Black Ops Episode 1 – Real Sociopaths Work for Goldman Sachs [DECLASSIFIED!]

[As we continue our show hiatus, it has been decided by the fine people who support us on Patreon that we are going to make public — or ‘declassify’ — one of our Patreon-exclusive Black Ops episodes every month. This month, our patrons have personally selected this episode to help fill the gap! Consider it a look back at the ‘Before Times’]

Original Patreon release date: July 1, 2016

Here is the very first of our special, off-the-books “Black Ops” episodes, recorded back in January of this year with guest Greg Hatcher!

We dig into how morally abhorrent a fictional protagonist can be and not lose your sympathy. And catapulting past our ethical thresholds, we look at the horrific morality of Jack Bauer’s Bush-era enthusiastic torture-palooza!

Plus, we throw a little love at the anti-fascist satire of Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.

Black Ops Episode 9 – You Are Not a Mistake [DECLASSIFIED!]

[As we continue our show hiatus, it has been decided by the fine people who support us on Patreon that we are going to make public — or ‘declassify’ — one of our Patreon-exclusive Black Ops episodes every month. This month, our patrons have personally selected this episode to help fill the gap! Consider it a look back at the ‘Before Times’]

Original Patreon release date: July 26, 2018

In what is an ultra-MEGA-sized two-and-a-half hour episode, we really run the gamut.

First, we talk about popular culture we loved as kids, but are afraid to revisit, because we fear it won’t survive adult scrutiny. In Mike’s case that means a series of epic fantasy novels that he suspects both really hold up in some way, and really really really don’t in other.

We then talk about the evolving nature of stand-up comedy and the divergent attitudes of comics like Jerry Seinfeld, and Hannah Gadsby — and how many older comedians seem to desire to be “above” politics or social commentary. Is that even possible or desirable?

Do genre stories like science fiction and superheroes have a responsibility to touch on questions of social and cultural importance? Why do the calls for political neutrality usually seem to mask a right-wing agenda?

We get into bad movie theater experiences that stretches Mike’s aversion to confrontation to the breaking point, and dive into the thorny issues of intellectual property and online piracy.

And finally, things get a bit emotional when we talk about how profoundly powerful and deeply intimate the new documentary about Mister Rogers is.

Black Ops Episode 19 – Whoa: Keanu Reeves in Theory and Practice [DECLASSIFIED!]

[As we continue our show hiatus, it has been decided by the fine people who support us on Patreon that we are going to make public — or ‘declassify’ — one of our Patreon-exclusive Black Ops episodes every month. This month, our patrons have personally selected this episode to help fill the gap! Consider it a look back at the ‘Before Times’]

Original Patreon release date: December 28, 2019

In a discussion recorded back in November 2019, we try to decide in real-time if Terminator: Dark Fate warrants being covered on Podcasta la Vista, Baby! or not.

We talk a bit about our coming post-Arnold future and drop a couple hints at a replacement series. And we mention at least one shelved podcast series idea that we decided to not do.

Is it time for Star Wars, among other franchises, to go away for a while? We talk a bit how major media companies keep trying to recreate the success of lightning-in-a-bottle books and movies to diminishing results.

Black Ops Episode 19 – Whoa: Keanu Reeves in Theory and Practice [CLIP]

In a discussion recorded back in November, now exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we try to decide in real-time if Terminator: Dark Fate warrants being covered on Podcasta la Vista, Baby! or not.

We talk a bit about our coming post-Arnold future and drop a couple hints at a replacement series. And we mention at least one shelved podcast series idea that we decided to not do.

Is it time for Star Wars, among other franchises, to go away for a while? We talk a bit how major media companies keep trying to recreate the success of lightning-in-a-bottle books and movies to diminishing results.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Black Ops Episode 18 – An Inspiring Racist [CLIP]

In our new Christmas Eve episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we get both deadly serious and a little bit frivolous.

First, we glance at a brief history of famous pieces of shit who’ve done awful things –  from Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby, to Harvey Weinstein and George Zimmerman – and the people who refuse to believe their accusers.

Then, we delve into what the James Bond franchise loosely calls “series continuity.” We explore the popular fan theory that “Bond” is just a codename and that the different actors who played 007 are different people altogether.

Plus, we think Dave Bautista is really, really great.

*editorial note* – Mike gets the name wrong. It’s Jimmy Saville, not Jeremy.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Black Ops Episode 17 – Ask Us Anything: 2019 [CLIP]

In our new nearly two hour episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we’re answering your questions in our first Ask Us Anything episode!

We start by sharing three facts about ourselves that you might not know, then we tackle your questions!

We talk about our musical obsessions, past political activism, strange retail job stories, how we met, our adventures with conspiracy theorists on public access television, our respective parenthood and non-parenthood, Al Pacino impressions, Mike’s cancer treatments, desert island selections, and how we first fell in love with our favorite pop culture fandoms. And so, so many digressions.

Included in this episode are questions by David Gutiérrez, Grant Richter, Wesley, Tim Batson, and Gem Newman.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Black Ops Episode 16 – An Infinite Loop of a Second Act [CLIP]

In our new episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we talking about endings!

First, we want your opinion on a very important Patreon crowdfunding question!

We chat a bit about Henry Cavill taking on the lead role in a Netflix Witcher series, and why Disney should make one less live-action remake and do some good in the world!

And finally, we look at recent pop culture endings — Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame, Deadwood, the Walking Dead comic book, and the Fox X-Men franchise — and look ahead to future endings with Quentin Tarantino’s to-be-produced tenth and final film.

