Skip to main content
Unboxing Story

Unboxing Story

By Jon and Melissa
Jon and Melissa Matos compare popular fiction with cult classics, fan favorites, and ancient allusions. Join their weekly celebration of good storytelling, and the positive impact stories have on our everyday lives.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Castbox Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Stitcher Logo


Nerdcore: Pulp & Parody
Nerds were not always cool, but after Weird Al won us over with pop parody hit after hit, a shift began. Who are our favorite nerdy musicians, and are they "nerdcore" or nah?
April 6, 2020
The Invisible Stan ft. Knives Out & Devs
The last days of winter simmered with suspense. We met the new Invisible Man, witnessed Rian Johnson's whodunnit, Knives Out, and shadowed two unusual sci-fi suspects: Devs and Alter Carbon (season 3.) Join authors Jon and Melissa Matos as they recount what stories kept them on the edge of their seat, and what palette cleansers helped cut the tension.
March 10, 2020
Picard, Parasite & Post-Con Pondering
We're back from a strange and exciting Evil Expo to talk multi-genre movies and TV. How does the Star Trek spin-off 'Picard' compare to the OG series or the new reboot? Also, does the Korean dark comedy 'Parasite' live up to the hype? What are you waiting for?? Find out!
February 6, 2020
Starry-eyed Sagas (ft. Star Wars IX & Little Women, 2019)
The cognitive bias is strong with these two! Much ado preceded the new Star Wars and Little Women, but did they live up to the hype? A new decade begins with some old stories ending and new binges beginning. Start the new year with some thoughts on story!
January 6, 2020
Disney Festivus ft. Frozen 2
Melissa and Jon take a quick break from binging the Mandolorian, Gargoyles and Tailspin to review Frozen 2. Is baby Yoda the best magic companion? Is Elsa skating around a personality disorder? Find out here first!
December 4, 2019
Mentalist Ghostbusters ft. Doctor Sleep
Leave your proton pack at the AA meeting? Your soul sister will help you cope AND catch ghosts! Join Melissa and Jon, author siblings and spiritual speculators, as they review the Shining sequel.
November 4, 2019
Siren Song: Ghostly Mysteries
Sirens aren't only the only allusions in cop dramas. Join authors Jon and Melissa Matos as they investigate mysteries with a flare for the supernatural.
October 30, 2019
Spooky Disney: Maleficent 2 & Toy Story 4
Put on your Mickey ears and grab your pumpkin pail: it's time for a Disney/Halloween movie mash-up! Fresh off a Disney Cruise voyage, Melissa and Jon discuss three scary sequels: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Toy Story 4 and Zombieland 2. 
October 23, 2019
Best in Show: El Camino
On the heels of a Breaking Bad / Better Call Saul binge, El Camino drops on Netflix. Muscle cars and cat-and-mouse mischief? Sounds like a formula for fun.
October 15, 2019
Putting the Puzzle Together ft. The Westing Game
Pieces of this talk include: a mystery novel that feels like a puzzle, a brief discussion of how good theology can help fantasy writing, and what we're excited about in sci-fi and fantasy coming soon. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @Unboxing Story!
September 30, 2019
Hipsterstellar ft. Ad Astra & Downton Abbey: The Movie
We packed in the feature presentations for this freestyle episode. Relax and enjoy our chat on Downtown Abbey (2019), Ad Astra, and the noir throwback, Sunset Boulevard.
September 25, 2019
Breaking Genre: Cats Don't Dance
Combine Zootopia and Sing! and you've got the 90s animated feature film Cats Don't Dance. Produced during the Disney Renaissance, Warner Bros wrote a love letter to old Hollywood while maintaining their brand of slapstick comedy. Join Melissa and Jonathan Matos as they discuss this forgotten gem and examine what makes it great.
September 16, 2019
Siren Song: Once (2007)
Provincial wisdom says roses from a street corner vendor aren't anything special, but the charming romantic drama 'Once' is anything but provincial. Discover the story of Guy and Girl, a vacuum repairman and flower girl who dream of making music. Melissa and Jon Matos take a break from humming the film's many soulful songs to discuss its blend of poetry and slice-of-life drama. Join Jon on January 24th - 26th for Evil Expo: The Convention for Villains! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or leave us a message on our homepage.
