KnockBack: The Retro and Nostalgia Podcast

By Last Stand Media & Studio71

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Subscribers: 670
Reviews: 10

 Aug 2, 2022
Listening to Colin and Dagan talk about all sorts of nostalgic subjects is an absolute joy.

 Jun 14, 2022

 Nov 22, 2019
PS goodness

 Jun 19, 2019
Big fan of Colins for years but knock back is a treat for anyone who grew up in the 80's or 90's. Even if you don't know the subject the brothers Moriarty make for an entertaining listen.

Daniel K
 May 13, 2019
I love this podcast! The brothers chemistry is awesome. Having an older brother of my own, this feels right at home. Keep it up guys!


A weekly, retro-and-nostalgia-themed podcast co-hosted by brothers Colin and Dagan Moriarty. Video games, television shows, movies, books, toys, comics, and more... this podcast covers it all. New episodes post each Monday. To get every episode a week early and ad-free, as well as gain the ability to submit questions and comments to be read on the show, please consider supporting the show on Patreon: We wanna make the podcast even better, help us learn how we can:  For advertising opportunities please email    Privacy Policy:

Episode Date
#234 | Ninja Gaiden (NES)
We -- the Brothers Moriarty -- loved us some Ninja Gaiden in our younger years. The NES original is actually a vague reinterpretation of an arcade title by the same name that preceded it; yet, in turning Ninja Gaiden from a beat-'em-up into an action-platformer, developer Tecmo spawned a powerhouse that easily rivals other late-'80s classics. Indeed, it belongs in the conversation of best NES games, full-stop. Our investigation into Ryu Hayabusa's retro adventure doesn't only end with the first game, though, as we explore its contemporaries on the market and wax poetic about the heyday of the fictional ninja in greater media, and how Ninja Gaiden's deeply-told story gave us context, perhaps for the first time in our then-young lives, into the deeper potential of video games. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 08, 2022
#233 | No Country For Old Men
 In 2005, acclaimed American author Cormac McCarthy released one his most famous novels, a brisk read called No Country For Old Men. Set in 1980 in Texas' sprawling border region, No Country For Old Men is all about chance and consequence set amongst the backdrop of a brewing drug war that, in modern times, we know all too well. Our audience voted for us to cover this topic -- one about money, violence, love, and happenstance -- and we did so from two angles: We watched the movies, as you requested, but we also read the book, which is quite different in a number of ways. We're absolutely thrilled to talk about the Coen Brothers' award-winning film and the novel it was based upon alike. Just remember to call the coin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 01, 2022
#232 | Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
By 2011, Sony-owned developer Naughty Dog was firing out critically-acclaimed games from a machine gun. Only two years removed from near-unanimous Game of the Year Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and two years away from the even-more-unanimous Game of the Year The Last of Us, Uncharted 3 finds itself in a bit of a pickle, at least with some. After all, it wasn't directed by Amy Hennig, and many players felt it to be a weaker iteration than what preceded it. Yet, within its bounds is an absolutely stunning adventure, a wonderfully cinematic romp with the perfect balance of combat, puzzle-solving, and storytelling. Many at Naughty Dog think Uncharted 2 and 3 are only held at different levels of appreciation because of the order they were released in, and that if launched in the other direction, people would simply love 3 more than 2. Is that true? We discuss that -- and a whole lot more -- in our Uncharted 3-themed episode of KnockBack. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 25, 2022
#231 | Terminator 2: Judgment Day
We promised you we'd be back! A few weeks ago, we recorded an episode all about James Cameron's 1984 film The Terminator, and we figured we'd return with haste to talk about its mega-famous sequel. Launched in 1991, Judgment Day brings the co-stars of the first flick back, but turns the story on its head. This time, Arnold is a good guy, and he and Linda Hamilton act as stewards for John Connor, the all-important leader of the future resistance, after the dreaded Skynet becomes self-aware and goes haywire. Beloved to this day -- T2 is considered both one of the best sci-fi and action movies ever -- we dive into the story, setting, characters, and potential (both reached and missed) of this half-a-billion-grossing cultural phenomenon that helped further spawn and solidify an entertainment license that continues (to the chagrin of many) to this day. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 18, 2022
#230 | Game of Thrones (Season 8)
It's been a long trek, but we've finally made it through. Here is our eighth and final episode of KnockBack dedicated to the Game of Thrones television series, in particular its eighth season. These six episodes -- four of them essentially movie-length -- are contentious. Indeed, I don't think anyone would argue that this final run was blatantly rushed and not nearly as satisfying as to be expected. But it's not so much an insult to HBO's Game of Thrones as it is a compliment. We expected more. Yet, that doesn't mean there isn't much to talk about, praise, and enjoy in this final season, and we do just that. Buckle-up for the resolution not only of Game of Thrones, but of our nearly-20-hour discussion of it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 11, 2022
#229 | The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Let's be honest: Nintendo 64 isn't chock-full of excellent, must-play games. But it certainly had its reserve of classics, and 1998's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time -- the fifth core Zelda game -- is certainly one of them. In fact, for a not-so-small subsection of gamers, Ocarina of Time is considered one of the greatest (if not the best, outright) games of all-time. So, fresh off of recent playthroughs, we're excited to talk about it. From the jump to 3D to its amazing soundtrack, from its revolutionary Z-targeting gameplay to its rosters of memorable characters, items, weapons, and dungeons, Ocarina of Time was a masterpiece then, and it still is today. It's a reminder of Nintendo's true potential as the greatest innovator our industry has ever seen, and since it's one of the most-copied titles ever released, you also get to experience its lineage in most of what you play today. So let's get caught-up in the music, quite literally, and ping-pong between a seven-year period where things go off the rails, except for the heroics of one boy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 04, 2022
#228: Game of Thrones (Season Seven)
We won't lie: The going gets a little rough from this juncture on. HBO's Game of Thrones series, by this point in its run, had far-outstripped its source material. As such, they're flying on fumes through the seven episodes of the seventh season. Released in 2017, this penultimate offering is controversial to say the least, but if anything, our problems with it amount to a backhanded compliment. The reality is: The plot, the characters, the world... they all deserved a lot more room to breathe, to reach the quality that had been met so consistently up to this point, and HBO failed in letting that happen. The result is something contentious, but not without merit. It's just a shame to think of what could have been had they really bought-in on finishing the journey as epically and strongly as they began it. And sadly, it only gets worse from here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 27, 2022
