I’m going to save some of my posts for Banned Books Week for, well, the week itself, but I mention it here in order to spur you on to make a reading selection, possibly from the website, possibly from visiting your friendly local library.
Instead, we have Patton Oswalt rating his top 5 and bottom 5 films with the zeal and wit you have likely come to expect.
Now, knowing that Oswalt is a total cinemaniac, I kinda wanted a longer list with more deep cuts, but it makes sense to me that he’s not going to do that for the bottom five. I mean, the odds of someone deciding to watch Independence Day are far greater than someone clamoring to watch Defcon 4… so he’s doing everyone a favor by getting some people to pause on the former.
I especially like him raising the concept of films getting audiences to buy into too much — which really is a sin when it comes to sci-fi films: they’re already getting you to buy into any of a number of not-strictly realistic worldbuilding anyway. Besides which, my experiences have been that audiences of fantasy and sci-fi fare want to know how this particular world works, so they are both up for the unusual, but impatient with the patently illogical.
For my own top 5 science fiction films, we’ll see if they’re the same as my 2020 sort. I suspect they will be different.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, of course the headline was clickbait. But tell me you wouldn’t want to see Patton Oswalt as, say, a smuggler in a Star Wars film. “Even I get boarded sometime and I wasn’t about to let those illegal lanyards hang about my neck!”
I know many of these portrayals, but by Jove, I hardly know all of them. And now, thanks to the assiduous investigation of, one may hope, soon-to-be-Doctor Rutigliano, I can safely avoid some of the dreck.
Not only is this theory potentially one of the best contributions by Gen X to modern philosophical thought, reading this article is integral to understanding how the Muppets were ranked. Because you, right now are either an Order Muppet or a Chaos Muppet. You will read the ranking from that point of view.
(I say this for the benefit of my fellow Order Muppets out there that would prefer to be Chaos Muppets and resent the heck out of the fact that we can only be zany in the narrowest of occasions).
So now I leave it to my Order Muppet patronus Kermit to say, “On with the show!”
As long-time readers of this blog know (all seven or nine), I am a bit of a Star Trek fan, as may be deduced from my manic series Crisis of Infinite Star Treks alone.
Where that series delves into fannish hand-wringing and minutiae, it did remind my of how much I enjoy Star Trek in its seemingly infinite combinations. I wanted to do something special for its official 50th anniversary, but life has intervened (quantum filaments, holodeck mishaps, Borg incursions… the usual).
So what better way to express rampant fandom while looking back at the history of Star Trek than to rate each of its 700+ episodes? Think of it as a gift of the pandemic (well, for those of us in Sector 001).
Regardless, doing a retrospective of previous TV Trek seemed appropriate before now… and by the time I was fully invested in rewatching and ranking everything, new TV series started appearing (and may never abate). Yes, Lower Decks, the next seasons, of Discovery and Picard, and who knows how many other series will all find their way into the rankings ’cause I’m as foolish as Stamets wanting to do one more jump.
Oh what I wouldn’t give for a fortuitous temporal anomaly right now.
Anyway: to the links! (Not great links, perhaps, but links none-the-less)
The Methodology The short version? Every TV series (even the original animated one) is in. I had to make command decisions on how to judge two-parters and continuing storyline episodes, so I did. Movies are not included.
How to Rank ‘Em Yourself Even an honest Vulcan will tell you their logic is susceptible to mortal foibles as emotions and other intangibles creep into their calculations. It could be that ranking Star Trek episodes objectively is a no-win scenario, but tell me your Kobayashi Maru solution in the comments, whether it’s the top 10, the whole list, or anything in between (be civil, please).
What if you Object, Dislike, or Outright Hate My Rankings? No self-respecting Starfleet captain nor honorable Klingon commander would take such injustice lying down. Do something about it!
Re-watching (and in some cases, watching) all 700+ episodes of Star Trek took an inordinate amount of time over the past few years, so there’s no way I wasn’t going to comment on everything, including both spoilers… and a certain amount of irreverence. If you’re not ready for potential spoilers and snark, stick to the links marked “episode names only.”
(As alluded above, these lists will be updated as new episodes premiere. The lists below include all episodes for all series before July 2020)