casWhispers have been making their way across the Internet and have finally reached my ears – could there be a new lease on life for Futurama, the show that was pound for pound better than The Simpsons? Billy West, who did many of the show’s voices, including Fry, thinks so. In a posting on his official message board, West had this to say:

Well, I spoke to David X.Cohen because we did promos for a new Futurama compilation and he said that they did have talks with the top guys at FOX and they were extremely impressed with the sales of the Futurama DVDs. The idea was to make a Futurama movie right to DVD and then a 2nd and a 3rd. That’s what’s being discussed. Fox is trying to figure out a budget for the whole project, and it sounded like David X. was very jazzed!

I would love more than anything to do that show again. I thought it was best experience on every level… creatively, voice-wise, writing, animation and the laughs. The laughs. Writers and performers that respected each other.

This needs to happen! Besides the fact that I want more Futurama (there is nothing more frustrating in my DVD collection than that truncated series – I love it so, but it ends too soon), this needs to happen just to advance home entertainment.

Here’s my take: The next frontier is direct to video. It’s been a dirty word for years, but once upon a time so was TV itself. Movie stars didn’t do TV shows, and TV actors didn’t get to go to the movies. But all that has changed to the point where the lines are blurred. Now we need to get past the DTV stigma.

Why should Joss Whedon wait for The WB to greenlight a Buffyverse movie? Why take your chances on a theatrical feature that won’t have enough of a draw to be profitable? You know that the people who bought 7 seasons of Buffy on DVD will pony up 20 bucks for an all-new 2 hour Spike movie. And you know every fan of Futurama is going to run out and get themselves the new movie.

It creates a new market for niche programming. We’ve seen DVD sales save shows, but the economics of broadcast TV will never allow shows like Family Guy and Arrested Development stray too far from the chopping block. DTV can become the new home for these things, and I would gladly accept fewer hours of this stuff a year if it meant more quality.

Honestly I think this is the direction in which we’re headed anyway. Theatrical movie releases are becoming ads for the eventual money making DVD release. TV shows hit DVD as soon as a season is over. We just need some good, smart and brave people to take out that final DTV barrier so I can bite Bender’s shiny metal ass all over again.