The Incomparable

The Incomparable Podcast

The Incomparable is a weekly dive into geeky media we love, including movies, books, TV, comics, and more, featuring a rotating panel of guests and hosted by Jason Snell.

534: The Young Henry Chronicles
Once more unto the breach, dear friends! This episode kicks off a new recurring feature, Shakespeare Club. Our first subject is “Henry V.” We watch Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 film and discuss Shakespeare’s Expanded Henry Universe, tennis balls, d’elbow, and what a jerk young Harry actually is. Jason Snell with David J. Loehr, Philip Michaels, Scott McNulty and Moisés Chiullan....

533: Confiscate the Trumpeter's Mute
Our Old Movie Club takes on two Billy Wilder comedies from 1939 and 1959, to see if they still hold up 81 and 61 years later. Erika Ensign’s selection is “Midnight,” starring Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche, and Philip Michaels counters with “Some Like It Hot,” starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe. Both films are about people pretending to be something they aren’t. And then the fun begins… hopefully! Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Philip Michaels, Tiffany Arment and Steve Lutz....

532: Most Crushable Crew
Launch the Photon Torpedoes! In this episode we’re drafting mostly obscure characters from all of Star Trek lore, and creating our own TV series pitches with the results. If you think our drafts have gone off the rails before, you haven’t seen anything yet! Jason Snell with Jim Metzendorf, David J. Loehr, Moisés Chiullan, Cicero Holmes, Jean MacDonald, Brianna Wu and Scott McNulty....


531: Linda Hamilton Bicep Fan Club
Grab a shotgun, climb on a stolen motorcycle, and get out your 90s slang phrasebook, because it’s time to watch one of the definitive summer blockbusters, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” We marvel at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s perfectly robotic demeanor, Robert Patrick’s steely stare and creepy walk, and Linda Hamilton’s—well, pretty much everything. Hasta la vista, baby. Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Annette Wierstra, Brian Hamilton and Kelly Guimont....

530: Let's Talk About Turnips!
Hop a flight piloted by a Dodo and leave behind the world you know! Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect escape. Journey to a deserted island to do digital equivalents of chores you’re avoiding doing in the real world! One of the most subjective experiences in all of gaming turned out to be just what millions of us needed this summer. Guest host Moisés Chiullan and his six panelists are proof that “the friends you make along the way” really is the whole point after all. Well, that and draft-format p...

529: Ancient Goat Lettering
Grab a wad of counterfeit cash and get ready to swim up a waterfall! Our Miyazaki Club goes back to the beginning, to the great animation director’s first feature, “The Castle of Cagliostro.” It’s a franchise work-for-hire being executed by a budding genius, which is a fascinating combination. The film mixes cartoony action and heist-movie tropes with clouds and landscapes and flying machines that come straight from Miyazaki’s brain. Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Monty Ashley, Aleen Simms, Tony Sind...


528: To Quantity!
Ten years ago today, The Incomparable began. To celebrate a decade of whatever this is, Jason gathered a dozen of the podcast’s top panelists for a round of toasts. Jason Snell with Dan Moren, David J. Loehr, John Siracusa, Steve Lutz, Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign, Monty Ashley, Glenn Fleishman, Serenity Caldwell, Moisés Chiullan, Tony Sindelar, Aleen Simms and Chip Sudderth....

527: Quantum Physics Training Montage
Inflate your pool floaties, prepare a wedding speech, and whatever you do, don’t go in the glowing red cave, because we’re discussing the delightful film “Palm Springs,” starring Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, and J.K. Simmons, and currently available (to Americans, anyway) on Hulu. It’s the kind of movie we’ve seen before, but with so many interesting twists on the concept that it always feels fresh. In addition to pointing out what makes the movie work, we’ve got a bunch of nerdy questions about its premi...

526: The Years Have Pants
Want to pick up a comic book or graphic novel and don’t know where to start? Our panel has a bunch of very different ideas for you to choose from! We’ve made a list of nearly two dozen for you to try—all available in collections, all ready to pick up without knowing anything about history or backstory or continuity or anything. Jason Snell with Chip Sudderth, David J. Loehr, Lisa Schmeiser, John McCoy and Nathan Alderman....


