Obscure Pop Culture References From 'Futurama,' Ranked

Over 900 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Obscure Pop Culture References From 'Futurama,' Ranked
Voting Rules
Vote up the 'Futurama' references that whizzed right past you.

During its nine-season run, the writers of Futurama dropped in as many pop culture references as humanly possible. The show was full of quips, jokes, and observations that related to everything from Doctor Who to obscure science fiction references. It didn't hurt that the writing room was filled with PhDs and sci-fi nerds.

While many of the pop culture references shown throughout the series are obvious, far more are considerably more obscure. You'll only understand a few of these pop culture references if you grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons, reading Isaac Asimov, and watching Space: 1999. Even if you did all of that, there are likely a few obscure references you missed along the way.

Find your favorite obscure pop culture reference below, and vote up the ones that are particularly clever. Check back to see which of Futurama's obscure pop culture references made it to the top of the list!

Photo: 20th Television

  • 1
    389 VOTES

    A Spaceship Graveyard In The Bermuda Tetrahedron Is Littered With Famous Ships 

    Reference: Many of the most famous ships from science fiction make an appearance as derelict versions.

    Season: 6

    Episode: 21, "Möbius Dick"

    Details: In "Möbius Dick," Leela undertakes an adventure that proves too perilous for the crew, and when they arrive at a spaceship graveyard, the Planet Express ship flies by a bunch of derelict crafts. The ships include vessels from other science fiction works and album covers, as well as a real lunar lander. The visible ships consist of the following:

    • Discovery One (2001)
    • Event Horizon (Event Horizon)
    • Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 (Lost)
    • The Satellite of Love (Mystery Science Theater 3000)
    • The Jupiter 2 (Lost in Space)
    • The spaceship from Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space
    • An Apollo Lunar Module
    • Spaceships from the album covers of ELO, Journey, and Boston
    389 votes
  • 2
    399 VOTES

    There Is A Drink Made Of Humans Called 'Soylent Cola,' A Reference To 'Soylent Green'

    Reference: There are numerous references throughout the series to Soylent food products.

    Season: 2

    Episode: 4, "Fry and the Slurm Factory"

    Details: Soylent Green is a 1973 dystopian film starring Charlton Heston, who plays a detective who discovers something terrible going on in the massively overcrowded world he lives in. SPOILER: He discovers that the people who volunteer to end their lives end up being processed into a delicious ration the government has labeled Soylent Green. Hence, Soylent Green is people... it's people! In the episode, Leela tells Fry that there's a soda called Soylent Cola. When Fry asks her if it's any good, she replies, "It varies from person to person."

    399 votes
  • 3
    299 VOTES

    Tim The Enchanter From 'Monty Python And The Holy Grail' Appears In A Crowd

    Reference: Tim shows up in a conference of scientists.

    Season: 5

    Episode: 1, "Crimes of the Hot"

    Details: In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his knights come upon a wizard played by John Cleese. When they approach, he is pointing in various directions, causing explosions, but eventually appears next to the king, where he introduces himself as Tim the Enchanter. The same wizard pops up in "Crimes of the Hot," where he's sitting among a group of scientists at a world scientific forum. When Al Gore offers up a bag of Moon Sapphires to anyone who can solve the global warming problem, he shows particular interest.

    299 votes
  • 4
    326 VOTES

    The Name 'Futurama' Is A Reference To An Exhibit In The 1939 New York World's Fair

    Reference: The series name is a reference to the 1939 World's Fair.

    Details: The 1939 New York World's Fair was the second-most expensive event of its type, and it had more than 44 million visitors across its two seasons. The entire event was based on the future, and one of the centerpiece 36,000-square-foot halls held the Futurama exhibit, sponsored by General Motors. This included a massive diorama of a future version of the United States, which was built with miniature highways (modern highways didn't exist back then), towns with half a million individually designed homes, futuristic vehicles, and millions of trees. The whole affair was seen in the form of a ride with chairs situated overhead. Because it was essentially an exhibit of what the future United States might look like one day, the series name was applied as an homage.

    326 votes
  • 5
    260 VOTES

    A Beholder From 'Dungeons & Dragons' Works At The Central Bureaucracy 

    Reference: The Beholder is sleeping on the job.

    Season: 2

    Episode: 14, "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back"

    Details: When Hermes needs to get back into the Central Bureaucracy, the team sneaks in as a Beholder from Dungeons & Dragons snoozes lazily nearby. They accidentally wake him up, and his eyestalks immediately blast off rays of white light as if an alarm has been sounded, but he is just startled. He then asks that they don't tell his supervisor he was sleeping on the job. In D&D, Beholders are immensely powerful magical creatures, so D&D fans may assume the group is in for a world of hurt... at first, anyway.

    260 votes
  • 6
    297 VOTES

    The Fourth Doctor Exits A Bus And Runs Into A TARDIS

    Reference: The Doctor from Doctor Who's fourth regeneration is seen entering a TARDIS with his iconic scarf.

    Season: 6

    Episode: 20, "All the Presidents' Heads"

    Details: Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction series of all time, and the main character has been referenced in tons of works, including Futurama. The fourth Doctor makes a brief appearance in "All the Presidents' Heads" when the crew screws up the timeline and sets history askew due to the failure of Paul Revere. This results in the British continuing to hold the Colonies in their sway, and the Doctor's appearance is an extension of that British influence on America. He can be seen exiting a bus for his TARDIS, which is odd, seeing as the TARDIS can travel anywhere in time and space.

    297 votes