#227: The Pool
Here in America -- and certainly in many other parts of the world -- swimming pools are a fundamental part of our summer tradition. Whether above-ground or inground, whether vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete, whether shared, community, or private, if you live in the USA and it's summertime, chances are you will readily encounter a pool. Perhaps you're a member of one, or even own your own. Since so many of us share this experience, we figured it'd be fun to talk about our pool memories from childhood. When did we learn how to swim, and what was it like growing up with a pool in our backyard? What games did we play and toys did we use? What's the protocol at public pools versus private ones, and what about the evolution of bathing suits? My friends, this podcast is the Marco to your Polo. Please enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 20, 2022
#226: The Terminator
James Cameron's 1984 sci-fi/horror flick The Terminator isn't so much under appreciated as it is oft-overlooked. After all, this film's sequel is one of the most famous action and sci-fi movies of all-time, but its predecessor is something more stayed, grounded, and thrilling. Intertwining themes of nuclear war and time travel with a very recognizable 1980s Los Angeles and a handful of wonderful performances, The Terminator does a lot of heavy lifting, not only in catapulting forward a series that still exists to this day, but in proving what science fiction can accomplish outside of the tried-and-true themes of space travel and spaceships and space battles and... space, generally. And yes: Arnold is awesome. Of course he is! So let's get you up to speed on this classic flick, starting with what year it is. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 13, 2022
#225: Game of Thrones (Season 6)
For many, the sixth season of Game of Thrones is when the show begins to decline. A lot of that unfortunately has to do with the subject matter itself: We are now beyond the boundaries of George RR Martin's books (at least as he's written and released them so far). With that structure gone, and with lots of holes to fill in, places to see and go, people to meet, and events to occur, the brisk pace of Game of Thrones' sixth season is perhaps its most glaring weakness. That's because within its 10 episodes is enough content for 20 or more, a compliment to yet another high-quality HBO offering that we simply want more of. It's still wonderful television, but it's sad to think about what could have been if it was given a more proper treatment, especially as we draw closer to what is widely considered a woefully weak finale. In the meantime, though, let us analyze and contemplate, as we're wont to do. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 06, 2022
#224: Hybrid Theory (Linkin Park album)
No, we've not Forgotten: Our audience voted for us to record an episode of KnockBack all about Linkin Park's seminal 2000 album Hybrid Theory, and needless to say, we're pleased to provide a Cure For the Itch. At a brisk 37 minutes a change, Hybrid Theory doesn't Runaway with fluff and filler. Instead, it stays With You, bringing you One Step Closer to the record's next great moment, one that always seems to be just around the corner. In the End, many consider Linkin Park's major label debut to be one of the most iconic raprock and nu-metal albums ever, a timely offering for a music industry Crawling towards a new era of downloads, YouTube videos, and single-obsessessions. In fact, Hybrid Theory is one of the final diamond-certified albums ever, a sign of the times. So let us talk about an album that brings raw energy and High Voltage to yearning, confused, and angst-ridden teens to this day. (While we always 'stretch our legs' with opening, non-topic-related conversation, we want to warn you that our introductory conversation today veers into contemporary politics and expresses opinions you may disagree with. Should you like to skip to the content itself, fast-forward 20-25 minutes from the beginning.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 30, 2022
#223: Game of Thrones (Season 5)
The fifth season of Game of Thrones, which first aired on HBO in 2015, represents somewhat of a plateau for the critically-acclaimed show. While the first four seasons presented a steady progression in quality, intrigue, and execution, season five seems outright rushed, with too much content in too little time. It's still awesome for what it is, though, and that's perhaps where our biggest criticism becomes a blatant compliment: Because we want more, and we want it slower and more methodically, not quickly and haphazardly. Thus, George RR Martin's famous televised series descends into what becomes an increasingly controversial second half, one that's largely winged without source material, though we're not quite to that point yet. As we do in each episode, let's travel this fictional world and try to make sense of its many characters, locales, and arcs, and have some fun and enjoy some insight along the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 23, 2022
#222: Spider-Man 2
At first blush, Sam Raimi wasn't a natural fit to direct a Spider-Man film, and yet his 2002 entry into the series did awesome at the box office and is much-beloved to this day. Two years later, he -- along with Tobey Mcguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, and others -- delivered Spider-Man 2, an even better film than the original that builds wonderfully on its themes, characters, and world. Spider-Man 2 also introduces an iconic villain in the form of Albert Molina's Dr. Octopus, who many Spidey fans were glad to see reemerge, at least in passing, in the MCU. Made for an exorbitant amount of money even then ($200 million) and earning an obscene amount of profit (some four times its cost), Spider-Man 2 is still one of the most beloved superhero films ever, even if it hails from an era when the genre wasn't so well-worn and readily-accepted. So join us as we gush over and celebrate Spider-Man 2, and remember: With great power comes great responsibility... fair or not. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 16, 2022
#221: Game of Thrones (Season 4)
We're halfway through George RR Martin's famous HBO fantasy series now, and some would argue that season four is the strongest Game of Thrones gets. That's high praise, of course -- the entire run (save maybe the end) is some of the best television ever produced -- but, whether you're a fan of the books or merely a lowly TV-watcher like we are, there's a whole lot to love. What's perhaps most interesting about this season (at least for us) is how different combinations of characters begin meeting, taking the wide-ranging tale into exciting new directions. As usual, it's hard to talk in too much detail here in the description without spoiling the show, but, uh... you may want to hire a food taster when you're done listening to us heap praise on one of our favorite programs ever. And we'll leave it there. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 09, 2022