525: Sorry, Ocean
It’s our annual read of the annual science fiction and fantasy shortlist, the Hugo Awards nominees! Our panelists catch up on the three books that weren’t covered in our Nebula Awards episode, and then Jason and Erika spend a little time on the short fiction nominees. And the raging debate on whether a planet is space or not continues! Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Aleen Simms, Scott McNulty and Dan Moren....

524: ASMR From Hell
Alex Garland has followed up his film “Ex Machina” with another philosophical drama about technology, the miniseries “Devs.” It’s unique, beautiful, thought provoking, and doesn’t remotely stick the landing. We spend a lengthy pre-Spoiler Horn slot discussing why you might want to watch it (and why you might not), and then we break down the strengths and weaknesses of the show overall and the final episode in particular. Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Brian Hamilton, James Thomson and Glenn Fleishman....

523: Chekhov's Land Mine
It’s time to take a trip back to Vietnam and discuss Spike Lee’s new film, “Da 5 Bloods”! We discuss Netflix’s decision to release the movie right now, the plot’s many twists and turns, and all of the ways Spike Lee incorporates references to other genres and directors. Plus, heaps and heaps of praise for the cast. Cicero Holmes with Philip Michaels, Brian Hamilton, Moisés Chiullan and Shareef Jackson....


522: Burning Man for Aliens
They should have sent a poet, but instead we sent ourselves to celebrate the 23rd (it’s a prime number, as any alien would know) anniversary of the Robert Zemeckis film “Contact”, starring Jodie Foster in an adaptation of the novel by Carl Sagan. How do we reconcile the film’s debate about science and religion? Is this really two movies in one? How showy are the film’s set pieces and special effects? We’re ok to go—otherwise this podcast would be an awful waste of space. Jason Snell with John Siracusa, ...

521: Knights of Exposition
Our walkthrough of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” continues with season 5, in which Buffy inherits a sister with retcon powers, the gang loses someone close to them, and everyone realizes it’s time to grow up. Also, the Big Bad thinks she’s prettier than Buffy, but when you spend all that time around a bunch of gnomish lackeys, your aesthetic sense is bound to get a bit skewed. Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Jean MacDonald, Quinn Rose, Steve Lutz and Mattie Cox....

520: Words Aren't Cool
It’s not 🧠🧑🏻‍🔬⚛️, it’s 🚀🧑🏻‍⚕️🔪. Emojipedia’s own Jeremy Burge joins our crew to watch the heck out of 2017’s “The Emoji Movie,” a very 😑 movie in which Patrick Stewart plays 💩 and we’re told that 🍆 belongs in the Loser Lounge. Jason Snell with Jeremy Burge, Glenn Fleishman, Kathy Campbell, Steve Lutz and Monty Ashley....


519: Relics and Garbage
Put on your Sunday clothes and get ready to patrol the trash heap that is Earth, because it’s time to discuss Pixar’s “Wall-E.” We cover the nearly dialogueless first act, whether the broader comedy on the B&L ship Axiom works, Fred Willard (RIP), and the greatness of Ben Burtt. Watch out for rogue robots! Jason Snell with Jean MacDonald, Kelly Guimont, Moisés Chiullan and Steve Lutz....

518: Mother of Androids
We break down the third season of HBO’s “Westworld”, a show that we may appreciate more for the big swings that it takes rather than the number of times it actually connects. This just-finished season was messy, with one clear through-line and a bunch of other characters who are not served particularly well. We break down the character arcs for Dolores, Bernard, Dolores, Maeve, Dolores, Serac, and Dolores. There’s also praise for Marshawn Lynch (and his shirt), for the show’s continued excellent use of musi...

517: Intensely Interesting
Old Movie Club takes on two distinctly different Raymond Chandler adaptations: 1946’s “The Big Sleep” (with Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe) and 1973’s “The Long Goodbye” (with Elliott Gould as Marlowe). Both of them have twisty plots that unravel, leaving dead bodies behind. Women throw themselves at Bogie! Elliott Gould needs to buy cat food! Film Boir will never be the same. Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Shelly Brisbin, Monty Ashley and Dr. Drang....


