- "Dark City." - Look, the ’90s was a dark time, okay? A year before “The Matrix” there was another film about identity and memory and the meaning of reality, cloaked in noir tropes and gunfire and mind-blowing revelations. It’s 1998’s “Dark City”, directed by Alex Proyas and starring Rufus Sewell, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, and a heavy-breathing Kiefer Sutherland. This is a film that was a favorite of both Roger Ebert and European video pirates. Why is Kiefer Sutherland the only being alive who can use a syringe? Why is memory like paint? And can you tell us the way to get to Shell Beach?
Host Jason Snell with Antony Johnston, Anže Tomić and Erika Ensign.
- "Princess Mononoke" - Grab your crystal dagger and leave your village forever! It’s time to discuss our latest Miyazaki movie, as selected by John Siracusa: 1997’s “Princess Mononoke.” We lend a certain ugly dignity to the proceedings by discussing this medieval fantasy tale featuring wolf gods, disgusting pig spirits, and the occasional cartoon beheading. Stand away from the leper holes!
Host Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Steve Lutz, Merlin Mann and Aleen Simms.
- "The Expanse" season 3 - Thanks to Amazon, this most recent season of “The Expanse” won’t be the last! The show has been saved, and it’s a good thing, because we really enjoyed season 3. In this episode, we discuss how the show’s producers made some clever diversions from their source material, space spies, hallucinatory cops with hallucinatory hats, David Strathairn’s amazing Belter accent, amoral fathers and the rage-monster daughters who love them, and the plethora of stolen spaceships that populate the solar system.
Host Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Katie Mack and Dan Moren.
- Summer of Marvel finale - It’s been fun, but just as Labor Day Weekend is the traditional end of summer, so too is this the end of the Summer of Marvel! In this episode our panelists pitch Marvel movies they’d like to see in the future, and we save some time at the end to reveal the results of our poll of Incomparable panelists to see where all the MCU movies rank.
Host Jason Snell with Lisa Schmeiser, Moisés Chiullan, Dan Moren and Nathan Alderman.
- Revisiting "Guardians of the Galaxy" - Hang on to your cyborg limbs! As the Summer of Marvel winds toward a close, our penultimate installment has us revisiting the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. How do they hit us upon rewatching? How vitally important was the tone of the original film in terms of making the Marvel Cinematic Universe less of a snooze? What do the movies have to say about the power of sisterhood? Does Peter Quill have any internal life at all? Why does Jason dislike Ego’s Planet so much? And how does “Avengers: Infinity War” rely on the character development of the second Guardians movie? All that, plus a tree and a raccoon outwit a human repeatedly.
Host Jason Snell with Quinn Rose, Lisa Schmeiser and David J. Loehr.
- "Thor: Ragnarok." - There are Thor movies, and then there’s “Thor: Ragnarok.” From the liberal use of the Hulk to the perfectly bizarre Jeff Goldblum to the delightful villainy of Cate Blanchett, this is a wacky cosmic romp that’s a universe apart from the two previous Thor installments. Loki just wants to eat grapes, Valkyrie wants to be left alone, and Doug’s not here anymore, man. Pour one out for ol’ meow meow and join us for the Lord of Thunder—or is that the God of Hammers?—and his finest hour.
Host Jason Snell with Dan Moren, Jean MacDonald, Kelly Guimont and Monty Ashley.
- "Doctor Strange" - The Marvel Universe has wizards now? Yes, and “Doctor Strange” is the movie where we meet them. But more than anything, this is a character study of Mister Doctor himself, who is laid low by distracted driving and then has to rebuild his life by moving to Nepal, stealing books from a magical library, and getting half-frozen on the side of Mount Everest before being thrust into mystical battles against his will. Spectacular visuals! Mads Mikkelsen trapped in a wall! Tilda Swinton as a super weird ageless magical being (who was Asian in the comics)! Dormammu, we come to bargain.
Host Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Tony Sindelar and Nathan Alderman.
- "Ant-Man" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp" - Our Summer of Marvel rolls on with a movie we haven’t covered—2015’s delightful comedy heist film “Ant-Man”—as well as its brand-new sequel, 2018’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” We discuss de-aging Michael Douglas, the unlikely brilliance of casting Paul Rudd, the relentless competence of Hope Pym in the face of Scott Lang’s incompetence and the unpleasantness of her father, and everything we love about Luis.
Host Jason Snell with Kelly Guimont, Cicero Holmes, David J. Loehr and Chip Sudderth.
- The Avengers, revisited - Order some schwarma, because we’ve assembled a powerful panel to discuss Earth’s mightiest heroes. Our Summer of Marvel continues with a re-examination of three films we originally reviewed when they were released: “The Avengers”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, and “Captain America: Civil War”, which is really an Avengers movie when you think about it. How do they hold up? What works and, in hindsight, what doesn’t? Which characters benefit from Joss Whedon’s screenwriting tics, and which do not?
Host Jason Snell with Moisés Chiullan, Lisa Schmeiser, Dan Moren, Dr. Drang and Nathan Alderman.
- "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Captain America: Winter Soldier" - Thaw yourself out of the ice and wave a flag, because we’re revisiting “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as we continue our walk through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We discuss the charismatic power of Chris Evans, the smoothness of the Red Skull’s face, the unrecognizability of the Winter Soldier, our lack of trust in Robert Redford, and how Black Widow splits time between setting Steve Rogers up on dates and changing all the sizing tags on his clothing. Buy some war bonds and join us as we discuss that star-spangled man with a plan!
