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.

Fun Size Episode 45 – Nerds Will Always Break Your Heart

We continue our talk with Greg Hatcher and talk about how we’ve been falling out of love with modern pop culture franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Walking Dead, and why it’s totally healthy to just walk away.

Plus, we talk very briefly about Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker, and how a toxic fanbase can not only poison your enjoyment of a pop culture property, but it can affect the decisions that producers make in a doomed attempt to please everyone, including the trolls and bigots.

Editor’s Note from Mike: After thinking about it for less than three seconds, Fascism definitely beats out Objectivism in the Bad Ideology Olympics. But Objectivism would still win a medal. Just wanted to correct that dumb mistake said in haste.

Episode 43 – Condorman

He Spies! He Flies! He Death-Defies!

In this month’s Single Serving Selection, we take to the skies above Monte Carlo with Greg Hatcher of the Atomic Junk Shop blog to swoop into Disney’s superhero/spy film that sank at the box office, only to rise again as a cult favorite: 1981’s Condorman!

When bumbling comic book artist Woody Wilkins is chosen for a simple courier mission  for the CIA, he makes an impression on a beautiful KGB agent who wants to defect. Now the only man she trusts to escort her to the West is Woody, who she believes to be a highly skilled secret operative.  Woody agrees to the mission, but only if the CIA will use its resources to turn him into the high-flying superhero from his own comic book: Condorman!

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!

Join us!

Fun Size Episode 35 – My Boss is Trying to Kill Matt Damon

We’re back with a Frankensteinian Fun Size double feature!

First, we continue our chat with Kit DeForge, where a discussion about Lords of Chaos, the recent semi-fictional Norwegian death metal movie, leads into a talk about how music biopics in general — and Bohemian Rhapsody, specifically — usually aren’t….very good.

Then we talk to Greg Hatcher about how the history of television shows didn’t include dedicated series finales until the Fugitive in 1967, and we look at the mixed results of shows that tried to continue after losing their lead actors.

Plus, we look at the trope of the characters who exist solely in high tech control rooms with hundreds of screens.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 18 – Eraser

He will erase your past to protect your future.

This month, we burn our drivers’ licenses and take refuge in the City Zoo with returning guest Greg Hatcher of the Atomic Junk Shop blog, to dig into the mid-90s high tech action thriller: Eraser.

U.S. Marshall John Kruger is the world’s greatest witness protection specialist. He “erases” the people he protects, faking their deaths and hiding them until that they can testify in court. Kruger is assigned to protect Lee Cullen, an executive who has just discovered that the defense contractor she works for is illegally selling high-tech weapons to international criminals and terrorists. Now, with both her company and a high-ranking government official trying to kill her, only John Kruger stands between her and a murderous conspiracy that has even infected the agency he works for!

Fun Size Episode 29 – Fighting the Adam West Fight

We jump back into the fray with Greg Hatcher, to talk debate the merits of Star Trek Discovery, the future of the franchise and what we want from a Trek property.

We also look at the trailer for the new streaming Titans series, and wonder why such a fun property would want to be dour and overserious. Why do so many fans –and even creators — just miss the point?

Episode 35 – Highlander

“There can be only one.”

This month, we feel an irresistible pull towards a far away land to test our blades against those of Atomic Junk Shop‘s Greg Hatcher and David “Ace” Gutiérrez of Emmys.com. The field of battle, the Highlander franchise. It started as a 1986 cult fantasy film starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, about a small group of sword-wielding Immortals, living in secret and battling each other across the centuries until only one remains to claim a vaguely-defined “Prize.”

It blossomed — or some say, decayed — into four critically-panned movie sequels, a long-running television show, an animated series, and even an anime film. We dig into topics of whether every film truly should be made into a franchise? Should there have, indeed, been only one?

We face these questions with…heart, faith and steel.

Music: 
“A Kind of Magic”  from Highlander (1986) by Queen

Fun Size Episode 18 – A Nesting Doll of Weird

We continue our talk with Greg Hatcher and dive into the world of comic books and beyond!

We reminisce about Marvel’s 1970s misfit superhero team, the Defenders, and an absolutely batshit tale from writer Steve Gerber that includes stolen brains, absurd body horror, elves with guns, and the soul of an evil wizard trapped in the body of a baby deer!

