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Lose the Force!: Space opera show looks beyond ‘Star Wars’

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This space survey is skipping the galaxy far, far away!

A video variety show will explore the worlds of space opera films at Nitehawk Cinema on Jan. 28, but will blast right past the most famous example of the genre. “Star Wars” is just too big to include, says the host of “Kevin Geeks Out about Space Opera.”

“I feel at this point, a month and a half after ‘Star Wars’ comes out, people are kind of oversaturated with Star Wars,” says Carroll Garden comedian Kevin Maher. Instead, the show will cover “everything surrounding it — the movies that came before it and influenced Star Wars, the ones that ripped-off Star Wars, the ones that tried to be the next Star Wars.”

The night will feature melodramatic tales of interplanetary conflict like the “Flash Gordon” serials, the “Battlestar Galactica” TV shows, and “Jupiter Ascending,” the widely-panned 2015 film featuring Channing Tatum as a canine space-warrior.

“We always try to run the gamut of the best and the worst of the genre,” said Maher.

The “Kevin Geeks Out” series addresses a different topic each month, examining cinematic tropes like attacking animals, super villains, or lady robots. No matter how silly the subject, Maher gives it a thorough analysis.

“There’s a level of simultaneously taking this way too seriously, but then not taking it very seriously at all,” said Maher. “It’s a little bit academic, but with a sense of humor — you can take stupid things seriously.”

And Maher recruits guest speakers to provide new perspectives, with each showing film clips to support their arguments. Among the guests at the Space Opera show will be comedian Jen Northington, defending “Jupiter Ascending” as “the ultimate space opera,” and Meg Sweeney Lawless, presenting a super-cut of one of the least operatic things imaginable — every bit of paperwork contained in the first season of “Star Trek.”

“It’s one of the nerdiest things we’ve ever done on the show,” said Maher.

Despite the word “geek” in the name, few of the shows “Kevin Geeks Out” themes have been as nerd-centric as space operas. Maher says that is deliberate, and that “geeking out” is about getting really excited about a topic, no matter what it is.

“I do not self-identify as a geek,” said Maher. “Geek is uses as a verb. I think you can geek out about any subject whatsoever.”

Future shows, for instance, will focus on wigs and toupees in film, representations of the Devil, and — undercutting the non-nerd argument a bit — settling who is better: Batman or Superman.

And despite the official mandate to keep “Star Wars” out of the Jan. 28 line-up, Maher knows that it is going to come up.

“Even if we’re never addressing the elephant in the room, Star Wars is the yardstick that space opera is measured by, so we will inevitably be talking about it by comparison,” he said.

“Kevin Geeks Out about Space Opera” at Nitehawk Cinema [136 Metropolitan Ave. between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 384–3980, www.nitehawkcinema.com]. Jan. 28 at 9:30 pm. $15.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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