Host Jason Snell with Tony Sindelar, Joe Rosensteel and Aleen Simms.
- "Thor" and "Thor: The Dark World" - Take off your pants and prepare a long scene-setting speech about space mythology, because it’s time to discuss “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” as we continue our Summer of Marvel. We praise the excellent casting of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, as well as smaller players Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings, while wondering about what went wrong with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. (Hint: It’s mostly the writing.) Perhaps most importantly, Jason finally sees what other people see in “The Dark World” that he doesn’t… even if he remains unconvinced.
Host Jason Snell with John Moltz, Joe Rosensteel, Dan Moren and Dr. Drang.
- "Hulk" and "Incredible Hulk" - The Summer of Marvel continues our walk through the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s “Incredible Hulk,” starring Edward Norton. Released weeks after “Iron Man”, it’s often ignored, and yet it’s a fascinating look at the decisions Marvel did (and didn’t) make as it built its film franchises. Also just for kicks, we compare and contrast with Ang Lee’s 2003 “Hulk” starring Eric Bana, because gamma dogs.
Host Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Guy English and Tony Sindelar.
- "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2" - The Incomparable’s Summer of Marvel begins with a look back at 2008’s “Iron Man” and 2010’s “Iron Man 2.” How unlikely was it that a B-list Marvel Comics superhero nobody had ever heard of would end up kicking off one of the most successful film franchises of all time? How did perfect casting and a light touch with the subject matter pay off in this unlikely success? And how does the sequel balance being a second “Iron Man” film and the launch of a much larger franchise?
Host Jason Snell with Brian Hamilton, Chip Sudderth, Jean MacDonald and Dan Moren.
- Hugo Award nominees 2018 - The Incomparable’s Book Club reaches the finish line of our annual SF/Fantasy award read, as we discuss the six nominees for the Hugo Award for best novel. From new series to concluded trilogies to standalone epics, this year’s list had a lot of variety. And for good measure, we throw in a few of the short-fiction nominees that we really liked.
Host Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign and Aleen Simms.
- 1980s album draft - Put on your leg warmers, insert your shoulder pads, and warm up your synthesizers. It’s time for us to take a time machine back to the 1980s, where our panelists will participate in a draft of their favorite musical albums from that decade. This is one episode that is guaranteed to be totally awesome.
Host Jason Snell with Kelly Guimont, Antony Johnston, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley and James Thomson.
- "The Simpsons" quote draft - Inflammable means flammable? What a country! It’s a perfectly cromulent thing to do, to pick quotes from “The Simpsons” in draft form. So we have assembled a learned panel of people who haven’t seen the show in years, bribed them with plenty of Malk (with Vitamin R!), and set them to choose their favorite lines from the most quotable TV show of all time. We hope you find this episode excellent. If you don’t, don’t blame us—we voted for Kodos.
Host Jason Snell with Glenn Fleishman, Philip Michaels, John Siracusa and Monty Ashley.
- "Casablanca" - Endlessly quoted, residing on every list of the best films of all time, you might think that “Casablanca”—released 75 years ago—is overrated and played out. Nope! It’s a fun film with romance, snappy ironic dialogue, and a stunning cast. And it’s also a fascinating historical document, given that it was written before Pearl Harbor and produced in the early days of America’s involvement in World War II, when the end of the war was anything but a foregone conclusion. We discuss the magical letters of transit, Captain Renault’s jocular amorality, Victor Laszlo the speechifying drip, Ilsa’s piercing stare, Major Strasser’s favorite cereal, Sam’s implausible piano handwork, the Ken Cinema in San Diego, and how the war was like a rap battle.
Host Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Monty Ashley, Moisés Chiullan, Dan Moren and Dr. Drang.
- "Solo: A Star Wars Story" - Fresh from the movie theaters, here’s our flash review of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” In a world where there’s a new “Star Wars” movie every year, sometimes it’s a relief not to have the fate of the galaxy at stake. What are the rules of Sabacc? Are references the lowest form of fan service? Will casual fans be more enthusiastic than hard-core ones? Why watch droids fighting for entertainment when you have holograms? From train heists to floating space yachts to surprise cameos, we break it all down.
Host Jason Snell with Dan Moren, John Siracusa, Erika Ensign, Kelly Guimont, Tony Sindelar and Philip Michaels.
- Nebula Novels 2018 - Our Book Club has reconvened to take you on a tour of the seven novels nominated for this year’s Nebula Awards, honoring the best in Science Fiction and Fantasy. After you listen your summer book list will be replenished! We liked almost all of these books, so there’s a lot to choose from—and only one of the six is a later book in a series, so you won’t have to do homework to get reading. Read them all and Jason will give you a gold star and a pizza party, but he’s eating all the pizza.
Host Jason Snell with Aleen Simms and Scott McNulty.
- "The Magicians" season 3 - Climb aboard your sentient sailing ship, put on a high-fashion eye patch, and prepare for the big musical number—it’s time to talk about Season 3 of “The Magicians.” This is a series that just keeps getting better, and for our money, this was one of the best and most unexpected seasons of television we’ve seen in a long time. Along the way we mention Buffy, Star Trek: TNG’s “Darmok” and “The Inner Light”, and how the journey can be appreciated even when the story doesn’t quite stick the landing.
Host Jason Snell with Mikah Sargent, James Thomson and Glenn Fleishman.