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.

345

Evil Giggle

Rarely do we devote an episode to a television comedy, but “The Good Place” earned our love and your attention. It’s a single story told over 13 half-hour episodes, with twists and turns and a lot of laughs. Why has Eleanor been sent to heaven by mistake? Why did a 70s dude high on mushrooms figure out the secret to eternal life? Why do we keep being gently reminded of Douglas Adams? Why is there a lava man in the conference room? Why does purgatory feature warm beer and Eagles live albums? We break it all down, and leave space after the Spoiler Horn to discuss the many surprising plot developments as the season went along.

Jason Snell with Kelly Guimont, David J. Loehr and Glenn Fleishman


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Previous Episodes

344

Metaphors All the Way Down

Book Club

Tape plastic wrap to your windows and wear a heavy jacket, because we’re revisiting Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel “American Gods” (and its not-a-sequel, 2005’s “Anansi Boys”) before these books make it to TV screens. We appreciate Gaiman’s writing style and the tightrope he walks to tell the story he wants to tell, but have some questions about invisible gods, tall tales, roadside landmarks, and the rules of this world.

Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Monty Ashley, Glenn Fleishman and David J. Loehr


343

Billy Campbell’s Soup

Put on your helmet, strap on your rocket pack, and stash that chewing gum somewhere, because it’s time to discuss 1991’s throwback adventure film “The Rocketeer.” Timothy Dalton chews the scenery! Billy Campbell is a bad boyfriend! Every character actor ever makes an appearance! Gangsters join forces with the Feds to fight Nazis! Jennifer Connelly… is also present! And there’s a Zeppelin!

Jason Snell with Casey Liss, Dan Moren, Joe Rosensteel and David J. Loehr


342

Sad Superman

In the wake of the enormous success of “The Sixth Sense”, M. Night Shyamalan’s follow-up “Unbreakable” was seen as a disappointment, but we think it deserves a critical reappraisal. 2000 was a desert for superhero movies, but “Unbreakable” actually seems more impressive after 15 years of modern takes on the genre. We discuss the film’s interesting color palette, the weight of a full paint can, the water-resisting qualities of Bruce Willis’s green poncho, why anyone would like the colors rust and brown, and the practicality of Samuel L. Jackson carrying a glass cane. And stick around—I hear this one’s got a surprise ending.

Jason Snell with Moisés Chiullan, Erika Ensign, Dan Moren and Justin Michael


341

Might As Well Keep Going

Rocket Surgery

Our survey of terrible movies from various decades returns with a stop in the 60s, to visit 1965’s low-budget spectacle, “The Wizard of Mars,” featuring John Carradine in the title role as one of the horrors of the red planet. How many parallels are there between this film and “The Wizard of Oz”, really? Why are caves on Mars so peaceful? How much oxygen does it take to stay alive on Mars? Join us as we laugh to keep from crying—we’ve come all this way, there’s no reason to turn back now!

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley and David J. Loehr


340

Give the Robots Some Time

Our walk through the films of animation master Hayao Miyazaki continues with 1986’s “Castle in the Sky.” From floating princesses to angry pink pirates to exciting train chases, this film—set in a sort of steampunk Wales—has it all. Oh, and did we mention the airships? It wouldn’t be a Miyazaki movie without flying things and lots of clouds.

Jason Snell with Steve Lutz, Erika Ensign, John Siracusa, Aleen Simms and Merlin Mann


339

Burned Like Books

Book Club

The Incomparable’s Book Club reconvenes to discuss two books from the past about future dystopias: Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Is Bradbury just angry about reality TV? Does Orwell just want you to read his essay about language? Can we read these famous books without bringing along our preconceived notions of what they’re supposed to mean? At what temperature do Kindles burn? Don’t worry—in the end this entire episode is going down the Memory Hole.

Jason Snell with John McCoy, Scott McNulty, Erika Ensign and David J. Loehr


338

All About Evey

Remember, remember, the fifth of November… We discuss the 2005 film “V for Vendetta” and the Alan Moore and David Lloyd comic series that inspired it. Who, if anyone, is the hero of the film? How did the Wachowskis adapt the 1980s comic’s sensibilities to the 2000s? What’s with the film’s strange structure and surreal visual choices? And, most importantly, is V a man, an idea, or both?

Jason Snell with Brianna Wu, Guy English, Brian Hamilton, Philip Mozolak and Chip Sudderth


337b

…But Too Much

You’ve heard us talk about the best of “Black Mirror”, now hear us talk about… the rest of “Black Mirror.” Cut from the main episode for time, here’s our (unedited) discussion of “Fifteen Million Merits”, “The Entire History of You”, “The Waldo Moment”, “Playtest”, “Men Against Fire”, “The National Anthem”, “White Bear”, and “Shut Up and Dance.”

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


337

20 Minutes Into the Future

Charlie Brooker’s anthology TV series “Black Mirror” has been compared to “The Twilight Zone”, with its dark, twist-laden tales about the advance of technology and how it affects society. Does it live up to the hype? Our panel watched all 13 episodes—all currently available on Netflix—and is here to report back on the strengths and weaknesses of the series. We also discuss our five favorite episodes in detail, so you can skip to the highlights if you don’t want to utterly darken your soul.

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


336

You Had Me at ‘Splorch’

Comic Book Club

Comic book movies got you down? Too much of the same old thing? This episode has the cure for what ails you, as we pitch a bunch of great comics that we’d like to see get the big-screen treatment that would be guaranteed to enliven the genre. And maybe along the way, we’ll add to your comics reading list, too.

Jason Snell with John McCoy, David J. Loehr, Monty Ashley, Moisés Chiullan and Lisa Schmeiser


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