Ep. 42 — Riding on Star Wars’ Coattails

In this episode, Ben and Steve talk about some of the great and horrible movies and television shows that Star Wars inspired because it made so much money.

Hollywood never met a successful movies they didn’t want to rip off . . . and therefore, as soon as people realized Star Wars was a hit, studios rushed to get whatever they could to ride on those space opera/sci-fi coattails!

Disney’s The Black Hole!

Flash Gordon!

Battlestar Galactica!

And so much more!

Ben and Steve take a stroll through sci-fi movies and TV of the late ’70’s and early ’80’s . . . the best and the worst of it!

Features a bonus after the end of the episode: Ben and Steve’s live reaction to the announcement of the podcast awards!

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4 responses to “Ep. 42 — Riding on Star Wars’ Coattails”

  1. Mike Poteet Avatar
    Mike Poteet

    Fun discussion, guys!

    I remember my mom telling me about the premiere of BSG in 1978 (I was six years old) with the exact words, “It’s just like STAR WARS, you’ll like it.” Not sure BSG in its original form would have been “culturally impacting,” but the RDM reboot certainly has it assured it a place in TV history. (And, maybe I’m wrong: one of only two episodes of the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Sciography” series was BSG. Of course, that was also the network the reboot would be on, so they had a vested interest in reminding us of the show…!)

    I am thrilled to learn of another defender of ST:TMP! And the other BLACK HOLE robot? VINCENT! I don’t recall what (if anything) it stands for, but that was its name. I so badly wanted to see that movie as a kid, but never got to the theater to see it, and it only seemed to be on cable when I couldn’t watch it (like going to church on Sunday mornings!). I listened to that read-along storybook so much, though, that I was really shocked when, a few years ago, I finally saw the movie and realized the ending was different. I much prefer the storybook ending, I gotta say. Isn’t Disney rebooting this one?

    I haven’t seen BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, but I know (or think I know) that was composer James Horner’s big break, yes? (Yet another reason, albeit an indirect one, that we wouldn’t have ST II as we know it without STAR WARS.)

    SALVAGE ONE had one of the best TV theme songs I heard in my youth. (At least, in my memory, it is so…) Speaking of Asimov and TV, though, are you aware of Asimov’s other foray into sci-fi TV, a science detective kind of thing called PROBE starring Parker Stevenson? I liked it when I was in middle school, but am not sure it holds up – I watched some on a Sci-Fi marathon one day (back when that channel still mostly aired, y’know, science fiction) – and found myself pretty bored pretty quickly.

    I do have to say, though, something struck me as you were discussing LAST STARFIGHTER: It’s not a bad summary of how the creative process works, sometimes. You take something proven; you tweak it in one or two ways; and you may have something new. I don’t think this film in particular is a great one, but it certainly does have a passionate fan following, as you point out.

    1. Ben Avatar

      I actually cut the discussion of music from the episode. It was way too long, and I figured we’d do an episode about music soon enough, because that’s an element in movies I love.

      You can draw a line from Jerry Goldsmiths TMP score to James Horners Battle Beyond the Stars score (which is quite good) and then to Wrath of Khan. Doing that, the two Trek scores aren’t nearly as jarring in their differences. In battle Beyond the Stars, Horner quotes some of TMP’s music directly . . .

      Meanwhile, in Battle, you can hear some of the themes and motifs Horner would reuse, over and over again for the rest of his career. And it started there.

  2. Paul Asay Avatar

    Nice podcast, guys, but I’m sad you didn’t mention the most revolutionary Star Wars descendant/ripoff around: Hanna-Barbera’s Herculoids. Loved that missile-shooting rhino thingy.

    1. Ben Avatar

      “Revolutionary”? I don’t know about THAT . . . but it was a special kind of awesome!

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