Exploring ethical questions from Superhero movies and TV shows, sci-fi, and everything else geeks love
Would you disturb an ant-hill to build a garden or something else you needed? What if humanity was the ant-hill? Is it better to force people to do good things, or let them do terrible ones? Eternals raised some great questions, and Pete Wright of The Next Reel joins me to explore them.
Could the Jedi have been saved? Was their downfall inherent in their structure, their rules, their repression? Did Anakin just need a good HR officer to take his complaints to? Rob and Jonah join me to talk about the fall of the Jedi, and how we might have rebuilt the order.
Let's talk multiverses! Paul Hoppe and I dive into the questions raised by telling stories in a multiverse. Note- this episode may be a bit controversial, as both of us are not as gung-ho as many others about the way the multiverse is playing out in the MCU. This episode is NOT an attempt to argue with people who are loving the multiverse, or to shame them or to in any way question that. If you're super excited to see how the multiverse plays out- that is awesome, and if you're not interested in folks talking about why they're not as gung ho, no worries, we'll have another episode coming along soon. We decided to make this episode for two reasons. 1) We've heard from a number of people who also aren't as excited about the multiverse as many others are, and wanted to hear folks talk about a different perspective. 2) Various folks who are super excited about this asked good faith questions about why one or both of us are not on board, and so I/we wanted to take some time to address those questions. If that sounds interesting, check it out! If not, no worries and we'll be back next week with a more traditional ethics episode!
Is there such a thing as benevolent colonialism as Duke Leto tries? How does Dune explore the idea of a messiah, and the way those effect and are effected by Paul, the Bene Gesserit and the Fremen? My friend and former colleague from my days as a pastor, Chris McArdle, joins me to dive into these topics and more. Chris McArdle is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ who serves the First Congregational Church of Anoka, Minnesota. He is a self-described lifelong geek whose parents introduced him to Star Wars at age 3 and numerous other scifi worlds thereafter. He has long been interested in genre literature that relies on religious imagery and themes, but not as long as he has pursued the earthly joy of a well-made mac & cheese.
Ashley and I continue our discussion of True Blood, covering S1 Eps 5-8 on this 2nd episode of Superhero Ethics After Dark! 18+ only please..This week I am on my honeymoon, so this will be the only Superhero Ethics episode. But most of the time, After Dark will be a bonus episode, not a replacement for the normal weekly episode. Superhero Ethics After Dark is a new series where Ashley and I will discuss shows that deal frankly with topics like sexuality or other themes the podcast gods will get at mad at us if we don't make it 18+. , We will continue to bring the same ethical focus and format, while diving into all the different issues the show brings up, including the way sexuality is used in the show, along with a healthy dose of thirst.
Hollywood Strike? ScarJo vs. DIsney? What's a fan to think and do? I'm joined by 3 friends from the The Next Reel podcast network, all of whom are industry professionals, to discuss what is happening and how it effects what we choose to watch. Here is the petition we discussed during the show: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-amptp-to-make-a-deal-with-behind-the-scenes-workersMandy Fabian was named "Best New Filmmaker of the Year" by NewFilmmakers LA, co-created/directed Lifetime's first digital series "The Young Hillary Diaries" and her Amazon digital series “Dropping the Soap” won Jane Lynch an Emmy for Best Actress in a Short Form Original in 2017. Currently, Mandy is the prettier half of the podcast "Mandcave" is in post-production on her first feature "Jess Plus None," a dark comedy starring Abby Miller, Rory O'Malley and Matt Walsh.http://www.instagram.com/mandyfab/https://www.instagram.com/jessplusnone/ (indie film I directed in April, where we were NICE TO THE CREW!)https://mandyfabian.com/https://trustory.fm/mandcave/Hailing from nearly 25 years in the world of film, television, documentary, and commercial production, Andy has always had a passion for storytelling, no matter the size of the package. That passion for storytelling led Andy to podcasting 10 years ago, with which he immediately fell in love. Now, as partner at TruStory FM, he's enjoying storytelling and conversation through their wide variety of shows, including The Next Reel and Marvel Movie Minute. https://trustory.fm/the-next-reel/https://trustory.fm/marvel-movie-minute/https://www.instagram.com/sodacreekfilm/Pete is a founder of TruStory FM and a producer and host of podcasts across the spectrum of education and entertainment. From movies to mental health, Pete has produced over 3,000 podcast episodes and lives for helping others tell the next great story. - https://trustory.fm- https://twitter.com/petewright
A homeland for the X-men and all mutants? Should mutants be thought of as their own nation? Does this mean Magneto won? Will and Steve from Hype is my Superpower Podcast join me to discuss these questions and more as we talk about the Krakoa story line in X-Men comics.Never read the comics- neither have I! We use them as a jumping off point to discuss the characters and issues on both screen and page.
