Wil Wheaton knows geeks..or to be more precise, the actor, blogger, producer, author (and more) is a champion of geek culture. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that his latest venture, The Wil Wheaton Project (found on the SyFy network) explores and celebrates all things found within the realm of science fiction and genre entertainment — like television, pop-culture and video games. The fast-paced show provides Wheaton with the center stage as host – letting him bring out what he knows and loves about this, the golden age of sci-pop culture in a weekly topical comedy show. So let’s get to the questions already.
Man Cave Daily: Tech is a big part of pop culture now. Do you prefer it when tech is made a joke (as was done in Eureka) as opposed to it being serious?
Wil Wheaton: I don’t think it has to be one way or the other. You know, there is room in entertainment for every point of view. I thought that Eureka was about the relationships among the people who lived in that town and worked at GD and like the ridiculous technology was there to sort of support that and put them in high stakes situations. And, you know, the other side of that is maybe one of the more serious dramas, I mean, the thing that immediately comes to mind would be something like Apollo 13 where, you know, you have to take that technology really seriously and the technology is there to show, you know, like what these guys can do with limited resources.
MCD: How do you see your show in this context?
WW: I think there’s tons of room for everything on our show, (there’s an episode where) we actually have a bit where really super incredibly basic technology that has existed for close to 80 years is used in such a ridiculous way that we have to call it out and make fun of it. So what we’ll do with the show is, you know, we’re always looking for ways to be entertaining and, you know, sometimes it’ll be serious and sometimes it’ll be like it is tonight.
MCD: Geeks and nerds used to be the underdogs, the butt of the jokes, but now they’re the leaders of the 21st Century. How did this happen?
WW: I think there was a moment in time…maybe in the last 15 years where those of us who grew up as you described decided that we’d had enough and that we weren’t going to be ashamed of the things that we loved and there were creators like Peter Jackson and Joss Whedon who were making things that came out of the type of speculative fiction that we all grew up loving. And when that speculative fiction was exposed to a wider audience, I think that that wider audience realized that they liked it too and that this wasn’t something that had to be sort of like confined to the stereotypical basements and, you know, rec rooms that everyone thought it sort of needed to be in.
And at the same time those of us who love all of those things, who love tabletop gaming, who love comic books, who love superheroes and science fiction fantasy, we were starting to ascend to positions in the creative world where we could make decisions about what was going to, you know, what was going to get green lit and we just started showing the rest of the world like look, man, these are the things that we love.
And while that was happening, computers and technology and smartphones and tablets became bigger parts of everyone’s lives and those of us that had spent the last 30 years understanding that landscape, we were sort of like we became guides and we became really useful for people who didn’t know how to uninstall toolbars in their browsers.
MCD: An example of this being…
WW: A really great, really tangible example of this I have two sons. My son Ryan loves all of the speculative fiction, science fiction and tabletop gaming that I love. My son Nolan is really not that into it. He’ll play tabletop games with us but he’s not interested in sitting down to watch Orphan Black or Game of Thrones but he is a personal trainer and Nolan loves fitness.He stays on top of what is happening in the world of sports nutrition the same way I’m on top of like what’s coming out in the new set of Magic: the Gathering.
Nolan came to the taping of The Wil Wheaton Project…I said, “Dude, there’s, you know, this is about shows that you don’t watch,” and he said “I don’t care. I want to come and, you know, this is your show, I want to see you on your show.” And I asked him when the show was over if he liked it and he loved it and he said “You don’t have to be super nerdy for those shows that you watch to like this.” He said it’s just so funny that he said that’s what matters is that the comedy is what matters.
And he is part of that audience that I am hoping is going to come to the show that doesn’t identify as nerdy for speculative fiction but enjoys comedy and if his reaction is indicative of what the larger television audience is going to think, then I am really excited for the next 12 weeks.
Marshal interviewed a goddess in Why We Love Jaimie Alexander (and Lady Sif).