures that make audiences love him so much.

We’ve all struggled at work, we’ve all lost opportunities, and we’ve all felt lonely. We’ve all been Zoidberg at certain points in our lives and that’s why you can’t help but love him. There’s a vulnerability to Zoidberg’s destitution. Something about him being at rock bottom draws you in and makes you root for him. Sure, you laugh at his ineptitude, but also, you secretly want him to succeed because, in actuality, he’s incredibly likable.

1. Bender

Bender tries to romance some fembots at a bar in Futurama
20th Century Animation

Futurama wouldn’t be Futurama without Bender. He’s a smoking, drinking, gambling, hooker-obsessed wise-ass. And yet, audiences love him for it. Maybe it’s because Bender says the things everyone else is too afraid to, or maybe it’s because his lines are just so damn funny. How could you not laugh at “I hope he didn’t die … unless he left a note naming me his successor, then I hope he did die.” He’s so shockingly selfish that it almost catches you off-guard, forcing you to just laugh and enjoy it.

He’s someone you’d probably never want to meet in real life, but in the safety of the show, he’s just so damn funny and likable. And if you don’t like him? Well, then he’d have no problem telling you to “Bite my shiny, metal ass.”

You can watch all 10 seasons of Futurama on Hulu.

Editors' Recommendations

Keith Langston
Keith Langston has been obsessed with entertainment ever since he was a kid. He fully believes The Faculty and Deep Blue Sea…
10 most anticipated Netflix shows of 2024
Gordon Cormier as Avatar Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Netflix ended 2023 with a bang. A few of the best Netflix movies of 2023, most notably Maestro and May December, are major Oscar contenders, and several of its original efforts, from The Mother to Beef, were among the year's most successful streaming projects. Love it or hate it, Netflix remains the king of the streamers, and its mighty reputation isn't going anywhere in 2024.

The coming year bodes well for Netflix, as its slate of original programming for next year is as packed as ever. Its upcoming scripted shows are particularly exciting, with everything from ambitious sci-fi epics to long-awaited adaptations of beloved animated classics. These are the 10 most anticipated Netflix original shows of 2024, including new arrivals and returning favorites.
The Brothers Sun (January 4)

Read more
5 most anticipated Apple TV+ shows of 2024, ranked
Two men stand in front of a plane in Masters of the Air.

Apple might not introduce as many series as some of the other competing streaming services. But if 2023 is any indication, the TV shows that are released on Apple TV+ are, more often than not, top-notch. In fact, some of the most exciting new shows introduced in 2023 overall include Apple TV+ titles like Silo, Shrinking, Hijack, and most recently, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

A new slate of TV shows from all the top streaming services and traditional linear networks is being released this year. But when it comes to the most anticipated Apple TV+ shows of 2024, these 5 make the cut.
5. Criminal Record (January 12)
Criminal Record — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Read more
8 most anticipated drama TV shows of 2024, ranked
Mutated creatures roaming the wasteland that was earth in a scene from Fallout the series on Amazon Prime Video.

Get ready because there are exciting drama series coming in 2024. Popular shows in this genre will return, like The Bear, which will premiere its third season on FX and Hulu before year’s end. When it comes to new shows, premiere dates for some of them are not yet set in stone. But with a few, you can already mark your calendar for the day that the first episode or even the entire season will be available to stream.

While the most anticipated drama TV shows of 2024 are new series, there’s one exception: True Detective has had a five-year gap between season 3 and the latest fourth season. As an anthology series with a brand-new cast every season, it’s almost like a new show. Several of these shows are based on popular movies, books, and even a video game, and they all feature high-profile talent, both in front of the camera and behind it.
8. Death and Other Details (January 16)

Read more