What stuck the landing, and what left us cold?

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Black Ops Episode 15 – What Do You Think Alan Moore Did? [CLIP]

In our new episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, Greg Hatcher rejoins us for a free range conversation.

We chat a bit about Trek, the character of Captain Kirk and why it can be a gift when fictional characters age along with their actors.

We try to navigate the labyrinth of public domain laws to fruitlessly try to figure out what you can and cannot do with with new adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, the Lone Ranger and the Land of Oz, and whether being public domain has produced better material.

And finally, we wax nostalgic for a bygone time when “grim and gritty” was new, and when Alan Moore blew the comic industry’s collective mind by doing a post-modern adult interpretation of a British superhero aimed at children.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Black Ops Episode 14 – More Stuff in the Basement [CLIP]

In our new episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, there’s some more stuff to clean out the basement.

Casey loves science fiction, but has grown tired of the ubiquity of sci-fi that treats dystopia, calamity and apocalypse as inevitability.  What happened to looking for positive alternatives and aspirational worlds in our genre media?

Is it a symptom of our inability to imagine that we can overcome the things that make the modern world a scary place, and instead just imagine futures where our problems are exactly the same, or  just amplified?

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Black Ops Episode 13 – Some Stuff in the Basement [CLIP]

In our latest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we empty the basement.

Mike has been a dedicated, lifelong comics book and superhero fan. And he’s been thrilled to see these characters and stories play out on the big screen… or he did. So he sits down with Casey to talk about how superhero cinema — even most of the “good stuff” — is leaving him feeling pretty blase and desensitized.

It’s a conversation that’s been brewing for at least a year, and Mike wants to get all of it out of his system. He’s sick of complaining about Marvel and Zack Snyder on podcasts, so he attempts in one conversation to purge all of it out of his system in one go. One last time, for our sanity’s sake.

Pray for us.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Black Ops Episode 12 – Spoiler Alert: Ghosts Don’t Exist [CLIP]

In our latest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, it’s Halloween for Christmas!

Recorded back in October, we dip into the horror genre, as Casey was watching one scary movie a day, often for the first time. As a horror novice, Casey relates the experience of his maiden voyages into classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, the Conjuring and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time. We dig into why we like being scared, and why we can love a scary movie that isn’t even frightening.

From gory thrills to impressive technical feats, we get into horror cinema from everyone from John Carpenter, to George Romero, to James Wan!

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Black Ops Episode 11 – A Bacterial Infection That Helps You Fight Crime [CLIP]

In our latest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we join Sam Mulvey to dig into the question of adapting properties that we care about, and whether it’s important to even attempt fidelity to the source material.

From Watchmen to Dune; from Starship Troopers to Ready Player One. Is it sometimes the wisest choice to take a giant critical poop on a property when we translate them to a new medium? Plus, Mike saw Venom, and…yeah. We talk about what could have been  — a gloriously R-rated cannibal crime fighting movie.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Black Ops Episode 10 – Meet Your Parents. Make Money. Kill Hitler. [CLIP]

In our latest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, a trip to a computer museum prompts a mind-breaking discussion about the mechanics of time travel in the Back to the Future movies.

When we return to a present that we’ve created by altering the past, are we killing our alternate selves and inserting ourselves into their lives? Was the elderly Biff Tannen’s master plan with the sports almanac actually pretty stupid? And is Biff in the new timeline George McFly’s “Reek”? What about how time travel works in Looper, Star Trek, Lost or in Marvel Comics?

All this and Mike tries to explain the chronology of the X-Men character Cable to Casey. Deep breaths, everyone!

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Black Ops Episode 9 – You Are Not a Mistake

In what is an ultra-MEGA-sized two-and-a-half hour episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we really run the gamut.

First, we talk about  popular culture we loved as kids, but are afraid to revisit, because we fear it won’t survive adult scrutiny. In Mike’s case that means a series of epic fantasy novels that he suspects both really hold up in some way, and really really really don’t in other.

We then talk about the evolving nature of stand-up comedy and the divergent attitudes of comics like Jerry Seinfeld, and Hannah Gadsby — and how many older comedians seem to desire to be “above” politics or social commentary. Is that even possible or desirable?

Do genre stories like science fiction and superheroes have a responsibility to touch on questions of social and cultural importance? Why do the calls for political neutrality usually seem to mask a right-wing agenda?

We get into bad movie theater experiences that stretches Mike’s aversion to confrontation to the breaking point, and dive into the thorny issues of intellectual property and online piracy.

And finally, things get a bit emotional when we talk about how profoundly powerful and deeply intimate the new documentary about Mister Rogers is.

To hear this episode — and many more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!

Black Ops Episode 7 – The Twilight of the Pamphlet

In this extra-sized episode exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we talk more with View from the GuttersTobiah Panshin about the past, present and possible future of comic books as a medium and an industry.

We talk about how old Marvel letter columns reveal both angry letters from Tobiah’s mom, and how Wolverine was initially the least popular X-Men character. We react to the puzzling tirades about “SJWs” taking over superhero comics, and reflect on how we can balance the toxic attitudes of creators like Frank Miller and Dave Sim against their groundbreaking work and where he puts them in comics history.

And finally, we wonder if it’s time for American comic books to abandon the floppy monthly issue format and fundamentally change if Marvel and DC are going to survive for future generations

To hear this episode — and many more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

Join us!