What are the questions that come up when we militarize space? Is there a problem when you show up to a first contact in ship loaded with weapons? Who makes decisions when messages to the civilian oversight back home take days or weeks to be delivered? Rob McKenzie is back to talk about these issues and more in Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate and sci-fi fiction. We recommend a number of books in this episode and you can buy many of them through The Ethical Panda affiliate! You get a lower price, you ensure that your money is going to a local bookstore and you help support this podcast!https://bookshop.org/shop/theethicalpanda
Welcome to our first episode of Superhero Ethics After Dark! 18+ only please..Ashley and I are discussing True Blood, the HBO series about Vampires coming out of the Coffin in rural Louisiana, starting with Season 1, Episodes 1-4. We talk about the ethics of Vampires, is Sookie compassionate or naïve, all the ways this show is a metaphor for issues in our own world, and can Ashley talk about anything BUT her thirst for ER.Superhero Ethics After Dark is a new series where Ashley and I will discuss shows that deal frankly with topics like sexuality or other themes the podcast gods will get at mad at us if we don't make it 18+. , We will continue to bring the same ethical focus and format, while diving into all the different issues the show brings up, including the way sexuality is used in the show, along with a healthy dose of thirst.
What morality do you develop if no one ever tells you no? Do you learn not to hurt people, when you can always change their emotions? Will and Steve of Hype is my Superpower join me to discuss these issues on page and screen with a focus on Purple Man from Jessica Jones and Empath from the X-Men.Check out Will's twitch channel: http://twitch.tv/sylverdreamer
Batman may face down the Joker, Cap was ready to take on Thanos by himself- but no hero is braver than the middle school teacher! Social Studies teacher and long time Panda Emily Cissell joins us to talk about how she uses comic books in her classroom.Emily Cissell is a middle school social studies teacher also known as a real life superhero. She has a borderline obsession with Captain Marvel, Loki, and her dog Hemingway. You can find her at: Instagram/Twitter: @emilyorlouSome of the links she mentioned on the cast were:www.historycomics.nethttps://www.facebook.com/groups/ComicBookTeachers/
What happens when Robin goes out on their own? Jessica Plummer joins me to discuss Tim Drake coming out as queer, Dick Grayson wrestling with the effects of growing up Robin and Jason Todd trying to find his way out of Dick's shadow.Jess has a new book out, and if you buy it through this link you get a discount, and help support the podcast!https://bookshop.org/books/sword-stone-table-old-legends-new-voices/9780593081891?sscid=71k5_dqqyo&utm_source=ShareASale&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=2805314&utm_term=1535322&fbclid=IwAR3hbVPAI_cVvXhwdBlmmM-HBtdWQu1PGYRQjQzzzDjWxyiU_y7mizzmv3U
Paul Hoppe and Jessica Plummer join me to discuss ethical questions in The Suicide Squad!Jess has a new book out, and if you buy it through this link you get a discount, and help support the podcast!https://bookshop.org/books/sword-stone-table-old-legends-new-voices/9780593081891?sscid=71k5_dqqyo&utm_source=ShareASale&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=2805314&utm_term=1535322&fbclid=IwAR3hbVPAI_cVvXhwdBlmmM-HBtdWQu1PGYRQjQzzzDjWxyiU_y7mizzmv3U
The evil king is dead, the empire has fallen, the story is over! But what comes next?On this specially-commissioned episode, Paul Hoppe and I explore that question and many others that go into the making of sequels and prequels.This episode was commissioned by the 50th follower of Paul's Twitch Stream, freecplad3454. You can find Paul at twitch.tv/zenmadman, and if you're interested in commissioning an episode yourself, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it!
