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.

329

He’s More Man than Puppet

As a new “Star Wars” movie nears its release, we turn our attention to some of our least favorite features of this franchise we love. Our panelists draft our least favorite Special Edition changes, retcons, Original Trilogy and “Force Awakens” elements, and more. Plus we each pitch a new “Star Wars” movie that can right a wrong in the existing canon.

Jason Snell with Dan Moren, Joe Rosensteel, Monty Ashley, John Siracusa, David J. Loehr and David Sparks


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Previous Episodes

328

Panspermia, but for Clothes

We deconstruct and reconstruct the recent release “Arrival,” staring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, and based on a story by Ted Chiang that we discussed nearly 300 episodes ago. There’s praise for the story’s restraint, quiet tone, beautiful scenes of solitary obelisks in remote cow pastures, and realistic portrayal of its main characters. We also enter a spirited debate about the film’s sci-fi plot mechanism, the way its aliens (and alien language) are portrayed, and the morality of a choice that one character may—or may not—have made.

Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Glenn Fleishman, Aleen Simms and Joe Rosensteel


327

This Robot is Eisenhower

Submitted for your approval: A discussion of one of the finest and most influential television series of all time, “The Twilight Zone.” We dive into a few handpicked episodes and try to explain the reason why the show still resonates more than 50 years later. Is Anthony really just a misunderstood kid? Why do we hope that the Air Force re-uses its flying saucers? How much Shatnering is too much? And how many years should you let cherry brandy age? You’ll be shocked by the twist at the end of the story. (It turns out we were the monsters all along.)

Jason Snell with David J. Loehr, Steve Lutz, Frank Wu and Dan Wearsch


326

Likeable Jerkability

Old Movie Club

The epic film about the early days of the space race, 1983’s “The Right Stuff,” is on the launch pad this week. What does the film say about modern mythmaking? Can you have too much Chuck Yeager? Is this peak Dennis Quaid? Why do astronauts have to be test pilots instead of demolition-derby drivers? We’ll figure it out. Let’s light this candle!

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Andy Ihnatko, Dr. Drang, Stephen Hackett and Dan Moren


325

The Monster Mash

Live from the Now Hear This podcast festival in Anaheim, it’s our supervillain/monster draft. What makes a villain super? When is hating a monster actually just a misguided case of space racism? Who—other than Lex Friedman—is the greatest monster of all? It might be you! Listen to find out!

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, David J. Loehr, Steven Schapansky, Aleen Simms, Dan Moren, Brian Hamilton, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley and Joe Rosensteel


324

Pants-Wearing Dragons

Comic Book Club

We’ve spoken many times about the great deal the Marvel Unlimited all-you-can-read comic subscription service can be… but if you’ve got tens of thousands of comics available to you, where do you start? We convened our Comic Book Club to come up with 20 suggestions—ranging from single issues to long runs and major events—that will help you make the most of a month or a year of Marvel Comics.

Jason Snell with Mois├ęs Chiullan, Lisa Schmeiser, Chip Sudderth and Monty Ashley


323

Abe Vigoda Knows All the Toilets

Leave the gun and take the cannoli—it’s time for us to discuss 1972’s “The Godfather,” truly one of the most lauded films of all time. We discuss why Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone is truly the main character, ponder how that horse head really got in that bed, marvel at how long it takes for news of assassination attempts to reach family members, explain the Vito Corleone retirement plan… and then drop our hands to our side and let the podcast slide naturally out of our hands.

Jason Snell with John Gruber, John Siracusa, Joe Rosensteel and David J. Loehr


322

Tastes Like College

We’ve done episodes where we’ve sat around and drunk beer before, but we always had the thin veneer of some other topic to guide us. This time, however, the topic of the episode is beer, and we’ve conscripted listener (and Almanac Beer co-founder) Jesse Friedman to select five different beers for us to imbibe and discuss. Is Jason a monster for liking dark beer? What will our panel think of the sour and bitter choices? What’s the difference between a lager and an ale? What makes dark beer dark? Jesse has the knowledge, and we let him share it while we drink the beer he bought us.

Jason Snell with Jesse Friedman, Marco Arment, David J. Loehr, Lauren Snell, Dan Moren, Philip Mozolak, Brian Hamilton and Steve Lutz


321

Purgatoy Box

Our review of Pixar movies reaches 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, the first film in more than a decade for a bunch of classic characters. Are the toys traveling from purgatory to hell to heaven, Divine Comedy-style? Who’s working on that garbage truck? Does the climactic slide to death go too far? And yes, our panel of parents gets a bit weepy as Andy prepares to go off to college.

Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Tiffany Arment, Merlin Mann, David J. Loehr and Steve Lutz


320

The Power! The Power! The Power!

Rocket Surgery

Our rocket surgeons take on 1981’s “Frankenstein Island,” Jason’s go-to bad movie from his high school days. What do balloons have to do with Frankenstein? What’s that brain doing in that tupperware container? Why are there zombies dressed like longshoremen? What is John Carradine doing? How did Jocko lose the eye? There are so many questions, but so few answers.

Jason Snell with Tony Sindelar, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley, Brian Hamilton, Glenn Fleishman and David J. Loehr


319

Squirting Milky Fluid

Get out your space pen and take the cat out of its hibernation chamber, because it’s time to take on the 1979 classic “Alien.” We discuss how the film cleverly layers sci-fi and horror movie conventions, discuss its initially slow pace, and speculate about the crew’s taste in underpants and footwear. Corporate android betrayals! Questionable parenting! Phallic concept art! Chest bursting! We break it all down.

Jason Snell with Antony Johnston, Liz Myles, Erika Ensign, Monty Ashley and Steve Lutz


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