#220 | Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Our slow-and-steady voyage through the Star Wars films continues unabated this week, as we move our focus to 2005's Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (as voted on by our listeners on Patreon). Capping off a tumultuous and ill-received prequel trilogy, Episode III is widely considered the strongest effort in that specific arc. But do we, The Brothers Moriarty, agree? Not particularly. Revenge of the Sith was when Lucas ran out of runway, and as a result, we're met with a rushed film that sets the seeds of some good ideas, but barely sticks around long enough to see any of them grow. Worse yet, it ignores much of what would have made this movie shine, adding too much to a concoction already drowning in watered-down ingredients. Before you execute Order 66, however, consider giving our chat a listen, and discover what a couple of lapsed, curmudgeonly Star Wars fans think about Anakin's ultimate turn to the Dark Side. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 02, 2022
#219 | Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
It's no understatement to say that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is perhaps the most singularly important game to ever come to a PlayStation platform, at least when taking into account the environment in which it launched. When it released in 2009, it did so at a vital time for the brand: PS3 Slim was out, its price was cut, and PlayStation had what seemed to be one last chance to best its rival and pull itself out of a dark three year period. Sony-owned Naughty Dog did a lot of the heavy lifting with the 2007 original, but Among Thieves realized the full potential of Uncharted, and is considered one of the best games of all-time to this very day. It's truly wonderful, and we are pleased to fulfill a listener vote and cover the game. So stay warm, friends. It's gonna get a little snowy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 25, 2022
#218: Game of Thrones (Season 3)
If the first two seasons of HBO's Game of Thrones didn't get your blood pumping, the third season -- which first aired in 2013 -- almost certainly will. With multiple kings (and a queen!) staking a claim and vying for power across the land, the stakes are ratcheting-up. One would-be monarch is equipped with a trio of dragons; another with more money than anyone could imagine; another with the power of fire magic, and so on. In the wake of each rest death and destruction, but it also brings us one step closer to resolution. From the Red Wedding to slave rebellions, and from the Brotherhood Without Banners to the situation North of the Wall, there is a whole lot to discuss, and there's little to waste. After all: Winter is still very much coming, and there are so many characters, arcs, and plot-points involved in this ever-darkening landscape. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 18, 2022
#217: Childhood Bedrooms
It's time for us to once again go back in time, not to celebrate and discuss a movie, video game, or TV show, but rather our own childhoods. Specifically: Our bedrooms growing up. These were our fortresses of solitude, places where we can regroup, study, be alone, and generally do whatever we want. Video games. Toys. TV. Computers. And, yes, schoolwork as well. Lots happened in our childhood bedrooms, which is why we're pleased to spend some two hours talking about our fondest and funniest memories of the places where we laid our heads to rest at night as children, and spent an awful lot of time in between, too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 11, 2022
#216 Game of Thrones (Season 2)
While lots of viewers obviously love the first season of Game of Thrones, it's the second season -- which first aired on HBO in 2012 -- many consider the beginning of the series' long-running and well-earned golden era. There's action all over the map: In the far-north with rumblings of 'A King Beyond the Wall,' in Winterfell and the Iron Islands, which stir with and fall victim to the spirit of raiding, across the Narrow Sea in Essos, where we discover a desert city called Qarth, and certainly at King's Landing, which is set to be invaded at any moment. There's a lot more going on, too, which is how Game of Thrones rolls. It's dense with characters and plot. Thus, we do the best we can to not only make sense of it all, but touch on the characters, moments, and arcs that stood out to us most, from the relationship between Arya and Tywin and the drama between Jaime and Brienne to the Battle of Blackwater Bay and the reignition of a fiery old religion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 04, 2022
#215: Toy Story
While Toy Story wasn't the first 3D animated offering, it was certainly the film that proved the technique viable, desirable, and even preferable to the old ways of doing things. It also made a boatload of money, which never hurts. When it launched in theaters in late 1995, Toy Story left audiences enamored with its characters, blown-away by its visuals, and instantaneously hungry for more (it would take four years for more to arrive). At a brisk 80 minutes, Toy Story doesn't linger. Instead, it entertains relentlessly, packing amazing voice acting (Tom Hanks and Tim Allen!) and, at that point in time, the most sophisticated computer graphics the world had ever seen. Remember: This is a year -before- Super Mario 64 came out. It's really quite amazing, when you think about it. So -- as we're wont to do on this show -- we gush about Toy Story for well over two hours, get into its deep and winding history, what it means to animation and society alike, and the heavy influence it would play on entertainment, even two and a half decades-plus later. As usual, it doesn't hurt having an Emmy Award-winning animator co-hosting this show... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 28, 2022
#214 | Game of Thrones (Season 1)
When it comes to HBO's mega-hit Game of Thrones -- arguably the single most famous offering in the four decade-long history of cable television -- there's so much to say. Like, tons. Infinite amounts, even. So, we've decided to tackle Game of Thrones here on KnockBack with an episode dedicated to each season, in an attempt to do some justice to something so grand. The first 10 episodes set George RR Martin's epic story (derived from his novel series A Song of Fire and Ice) into motion. We meet the Lannisters, Starks, and others who are all vying for a single throne, would-be rulers of great kingdoms steeped in history, tradition, and conflict. Game of Thrones is considered one of the best television shows ever for a reason: Because it really, truly is. It's a show that embodies the notion of "exceptional." And we're happy to celebrate it with a robust chat about the characters, settings, and story arcs that make season one hum. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 21, 2022
#213: Ghost in the Shell (1995 film)
While Ghost in the Shell began its life as a manga in the late '80s, the 1995 animated feature film that interpreted its story is what most people are familiar with. Created by renowned artist and writer Masamune Shirow and brought to the big screen by Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell deals with surprisingly heady subject matter: Science, politics, philosophy, and morality, amongst many other themes. The future world of cyborgs and humans envisioned in this work isn't too far off the mark, either, particularly when compared to other works of cyberpunk that are much more fanciful and overtly fictional in their approach. Overall, this is perhaps what makes Ghost in the Shell so notable to so many. It feels alive and true-to-form. And it's certainly worth a deep dive right here on KnockBack. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 14, 2022