Paul joins me to talk Luka, and Raya and the Last Dragon! We dive into questions raised by each of these movies individually, as well as talking about why Kids Movies are so often dismissed, and the power that can be found in their version of storytelling. We go into questions like trust, identity, queer representation, and where legend and myth meet reality.
Did he who remains have to die? Did Loki miss the mark on queer representation? And how did the phrases Thank you Daddy Disney, and Schrodinger's Kang, make it into our episode? Paul Hoppe and Fox Kaye join me to discuss these questions and more.
Our thirst episode, and the ongoing discussion of thirst and queerness has brought a lot of feedback and Ashley joined me to go over it. We talk about all the great support we've gotten, some of the negative comments that have come in and, amazingly, we kept our conversation under 35 minutes! (a bit longer with ads)
Paul and I are talking about deep ethical questions like- is it bad to genocide entire civilizations when they make choices you think are bad? What was the importance of Loki becoming canonically bi, and has the show addressed his gender fluidity? And no discussion of Loki would be complete without one of our old favorites- redemption arcs.
Its Pride month so we're talking queer representation in our sci-fi/fantasy/superhero stories. Why does representation matter? Why is it particularly important for the queer community, and why does Hollywood consistently do it so badly. We are joined by special guest Shiri Sondheimer. Shiri is a pansexual crone who rants about books and comics on Book Riot and the Roarbots. Her own short stories can be found in Unlocking the Magic: A Fantasy Anthology and Women In Horror 2016. She has an article on the relationship between music and creativity in Issue 10 of “Fantasy Art and Studies” and two chapters in the upcoming The Expanse and Philosophy. Her creative process is Tanaka and Tsukki in a hamster ball and a random generator once declared her genre “cactus garbage.” In her spare time she is an amateur frog. Twitter: @SWSondheimerIG: @Irate_CorvusWebsite: www.swsondheimer.com
Mail Bag! Paul and I dig into your feedback. Spoiler Warning- because we're answering specific questions about different stories we've covered and there are a lot of spoilers, below are the different topics we cover, with the time it starts and when the next one starts, so you can skip ahead to not be spoiled.3:20 Invincible28:46 Who can be a guest45:06Avatar the Last Airbender54:28: The ethics of thirst1:02:20 Godzilla vs Kong movies1:14:44 Warrior
Should Superheroes promise to never kill? Is killing in the heat of battle the same as killing a supervillain so they cannot do harm again? We look at these questions and more in a discussion of Jupiter's Legacy and other products. If you haven't seen Jupiter's Legacy, don't worry- neither has one of our guests! We use the show as a jumping off point, to focus on the topic itself. With Paul Hoppe and Jessica Plummer.During the show we mention an earlier episode where we discussed the Superman Comic Book, Kingdom Come. You can find that episode here. https://api.spreaker.com/v2/episodes/23719666/download.mp3Jessica wrote a story that is coming out in an upcoming awesome anthology titled Sword Stone Tablet! You can pre-order it here - https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/634028/sword-stone-table-by-edited-by-swapna-krishna-and-jenn-northington/
What makes Matt Murdoch decide to become Daredevil? What troubles his conscience, and his faith, about putting on the mask, and how does the on screen version of those questions differ from that in the comic books.Will and Steve of the Hype is my Superpower join us for the first in our On Screen & Page series, in which we will look at characters and questions and compare how they are addressed in the comic books versus their on screen versions.
Zuhair Ali of the Animation Deliberation Podcast joins us to discuss ethical questions from Invincible, Season 1, a show that takes many of the common superhero tropes, and turns them on them on their head. Whether or not you've seen the show, there is a lot of great topics for any fan of superheroes to enjoy.
Comics Code gets ignored, teen angst and diversity in our heroes and Wonder Woman on the cover of Ms. Magazine -The Bronze Age of comic books was a wild time. Jessica Plummer returns to talk with me about this fascinating chapter in comic book history.