September 9, 2019
Magic Muppets ft. Netflix's Dark Crystal
Practical magic is tough in the age of visual effects. The Jim Henson Company recreates the world of Thra and make it look easy. Join Jon and Melissa Matos as they heap praise on one of their favorite studios, stories, and special effects.
September 7, 2019
Good Vibes ft. Another Life
File this one under "current affairs." Not only did Melissa get a sweetheart novelette published, but she got donors to raise some $ for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. To celebrate these double convictions, your Boy & Gal Fridays eschew a topic for a chat about a dark but thrilling novel, Netflix's Another Life, and more. Pre-order the first Iron Sorcerer novelette! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also leave us a message here, a rating here or write to us at unboxingstory(at)
August 26, 2019
Fantasy Flops ft. MTV's Shannara Chronicles
The race to replace 'Game of Thrones' is underway, but after that ending, is sword and sorcery dead? Nearly a year after MTV cancelled Shannara Chronicles, Melissa and Jon Matos ask why it failed. Can new writers recapture the magic of the 80's fantasy renaissance, or is nostalgia killing originality?
August 19, 2019
Siren Song: Ice Queens ft. Huntsman: Winter's War
Fairytale retellings are here, and they're bad (but, like: Michael Jackson bad.) Huntsman: Winter's War builds on Universal Studio's expanded universe of evil queens by introducing Freya, a snow queen out to stifle all love. It's bad news for the two "Huntsmen" at the story's center, forcing these two orphans to rediscover their romance in the face of certain death. Melissa Matos of opens the first full episode of "Siren Song," a series that will explore strong female characters and songwriters, by taking on the "Evil Queen," and how she has inspired songs like "You Should See Me in a Crown" by Billie Eilish and "Castle" by Halsey.
August 12, 2019
Breaking Genre: The Signal (2014)
If storming Area 51 sounds like a stupid idea now, in 2019, it'll seem bonkers after you see 'The Signal.' The film follows Nic, a track and field star who suffers a dire diagnosis, then gets abducted by aliens. Jon and Melissa Matos review this break in the "mystery box" formula, and highlight some horror / sci-fi classics.
August 7, 2019
Aah! Real Pathos ft. Good Grief
Good books make you feel things, but what if that's all they do? Melissa and Jon review a local author's book, Good Grief, and discuss how it achieves  a high level of intimacy and honesty without becoming melodramatic. Can a novel survive without ninjas and 80's nostalgia, even if its protagonist grew up with similar pop culture touchstones? Find out inside...
July 31, 2019
Disney...! Live Action? | Live @ Philly Podfest
The magic of Disney animation is part of our DNA, so when it changes, has Disney changed or have we? Melissa and Jon recorded this special, nostalgia-filled episode at the 7th Annual Philly Podfest, thanks to the sponsors below and the lovely people at Indy Hall. Relive VHS tapes and discuss live-action Disney on our Twitter or Facebook, or leave us a voicemail. We'd love hear from you! The 7th Annual Philly Podfest was sponsored by: New Media Touring Tattooed Mom Indy Hall The National Liberty Museum Obie Media Click/Save Photography/Design Philly Podcast Studio T-House Screen Printing
July 22, 2019
Umbrella Academy & Black Parade
When I was a young boy, My Chemical Romance were the heartthrobs of the emo era. Looking back, their creativity set them apart, as frontman Gerard Way crafted concept albums, music videos and comics. Jon and Melissa discuss the band's biggest hit and Gerard Way's Netflix-adapted series, Umbrella Academy.
July 16, 2019
Iron Throne IRL ft. Stranger Things 3
Melissa returns from the live-action mega-game "Dragon Thrones," (played at an actual castle in Bryn Mawr, PA,) to give us her first impressions. The "LARPing" talk continues as Jon talks about his reading of Stranger Things as a millennial and role-playing newbie. Join us for Pancakes & Podcasts, including our live recording of Disney Deconstructed ft. Lion King (2019) on Saturday, June 20th at Indy Hall in the Colonial Penn building.
