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?
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!
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.
In our newest episode, exclusive to our Patreon supporters, we talk more with Patrick Johnson about video game violence and how it does — and mostly doesn’t — apply to real life.
We take a long hard look at the trainwreck that is the filmography of Adam Sandler, why his movies are so ugly and stupid, and struggle to say something nice about him. We explore the wide pendulum swing of the quality of Netflix’s original programming. And finally we dig into their poorly realized original film, Bright and wonder what could have been.
Loosely based on a novel by Pierre Boulle, this science fiction masterpiece follows a cynical astronaut, played by Charlton Heston, who finds himself stranded on a planet where talking apes rule, and a species of mute, brutish humans are hunted for sport and scientific experimentation.
Mike dives into why this film will forever be his favorite, and how it successfully checks off all of his favorite things — from time travel to courtroom drama to gorillas with rifles — into a timeless piece of cinema.
Mike and Casey sit down with Kinsey Burke, Patrick Johnson, and Sam Mulvey to bat around a contentious and complicated topic: adaptations, reboots and remakes.
How faithful should a work be to its source material when it’s adapted from one storytelling medium to another? What happens when it deviates over time? What about when a beloved past work is rebooted in ways we cannot stand? Is it really worth getting worked up about, now that the floodgates are open?
And can a bad adaptation transcend the source material and become a wonderful hypnotic disaster? Is it time to make peace with changes to Game of Thrones, and the Ghostbusters remake?
Also, Mike fights — against all odds — to protect a young friend from a 43 year-old movie spoiler.
In the first of a pair of Fun Sized episodes this month, we sit down in the studio with Roslyn Townsend to get extra meta-topical. We talk about the phenomenon of “misdirected fandom.” Why do some fans not seem to understand or even deny that characters like Breaking Bad‘s Walter White or Watchmen‘s Rorschach have ever crossed any ethical lines?
Are all interpretations of fiction and art valid? Can a property’s fans’ behavior make it hard to enjoy? Can an artist’s views or behavior overshadow their work?
We also dig into the world of 1970s science fiction where everyone wears a cape, all hair is big, and everything is brown.
This month, Mike and Casey look at the inevitable result of truly popular culture: that it can and will not be contained by it’s original medium. Star Wars, the Planet of the Apes, and even Murder She Wrote have escaped the confines of film and television to reward their fans with series of books, comics and video games that feed our appetites for more stories in the worlds we love.
We’re joined by veteran panelist Roslyn Townsend and game designerRyan Chaddock to chat about the concept of the Expanded Universe! We debate canonicity and ask why we just can’t get enough of our favorite media franchises, no matter the format!
Throw a rock in any direction, and you’ll hit someone’s zombie apocalypse survival plan. It’s astounding how ubiquitous it’s become. Everyone these days seems to have an elaborate strategy worked out to stay alive and thrive in the event that civilization falls in the wake of plagues, zombies, robot uprisings, alien invasions, natural disasters, nuclear war or even dragons.
There are even now magazines dedicated to this topic, and I’m not entirely sure how serious they’re intended to be.
But the truth is, it doesn’t matter how high your level is in Fallout: New Vegas, or how many issues of the Walking Dead you’ve read, or how many times you’ve seen the Road Warrior. Most people in the post-apocalypse are kinda…y’know…dead.
That prompts this month’s Mailbag question:
“Be Honest. How would you really fare in a post-apocalyptic setting?”
Mike and Casey invade the Forbidden Zone with our theme song’s composer Todd Maxfield-Matsumoto and Comics Should Be Good!‘s Greg Hatcher. This month we’re talking about the classic film franchise: the Planet of the Apes!
We talk about the film’s long-lived popularity, its relevance as socially-aware science fiction, its totally insane comic book adaptations in the 1970s, and its subsequent reboots.
We also try to wrap our minds around how an ostensibly family-friendly adventure series includes bloody religious imagery, nudity, babies shot with handguns, and total nuclear devastation.