Proving that we can find an ethical discussion in any media, (and that we haven't forgotten how to talk about topics other than Falcon & the Winter Soldier) we're diving deep on the ethical questions of the monster verse. Are they monsters, titans, or animals, and why does the word we use matter? What are the dangers of humans seeing themselves as the rulers of nature, and how does nature fight back? Paul and I are joined by Stranded Panda regular Nate Muzzy to dive into these questions and more.
This week Paul, Will, and myself dive into ethical questions raised by Falcon & the Winter Soldier, episode 5.Here are the links we mentionedPlaces to see discussion of disability, ableism, and Bucky losing his arm:https://twitter.com/leftistbucky/status/1380630711225491460?s=20https://twitter.com/srogersfilms/status/1380578915559739394?s=20https://ahscovenavengersalliance.tumblr.com/post/648025732653645824/there-are-a-couple-of-issues-with-this-scene-andFreddiesRoomate Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@freddiesroommate/video/6951758054979308806?lang=en&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6905098015830083077
Would you take the Super Soldier Serum? Is Walker a murderer? Is Karli? Will Freeland joins Paul & Matthew again to talk about ethical questions from Episode 4 of Falcon and the Winter Soldier.Will Freeland is a Pod Cast Host and Marvel Nerd. Located in Southern California, he is the co host of the Hype is my Superpower podcast. He can also be found at the Facebook group and Instagram page of the same name.
We examine ethical questions from Falcon and the Winter Soldier, episode 3, with guest Will Freeland.Will Freeland is the co-host of the Hype is My Superpower podcast. You can find it on most podcast apps, and join their facebook community at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1415184702155412.
Batman has had many sidekicks over the years, but it's not until Terry McGinnis steals the Batsuit that Bruce Wayne finds a successor. What is the difference between successors and sidekicks, and how do age and agency factor into that? What responsibility did Bruce have towards his wards and sidekicks, and how is Terry different? How many parallels can Ashley, Paul, & I draw to Captain America, the Falcon, and the Winter Soldier? Spoiler alert: A lot!Contains minor spoilers for Falcon & the Winter Soldier, and huge spoilers for Batman Beyond, Batman the Animated Series, and Justice League Unlimited.
The X-Men have often been symbols for the civil and human rights styles of the day. Some of the movies, especially X2, X3, and Days of Future Past, have strong resonance as metaphors for queer and disabled identity. Brand Grinslade joins me to as we explore those connections.Brand Grinslade is a non-binary nerd living just outside of Chicago Illinois, they are a musician and graphic designer who was raised a nerd since birth, and have love dissecting all things nerdy to find the truths at their core.
We didn't plan on doing episode by episode recordings about the ethics of Falcon & the Winter Soldier, but the show raised so many great questions, Paul Hoppe wanted to drop a quick episode. Today we talk about racism, nationalism, Bucky's trauma, and Sam's relationship to the military.
Imagine a world with superhumans. You’ve got heroes, you’ve got villains, you’ve got... an NPR style radio station aimed at supers? The creators of the Superhuman Public Radio podcast join me to discuss the gig economy for henchmen, the immigrant rights of extraterrestrials, and how their love for comic books as moral allegory drove this project.SPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed Superhuman public. Every day, SPR connects with millions of Superhumans on the air, online, and in person to explore the news, ideas, and what it means to be Superhuman. Through its network of member stations, SPR makes local stories national, national stories local, and global stories personal.To learn more about Superhuman Public Radio go to https://www.superhumanpublicradio.com/ or subscribe to their podcast on your favorite podcast app!To support this awesome project, go to https://www.patreon.com/sprpodFollow them on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sprpod, or Twitter @sprpod, and if you want a deep dive, follow @VLNpod for the twitter of the Villainous League News and @HeroicLegion for the voice of he Heroic Legion.John Dorsey is the son of a failed magician and successful businesswoman, which doomed him to become a storyteller. For the past 10 years he's worked in the film industry both above and below the line. Most recently his pilot script Profit won the San Francisco International Screenwriting Competition. He lives just outside Washington, DC with his wife, son and dog. Maximilian Clark has dedicated his life to creating soulful art that strips society bare to its core and to writing “guy getting hit in the nuts” skits for his little comedy friends. He co-created and wrote the Starz Digital Series “Llama Cop” and his projects have been official selections at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, ITVFest, and dozens of others. His own mother once described his collective works as “Not bad.”