July 8, 2019
Best in Show: Warehouse 13
Authors Jon and Melissa Matos spotlight a show described as "part X-Files, part [Indiana Jones,] part Moonlighting." Melissa loves this action comedy that balances thrills with believable romance and character growth. Listen as we gush about our favorite tributes to history, mythology, and genre inside this new sci-fi / fantasy classic series.
July 1, 2019
Breaking Genre: "Story of Your Life" aka Arrival
Aliens. Time travel. Portals into another world. These are mainstays of science fiction, and can make or break an audience's viewing experience. Ted Chiang crafted a short story that quietly broke the mold, and would later inspire a cerebral blockbuster by director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Eric Heisserer: 2016's Arrival. Authors Jon and Melissa Matos praise Chiang's mastery of world-building, organic storytelling, and how "Story of Your Life" uses theoretical physics to explain human connections.
June 24, 2019
Live @ Wizard World Philly! ft. Dark Phoenix Saga
As X-Men films gaze further and further into their fuzzy blue navels, the original comics remain cult classics. Does Jean Grey's original rise to power in the Dark Phoenix Saga surpass the recent film and comics, or is it a hot mess? Relive a legendary X-Men run with authors Jon and Melissa Matos, as well as "Sound of Silence" by way of Disturbed, multiplied by Melissa's Phoenix-infused lyrics in our first Siren Song segment. Enjoy this action-packed episode, recorded live at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con 2019!
June 17, 2019
Godzilla: King of the Kaiju
Mon-Stars were around long before Space Jam. Giant blobs and fifty foot women towered above the audience in glorious 35 millimeter monochrome, but in 1956, the king of the monsters was anointed. Godzilla was born, and now he's back, but do authors Jon and Melissa Matos care about the kaiju renaissance? And why do some beasts bore us, while others break the mold? Check out Games My Mom Found!
June 10, 2019
INKLINGS MONTH: "On Fairy-Stories" Essay Talk
Jon and Melissa Matos discuss J.R.R. Tolkien's defense of fairytales. Decades before D&D and Game of Thrones, the fantasy genre was limited to children's books and ancient history. In the last episode of INKLINGS MONTH, join our discussion on modern mythology. What is your favorite fantasy story? Hit us up @UnboxingStory with your picks!
May 28, 2019
INKLINGS MONTH: C.S. Lewis ft. Matt Crotts
The classics captured Lewis and Matt Crotts much in the same way. Host Jon Matos met Matt, an illustrious illustrator, through his comic book, Kyrie: an Indiana Jones-style adventure set in the 3rd century. Hear the comic creator and history buff baffle Jon with his know-how of Lewis' medieval imagery and iconography.
May 20, 2019
INKLINGS MONTH: Surprised by Shadowlands (1993)
Lewis was a man of many words, but only one woman made him speechless. Learn the love story that tested Lewis' "refining fire & brimstone" theology. Melissa and Jon Matos react to another tragic romance, and review how actors Debra Winger and Anthony Hopkins, (with a little help from Richard Attenborough,) honored the broken beauty of this late love story.
May 20, 2019
INKLINGS MONTH: Tolkien (2019)
How do you solve a problem like Tolkien? The young poet and artist grew up an isolated orphan, but longed to share his love of language with the world. Melissa and Jon Matos review Tolkien (2019), a biopic about love, fellowship and the fantasy that makes reality more meaningful.
May 13, 2019
INKLINGS MONTH: J. R. R. Tolkien & Modern Fantasy
Seventy years ago, if you walked into the right bar in Oxford, England, you might have heard J.R.R. Tolkien reading an epic poem, about dwarves searching for lost gold, a love beset by evil times, or a great Ring of Power that conquers men's hearts. Maybe you'd scoff at it, and join the likes of C.S. Lewis in yelling out "nay," if just for a laugh. You have joined a meeting of the Inklings, a group that included Lewis, and other writers, like Owen Barfield, J. A. W. Bennett,  and more. Tolkien stands out as a titan in the group: a writer whose created stories within stories, languages and cultures, and brought history to life through age-old symbols, creatures, and epic poetry. INKLINGS MONTH is our celebration of this historic writing group, and the legends they created that would influence a generation of readers, writers, and storytellers in every medium. Tell us your favorite Tolkien tome, tale, or trope on Facebook or Twitter! Inklings Month is about connecting with fans like you. And don't forget to join as on Melissa's YouTube channel, Momtoast, for our discussion of "On Fairy Stories."