516: Like a Fruit Salad
We’ve completed our read of this year’s six Nebula Award nominees for best science fiction/fantasy novel of the year, and have returned with our opinions! And this year was a pretty good one, with very few of our readers experiencing the pain of bad books. From space opera to portal fantasy to Mexican mythology, there are almost certainly books on this list that will strike your fancy. Also, we debate the perennial question: Are planets in space? Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Aleen Simms, Scott McNulty...

515: Guitar Riff for Grandma
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale A tale of a fateful show We drafted yet more TV themes And the theme song list did grow The guest list was a lengthy one The pickers came prepared If not for the courage of our editor The listeners would be scared So join us on your podcast app You’ll listen till you’re full It’s favorite TV theme songs Here on The Incomparable Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Lizbeth Myles, Steven Schapansky, James Thomson, Moisés Chiullan, Dan Moren, Monty A...

514: You Can't Pants a Heist
Dan Moren joins Jason to discuss what went into writing his new novel, “The Aleph Extraction.” No spoilers for the story, but we do discuss how he builds characters, the optimal length of a novel, how writing a novel under contract is different from having years to write one without a publisher, and why Jason has access to the Galactic Cold War wiki....


513: Hats Off
This podcast is like a donut hiding inside the hole of another donut. That’s because we’re talking “Knives Out,” Rian Johnson’s twisty and clever murder mystery set in the family of a very rich and very awful family. We discuss the movie’s storytelling choices, debate whether it plays fair with all its flashbacks, ponder which of the family members is the least awful, and laugh about all the jokes. (And yes, if you listen to this episode before watching the movie, you’re a monster.)...

512: Eponymous
Put on your best shaggy flannel, because it’s time to go back to the ’90s for another album draft! In this episode Jason is joined by a decade’s worth of panelists to choose our favorite music albums from the 1990s. And yet, somehow, some of our panelists were born in that very decade! Isn’t it ironic?...

511: Whales Are Powerful Magicians
The final season of SyFy’s “The Magicians” is in the books, and we’re here to wrap it up, as well as share some overall thoughts on the series as the whole. But before we do that, we spend 17 minutes convincing you that it’s a show that’s absolutely worth watching....


510: Failure Is Not an Option
Put on a white vest, climb in your Corvette, and whatever you do, don’t stir the cryo tanks! It’s the 50th anniversary of Apollo 13 and the 25th anniversary of “Apollo 13,” so we’re here to discuss Ron Howard’s film, starring Tom Hanks, Ed Harris and an enormous collection of character actors. The real-life story of Apollo 13 is so unlikely that if they made it into a movie, you’d never believe it—but in 1995 they did, and you will....

509: The Battle of Control-V
Engage! Season one of “Star Trek: Picard” is in the books, and so now it’s time to break it all down. Is Data’s death the overriding theme of the season? Does Picard’s final destination live up to the set-up? How did Hugh and Seven fare? Were the other visits from past cast members cheesy or good? How cool are Romulan warrior nuns? Who’s your favorite synth? And can storytelling ever be described as “lumpy?”...

508: But Who Would That Woman Be?
By the end of this episode we will sell several copies of “The Three E.P.s” by The Beta Band. It’s time to put on that horrible Cosby sweater and rearrange your record collection autobiographically. On the 20th anniversary of its release, we’re here to discuss one of our All-Time Top 5 movies featuring Lisa Bonet coming alive like Frampton, “High Fidelity.” Based on Nick Hornby’s novel, this film stars John Cusack as a bad boyfriend with a glimmer of hope at finding a clue, features a career-making performa...


507b: Pandemic Bonus: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" commentary track
In the interest of keeping you entertained if you’re locked indoors, here’s a full-length commentary track for one of our favorite movies, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” recorded in 2017. Play this commentary, press play on the movie when we tell you to, and it’ll be like you’re watching the movie with a bunch of friends! Note: You have to play it at 1x speed and with all silence-shortening features turned off on your podcast player or it won’t stay synced. (If you’re in the UK or elsewhere that has a sped-u...

