The 'Future' Is Now

I got so excited about the return of "Futurama" (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) that I inadvertently listed its return last week instead of tonight. Oops.

Anyway, the cult cartoon classic is a good example of how some shows have proven so popular on cable that they are getting a second life.

"Family Guy," another Fox comedy that was canceled, grew so popular a few years ago with reruns on TBS and The Cartoon Network that Fox brought it back to join with "The Simpsons" as part of its Sunday animation block.

Fox elected not to bring back "Futurama," but Comedy Central has found solid ratings success with the offbeat sci-fi comedy, in which a pizza delivery guy (voiced by Billy West) accidentally gets cryogenically frozen and wakes up in the year 3000. He gets a job as a delivery guy for an interplanetary delivery service and falls for the one-eyed, purple-haired captain of the ship (voiced by Katey Sagal).

After "Futurama" was canceled, the syndicated success let the producers to create four direct-to-DVD movies, which did very well, leading to the decision to bring the series back.

"Futurama" is a lot of fun, so you check it out if you missed it the first time.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: This blog ought to be subtitled: "Watching bad TV so you don't have to." For example, I sat through "Rookie Blue," (ABC, 9 p.m.) a Canadian cop show that could have just as easily been titled "Grey's Anatomy For Cops." It's followed by the new reality series "Boston Med" at 10 p.m., which has gotten a lot of positive buzz.

On cable, there are new episodes of "Burn Notice" and "Royal Pains" from 9-11 p.m. on USA.