#212 | Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
It's no exaggeration to say that 2007's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune launched at the perfect time. Naughty Dog's Indiana Jones-and-Tomb Raider-inspired adventure was released exclusively on PlayStation 3 when the console was in dire straits, getting beaten badly on the market by both Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii. In fact, that era may be the lowest point ever for the entire brand. But, for the first time for many PS3 players and would-be owners, Uncharted gave them something to be truly excited about, something to point at and justify their expensive console purchase. There's no denying that Drake's Fortune is one of PlayStation's most important offerings ever, and we're glad to dedicate a couple of hours to get into all the many reasons why this wonderful game still holds up all these years later. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 07, 2022
#211: Sixteen Candles
We love John Hughes here on KnockBack. The (sadly deceased) American filmmaker and writer is perhaps best-known for his work on the likes of Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, and Home Alone. But before he got to any of those films -- and the rest of his legion of '80s masterpieces -- he undertook Sixteen Candles, which also happens to be his directorial debut after a series of writing gigs, including with National Lampoons. Starring Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, two staples of his actor stable, Sixteen Candles is a surreal, funny, and emotional movie about a 16-year old girl whose family forgets her big day... and all that happens thereafter. However, there's a lot of weird stuff in this film, too: Implied sexual assault, casual racism, and more. All told, just where does Sixteen Candles fit in the Hughes Pantheon? Good and bad alike: Let's discuss. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 28, 2022
#210: Thriller (Michael Jackson album)
This episode of KnockBack is for all you pretty young things out there. In late-1982, Michael Jackson -- already world-renowned both with his family band The Jackson 5 and via his solo vehicles -- released his most seminal work, the three-times Diamond certified record Thriller. While its title track may be what's most remembered these days, it's interesting to look back to the early-'80s, when Thriller (the song) was released sixth (!) when it comes to singles. From Billie Jean and Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' to Beat It and Human Nature, Thriller provides banger after banger, a fusion of pop sensibilities with a rock-and-roll backbone. Yes: Michael Jackson is today a controversial figure, even reviled in some corners. But we wanted to look at this album through a historically relevant lens, and examine the music for music's sake. We hope you enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 21, 2022
#209 | Battlestar Galactica (Season 4)
The culmination of Sci-Fi's reimagined Battlestar Galactica series is exceptional. Airing between 2008 and 2009 and interrupted by the Writer's Strike, its final season may be one of the greatest runs of programming in television history. Religious, spiritual, scientific, and above all else human, BSG wraps up with a satisfying conclusion that forces us to confront difficult questions about our heroes, villains, and perhaps most of all about ourselves. Humanity versus Cylon is a distraction. It's all about sentience. Choice. And breaking the cycle that, if anything, provides nothing but predictable outcomes. And that, in and of itself, may be unchangeable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 14, 2022
#208: Rushmore
Wes Anderson's filmography is pocked with remarkable films, and 1998's Rushmore is undoubtedly one of them. Starring Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, Rushmore is -- in our estimation -- a movie all about dealing with pain: The pain of growing up, the pain of loss, the pain of emptiness. But, in traditional Anderson form, Rushmore's melancholy is accompanied by copious wit and humor that balances everything out, delivering something perhaps far greater than the sum of its individual parts. So take dead aim at the rich boys, friends. But not before you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 07, 2022
#207 | Halo: Combat Evolved
There's just no denying it: The gaming series Halo and the Xbox console are intrinsically linked, and will be forever. Indeed, Microsoft went and bought Halo mid-development to become its maiden console's killer app, and... well... it worked... because Xbox was unlikely to survive without it. Two decades-plus later, Halo remains one of the most important console franchises in the world, and yet, it all began innocuously enough with a 2001 product subtitled Combat Evolved. While far from the first FPS on console, there's no doubt that Halo -- through control, story, LAN, and more -- set the precedent for the next more-than 20 years of console-based shooting, which, as we well know, is now big, big business. We may just have the esteemed Halo to thank for that, and so, we welcome a conversation all about it here on KnockBack. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 31, 2022
#206: Childhood Vacations
So many of our remembrances are centered on our 'home territory' of Long Island, and the places where we would later call home, from Boston to Philadelphia to California. But what about the times we left, specifically for vacation with our family or friends? This week's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to those leisure-filled days and weeks of yore, when we had nothing to do and no expectations, but lots of funny and ridiculous stories to tell. We hope you enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 24, 2022
#205: Aliens
Back in the late '70s, Ridley Scott and Dan O'Bannon released the seminal sci-fi horror movie Alien. It took more than half a decade to get a sequel off the ground, however, this time manned by none other than auteur James Cameron. It's with Aliens, with an S, that the quiet horror franchise-to-be became an action franchise with horror elements, and while it was a somewhat divisive move, there's no doubt that Aliens -- finally launched in 1986 -- is one of the best-regarded and most influential sci-fi and action movies ever made. So let's head back to LV-426, friends. The Xenomorphs aren't nearly done with humanity yet, and there's so much to discuss en route. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 17, 2022
#204: Shovel Knight
You may not be familiar with the concept of Shovelry, but veterans of 2014's smash-hit indie darling Shovel Knight will know all about it. Kickstarted nearly a decade ago by a new team called Yacht Club Games and launched to massive commercial and critical success, Shovel Knight is an ode to the NES era, taking liberal amounts of inspiration from the likes of DuckTales, Mega Man, Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, Faxanadu, Zelda II, Super Mario Bros. 3, and more. Yet, it's also a adventure that can act as an excellent gateway for younger players into the days of yore. Shovel Knight is one of the greatest old-school-style romps ever crafted, full stop, and we're thrilled to talk about it on KnockBack. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 10, 2022
#203: 10 Songs That Remind Us When...
