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.

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Rudolph’s Hideous Mutation

Join us as we revisit three childhood holiday TV classics, 1964’s “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” 1965’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and 1966’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” You’ll learn about Big Santa’s despotic reign over the Grotto of Malfunctioning Headlamps, groove to Schroeder’s piano jazz trio stylings, and may even discover a Hoober-Bloob or two.

Jason Snell with Glenn Fleishman, Steve Lutz, Shannon Sudderth, Aleen Simms and David J. Loehr

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Previous Episodes


The Long-Term Plan Is Kill All Humans

We tackled “Her” and “Ex Machina,” two films about artificial women and the men who love them. But while Scarlett Johansson’s Samantha wants to send a ‘Dear John’ update to all humanity, Alicia Vikander’s Ava has more in mind than pleasant dinner conversation. What do these films say about online relationships, society’s power dynamics, and tech-industry culture?

Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Brian Hamilton and David J. Loehr


Laid a Lot of Foundations

Book Club

We have seen tens of thousands of years into the future, and our best psychohistorians think the Galactic Empire will once again reign supreme… so long as there aren’t any surprise mutants or aliens. In this episode, we discuss Isaac Asimov’s classic “Foundation” trilogy. From the perspective of 2015, what still works, and what seems out of date? Plus: What else are we reading?

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign, Monty Ashley and David J. Loehr


Nostalgia Bomb

This week came the announcement we’ve been waiting for: A new “Star Trek” series is in the works. But with the announcement came a bunch of interesting details (it’s going to be exclusive to CBS’ streaming service, it’s going to be produced by one of the co-writers of the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” movies) and a lack of specifics (they’re still interviewing writers and didn’t announce even the most basic of premises). Our panel of Star Trek fans analyzes the interesting decisions CBS has made so far, tries to imagine how a “Star Trek” series from 2017 might differ from its predecessors, and discusses the importance of creating a series that can keep the franchise alive by appealing to a new generation of fans.

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Brianna Wu, Dan Moren and David J. Loehr


Love Blooms Naturally on a Vespa

Rocket Surgery

On Halloween, our Rocket Surgery series takes us to the swinging ’60s and the height of NASA space exploration at Kennedy Space Center! In this corner, a robot astronaut named Frank! In that corner, a horde of invading aliens and their terrifying monster! In between, a bunch of stock footage, a very ’60s soundtrack, a bunch more stock footage, scientists riding scooters, the least sexy beach bikini scene ever, some military stock footage, and a party where everyone is wiggling their butts until the guy on the diving board is lasered to death. And did we mention the stock footage?

Frankenstein Meets the Spacemonster

Jason Snell with Glenn Fleishman, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley and David J. Loehr


Crazy Ivan

It is a great day, comrades. We will sail our submarine to America, and watch one of their greatest thrillers, 1990’s “The Hunt for Red October.” Join us as we talk about how time has made the cold-war themes feel even more classic, ponder why the movie works despite plenty of signs suggesting that it shouldn’t, and… well, let’s just say we do a lot of Sean Connery impressions. This podcast contains one ping only, so don’t slip on your tea!

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Dan Moren and Casey Liss


Let’s Hear It for Botanists

We all went and watched “The Martian” at movie theaters and then came home and joined together to talk about it! From Vicodin-topped potatoes to shiny zoomy space stuff, we work the problem to provide something a bit more informative than a Tumblr full of sad pictures.

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Andy Ihnatko, Stephen Hackett, Lisa Schmeiser and Chip Sudderth


I Read It All

Book Club

Our Book Club reconvenes to cover two books that are both sort of about the end of the world: Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Water Knife” and Neal Stephenson’s “Seveneves.” Regional apocalypses versus worldwide apocalypses! Plus, what else are we reading?

Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Serenity Caldwell, Lisa Schmeiser and David J. Loehr


It’s Impossible Being Green

The premiere of ABC’s new comedy “The Muppets” prompts us to look at the entirety of the Muppet universe and lore, from TV to movies to viral videos. We also ponder what’s wrong with the new ABC series, posit some theories about how Kermit went from “Sesame Street” to “The Muppet Show,” and participate in an impromptu Muppet draft. Don’t felt, don’t tell.

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Lisa Schmeiser, Erika Ensign and David J. Loehr


Summer Superhero Spectacular: Final Rounds

Our pointless search for the best superhero concludes. In these final rounds, we challenge our heroes (and their advocates) with devilish scenarios suggested by Incomparable listeners! Our advocates face a jury of their peers, leading to a final confrontation with our two remaining heroic contestants.

Our final pairings are:

(1) Spider-Man vs. (2) Captain America
(5) Doctor Strange vs. (3) The Flash
(1) Batman vs. (2) Wonder Woman
(12) The Thing vs. (2) Wolverine

Jason Snell with Monty Ashley, Dan Moren, Tony Sindelar, Lisa Schmeiser, Chip Sudderth, Mois├ęs Chiullan, Erika Ensign and David J. Loehr


Passwords Are Wrong, Man

Our interests in reading and technology collide in this survey of books about computers and the tech industry, using the 20th anniversary of Douglas Coupland’s “Microserfs” as the jumping off point. Soldering irons and circuit boards! Berkeley hippies fighting German hackers! Early signs of the tech industry’s ongoing mistreatment of workers! Glenning! Join us in a trip through technology’s past, all the while keeping an eye on where we are today.

Jason Snell with Lisa Schmeiser, Monty Ashley, Glenn Fleishman and David J. Loehr

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