THE SCI-FI PODCAST EP 32: Best of the Worst Sci-Fi Villains

Welcome to The SciFi Podcasta wretched hive of scum and villainy a bi-weekly podcast focused on in-depth discussion of all things Science Fiction. The SciFi Podcast features four hosts—Mattroid, Brain, Solo, and Station!—and frequent guests. Each episode we look at a science fiction theme or franchise and take the discussion where no show has gone before.

Finally, an in-depth discussion revolving around the baddest characters in all of science fiction. Few things make a movie excel or plummet like a villain–are they scary? monstrous? evil? hysterical? pathetic? Some of each, and each host takes the time to bring to you their three favorite and three least favorite villains, and then some. Make sure you take to the boards or Facebook page after you listen so you can contribute to the discussion! Is the Predator a villain or not?! Let us know! 

(stick around until the end for a behind the scenes discussion about snacks!)

Theme music courtesy of I Hear Sirens, featuring Matt on bass and Liz on keyboard. Hear more of I Hear Sirens ethereal, instrumental, post-rock at BandCamp. Podcast production by Mattroid, artwork by show producer SpaceWolf.


16 thoughts on “THE SCI-FI PODCAST EP 32: Best of the Worst Sci-Fi Villains

  1. Fun episode, although Khan should have at least made someone’s Top 3, and I was disappointed that the A+ villainy of Agent Smith in “The Matrix” only got a backhanded mention from Solo when he was cracking on “Reloaded” and “Revolutions.”

    Also, the meta-villain and true evil mastermind of “Star Trek V” is Shatner as director/script jockey, but the lamest of the in-movie villains is easily Not-God who Lives at the Center of the Galaxy. Sybok is a distant No. 2, and even at that he barely beats out a) the uppity Klingon who wants to test himself against Kirk, then has to apologize like a rowdy teenager at the end of the movie; and b) Shatner’s girdle, giving its worst performance since the end of Season 2 of the original series. (Lots of villains in “Star Trek V.”)

    Also, also, I hope that either Solo of the podcast itself got some kickback for the impromptu Woats™ commercial at the very end of the episode.

    Also, also, also: I love podcast moments like this one:

    MATTROID: I just want you to say for once in my life that I might be right.

    STATION: (Distracted, but not even hesitating for a millisecond) No.

    MATTROID: Dammit!

    • Let’s get you back on a show, Cody. It’s been far too long. I’ll reach out.

      Good points on Star Trek: V. Honestly, having been unable to watch it all the way through for more than a decade (my stomach just won’t allow), I admittedly missed some of what you mentioned, which is pretty spot on.

      • I’d be happy to do it. 🙂 If you guys have shows planned for either Logan or Ghost in the Shell next month, those would both be fun. Or any of the themed shows.

  2. I haven’t seen star trek v but it sounds interesting i think. i love agent smith. i think khan is stupid villain but mostly because of his look. i am surprised no one mentioned the aliens in charlie sheen the arrival.

  3. My 2 cents on the Predator debate…

    I fall on the villain side of the argument for the Predator. Mattroid’s argument against it is a good one, but “who is a villain” and “what determines villainy” is based completely on individual perspective. Look at human history, for example – Adolf Hitler, arguably the greatest villain in recorded history, right? But not to his followers. To them, he’s probably the greatest leader the world has ever seen. A hero, even.

    Also, you have to consider the Predator’s motivations. Solo made this point on the show, that the Predator hunts for sport, not for survival. Though it may sometimes act noble by not killing a pregnant woman or an unarmed person, that doesn’t change its main motivation for hunting humans in the first place. Hunting for sport is murder; hunting for survival is not.

    Another point that Mattroid raised on the show against the “Predator as a villain” classification is that, in AvP, the Predator works with humans. My response to that is simply that sometimes, even enemies work together when their interests align. We see this dynamic portrayed all the time, whether it’s Professor X and Magneto teaming up to fight a common threat, or when Wikus teams up with a Prawn in District 9. However, I don’t think having the occasional common interest erases the underlying relationship once that interest is resolved.

    So, from a human’s perspective, I believe the Predator is a villain because it is a threat to our life.

    Also, with regard to the difference between Darth Vader and the Emperor, I think the difference between their respective form of villainy is found in their motivations. I would argue that the Emperor is a thoroughly evil villain because his motivations are entirely self-based. All of his actions and machinations are for the sole purpose of attaining absolute power for himself. It is all done under the guise of bringing peace to the galaxy, but that is purely deception to hide his truly selfish motivations.

    Darth Vader, on the other hand, is a different story. I won’t go so far as to say he is not a villain because he certainly behaves in a villainous manner to the saga’s protagonists. However, he is obviously a complex villain because his true motivations are to attain peace in the galaxy. He does despicable things, but it’s all for this misguided purpose.

    So, if I’m picking the ultimate “evil villain” from the original Star Wars trilogy, I would finger the Emperor. If I’m picking the most interesting villain, though, it’s Darth Vader.

    • Your .02 is crap!

      Ha ha, I kid. Thanks, Dino. Hope all is well. As usual, great insights. I still can’t get behind the idea that the Predator(s) represents a villain. It just doesn’t jive with me.

  4. If Mattroid isn’t too high on how Black Mirror sometimes ends episodes without a true winner in the story, then I don’t know how much he’s going to like the series.

    Personally, I’m left unsatisfied if an episode doesn’t end with some great despair and I have to be dragged out from jumping out of my bedroom window to my death (Have no fear, I’m on the first floor, it’d just hurt jumping into a bush).

    Love the series though.

    • I get that, and I totally understand. For me, most of the time, I want something thought provoking to give me something inspiring; not to say that BM is nihilistic or anything, but there certainly doesn’t seem to be an overall “see? wasn’t that fun?” projection coming from the episodes I’ve seen, with exception to the one where the two girls meet in the town that isn’t as it seems…don’t want to spoil it, but that was a great episode.

      I like what I’ve seen, but it also leaves me more uncomfortable than I would have thought possible from a tv show. Which is a good thing in a lot of ways, and I applaud it, but I also like things to be okay sometimes, you know?

      • Funny enough, the episode with the two girls that meet in the town, “San Junipero”, is without a doubt my least favorite episode of Black Mirror. Throughout the episode and once it was finished, I kept wondering what this nonsense was. “This isn’t the super depressing Black Mirror that I love! Boo! *hiss*”

        It’s an extremely bleak and soul crushing series, but as long as that’s the intention and the viewer isn’t supposed to have that, “See? wasn’t that fun?” feel, then I’m all for it.

        At the same time, I’m also someone who sometimes finds it frustrating how often we get that Hollywood happy ending. Due to the fact that the vast majority of episodes end in a less than feel good moment, it’s not something I’d encourage many to binge watch in one sitting.

        • I totally understand where you’re coming from. I often detest a “it all worked out!” kind of ending, especially when it’s contrived or impractical.

          That said, I equally detest twist or dark endings which happen just so they can happen. Give me purpose, give me something substantial!

          I can see why one wouldn’t like the episode we both referenced, but I found it refreshing, you know? Unexpected.

          I’m going to keep watching the show I think, and I’ll report back from time to time.

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