507: No More Death Stars
The Skywalker Saga is over—so what’s next for “Star Wars”? This week we’re suggesting potential directions for the franchise to go, on both the big and small screens. What kinds of movies should come next? Is Disney+ a development platform or the next big thing? Our team of franchise fans has no fiduciary responsibility and plenty of ideas!...

506b: Pandemic Bonus: "Star Wars" commentary track
In the interest of keeping you entertained if you’re locked indoors, here’s a full-length commentary track for one of our favorite movies, the original “Star Wars,” recorded in 2018. Play this commentary, press play on the movie when we tell you to, and it’ll be like you’re watching the movie with a bunch of friends! Note: You have to play it at 1x speed and with all silence-shortening features turned off on your podcast player or it won’t stay synced. This version has been edited to match the runtime of...


506b: Pandemic Bonus: "Star Wars" commentary track
"Star Wars" commentary track - In the interest of keeping you entertained if you’re locked indoors, here’s a full-length commentary track for one of our favorite movies, the original “Star Wars,” recorded in 2018. Play this commentary, press play on the movie when we tell you to, and it’ll be like you’re watching the movie with a bunch of friends! Note: You have to play it at 1x speed and with all silence-shortening features turned off on your podcast player or it won’t stay synced. This version has been...

506: Hold My Infinite Beers
This week we review the just-completed season of “Doctor Who.” It’s the second year for showrunner Chris Chibnall and star Jodie Whittaker, and this one felt like a real return to form after a tentative set of episodes in 2018. What do we make of the show’s canon-altering revelations? Which episodes were good and which ones were stinkers? How do you make the Cybermen interesting? How’s the fam holding up? Curl up in a haunted house—or just go sit on a lounge chair for three hours—and listen to this episode,...

506: Hold My Infinite Beers
"Doctor Who" series 12 wrap-up - This week we review the just-completed season of “Doctor Who.” It’s the second year for showrunner Chris Chibnall and star Jodie Whittaker, and this one felt like a real return to form after a tentative set of episodes in 2018. What do we make of the show’s canon-altering revelations? Which episodes were good and which ones were stinkers? How do you make the Cybermen interesting? How’s the fam holding up? Curl up in a haunted house—or just go sit on a lounge chair for three ...


505: It's Always Overcast In Berlin
“Counterpart” is one of the best TV series in recent years, and in the U.S. it’s finally available in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video. In this episode, we generally discuss why this show is great and you should watch it, and then after the Spoiler Horn we dive in to discuss the show’s second and final season, how the world(s) come to be, and the meaning of the show’s final scenes....

505: It's Always Overcast In Berlin
"Counterpart" season 2 - “Counterpart” is one of the best TV series in recent years, and in the U.S. it’s finally available in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video. In this episode, we generally discuss why this show is great and you should watch it, and then after the Spoiler Horn we dive in to discuss the show’s second and final season, how the world(s) come to be, and the meaning of the show’s final scenes. Host Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Dan Moren and Moisés Chiullan....

504: Bullied by Local Toughs and Snails
We love NBC’s “The Good Place” so much, we couldn’t restrain ourselves to a single episode about its final season. Straight from The Medium Place, another group of Incomparable panelists wrap up The Good Place’s four-season run by walking through each season and reminiscing about the characters’ arcs. Plus, how well was the final season paced? Did we need more time to say goodbye to Team Cockroach?...


503: God Is a Job Nobody Wants
NBC’s “The Good Place” recently completed its fourth and final season. We send off this instant television classic with a discussion of its view of the afterlife, philosophy, and dumb jokes. Did the final season’s shift in perspective work? Did the final episode provide the closure we wanted? Shut up, Glenn!...

503: God Is a Job Nobody Wants
"The Good Place" season and series wrap-up - NBC’s “The Good Place” recently completed its fourth and final season. We send off this instant television classic with a discussion of its view of the afterlife, philosophy, and dumb jokes. Did the final season’s shift in perspective work? Did the final episode provide the closure we wanted? Shut up, Glenn! Host Jason Snell with Monty Ashley, Glenn Fleishman, Sarah Gardner and Kathy Campbell....