We love music, and we don't focus on it enough here on KnockBack. We're endeavoring to change that, starting now. Music is tied up so intimately with nostalgia that it barely merits further explanation. Yet, for all of us, songs and time, songs and people, songs and a moment or an event, these are the connections we simply cannot escape. Here are 10 songs we love that also remind us of happiness or pain from times gone. Indeed, they may represent the only tangible connection we have to some of the topics we discuss. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 03, 2022
#202 | Razor (Battlestar Galactica film)
In between seasons three of four of Sci-Fi's reimagined Battlestar Galactica series came a standalone movie. It's called Razor, and -- as the name suggests -- it focuses on the trials and tribulations of the Battlestar Pegasus, which we were introduced to in season two. Pegasus is commanded by an icy officer named Cain, who does whatever's necessary to survive. But Razor shows us a different side of Cain, and gives us insight into how she and her ship lived through the Cylon assault on their home colonies. We're also introduced to Cain's protégé, Kendra Shaw, who -- much like Starbuck and Adama -- acts as Cain's surrogate daughter. And so we spool up our FTL drives once more, this time to go just ever-so-slightly into the past, which will hopefully illustrate some of what's yet to come with our journey through BSG. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 27, 2021
#201: The Star Wars Christmas Special
Back in 1978, something truly horrifying happened. Following the worldwide, blockbuster success of the original Star Wars in 1977 (which we now lovingly refer to as A New Hope), audiences waited for what was next. And while The Empire Strikes Back arrived in 1980 and set the world ablaze, there were a few stops along the way, and one of them was almost impossibly ill-advised, in hindsight. The Star Wars Christmas Special aired only one time that holiday season, and it's widely-considered to be the single worst piece of Star Wars anything, ever. (Colin contends it's arguably the worst piece of entertainment ever created.) Not even the original movie's cast and some timely guest stars could save this coke-addled variety show. It's no wonder -- apart from its Boba Fett cartoon -- that it's been completely disowned and disavowed. And yet, we couldn't help ourselves. Enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 20, 2021
#200 | Avatar: The Last Airbender (Season 1)
Surprise! For our 200th episode, we decided to cover one of the most-requested topics from our audience since we began KnockBack some four years ago. Avatar: The Last Airbender came to Nickelodeon in 2005, and its first season immediately raised the bar of what could be expected from a 21st century Nick that helped define the previous 20 years of children and teen television content. Full of heart and soul, beautifully animated, and charming to the max, Avatar is undeniably appealing and worth your attention. We're very pleased to finally talk about it here on KnockBack, and we hope you enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 13, 2021
#199: Forks in the Road
Choice A or Choice B? We're met with this conundrum over and over again in life, and yet, there are certain choices that are far more consequential than others. This episode of KnockBack is dedicated to such forks in the road, where two or more options are presented, and whichever choice you make will resonate far beyond that point in time, perhaps for the rest of your life. From jobs and living situations to education and the start and stop of relationships, these are 10 moments from the lives of the Brothers Moriarty that -- if a different path was taken -- would have likely meant this very show wouldn't exist at all. How meta. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 06, 2021
#198: Kill Bill (Volume 2)
Everyone knows that Kill Bill was originally intended as one epic-length film, but Miramax ultimately convinced writer and director Quentin Tarantino to do things their way. The result is a second installment that's quite different from its first. Depending on how you look at things, of course, that may be a good thing. 2004's Kill Bill: Volume 2 is a far less violent, far more cerebral offering that exchanges swordplay for dialogue, but the same themes transcend both films and remain at their beating heart: Revenge, rage, and love. Indeed, the two parts fit together kind of like Yin and Yang, a perhaps not-all-that-inappropriate reference considering the film's deep Asian-inspired roots. Can you survive the Five Point Palm-Exploding Heart Technique? Unlikely. Thankfully, though, it's quite safe to hit play, sit back, and listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 29, 2021
#197: Kill Bill (Volume 1)
If the blood-fueled havoc of Kill Bill reminds us anything, it's that "revenge is never a straight line." Quentin Tarantino's 2003 flick -- his fourth written-and-directed film -- was originally intended to be one long, four hour-ish movie, but they wisely split it in two. Thus, in Volume 1, we're left to consume the first half of the story, all about a nameless Bride fueled by a mother's rage. Full of memorable characters and performances, exceptional cinematography, an epic soundtrack and score, and a full embrace of its nerdy and sometimes-obscure influences, Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a must-see movie for its wonderful style alone. So listen to the podcast, and let us know what you think. If you still feel raw about it, we'll be waiting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 22, 2021
#196 | Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The third entry in the Metal Gear Solid franchise is the first game to take us backwards in time. While the original two adventures took place slightly ahead of their release window, MGS3 takes place 40 years prior to its 2004 launch, and within is a captivating Cold War-slash-alternate history tale about the Soviet Union, some American (and other foreign) agents, and a vaunted, nuclear-armed super weapon that will change the face of warfare forever. Infused with memorable characters and dialogue, revamped combat, and a deeply geopolitical tale, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is considered by many fans of the series to be its best entry. Do the Moriarty Brothers agree? As usual, there's only one way to find out: Hit play. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 15, 2021
#195: Poltergeist
1982's Poltergeist is a fascinating film to examine. It's a Steven Spielberg horror production that also wasn't, a movie with what was essentially a 'shadow director,' allowing Spielberg to navigate around contractual issues with ET, which he (also) directed, and which came to theaters at nearly the same time. But production curiosities aside, Poltergeist is akin to the collision of two Spielberg pictures -- Jaws and The Goonies -- a sometimes dire and scary while at other times upbeat and even funny adventure about a house built on an old graveyard... and the consequences therein. Is the house clean? Well, not exactly. Yet, the TV beckons... and so does this episode of KnockBack. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 08, 2021
#194 | Battlestar Galactica (Season 3)
Our return to Battlestar Galactica brings us to what many consider the show's weakest season, and that's certainly a valid perspective. But the reality is that, while season three took some weird turns and bottlenecked the show with some frustrating one-offs that felt more procedural and drama, it's still full of emotional moments, excellent acting, and a continuation of a core plot that finds our fledgling band of human survivors still seeking Earth, fleeing from their Cylon pursuers who are always only a step behind. We've said many times: Battlestar Galactica is a science fiction show, but it's more than that. It's a show about philosophy, religion, and existentialism, and that all comes out in droves during this contentious season. So jump your ships into orbit and hit play. And don't pay any attention to that music you may be hearing in the background... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 01, 2021