May 6, 2019
The End of an Era ft. Avengers: Endgame
The sun sets on a decade of dynamite entertainment, with the definition of blockbuster bliss. Melissa and Jon revisit the start of their superhero fandoms and review the latest chapter in the Marvel saga, Avengers: Endgame. Maybe you'll laugh, maybe you'll cry, or maybe you'll roll your eyes: but you will feel something. Commemorate this moment with us by sharing your thoughts with us on Twitter ( or Facebook (
April 29, 2019
Poetic Justice: Lawrence of Arabia
If brownface could kill, would it murder your movie-watching experience? Melissa and Jon stumble upon a problematic piece of history watching 'Lawrence of Arabia.' The overlong epic's 3 hour and 45 minute run-time led them to read Ray Bradbury's short story, "Sun and Shadow," and opened a broader discussion of the pitfalls and pathos of writing fish out of water fiction.
April 22, 2019
Native Son Book Talk #readthe5th
Does injustice end with one hand-out? Richard Wright questions "pay-it-forward" morality through his novel, 'Native Son,' where an awkward racial encounter turns deadly, virtually setting Chicago on fire. Jon and Melissa struggle through a story even more dense and depressing than their previous entrées into Greek tragedy and the southern Gothic. What they find are harsh truthes, baked into a well-written but bleak look at class, sex, and race in the 1930's.
April 15, 2019
The Twilight Zone & Small Screen Sci-Fi
"You are about to enter another dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind." So began the most iconic sci-fi anthology series in history: 156 episodes over 5 years, and everyone has a favorite. Melissa and Jon reflect on the show's history, as well as the recent reboot's pilot episode, "The Comedian." What ensues is more Jordan Peele fangirling, some Kumail Nanjiani love, and a tribute to the small screen sci-fi of yesteryear. Reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter, and log onto for more sci-fi / fantasy stories.
April 4, 2019
Jordan Peele's 'Us' & Woke Horror
"A new nightmare" from screenwriter, director, and comedy giant Jordan Peele invites uncomfortable laughter and thoughtful thrills. Jon and Melissa offer (non-spoiler) thoughts on the how Jordan's sophomore movie fits into the horror genre, and what they expected going into 'Us.' But beware, all ye who listen past the mid-roll ads: your co-hosts spend the back-end of the podcast diving into the lore of this socially-conscious thriller, as well as their favorite sequences, scenes, and spooky extended metaphors. Thou hast been warned. Check out for more female warriors, or get Jon's creepy 90's nostalgia novel.
March 25, 2019
Mid-Knights in Paris ft. Knightfall
Chivalry lives on in Knightfall, a series set in the twilight of the Knights Templar. These warrior monks seek to find and protect the Holy Grail, as powerful individuals seek to use or abuse it. Melissa and Jon praise this high watermark in holy war historical dramas, for its set pieces, costuming, and organic inclusion. Also, are period pieces too grimdark for their own good? Let us know your thoughts @UnboxingStory or unboxingstorypodcast(at)!
March 18, 2019
Captain Marvel & Female Superheroes
Gender-bent homages and femme fatales have fallen. From the rubble, Marvel re-envisioned classic characters to better represent their readers. Captain Marvel is the latest adaptation, and the perfect Rosetta Stone to decipher what makes a female hero tick. Melissa and Jon review the film, discuss common tropes, and define #comicsgate. They also discuss the difference between harassment and critique, and how publishing and politics intersect.
March 11, 2019
Heels & Feels ft. Song of Achilles
The classics and modernity clash in 'Song of Achilles,' a critically-acclaimed crossover of Greek myth, romance and historical fiction. 'Achilles' Trojan-horsed an Illiad prequel on your friendly neighborhood hosts, who expected an updated retelling of an ancient epic. Jon and Melissa interpret the fatal flaw in Madeline Miller's debut novel, divining the difference between disliking her writing and disliking coming-of-age romances.