Is Wanda a hero, an antihero, or the MCU's version of a Batman Villain? Is sitcom jail a fair punishment for Agatha? And is the Ship of Theseus the most Star Trek moment to happen in the MCU? Matt Carroll and Paul Hoppe join me to discuss the ethical questions from WandaVision
Are you legally responsible for the actions of your clone? What is the self, and could it ever be uploaded, or copied? Rob McKenzie joins me for a deep dive into science fiction and the questions that surround digitized consciousness.
Can Mutants win love and acceptance by being heroes? Can Magneto find peace in separation? Is Charles helping Jean, or himself, by trying to protect her from her powers and her past? Paul, Ashley, and Matthew, dive into these questions and more as we look at XMen: Dark Phoenix!
What is the role of fate in the Terminator movies? Do the later movies stay true to this idea? What can you do the tragedy your current decisions are taking you towards?Becky Allen joins us for this episode. Becky Allen is the author of Bound by Blood and Sand and the sequel,Freed by Flame and Storm. She grew up outside Ithaca, New York, andgraduated from Brandeis University with a major in American studiesand a minor in journalism. She is the product manager for TheBody.com,an online HIV resource, and loves New York, brunch, and feminism.
How would the Batman story change, if Bruce Wayne lived in the late 19th century? What ideals would Superman fight for, if he landed in the Soviet Union, instead of the United States? What happens when stories take our beloved characters and break canon by placing them in totally different times, settings, situations, or tones?Paul Hoppe (https://twitter.com/zenmadman) takes the reigns, leading a discussion with Matthew Fox and Ashley Coffin. In the episode we mentioned the following previous episodes:Our episode on Red Son- https://theethicalpanda.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/ep-58-red-son-zenith/Our episode on Canon - https://theethicalpanda.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/the-value-and-danger-of-canon/
We know the X-men of today, but what were there origins? What questions did they explore that still hold relevance for us today? And what in the world was happening on Batman 66?Jess Plummer joins us for part 2 of our dive into Comics History- The Silver Age.
How did Marvel change comics in the 60's? Who were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and why did making superheroes relatable have such appeal? Jessica Plummer and I discuss those questions and more on the 3rd episode of our Comics History Series!Jessica Plummer lives in New York and loves Superman very very much. You can listen to just how much on her Superman podcast, Flights and Tights (http://flightsandtights.libsyn.com/). She also writes about comics and books in general at BookRiot.com (https://bookriot.com/author/jessica-plummer/). Find her on Twitter @jess_plummer.Her obituary of Stan Lee can be found at https://bookriot.com/stan-lees-real-legacy/
Dr. Doom is one of the most famous villains to grace the comic book page. But in some stories he plays the role of an anti-hero, a reluctant ally, or even sometimes a hero himself- all without losing the core of his identity and outlook. Special guest J. Scotty St. Claire joins me for a discussion of Doctor Doom, and what his numerous portrayals show us about the role that context plays in making the villain or the hero.J. Scotty St. Clair is a self-described media jack-of-all-trades, burgeoning content creator and contributor to the Stranded Panda Network. In addition to comic books and podcasting, his passions and talents include drawing fandom-centric cartoons, discussing film/TV and singing karaoke.Twitter- @JScott4ReelInstagram- @JScotty4ReelTwitch.tv/strandedpandatv
When you do the right thing and bad things happen- does it mean you did something wrong? Paul and Matthew take the concept of results oriented thinking, and look at how Johnny falls into that trap with morality and consequences in Season 3 of Cobra Kai. We also talk about the consequences of violence, why no one gets therapy in the Miyagi-verse, and how a show that was an interesting critique of 1980's action movies wound up just replicating them in Season 3.
The new Wonder Woman movie is out, and Jessica Plummer and myself have opinions! What did we learn about WW and what questions do we still have? What is the importance of a final battle fought with words, not weapons? And did a movie set in the 1980's need to draw on so many of the sexist and racist tropes of that time?