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Science vs Fiction
67 minutes | May 28, 2021
Ep. 28 - Monsterverse Volume 1
Scott and Steven tackle the first half of the Monsterverse series as they discuss Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island (2017). Topics include "the scale problem" inherent in giant monsters, the intricacies of synchronized skydiving, the fickle nature of kaiju worship, and of course Kong's oddly firm butt. We also discuss movie issues like tonal consistency, the importance of hiring colorful actors, and the logic of killing your best character at the end of Act I. Coming soon: Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong!
49 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
Ep. 27 - Brazil vs Southland Tales
In this latest installment, things get... a little weird. We present to you: Brazil (1985) vs Southland Tales (2006), two strangely similar yet VERY different sci-fi dystopian comedies (one intentional, one we're not sure) about Kafkaesque government bureaucracy, terrorism, and plastic surgery. Both boast talented all-star casts (if not necessarily in the right roles), great scores (if not necessarily in the right places), and some fascinating dream sequences (if indeed Justin Timberlake singing The Killers is a dream sequence... we're still not 100% sure). Join us for lots of fiction and very little science on this special episode of SvF!
73 minutes | Feb 27, 2021
Ep. 26 - Apollo 13 vs Apollo 18
This pairing has been on our agenda since we first started the podcast, and today is finally the day. Apollo 13 (1995) and Apollo 18 (2011) are both about astronauts landing on the moon, but that's where the similarities end. One is a meticulously accurate retelling of actual historic events. The other is made-up nonsense without a shred of believability. One is a great movie with compelling, fleshed-out characters delivering top notch dialog by Oscar-winning screenwriters. The other is... not that. At all. You'll never guess which is which until you listen to this exciting new episode of Science vs Fiction!
57 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
Ep. 25 - Judge Dredd vs Dredd (Live! at Other Worlds Film Festival)
One year ago this month, we went to Austin to cover Time After Time on our first ever live show at Other Worlds Film Festival. This year we are back for the 2020 OWFF virtual festival! This time around, we tackle the Sylvester Stallone 90s comic-book adaptation Judge Dredd and its 2012 remake Dredd. We talk about sci-fi bullets and the wounds they cause, the nature of the fictional designer drug "slo-mo", and where the heck a city the size of the entire eastern seaboard grows its food. Join us for this very special raw, unfiltered episode of SvF!
63 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Ep. 24 - The Rocky Horror Picture Show vs Young Frankenstein
In this (belated) Halloween episode, we discuss the lighter side of reanimating the dead. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) is the very definition of a "cult classic", having spawned decades of sing-alongs by generations of adoring be-costumed fans. Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (1974) is no less beloved, and with good reason, as one of the greatest and most quotable spoofs of all time. How is a laser gun like a salad shooter? What is a transducer, and can it really turn you into stone? Can a step to the left, followed by a step to the right, really send you into a time warp? All these questions and more, answered on this silly and only incidentally informative episode of Science vs Fiction!
50 minutes | Oct 18, 2020
Patron Episode - The Expanse Commentary: Pilot
This week we tackle Amazon's blue-tinged, pretty-boy-filled series The Expanse. As with all of our commentary tracks, you can watch along with the episode yourself, or you can listen to it on its own.
46 minutes | Oct 11, 2020
Patron Episode - Firefly Commentary: Shindig
We cover Scott's favorite episode of the series and discuss, among many things, the purpose of floating chandeliers. As with all of our commentary tracks, you can watch along with the episode yourself, or you can listen to it on its own.
41 minutes | Oct 4, 2020
Patron Episode - Mandalorian Commentary: Pilot
We tackle the new series in the beloved Star Wars universe. Werner Herzog! Baby Yoda! Killer Robots! And More! As with all of our commentary tracks, you can watch along with the episode yourself, or you can listen to it on its own.
45 minutes | Sep 27, 2020
Patron Episode - Firefly Commentary: Bushwhacked
In the third installment of our Firefly commentary series, we spend a lot of time talking about the Reavers. As with all of our commentary tracks, you can watch along with the episode yourself, or you can listen to it on its own.
48 minutes | Sep 20, 2020
Patron Episode - Orville Commentary: Pilot
Steven and his wife Randi are big fans of The Orville, whereas Scott was completely new to the series and a bit reluctant, for reasons divulged within the actual episode. Did it win him over? Listen and find out. As with all of our commentary tracks, you can watch along with the episode yourself, or you can listen to it on its own.
46 minutes | Sep 13, 2020
Patron Episode - Firefly Commentary: The Train Job
Our next patron commentary episode covers the debut episode of Firefly -- even though it wasn't actually the Firefly pilot. It's a little confusing, yes. But Scott and Steven explain it all while revisiting one of the series' best "heisty type" episodes. As with all of our commentary tracks, you can watch along with the episode yourself, or you can listen to it on its own.
48 minutes | Sep 6, 2020
Patron Episode - Star Trek TNG Commentary: Conspiracy
Next in our series of commentary tracks, we tackle an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that scared the crap out of Steve when he first watched it as a kid. As with all of our commentary tracks, you can watch along with the episode yourself, or you can listen to it on its own.