March 4, 2019
Robin Williams: Mad Genius ft. The Fisher King
Absurdist director Terry Gilliam met his match when Robin Williams walked on the set of 1991's 'The Fisher King.' Few actors embody the chaotic creativity Williams brought to this Arthurian comedy, as well as a dozen other farcical films. After a few drinks, Melissa and Jon recount the plot of 'Fisher King,' discuss the meaning behind it, and celebrate late comedian Robin Williams' unrivaled legacy.
February 25, 2019
#OscarsSoWhack: Snobs, Snubs & Our Picks
Ceremonies matter to film fans young and old, but social media has made 2018's carnival of controversies its own sideshow. Jon and Melissa eschew hot takes for a conversation on how style and substance clash. The most controversial show since 2018 will pit politically-charged biographies and musicals against a grind house comedy, period dramedy, and a comic book blockbuster. Find out our picks and humble opinions, and tune in Oscar Sunday for our first Fan Frequency, featuring friend of the show Trevor Davis and a deeper dive into Black Panther and Green Book.
February 18, 2019
Jewish G.I. Joes ft. Philip Roth's "Defender of the Faith"
M*A*S*H meets Sedaris in this slice-of-life short story about being Jewish in World War II. Can you be an American soldier and keep kosher? Does army life mean no life at all? Jon and Melissa interrogate the text, and ask if a story can be political without being polarizing.
February 11, 2019
Maniac Pixie Dream Girl ft. Miss Bala
"Bullets solve everything," or at least they do at the Mexico border, according to our bad boy antagonist. Ismael Cruz Córdova plays a gang leader and captor of our lead heroine played by Gina Rodriguez. Their cat-and-mouse relationship sparks conversations about cinematography, sexist film-making, and how cultural context effects criticism. Listen as two sorta Rican siblings debate the merits of a middling Hispanic shoot-em-up based on a Spanish-language film. 
February 5, 2019
Breaking Genre: Neon Noir ft. Drive (2011)
Grab your synth cassettes and the keys to the Mustang. Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive updates crime noir all the way to the 80's, creating a new generation of retro thrillers that has invaded films, TV, and video games. Do the neon lights and electro-pop make it style over substance? Does Refn say something with a scorpion jacket you couldn't say in a 40's speakeasy? Join thriller author Jon Matos and his noir fan sister, Melissa, on a wild ride through the underworld of L.A., into the core of the crime / drama genre. Click here to preview or purchase Cane and Able.
January 28, 2019
'Glass' and Quixotic Horror
Meet the kooky criminals at the center of 'Glass,' the third in a genre-bending trilogy including 'Unbreakable' and 'Split.' This superhero-thriller closes with a conflict between a vigilante, a mastermind, a man/beast, and a cynical psychologist. Fanboy (and -girl) Jon and Melissa team-up to explain their post-modern reading of 'Glass,' and how each major character adds to this story's epic conclusion.
January 21, 2019
Poetic Justice: Langston Hughes
"Soul" is used to describe jazz music if the 20's and 30's, but it also fits the melodic poetry of Langston Hughes. Jon and Melissa try to express what makes Hughes poetry so accessible, despite it's contrast to today's turbulent racial politics. Is Langston's voice, established before the dominance of Civil Rights rhetoric, no longer relevant, or do his allusions to the Nile and the Civil War still ring true?
January 14, 2019
Concept Albums: Third Reich Rush? ft. 2112
Alt-right Rush?? Say it isn't so! Before "progressive" was a political label, the band Rush were "prog" rockers: composing symphonies of screaming guitars and soulful ballads. But how did their space opera earn them a comparison with Nazis? Is "2112" just one of many half-baked sci-fi concept albums, or does it set the standard for 70's space jams? Jon and Melissa continue to investigate stories set to a soundtrack, by way of ancient aliens, jukebox heroes, and shrugging off Ayn Rand.
January 7, 2019
Southern Gothic & Flannery O'Connor ft. "A Good Man is Hard to Find"
The nightmare after Christmas is Southern-fried with racism on the side. Melissa and Jon explore the imagery and irony in Flannery O'Conner's short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find," and compare it to Gothic writers and modern art theory. Does O'Conner's scathing satire conflict with her Christian worldview? Do difficult characters distract readers from a story's deeper meaning? Languish in the self-indulgent, but self-aware world of the Southern Gothic with us, and find out how far pathos can be pushed.