502: He'll Always Be Goldballs To Me
Make more mutants! Comic Book Club re-forms to discuss “House of X”/”Powers of X”, a paired set of comics miniseries that are an exciting new take on the X-Men. If you’re an old-school mutant fan who has been out of the business for years (like Jason), these 12 issues are a great read. They’re all available in a single collection, and the issues are also now rolling out weekly on Marvel Unlimited, so there are plenty of ways to partake. We discuss the politics of mutant separatism, the wisdom of backing up ...


501: The Kickstarter of Space Exploration
Climb aboard your spaceship and prepare your skin to be sparkly, because we’re discussing “To Be Taught, If Fortunate,” a novella from Becky Chambers, a writer we enjoy quite a lot. This is a story about science, adventure, sacrifice, and the difficulty of being away from home for a very, very long time. An interesting crew of characters explores strange, new worlds—while trying to fit in biologically. Sometimes it goes really well, and other times it doesn’t. Also: What are we reading?...

501: The Kickstarter of Space Exploration
"To Be Taught, If Fortunate" - Climb aboard your spaceship and prepare your skin to be sparkly, because we’re discussing “To Be Taught, If Fortunate,” a novella from Becky Chambers, a writer we enjoy quite a lot. This is a story about science, adventure, sacrifice, and the difficulty of being away from home for a very, very long time. An interesting crew of characters explores strange, new worlds—while trying to fit in biologically. Sometimes it goes really well, and other times it doesn’t. Also: What are w...

500: Amalgamated Zeppelin Monocle Company
On the occasion of our 500th episode, our most prolific panelists of all time draft their favorite episodes of The Incomparable and suggest new drafts for future episodes of the podcast....


499: I Love Space Fedoras
Step into the alien architecture and watch out for death slugs, as we discuss season four of Amazon Prime Video’s “The Expanse.” We’re happy to have our characters saved from the clutches of the SyFy channel, but how has the transition to streaming been? Why are alien planets so much like quarries? Why is Avasarala so competent and unelectable? What shenanigans is Bobbie Draper getting into on Mars? Listen, or be spaced....

498: That Puppet Has an Agent
Grab a tracking fob and saddle up a bluurg, because it’s time to discuss “The Mandalorian,” the first live-action Star Wars TV series. Why is the show’s main character always wearing a mask? How much merchandise money did Disney forego in order to keep Baby Yoda a secret? Is the Mandalorian capable of providing an environment in which Baby Yoda can thrive? Why is serving tea so civilized? We’ve got to get us one of those jet packs....

497: A Concerning Amount of Tootsie Rolls
Hi Bob! We continue our early 2020 survey of late 2019 TV favorites with “For All Mankind”, an Apple TV+ series from Ron Moore about a NASA space program that has taken some dramatic turns since Soviet Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first person to set foot on the moon. We discuss the show’s balancing modern themes with its alt-historical context, how purely fictional and fictionalized historical characters fare, the merits of a weekly episode drop, lunar FaceTime and fax machines, and where it all migh...


496: Get Into the Elephant Stuff
There was a lot of great TV released in 2019, but if you ask us, there was none better than HBO’s “Watchmen”, which took a classic comic and tried to match it as a modern TV series. We discuss how the series dealt with race, superheroes, empire, masks, eggs, and legacy. Also: Will there be a second season? Should there be? Nothing ever ends, Adrian, especially if the spin-offs remain profitable. The initial file upload was broken in a spectacular way. Delete and re-download if you experience weird audio af...

495: Congratulations, You're All Pregnant - The Best of 2019
Happy New Year! Another year has gone by, but we don’t want to miss the opportunity to take one last look back at 2019, as our most frequent panelists of the year share some of their favorite works and discuss their favorite Incomparable moments while we play some classic 2019 audio clips....

494: No Sith For You
Our trilogy of panels about “The Rise of Skywalker” concludes with a discussion of the film’s themes, how Kylo Ren keeps sliding into Rey’s DMs, whether you can ever have enough “Star Wars”, and how “Star Wars” is a little bit like “Seinfeld.”...