#193: Ghostbusters
While it's true that we ain't afraid of no ghosts, it's also true that we're not very fond of them, either. They are, after all, undead apparitions that seem to play by their own set of rules, and, well, it's time that they were busted. Thus, we queued up 1984's classic comedy Ghostbusters to draw some inspiration. With lots of brilliant minds involved -- Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and others -- you'd think Ghostbusters would be a runaway hit. And for many audiences, it certainly was. But the Brothers Moriarty have a slightly different take: Primarily that Ghostbusters has all of the makings of something truly great, but doesn't fully take advantage of any of its components. Please don't try to trap us with your proton pack before you listen, though, for you may just find that you agree. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 25, 2021
#192: Fight Club
While it's true that the first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club, we felt like a two hour podcast of silence wouldn't be very enticing. Thus, we're willing to break the sacred code to present to you a discussion all about David Fincher's 1999 film based upon Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel. The story revolves around an unnamed man played by Edward Norton who encounters a man named Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt. The result is an introspective, Generation X-infused movie that focuses a spotlight on the hopelessness deep inside all of us, one that comes out in fits of consumerism, despair, and even violence. It's that latter word that's the true focus of Fight Club, though: The battering life can deliver all of us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 18, 2021
#191: Roommates
We, the Moriarty Brothers, are grown-ass men with houses, but that wasn't always the case. In our younger days, we -- like so many! -- lived in apartments, townhouses, and even entire homes with roommates, and such experiences are obviously rich for storytelling. So allow us to delve into our college years and early professional lives, and tell you about some of our living situations, from the mundane to the ridiculous... and regale you with tales of the amazing, lame, and otherwise unforgettable people we bunked with along the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 11, 2021
#190: Ninja Scroll
Way back when, anime made its way to western audiences primarily via three important films: Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and today's topic, Ninja Scroll. Released in Japan in the summer of 1993, Ninja Scroll quickly meandered west, where it garnered a substantial hardcore audience during the VHS era and into the DVD era. That's especially strange, since -- back in its native country -- Ninja Scroll wasn't much of a hit at all. That wasn't true outside of Japan's borders, however, where nearly 30 years later, it's still considered an all-time great and a seminal piece of Japanese culture. So let's jump into Feudal Japan and sort through a very video game-like plot about a couple of samurai slicing and dicing through eight foes with special powers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 04, 2021
#189 | Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
By the time 2002 rolled around, people were already pretty disenchanted with what would become known as the Star Wars Prequels. 1999's Phantom Menace left much to be desired, but there was great hope Attack of the Clones would turn things around. After all, it's the Empire Strikes Back of this particular trilogy, but as we all know, it's nowhere near as good. Yet, there's no denying that, for us, this movie is better than we remembered. But there's still much to say about Hayden Christensen, Kamino and Geonosis, Jango and Boba Fett, Tusken Raider slaughter, Yoda's lightsaber battle, a '50s diner, and much, much more. So put away the death sticks, hit play, and join us for yet another chat about A Galaxy Far, Far Away. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 27, 2021
#188 | Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Playing MGS2 some 20 years after its initial release on PlayStation 2 in 2001 is... well... it's an experience. In fact, it's completely and eerily prescient. What starts out innocently enough as a conspiracy theory-laden, Solid Snake-driven adventure ends up turning into a shockingly timely commentary on technology, war, government, and humanity itself. Snake's and Raiden's adventure through the Tanker and Big Shell is widely considered one of gaming history's greatest, and after giving it another go with fresh, modern eyes, we're pleased to say it's still a tour de force. There's so much underneath the surface, in fact, that we don't even know where to begin or end (much like the Patriots' ubiquitous control over society). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 20, 2021
#187: The Incredible Hulk (film)
Marvel's vaunted Cinematic Universe had a more inauspicious start than many may remember, and in fact, the first two MCU films came to theaters mere months apart in 2008. A few weeks ago, we covered Iron Man, the first of those two movies, and so this week we're on to the Edward Norton-led and surprisingly contentious standalone Incredible Hulk film. Its contentiousness is surprising because this movie is actually quite good, though stories about turbulent production may have soured this picture's memory (not to mention some recasts). Nonetheless, we have much to discuss here, including the representation of the Hulk himself, the film's significant anti-war message, some pretty great performances from some very famous actors, and more. The ball's in your court, Mr. Green. Just hit play. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 13, 2021
#186: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Wes Craven's 1984 film A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the most beloved horror flicks ever made, a tale about a child murderer who dies, only to return to haunt the dreams of more could-be victims. Antagonist Freddy Kreuger, in particular, is iconic, but the question remains: Is this movie actually any good? Is it scary? Does it hold up? Or is it just a little too goofy and poorly-paced to be believed? We get deep into all of that, navigating with listener inquiries in hand, as always. Baseball bats and boogeymen? That's the least of our concerns. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 06, 2021
#185: Generation Kill
In 2004, journalist Evan Wright released a book called Generation Kill, all about his time attached to a Marine regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was a hit, and the basis for a 2008 HBO series by the same name. As its name suggests, the US Marines 1st Recon Battalion is meant to... well... perform reconnaissance. But 'Chaos' and 'Godfather' saw them more suited for a blitzkrieg to Baghdad. The result is an extraordinary story of courage, insanity, and ruthlessness, and we're eager to talk about all seven episodes and all eight hours. Of course, while we go over our favorite characters, moments, and more, this conversation also delves into the Iraq War itself, what it was like living in a society that overwhelmingly supported the conflict, and the lessons we've hopefully learned for the future. So hit play and listen... but police that mustache first. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 30, 2021
#184: The Last Days of Summer and Back to School
The summer is all fun and games, but 'back to school' always looms on the horizon. The further we get into the dog days, the closer we get to the next grade, and it's those weeks -- usually in August, but sometimes in July or stretching into September -- that are our focus during this episode. What was our routine? Were we excited to go clothes shopping? To get school supplies? To find out who our teachers are? Or did we dread returning to the classroom, and do everything we could to avoid the harsh reality of childhood education? People were usually one way or the other, and sometimes they vacillated between the two. As for us? Well... let's just say we really loved our Star Wars and GI Joe lunchboxes, and begin there. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 23, 2021