December 31, 2018
More Than Thor ft. Norse Mythology
What if history had a three-act structure? For Vikings, the gods enacted the biggest blockbuster of all, with frost giants, comedic cross-dressing, and a bloody finale. Join Melissa and Jon as they use Neil Gaiman's book to discuss the wisdom of Odin, the cunning of Loki, the bravery of Thor, and much more.
December 24, 2018
Breaking Genre: Mortal Engines is Steampunk Star Wars
The furnace burns, smoke billows, and Peter Jackson's mega machine gobbles up a YA series, just to spit it back onto the silver screen. Did Weta Workshops create the steampunk dystopia of Melissa's dreams? Meanwhile, Jon asks why ads for an adventure film (re: Star Wars) felt more like commercials for Disney's Avatar theme park. Also, some spoilers, but not really? Explore the creative decisions behind the book jackets, teaser trailers, and game announcements that either sabotage or sell our favorite stories in our new series, "On Brand."
December 17, 2018
Retconning Reality (ft. Life of Pi)
Perception is everything: in romance, in religion, and in storytelling. Pi Patel's love story was a middle grade game changer, landing on required reading lists and becoming a cult classic coming-of-age film. But does the story of a shipwrecked Hindu-Christian-Muslim bear the same meaning to two born-again Sorta Rican writers? Venture into the forest with us, to find the meaning inside the lotus flower...
December 10, 2018
Penny Arcade Primer & PAX Unplugged Preview
Fan gatherings are common today, but it wasn't always that way. Explore the humble beginnings of convention culture on an unconventional episode about fandom and how it's changed. Learn first-hand how the Melissa and Jon discovered their favorite conventions, Penny Arcade, and the burgeoning PAX Empire, as well as what they did over the weekend at PAX Unplugged.
December 3, 2018
Screenwriter Spotlight: Guillermo del Toro
Fear comes in many forms. Directors often rely on disgust as a method of scaring the viewer, but Guillermo del Toro uses it to intrigue his audience. Del Toro's fans, us included, love 'Hellboy,' 'Pan's Labyrinth,' and 'The Shape of Water' for making monsters into heroes, tricksters, and romantic leads. Join us as we explore the many worlds of Guillermo del Toro, and his pandora's box of likable beasts.
November 26, 2018
Dying at the Summit (ft. The Snows of Kilimanjaro)
A life is haunted by death, despite great success, in today's story by Ernest Hemingway. Globe trotter, big game hunter, Nobel Prize winner, and Hemingway still felt stalked by misfortune and misery, expressed in the tragic beauty of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." Join Jon and Melissa as they separate the pastiche from the real life wordsmith, and pay tribute to another literary legend: co-creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee. You're welcome to e-mail us at unboxingstorypodcast(at) or tweet us @UnboxingStory.
November 19, 2018
I Am Jack's Podcast Episode (ft. Fight Club)
"Sinful" isn't just a kitschy dessert descriptor: it's a literary genre! Transgressive fiction introduced the world to Patrick Bateman, Humbert Humbert, and Tyler Durden: misanthropic avatars of disaffected masculinity. Do these bad boys protest too much, or do their cautionary tales speak to us? I am Jack's unbridled anticipation.
November 14, 2018
Concept Albums: Blurryface by Twenty-One Pilots
Hot off the heels the Queen biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' Jon and Melissa analyze the princes of alt rock, Twenty-One pilots. Are they Jesus freaks? Are they rappers? Who is Blurryface and does he need a tissue? That and more in our first episode deconstructing concept albums. Please e-mail suggestions to or @UnboxingStory on Twitter!
November 5, 2018
Submarines & Spiritual Sequels (ft. Hunter Killer)
Sink or submerge? Despite Hunter Killer's 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, it took us deeper into our love of political and tactical thrillers. Melissa and Jon detail the dryness of the war genre, how Hunter Killer tackles common overused tropes, and whether it can be considered a spiritual sequel to 'The Hunt for Red October.'