493: Maybe They've Got Evil Droids
Our panel of rebel podcasters, striking again from their hidden base, present another perspective on “The Rise of Skywalker.” Why does James want to see evil droids? Does Liz find Ben Solo or Kylo Ren more intriguing? Can Chip be satisfied with the ending to this generation-defining saga? Why are we in the midst of a global Porg shortage? Guest host Antony Johnston will seek the answers....

492: The Sith You've Dated
The Dead Speak, and so do we! It’s our first panel reviewing “The Rise of Skywalker.” Can this film bear the gravitational pull of the eight previous Skywalker Saga films? Does it provide a proper ending? We discuss Rey’s parentage, Finn’s increasing abilities, Poe’s lessons in leadership, whether Kylo Ren can possibly be redeemed, Zen and the Art of X-Wing Maintenance, how the film balances honoring Carrie Fisher with serving Leia’s character arc, and much more....

491: The Yellow Ones Don't Stop
Get out your flask of maple syrup, warm up your Lite Brites and Etch-A-Sketches, and check the Clausometer, because it’s time to tell the story of Buddy the Elf. It’s 2003’s “Elf”, the modern Christmas classic starring Will Ferrell. What are the theological implications of the seven levels of the candy cane forest? Why so many “Lord of the Rings” references? How can James Caan and everyone else at the publishing company be so bad at their jobs? Wait a second… this isn’t maple syrup!...


490: Treat It Like the Bible
Though Disney’s purchase of Fox clears all final hurdles in terms of rights to the original “Star Wars”, there’s still no way for anyone to watch the historic theatrical cuts of any of the original films. Instead, the new Disney+ streaming service now offers a 4K Special Edition with even more changes to the beloved classic. Is this the definitive version of “Star Wars” for the rest of eternity? Does Disney’s assumption of the franchise provide a new hope? Can Disney honor history and give fans what they wa...

489: He Likes Your Lemonade
Old Movie Club finally takes on the big one, David Lean’s 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia.” Sand! Endurance! Men! Camels! Violence! Anticolonialism mixed with racism! Omar Sharif redefines thirst in the desert! The real romance in the movie without romance! This is a movie that builds myths with one hand and undermines them with the other. This episode has no overture, but there will be a brief intermission....

489: He Likes Your Lemonade
Old Movie Club finally takes on the big one, David Lean’s 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia.” Sand! Endurance! Men! Camels! Violence! Anticolonialism mixed with racism! Omar Sharif redefines thirst in the desert! The real romance in the movie without romance! This is a movie that builds myths with one hand and undermines them with the other. This episode has no overture, but there will be a brief intermission....


488: What If Romeo and Juliet Were Terminators
Our Book Club reconvenes to discuss “This Is How You Lose the Time War”, a beautiful novella about the relationship between two time-traveling operatives in a multiverse-wide struggle. Also, Erika keeps stuffing us full of food metaphors. Plus: What are we reading? This episode will go down like ice cream on your brain tongue....

488: What If Romeo and Juliet Were Terminators
"This Is How You Lose the Time War" - Our Book Club reconvenes to discuss “This Is How You Lose the Time War”, a beautiful novella about the relationship between two time-traveling operatives in a multiverse-wide struggle. Also, Erika keeps stuffing us full of food metaphors. Plus: What are we reading? This episode will go down like ice cream on your brain tongue. Host Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Scott McNulty, Aleen Simms and David J. Loehr....

487: Save It for the Sequel
We live in a world of film sequels and franchises. And yet, some films we love, that were certainly worthy, never received a sequel. This episode attempts to correct that, but in order to create we must also destroy—and name the film sequels we would like to eradicate from memory. All of these momentous decisions are made via the most perfect decision-making process yet devised: a draft. This episode is so good, you’ll be begging for a sequel....


486: Crazy With the Lizard Juice
In this final appendix to our Summer of Spider-Man, we watch a movie that’s probably much better than you’ve heard—2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Yes, it wasn’t necessary to re-tell Spidey’s origin ten years after the Tobey Maguire version, but you know what? This movie does it better, Andrew Garfield is pretty great as a mopey skateboarding Peter Parker, and Emma Stone is a fun and smart Gwen Stacy. We also discuss “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which is a movie that reminds us of Batman movies—the really a...