90 minutes | Aug 30, 2020
Patron Episode - Firefly Commentary: Pilot
When we started this podcast, we wanted to provide episodes to Scott's patrons on Patreon (www.patreon.com/scotteweinberg), but we didn't want to accidentally cannibalize movies that we might want to later cover in a proper cage-match episode. So we decided to do some commentary tracks for TV shows. Since we are taking a brief hiatus for the next few months, we decided to release those patron episodes here on our main feed for your listening pleasure. These episodes are all real-time commentaries, meaning that you can watch along with the episode yourself. Or you can listen to them on their own. Whatever floats your metaphorical boat. First up, we discuss the pilot episode of Joss Whedon's short-lived but long-remembered sci-fi western series Firefly. Enjoy!
63 minutes | Jul 21, 2020
Ep. 23 - Mission to Mars vs The Martian
Strap in for a trip to Mars! Two of them, actually (well... four, if you want to get really technical), as Scott and Steven tackle Brian De Palma's theme-park-ride-based yawnfest Mission to Mars (2000) and the terrifically intense Ridley Scott space adventure The Martian (2016). Which movie gets the science right? And which one is as dull as it is silly? The answers may surprise you. But probably not.
99 minutes | Jun 8, 2020
Bonus Episode: Happy Death Day 2U Commentary Track
There's sci-fi, there's horror, and there's sci-fi/horror, but how many movies have the audacity to follow up a hit horror movie with a complete left turn into straight sci-fi the way Happy Death Day 2U (2019) does? Scott and Steven sit down to watch this endearingly oddball sequel and discuss it in real time. Slasher horror, screwball comedy, murder mystery, parallel universe science fiction, and even some surprisingly effective heartfelt melodrama... this movie has it all. Along the way, we discuss not only the original Happy Death Day (2017), but also a dozen more "time loop" movies too. So listen once, jump off a roof*, and listen again to this very special bonus episode of Science vs Fiction! (*just kidding please don't jump off a roof)
116 minutes | May 18, 2020
Bonus Episode: Ant-Man Commentary Track
Scott and Steven sit down for one of Marvel's most science fiction-y movies, aka the one in which a miniaturized ex-con teams up with a mad scientist, his double-agent daughter, and an army of helpful ants to keep their technology out of the hands of the military-minded bad guy. This week we're trying something different: a full-length commentary track. Not only does this allow us to do a deep dive into the science AND the fiction of a single movie, but it allows you, our faithful listeners, to watch and follow along as if we were in your living room ruining your experience of watching the film by talking through the ENTIRE THING. How good/bad is Evangeline Lily's wig? What exactly are the rules of shrinking/growing things in the Ant-Man universe (hint: whatever they need to be at that particular moment)? Is there such a thing as a physicist/entomologist? This and more on this extra long but always fascinating super special commentary episode of Science vs Fiction.
68 minutes | May 3, 2020
Ep. 22 - Back to the Future vs Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Scott and Steven take a long hard look at two of the most beloved time travel comedies of the 1980s (or ever). And while both films are still considered "most excellent" today for their genuine warmth and lovable characters, they also boast surprisingly intelligent screenplays, full of interesting science questions, including: Could a giant amplifier actually blow you out of your sneakers? Which is the more practical time machine: a bizarro sports car or a soon-to-be obsolete phone booth? Was Abraham Lincoln really a time traveler? And when did they stop selling pudding in metal cans? Party on, with this century-spanning episode of Science vs Fiction.
66 minutes | Apr 19, 2020
Ep. 21 - Minority Report vs Logan's Run
This week we tackle two movies about characters who go from being cogs in a corrupt system to burning that very system to the ground--in one case literally! In Minority Report (2002), Steven Spielberg's action-packed and brain-bending adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story, Tom Cruise races against time to prove his innocence for a crime he has yet to commit. In Logan's Run (1976), Michael York--a 35-year-old actor playing a 26-year-old character in a story that's supposedly about youth--goes on the... um... run to escape from a utopia where everyone's needs are provided for until they are too old to enjoy new pop music. Is technology a proper substitute for good old-fashioned police work? In the future, will teleportation be used exclusively for late-night booty calls? How many different types of sci-fi tech can you cram into a single movie without breaking it? And why on Earth would a robot have lips and a tongue? All this, plus everything you never wanted to know about eyeball transplants on this fast-paced episode of Science vs Fiction!
82 minutes | Apr 6, 2020
Ep. 20 - E.T the Extra-Terrestrial vs Fire in the Sky
In 1982, the world was introduced to one of the most beloved alien visitors of all time. His name was E.T., and apparently he was a not-too-bright child techno-savant exo-botanist whose alien biology was somehow perfectly compatible with Earth's atmosphere, candy, and liquor. This was seven years after a man named Travis Walton and his lumberjack buddies stumbled across something not nearly as cute and cuddly in the woods of Arizona, but eleven years before that allegedly true incident became the basis of the terrifying alien-abduction thriller Fire in the Sky. Why does NASA send astronauts to the So-Cal suburbs to collect an alien? Does a lie-detector test really detect lies? What does a fish think is happening when it is caught and released? And what's the deal with that one time that Steve thought he saw a UFO at an astronomical observatory? Find out on this extra-long and extra-sciency Science vs Fiction.
79 minutes | Mar 22, 2020
Ep. 19 - The Fifth Element vs Stargate
Travel back in time, make a quick stop in Egypt, and then soar deep into outer space with a pair of popular (and kinda wacky) sci-fi epics. First up is Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, which is as colorful as it is incomprehensible -- and then it's Stargate, in which a fascinating space-travel premise quickly ends up in... a big pile of sand dunes. How exactly do waves of radiation generate human tissue? How could one gun do so many things? How hard is it to decipher a 7-symbol code? And what's up with that resurrection coffin? All this and more on this goofy episode of Science vs Fiction.
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