#183: Iron Man (2008 film)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty much the biggest thing to ever hit cinemas, but it started innocently enough back in 2008 with Iron Man, the Jon Favreau-directed, Robert Downey Jr.-led superhero flick that's... well... pretty damn good, actually. Indeed, it only grossed half a billion dollars at the box office, pretty mild results for what would follow! The film may be missing a villain, but it comes packing a whole lot more: A complex, human, and deeply-flawed protagonist, a fun world, awesome technology, and lots of humor. Iron Man is a charming film that's more than a worthy watch, and we're thrilled to jump in as we begin our exploration of the MCU. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 16, 2021
#182: Top Gun
Some people have the need for speed. Among them are the US Navy fighter pilots as portrayed in the 1986 Jerry Bruckheimer-led smash-hit Top Gun. The film stars a young Tom Cruise as Maverick, an ace pilot with a mysterious past and his own way of doing things. But really, this flick is a visual feast for the eyes if you're into fighter jets, dogfighting, and more. Is it corny and campy? Absolutely. Does it hold up today? Well, we'll leave that up to you. And yes, we'll even get into the theories about what the movie really means... although we're not so sure we agree. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 09, 2021
#181: Labyrinth
The 1986 Jim Henson classic film Labyrinth is about a whole lot more than David Bowie's impressive codpiece. And yes: That in and of itself is amazing. But nestled underneath its fantasy, puppetry, and music is a movie about childhood, about growing up and finding your way and letting go. Few movies resonate from childhood resonate more than Labyrinth for Colin in particular, who considers this one of his favorite all-time flicks. And, well... it really is as good now as it was then. Maybe even better. So let's go to the castle on the other side of the Goblin City, and find out what mysteries Jareth has in store for us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 02, 2021
#180: Battlestar Galactica (Season 2)
For many fans of BSG, the second season of the reimagined run is the best 20 episodes the franchise has to offer. It's here that -- according to Dagan -- the show goes from good to very good, and truly finds itself with its fusion of dark, deep, philosophical, and religious themes tied to the trappings of grounded sci-fi. The result is truly special: One part political thriller and another part horror flick, one part spiritual exercise and another part existential crisis. Battlestar Galactica is about as good as televised science fiction has ever been, and we're thrilled to talk about the second season and all that entails. Just remember: We want Razors. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 26, 2021
#179 | Spider-Man (2002 film)
Some 20 years removed from the release of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, it's easy to get lost in the weeds. After all, we are absolutely inundated with superhero media today, particularly from Marvel, whether it's movies, TV shows, and even video games. But back in 2002, Spider-Man's 21st century film debut was both quaint and extraordinary. On one hand, it's wild to think about how important this particular movie is to the landscape that would come. On the other hand, it's fun to think about what may have happened if it wasn't made at all, and if it wasn't such a rousing success. So let's chat about Toby Maguire's Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst's MJ, and the true star of the show: Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin. And no matter what you do, please don't cause the deaths of countless innocents in selfish battle again and again and again until we're both dead! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 21, 2021
#178: The Nostalgia of Seasons
Memories are structured. There's a place, an event, and perhaps even other people. And then there's the true setting: The year, the era, the month, or indeed the season itself. It's that latter notion that we want to explore in this episode of KnockBack, because the four seasons themselves -- Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter -- are absolutely teeming with nostalgic remembrance begging to be uncovered. The turning of Spring and the end of school, the promise and freedom of Summer, the changes and back-to-normal of Fall, and the end of it all (with a promise of more to come) of Winter. We're excited to delve into the fuzzy and meaningful feelings tethered to each season, feelings that are probably more universally-felt than you'd initially think. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 19, 2021
#177 | The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (film)
Peter Jackson's epic film rendition of JRR Tolkein's equally-epic fantasy book series wraps up with 2003's Return of the King, a flick many (including us) consider to be the strongest of the three. As Middle-earth seeks balance and peace, the forces of evil remain very much in play. While Frodo and Sam make a beeline for Mount Doom, the Fellowship and their forces fight for survival. With amazing performances, a wonderful score, solid CG, and an amazing story (of course!), we're sad to see Tolkein's Trilogy off. But fear not, for all hasn't yet turned to vain ambition. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 05, 2021
#176: Grandma's Boy
The 2006 stoner comedy Grandma's Boy is a classic for multiple reasons: It's a stoner romp with great characters, it's fun without being dramatically crude or inappropriate (with some notable exceptions, of course), and -- perhaps most understatedly -- it mercilessly lampoons the gaming industry. Since E3 2021 is now over, we thought we'd do a quick episode all about potentially our hobby's most famous comedy. Just be wary of whatever's in Sophie's tin. It may just turn you into a deer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 28, 2021
#175: Battlestar Galactica (Miniseries + Season 1)
In the early aughts, a late '70s sci-fi show was reimagined for a whole new generation of viewers. It was called Battlestar Galactica, and -- unlike the original, cult-favorite run -- the reboot was a smash hit. It's simple enough to understand, in premise: Humanity creates robotic slaves who turn on them in a vicious war before disappearing for decades. But then, they come back and inflict a holocaust on their masters. BSG deals with more themes than we can even imagine: Fascism and terrorism, economics and philosophy, religion and death. There's so much to talk about, in fact, that we're doing four episodes on the show. This is the first. We hope you enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 21, 2021
#174 | The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (film)
During episode #167 of KnockBack, we spent nearly three hours gushing about Peter Jackson's 2001 rendition of The Lord of the Rings' first book, Fellowship of the Ring. Naturally, we couldn't merely stop there. The following year -- in 2002 -- the second of three Lord of the Rings movies came out. It's called The Two Towers, and this is the flick and book alike that many people consider the best in Tolkein's Trilogy. But does the film hold up, particularly with a heavy mix of special and practical effects? How about the performances and the story? We've much to discuss, of course. So join us as we delve back into Middle-earth, where things are just starting to heat up... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 14, 2021
#173 | Rewriting Star Wars: Episode IX
It's all been leading to this! Our audience on Patreon voted to have us rework the new Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX), and... well... we got a little carried away and dedicated entire episodes to our visions on a film-by-film basis. Remember! You should listen to KnockBack Episodes #159 and #164 before jumping into this one, if you haven't done so already. You may be lost, otherwise... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 07, 2021