October 29, 2018
Monster Mash-up (ft. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)
Horror comedy: it's alive! But before the racial satire of 'Get Out' and the meta-humor of 'Scream,' Abbott and Costello paved the way for the marriage of humor and horror. Join co-host Melissa and Jon as they discuss their favorite Universal monsters, as well as the frightening and farcical film featuring the Big Three: Frankenstein, the Wolf-Man, and Dracula. They speculate on the recent ill-fated reboots of the Universal monsters, compared to this cult classic comedy, beloved 60 years after its premiere.
October 23, 2018
Murder Maze Mythos (ft. The Shining)
Lose yourself to find yourself in a labyrinth of mind-bending mayhem in the maze. Join Jon and Melissa on a journey into the mysteries of King, Kubrick, and Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves), as they discuss symbolism and subtext on the silver screen and beyond.
October 15, 2018
Rapid-Fire Rogues (née Venom)
Heroism has changed. The box office is booming with foul-mouthed mercenaries and feral mutants with a heart of gold, and those are just the ones in tights! In light of the release of Venom, (but in lieu of discussing the film,) Melissa and Jon shout out anti-heroes from literature, TV, and movies. Along the way, we give our takes on which tales of revenge, redemption, or irreverence resonate with us, and which have us clutching our pearls in disgust.
October 9, 2018
Screenwriter Spotlight: M. Night Shyamalan
Don't call it a comeback, but Shyamalan has had a rollercoaster of a career. Two fans discuss the hits, misses, and misunderstandings surrounding his work, and why we're excited to see more from this prolific genre iconoclast.
October 1, 2018
Lawful Evil (ft. The Handmaid's Tale)
New wave feminism meets new wave sci-fi in the bold but bleak dystopia of 'The Handmaid's Tale.' And this time, the revolution IS being televised! Jon and Melissa mill over the difficulty of separating their own beliefs from an unorthodox novel turned cultural milestone.
September 24, 2018
Gritty & Britty & Agatha Christie (ft. Ordeal by Innocence)
Is the golden age of British cerebral crime dramas influenced by the golden age of detective fiction? Jon and Melissa contrast the classic murder mysteries of Agatha Christie with contemporary TV from across the pond. What do modern adaptations of Christie's work teach us, and how do American and British crime dramas differ? Join our investigation!
September 17, 2018
Plotting the Escape (ft. Papillon)
Brotherhood is forged in the fires of captivity... sometimes. Jon and Melissa discuss their favorite prison escape stories and the novel, Papillon. Topics include bravery, male hubris, and the bonds created by corruption and suffering.
September 10, 2018
Chekhov's Space Gun (ft. KIN)
Distractions are deadly in storytelling. That's why Russian playwright Anton Chekhov stated that if a gun is hung on the wall in act one, it should be shot by act three. This week, Jon and Melissa use the sci-fi shoot-em-up KIN, as well as other films and books, to discuss the rules and risks of foreshadowing.
September 4, 2018
While My Theremin Gently Weeps (ft. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream)
Darkness reigns in the "golden age of television," including must-watch sci-fi shows, like Black Mirror and Westworld. Melissa and Jon challenge the genre of "new wave" sci-fi, via Harlan Ellison's mind-bending short story, "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream."
August 27, 2018
Wizards with Mortgages (ft. The Dresden Files)
Not all warlocks mentor hobbits, knights, or vampire-slaying cheerleaders. Some, like Harry Dresden, save the world all on their own, while others chomp cigars or try to kill God. Melissa and Jon discuss this new brand of heroism that mixes the magical and the mundane.
August 21, 2018
Top 5 Guilty Pleasures (ft. 🎥 / 📺 / 📚 / 🎮 / 🎲)
Why do we love garbage trash? Because why not?? Jon and Melissa get deep into their least liked stories, and try to explain what makes them redeemable. The key word being "try."
August 13, 2018
Dystopian YA 4 EVR (ft. The Darkest Minds)
Who likes dystopia? We like dystopia! But did 'The Darkest Minds' revive the YA dystopia genre, or put the last nail in its coffin? Jon and Melissa use the plot of this latest book-to-screen adaptation to discuss common YA tropes and what predecessors give them hopes for upcoming films.