485: Iterative Movies Are My Jam
Watch movie. Do podcast. Repeat. We’re pretty sure this is our first time discussing “Edge of Tomorrow,” but can you ever really be sure? Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in this film about fighting an alien invasion through countless iterations of a single event. But unlike “Groundhog Day”, the origin of the time loops is key to the plot. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re missing out on one of the decade’s most under-appreciated sci-fi films. Watch movie. Do podcast. Repeat....

485: Iterative Movies Are My Jam
"Edge of Tomorrow" - Watch movie. Do podcast. Repeat. We’re pretty sure this is our first time discussing “Edge of Tomorrow,” but can you ever really be sure? Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in this film about fighting an alien invasion through countless iterations of a single event. But unlike “Groundhog Day”, the origin of the time loops is key to the plot. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re missing out on one of the decade’s most under-appreciated sci-fi films. Watch movie. Do podcast. Repeat. H...


484: Werewolfism
It’s almost Halloween and we’re watching a horror movie! As recommended by Steve Lutz 475 episodes ago, it’s a Canadian tale of girls becoming women, and women becoming wolves: “Ginger Snaps.” We discuss parallels to “Buffy”, connections to “Orphan Black”, and ultimately whether this film can live up to its feminist aspirations or if it’s yet another case where a girl is punished for becoming a woman—er, werewolf....

484: Werewolfism
"Ginger Snaps" - It’s almost Halloween and we’re watching a horror movie! As recommended by Steve Lutz 475 episodes ago, it’s a Canadian tale of girls becoming women, and women becoming wolves: “Ginger Snaps.” We discuss parallels to “Buffy”, connections to “Orphan Black”, and ultimately whether this film can live up to its feminist aspirations or if it’s yet another case where a girl is punished for becoming a woman—er, werewolf. Host Jason Snell with Annette Wierstra, Steve Lutz, Kathy Campbell and...

483: Light Mode Batman
Holy Nostalgia! Our tour of live-action Batman features comes to an end with 1966’s “Batman”, in which a rogues gallery of villains from the Batman TV series—Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman—take on Batman and Robin. We praise the… acting stile of Adam West and why…. he… was perfect for this part. We ponder how influential the 1960s Batman was on public perception of superheroes and comic books for decades thereafter. And we finally answer the question you’ve all been asking: What weighs five ounces an...


482: A Problematic Hen
Your voice is your passport, so prepare to be verified. We discuss 1992’s “Sneakers,” a spy/heist thriller in which a team of smart people solve puzzles while trying to navigate the NSA, Russian spies, and an angry genius who works for the mob and is trying to overthrow the world order. Yes, star Robert Redford rolled a very high Charisma score, but the rest of the cast is also amazing....

481: An All-Puppet Production
Grab a shard, climb up your orrery, and get ready for the conjunction—it’s time to watch 1982’s “The Dark Crystal”, directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. This is a fantasy film featuring a prophecy, a young hero, a plucky animal sidekick, and villains so scary that it scarred several of our panelists’ young minds. And did we mention everyone’s a Muppet? Netflix has a new “Dark Crystal” prequel series, but we won’t spoil that—this is all about the original 1982 film....

480: The Whole McCoy
Jason’s commitment to drafting things as a lifestyle continues in this episode, in which he’s joined by six panelists to draft X-Men from across movies, TV, and comics. The goal is to form a four-person X-Team, complete with names. Along the way we learn a lot about childhood loves, softball, vampires, the basics of German, and how the coolest and worst X-Men can co-exist....


479: Specifically Boo Berry
Pour a sugary bowl of cereal and sit down in front of the TV for a long morning of entertainment. It’s time for our Saturday Morning draft, in which nine people of various ages draft favorite their favorite kid programming from their childhood. Plus cereal. Did we mention cereal?...

479: Specifically Boo Berry
Saturday Morning Draft - Pour a sugary bowl of cereal and sit down in front of the TV for a long morning of entertainment. It’s time for our Saturday Morning draft, in which nine people of various ages draft favorite their favorite kid programming from their childhood. Plus cereal. Did we mention cereal? Host Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, David J. Loehr, Chip Sudderth, Allison Truj, Monty Ashley, Kelly Guimont, Kathy Campbell and Brian Hamilton....