Plus, we look at the strange turn that comic book scribe Mark Millar’s work has taken in his new series Huck, which is a radical departure from his regularly shocking, cynical and violent stories.

We talk about fan entitlement and the ups and downs of finite vs. ongoing storytelling.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 7 – Conan the Barbarian

“Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.”

Crom, we have never prayed to you before. We have no tongue for it. Podcasts please you, Crom…so grant us one request: grant us a discussion with Greg Hatcher of the Atomic Junk Shop blog! Together we will travel back to an age undreamed of, and discuss the bloody fantasy epic that put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map: 1982’s Conan the Barbarian!

An adaptation of the classic Robert E. Howard pulp hero, Conan of Cimmeria is a warrior, a thief and a slayer of men. After the slaughter of his parents and tribe by a doomsday snake cult, Conan is enslaved and made into a gladiator. Thus begins his quest for bloody vengeance with sword, and axe and his own bare hands.

Fun Size Episode 8 – No, Jack Bauer!

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We sit down with Greg Hatcher and Sam Mulvey to continue our talk on vigilante justice, including our feelings about the anti-terrorism torture-sploitation action show that was 24.

We dig into the sad exploits of local “real life superhero” Phoenix Jones and why he turns the superhero-loving Mike into a J. Jonah Jameson.

And we dive into Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and how Zack Snyder’s vision of these characters is equal parts stupid, pretentious and insecure.

Episode 26 – Vigilante Fiction

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You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?

Mike and Casey sit down with Pól Rua and Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good blog, for a comprehensive and thoughtful discussion of urban crime and its many complicated causes.

And we talk about how pulp novels and grindhouse cinema recommends fixing these problems. Namely, angry middle-aged men with oversized handguns.

This month, we’re talking about urban vigilante fiction. Hyper-violent anti-heroes pumping thousands of rounds of ammunition into scumbags and drug dealers. From Dirty Harry to Death Wish; from the Punisher to Mack Bolan, we’re digging into the vigilante genre, and asking ourselves: why do bleeding heart liberals like us enjoy this stuff?

Music: 
“Getting Into Shape / Listen You Screw Heads / Gun Play” from Taxi Driver by Bernard Herrmann

Previously titled: “A Noir Carnival of Fright and Insanity”

Episode 23.5 – Do We Need to Get Racist, Casey?

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In the afterglow of our Star Trek: the Next Generation panel, Mike and Casey continue their chat with Ryan Chaddock and Greg Hatcher for some off-topic conversation.

We dig into why Mike totally doesn’t have pink eye, the use (or non-use) of secondary Star Trek characters, our hopes and fears for Star Wars: the Force Awakens, the Blade Runner and Mad Max sequels, inter-fandom schadenfreude, and 1980s slasher movies.

And we ponder: why don’t we get any hate mail?

Episode 23 – Star Trek: the Next Generation

tng

Space…the final frontier…

Mike and Casey reserve a table in Ten Forward and share a pot of “tea, early grey, hot” with Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good! blog and game designer Ryan Chaddock. Our continuing mission: to launch a class-5 probe into the Neutral Zone, and to discuss the classic science fiction series, Star Trek: the Next Generation.

We discuss how it added to the Trek mythos, the tug of war over the show’s themes and writing, and how the classic series stands the test of times as a piece of optimistic science fiction in a current age of popular dystopias and the “grim and gritty” storytelling in genre film and television.

Make it so!

Music: 
“End Credits” from Star Trek: First Contact by Jerry Goldsmith

Previously titled: “Oh, God. Not Another Troi Episode!”

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 1 – The Running Man

Running-Man“A game nobody survives. But Schwarzenegger has yet to play.”

It’s the premiere episode of Podcasta la Vista, Baby!

Mike and Casey are proud to be joined by Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good! blog, to talk about a 1987 science fiction classic from the height of Arnold’s cinematic career: The Running Man.

The year is 2019. American is governed by a fascist dictatorship that uses television to keep the populace docile. The most popular game show is “the Running Man,” where criminals and dissidents are forced to flee from murderous, costumed gladiators to win their freedom — and their lives. Its newest contestant is a certain Austrian man-mountain, framed for a crime he didn’t commit.

These guys are totally fucked.