August 6, 2018
CalArts Cartoon Coup? (ft. ThunderCats Roar)
Aah! We've been invaded by meta-humor anime girls on acid! Or... maybe we're just not hip anymore? Those theories and more as Jon and Melissa discuss modern animation (i.e. Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and the upcoming ThunderCats reboot,) and how they clash with the Saturday mornings of our youth.
August 1, 2018
CSI: Cyber Punk (ft. Blade Runner Novel, Movie & Sequel)
Melissa and Jon dissect everything Blade Runner: from the novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,' to the 1982 film and its recent sequel, Blade Runner 2049.
July 23, 2018
Marvelous Realism née Magical (ft. MARVELS & A.D.)
Is magical realism taking over, or is sci-fi / fantasy becoming more grounded? Melissa and Jon use contemporary comics to discuss an emerging genre.
July 16, 2018
Does Outrage Culture Bug You? (ft. Ant-Man & The Wasp)
Can films have agendas, or is everyone overreacting? Also, a guest! Writer / editor Will Ford-Conway (@wafcstudios) gives his take, and commemorates over a decade of comics and superhero movies with his high school chum.
July 16, 2018
Screenwriter Spotlight: Taylor Sheridan (ft. Sicario 2)
Mexico jumps from the headlines to the silver screen in Sicario 2, and the man behind the movie is screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. This episode, we discuss how the political and personal drama in Sheridan's screenplays set him apart.
July 16, 2018
Puberty Powers, Activate! (ft. Cloak & Dagger, Impulse)
Does too much angst sully the TV show sauce? Are the CW or YouTube Red worth watching? Check out our opinions of Cloak & Dagger, Impulse, and Marvel's Runaways.
July 16, 2018
Arecibo Invitational, Incredibles 2, and Behind the Scenes
An update on our upcoming live event and some thoughts on the Pixar flick, in lieu of an episode.
July 16, 2018
She Stole My Heart (ft. Ocean's 8)
What makes a good heist movie? Is 'Ocean's 8' fun or flat? And what's the next random selection for our Patreon podcast, the Random Media Mini-cast? Find out inside the wavelengths of today's episode.
July 16, 2018
Walking Simulator or Visual Novel? (Detroit: Become Human)
Are visual novels cinematic experiences or passive propaganda? Did David Cage do it again or is Detroit: Become Human his first dud?
July 16, 2018
Solo: A Prequel Story (Star Wars and Origin Stories)
Are prequels fan service or world-building? Also, what makes Solo so good, and "The Prequels" (aka Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of the Star Wars saga,) so bad?
July 16, 2018
My World's on Fire (ft. HBO's Fahrenheit 451)
Are dystopian novels propaganda, or something more? Learn about speculative fiction and get our take on the HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.
July 16, 2018
Home is Where the Hurt Is (Breaking In & Interstellar)
What makes home invasion movies tick? Also, did Nolan make a high concept space epic, or a star bore? (...Get it?)
July 16, 2018
Blend It Like Lucas (Star Wars & Genre-Blending)
Knights. Empires. Magic. This used to be fantasy, but ever since 1977, it's the stuff of sci-fi. Join us in this Star Wars celebration! PLUS: A new segment called "Paper in a Hat!"
July 16, 2018
Juggling Infinity (Avengers: Infinity War & Intertextuality)
It's hard writing one character; try seventy-six! (...and 10 years of film history ...and over 75 years of comic book history...) Explore the "text" of Avengers 3 with your friendly neighborhood podcasters!
July 16, 2018
Mastering Dungeons (Game vs. Story pt. 1)
Take a journey into gamified story with this intro to role-playing games.
July 16, 2018
Girl Power Gone Wild ft. Tyler Perry's Acrimony
Jon mansplains female-centric thrillers to Melissa. Will she be able to contain her rage? Also, what is a "muffin movie?"
July 16, 2018
Annihilation and Lovecraftian Horror
The unknowable invades this episode! Also, Melissa and Jon correctly pronounce their last name, and talk Lovecraft.
July 16, 2018
Kicked in the Feels ft. Ready Player One
Does nostalgia ruin story? Join Melissa and Jon's discussion on Ready Player One, the blockbuster video game adventure that tackles escapism, nihilism, and nerd culture.
July 16, 2018