How Product Placement Took Over Science Fiction, From E.T. To Star Trek

These days, product placement is an accepted part of science fiction. We're used to seeing big brands splashed all over every TV show and movie about aliens or the future. But it wasn't always this way. Here's the quick-and-very-dirty history of how on-screen advertising became a science fiction mainstay. » 1/19/15 8:25am 1/19/15 8:25am

The Most Ingeniously Cheapskate Props And Sets From Classic Movies

Some of the best TV shows were made for a song — but did you know that some of your favorite movies have featured ridiculously cheap scenery and props, as well? We're not just talking 1950s "B" movies, but more recent stuff. Here are some of the most wonderfully cheap sets and props from classic films. » 1/16/15 1:16pm 1/16/15 1:16pm

Low Budget TV Shows That Are Better Than Most Huge Blockbuster Series

Television has always been an expensive medium, with Lost having an estimated per-episode budget of $4 million, and Game of Thrones clocking in at a whopping $6 million. And sometimes, these hugely expensive shows fail. But here are 10 of the best science fiction and fantasy shows, which were made for surprisingly low… » 1/13/15 1:32pm 1/13/15 1:32pm

Great Villains Whose Schemes Aren't Just Aimed At Destroying The Hero

Sometimes it seems like every villain is obsessed with murdering the hero of the story. (Or making the hero realize they're alike.) But it's not true — in fact, some of the best villains have their own goals, and the hero just happens to get in the way. Here are some great villains whose schemes don't revolve around… » 12/16/14 8:00am 12/16/14 8:00am

The Weirdest Reasons Why Aliens Created Humanity

Science fiction is full of stories in which extraterrestrials engineer life on Earth — it's one of the main ways we explain humanoid aliens, after all. But why would aliens want to create the human race? It seems to be a lot of trouble to go to. Here are the most outlandish reasons for aliens to put human beings here. » 10/08/14 1:28pm 10/08/14 1:28pm

Post-Scarcity Societies (That Still Have Scarcity)

One of the most alluring dreams in science fiction is the post-scarcity society — a place or time where nobody goes without, because technology has improved. But when you dig deeper, most post-scarcity worlds still have some scarcity, because otherwise it's hard to tell a story about them. See for yourself! » 9/30/14 12:23pm 9/30/14 12:23pm

"Strong Women Characters" Who Made Mistakes (And Learned From Them)

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You know what we really want from our "strong female characters" in pop culture? Not to be perfect human beings. Or to screw up and be sidelined. What we want is to see them do what all great characters do: make mistakes, and grow as a result. Here are a ton of female heroes whose mistakes made them great. » 9/10/14 1:46pm 9/10/14 1:46pm

Stories That Lost Their Writers (And Their Plots) Halfway Through

Sometimes it can be confusing to be a fan of pop culture. Sometimes writers leave halfway through a story, and a new writer has to wrap things up somehow. Sometimes a creator gets fired, and the replacement told to change gears in a hurry. Here are 20 stories that changed drastically when the writer left in the middle. » 9/08/14 1:01pm 9/08/14 1:01pm

Supercut: Morgan Freeman Explains Absolutely Everything

Nobody explains things better than Morgan Freeman. No matter how nonsensical, crazy or profound, everything sounds better when he explains it. We only use 10 percent of our brains? Sure. A mystical prophecy? Makes sense. But just to prove it, here are nearly 40 clips of Freeman explaining stuff. » 8/28/14 1:54pm 8/28/14 1:54pm

Great Performances That Helped Prove Comic-Book Movies Could Be Art

Even among other genre films, comic-book movies used to be viewed as disposable pulpy fun. But we've now reached the point where serious A-list actors are vying for roles in superhero films. And actors are actually bringing their "A" game. Here are 12 amazing performances that helped elevate superhero movies. » 8/26/14 1:51pm 8/26/14 1:51pm

Non-Comic Book Characters Who Survived Being Killed Off "For Good"

Everybody knows that death is a revolving door. Especially in the comics, where everybody dies and comes back. But even in other media, death is seldom final. Here are a dozen characters whose creators did everything in their power to kill them once and for all — and they still came back, by popular demand. » 7/17/14 1:24pm 7/17/14 1:24pm

The World's Most Fascinating Places, As Seen In Science Fiction Books

It's the middle of summer — the time of year when wanderlust takes over our brains. You want to leave your home and your job and explore what the world has to offer. But here's the next best thing — 15 books that take place in science fiction and fantasy versions of the most fascinating places on Earth. » 7/11/14 1:15pm 7/11/14 1:15pm

Flashback Wigs: The Best And Worst Of "This Is The Past" Hair

When TV shows and movies do flashbacks, they face a dilemma: They can cast a younger actor that looks like their star, sacrificing easy recognition, OR they can just slap a wig on their actor. They usually go with the latter, with... mixed results. Here are the best and worst of flashback wigs. » 7/10/14 1:45am 7/10/14 1:45am

Totally Brilliant Movies That The Studio Tried To Bury

This weekend, the acclaimed movie Snowpiercer comes out in the United States at last... in a handful of theaters, with almost no publicity. And Snowpiercer isn't the first beloved movie to get this treatment. Here are some movies that almost everybody agrees are brilliant — but which were released in a vacuum. » 6/26/14 12:28pm 6/26/14 12:28pm

A History of Our Obsession with the Disease Apocalypse

The "plague plot" is a subgenre of horror that's become as common as zombie movies . But over half a century ago, Hollywood wasn't churning out tales of the disease apocalypse and deadly black goo viruses. Where did our love for pandemic panic come from? A look back at the history of the subgenre provides some clues. » 6/24/14 9:11am 6/24/14 9:11am