Since Futurama and The Simpsons were both created by cartoonist Matt Groening and share his frequently absurdist, often acerbic sense of humor, comparisons between the two series were inevitable, and while Futurama was often funnier than The Simpsons in the first two seasons it was on the air, it consistently lacked the emotional resonance of the earlier series — it never seemed to engage the mind the same way it massaged the funny bone. Similarly, the second multi-DVD Futurama box set — this one collecting the 19 episodes from the show's second season — seems to be modeled on the superb packages Fox Home Entertainment created for the first two episodes of The Simpsons, but the results aren't quite as impressive. The material included on Futurama, Vol. 2 has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Surround, and all the episodes look and sound terrific, with the images pin-sharp throughout and the sound crisp and cleanly defined. Along with the original English-language audio tracks, the discs include alternate dubbed versions in Spanish and French (also in Dolby Digital Surround), as well as optional subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Like the Simpsons collections, Futurama, Vol. 2 is loaded with bonus material, but ironically this is where the set disappoints. Each episode here has an alternate commentary track, featuring Groening along with members of the show's writing staff, production team, and voice cast, but surprisingly often they don't have anything especially enlightening to say about the show, often getting bogged down in cryptic sci-fi references and inside jokes, and while fans might get a chuckle out of hearing them, their novelty wears out rather quickly. Deleted gags from most of the episodes are also included, though they tend to be brief and appear to have been scrapped for a good reason, and while the "animatic" for "Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love?" is instructive for those interested in the show's production methods, it isn't especially entertaining on its own merits. Also, while the "international clips" are amusing enough, no one seems to have realized that while the versions in Italian and Portuguese are a novelty, the French and Spanish clips are redundant, since all 19 episodes can be viewed in those languages anyway. Also included is a gallery of production artwork and a key to the show's "alien alphabet," both of which are more interesting and useful than many of the set's more elaborate features. Fans of Futurama will certainly appreciate the care and technical skill that's gone into putting the show's second season on disc, but the additional bells and whistles ultimately don't add much value to the package.