478: Death Snuggle Fort
Our survey of the films of Hayao Miyazaki turns to his most recent film, 2013’s “The Wind Rises.” In many ways, it’s his most adult film, the story of an aeronautical engineer who must pursue his dreams amid earthquakes, rising geopolitical tensions, and personal challenges. Is movie tuberculosis like real tuberculosis? Is Miyazaki’s approach to pre-war Japan (and its allies, Germany and Italy) delicate or problematic? Does the film sufficiently address whether creators are complicit in how their work is us...


477: Klimt Versus Monet
Our season-by-season survey of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” goes to college, as we explore season four. UC Sunnydale is full of welcoming professors, friendly TAs, annoying roommates, and a collection of government commandos who are experimenting on the local demons and vampires. Spike returns as comic relief. We’re all about Willow and Tara. And then there’s that episode where nobody talks and that other one where they’re all dreaming. We break it all down like it’s 1999....

476: Lucky Crime Shirt
The Summer of Spider-Man concludes with 2007’s “Spider-Man 3”, a controversial sequel that’s packed full with villains (Sandman, Venom, and Extreme Sports Goblin) battling the increasingly unpleasant emo version of Peter Parker. Sandman’s daughter is very ill. Eddie Brock is an awfully unpleasant person. And at long last, the greatest character in the franchise—Bernard the Butler—gets his due. We watched it so you don’t have to!...

475: Count the Coats
Our Summer of Spider-Man swings on with 2004’s “Spider-Man 2.” Flush with the success of the first film, this is a much more confident outing that’s also more clearly set in modern times, isn’t afraid to have a sense of humor, and makes great use of director Sam Raimi’s horror-movie resume. And at the center is perhaps the biggest reason for the film’s success: Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius, a Frankenstein who is his own monster, after having created a set of robotic limbs so intelligent that each pair...


474: World Unity Day
We live in a world awash with superhero films today, but back at the beginning of this century it was a dark age. 2002’s “Spider-Man” finally brought one of the world’s most popular superheroes to the big screen, setting the stage for the genre’s elevation later in the decade. The Summer of Spider-Man is here, as we revisit Sam Raimi’s three Spidey films and judge how well they hold up to modern eyes. Up, up and away, web!...

473: Belarusian Chupacabra
Comrades, we come to discuss HBO’s excellent miniseries “Chernobyl.” It’s simultaneously a horror movie about radiation poisoning, a indictment of a system that suppressed the truth in order to avoid showing signs of weakness, a tragedy about a humanitarian disaster, and an exciting tale of scientists attempting to work the problem and avert a continent-wide catastrophe. The subject matter may be hard, but the result is some of the most compelling television we’ve seen in some time....

472: 33 Percent Rule
Our Book Club returns with reviews of the six finalists for the Hugo Award for best science fiction/fantasy novel of the year. You’ll be thrilled by our panelists attempting to remember what happened in books they read months ago! We liked five out of the six, which is a great batting average—but oh, that sixth book. Also, we read some novellas and short stories, too! And Erika’s up for another Hugo!...


471: High School Is a Strange Time
A long time ago we used to be friends, but I haven’t thought of you lately at all—until you got that new series at Hulu, anyway. We’re discussing the UPN/CW classic series “Veronica Mars”, featuring Kristen Bell as a teenage noir detective trying to solve her best friend’s murder with the reluctant help of her disgraced private-investigator dad. If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a watch! We discuss season one of the show in detail (including revealing who the murderer is at the end), but don’t discuss muc...

470: Futterwacken Hats
Our Rocket Surgery crew returns to the current decade to discuss Tim Burton’s billion-dollar 3-D smash hit, “Alice In Wonderland.” What if everything you remember fondly from Lewis Carroll was turned into a catchphrase? Why so much eye stabbing? Who is the Jabberwocky and what has it done with the Jabberwock? What does Johnny Depp bring to his role of a mild hat enthusiast? When did Monty give up and start reading IMDB trivia? Nobody mention how big the Red Queen’s head is!...