#172: Catching Up
This week's episode of KnockBack is a little different. Instead of covering a topic or some memories, we thought we'd talk a bit about our little retro and nostalgia podcast itself. How has the show grown and changed? How do we think we're doing? What topics do we think we covered best? Which do we think we could have done better with? What's the future hold? This is an episode for the thousands and thousands of hardcore KnockBack listeners, without which we couldn't do this show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 31, 2021
#171: The Woods
As you know, we (The Brothers Moriarty) grew up on Long Island, nestled between the water and the woods. It's the latter that we thought we'd focus this particular episode on. We absolutely adore the woods. Playing, hiking, exploring. We basically lived amongst the trees as children! Thus, we thought it would be fun to regale you with some stories of our past being in the woods: Boy Scouts, mountain biking, BMXing, and running away from fictional foes. Discovering new things, using our imaginations, getting to know ourselves and others... and maybe catching some poison ivy, too. Are you an arborist like we are? Only one way to find out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 24, 2021
#170: Training Day
The important thing to remember about the 2001 film Training Day is the context in which it was filmed and released. The decade of the '90s were scattered with serious issues of police brutality, and the Los Angeles Police Department was at the center of the storm. Thus, Denzel Washington's and Ethan Hawke's foray into the Southern California underworld -- and the seriously crooked behavior by Washington and his cop colleagues -- can really be interpreted as something greater: A glimpse into a specific place and time where a story like this not only made a lot of sense, but was almost expected. The backdealing, the violence, the betrayal... it's all here in Training Day, one of the most tense movies perhaps ever made. And hey, just remember: Stay off of the rover. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 17, 2021
#169 | God of War (2005 game)
Every so often, a game comes along that helps define a genre. When it comes to 2005's God of War -- which launched that year on PlayStation 2 courtesy of Santa Monica Studio -- one can't help but see how important it was (and still is) to so many of the 3D action games we play today. Inspired by Greek mythology, a cinematic approach, a glorified sense of gore and sex, and... well... some Capcom games, clearly, God of War remains one of the PlayStation brand's biggest touchstones all of these years (and consoles) later. So grab your Blades of Chaos, Kratos fans. It's about to get tragic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 10, 2021
#168: South Park (Bigger, Longer & Uncut)
South Park rages on even today, but it was during a more embryonic stage in the mega-franchise's history that we got its one and only film: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Released to theaters in the summer of '99, South Park's movie foray is basically the length of three regular 'ol episodes, but produced differently. For instance, it's a musical, and a damn good one! And there's a whole lot of cursing, nudity, and more. But at its heart is exactly what makes South Park so popular even today, and certainly then: Irreverence, inappropriate humor, excellent comedic timing, and an appreciation for the destruction of Canada. And yes, we do indeed blame them. But we blame bad parents even more... and thankfully, so does this film. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 03, 2021
#167 | The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (film)
Way back in 1954, JRR Tolkien released the first of three seminal books that are referred to colloquially as "the trilogy," but that is otherwise collectively known as The Lord of the Rings. And, believe it or not, it took decades for this wonderful fantasy franchise to see life on the silver screen. By way of the talented Peter Jackson and his extraordinary team, Fellowship of the Ring (and its two subsequent, book-based films) bring us to Middle-earth on the verge of great potential disaster. The One Ring is in danger of falling into the wrong hands, and it's up to a wizard, some Hobbits, elves, humans, and even an ax-wielding dwarf to keep it secret, keep it safe. It's time to go high fantasy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 26, 2021
#166: Freaks and Geeks
Some television shows come along that are way ahead of their time, and Freaks and Geeks -- which ran for a scant 18 episodes between 1999 and 2000 on NBC -- is one such program. That's especially ironic, of course, since it's actually about the past. Taking place in 1980 and 1981 in and around a Michigan high school, Freaks and Geeks is the brainchild of writers, directors, and producers Paul Feig and Judd Apatow, who are of course wildly famous today. So, too, is much of the cast, from James Franco and Seth Rogen to Linda Cardellini and Jason Segel. But beyond all of that, Freaks and Geeks is a show about the teenage experience, set through the lens of multiple groups of oft-conflicting cliques. So let's discuss one of the most beloved cult classic television shows of all-time, and then get really sad that we never received more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 19, 2021
#165: Home Cooking
Depending on who you are, who your parents are, when and where you grew up, and many other factors, your experience eating at home as a kid was... well... different. We Moriartys were quite lucky, indeed: Italian Long Islanders with an extended family of talented cooks constantly putting delectable treats in front of us (carbs, especially). But some of you out there... well... you may not have been as lucky. So let's explore stories of eating at home, of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, or beloved meals and loathed options. Was your mom a better cook, or your dad? Maybe your grandparents? There's much to discuss. Just one thing: Don't go into this episode on an empty stomach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 12, 2021
#164 | Rewriting Star Wars: Episode VIII
KnockBack's 159th episode is a unique one in that it's dedicated to the wholesale recrafting and rewriting of 2015's Star Wars film The Force Awakens. Quite simply, we've decided to follow it up with our rewriting of Episode VIII! Now, it's important you listen to or watch Episode 159 first, or you'll have no idea what we're talking about. You've been warned! Otherwise, please enjoy yet another episode voted on by you, the fans! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 05, 2021
#163: PlayStation Portable
Nintendo has long dominated gaming's lucrative handheld scene, vanquishing foes who dared enter the space, one after another, from Atari to SEGA to SNK. But then 2004 rolled around. It was late in that year (and into the next) that Sony launched PlayStation Portable, or PSP, the only non-Nintendo handheld in the history of the industry to... well... hold its own against its arch-rival in an ecosystem it had to scratch, claw, and bite its way into. Yet, PSP's legacy is a mixed one, remembered as much as a fabulous on-the-go emulator as it was a unique proving ground for some of Sony's biggest IP. Discontinued in 2014, our memories of PSP are growing dimmer by the year. So let's put some thoughts on the record, and let's do so with a special guest: MrMattyPlays, who holds PlayStation Portable near-and-dear to his heart. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 29, 2021
#162: Our Favorite '90s Memories
You, our precious audience, have a wide array of wants when it comes to KnockBack. You like the episodes about games, and about movies, and TV shows, and all the rest, but you also like when we get into the ephemera of the past, too. Today's show is thus dedicated to just that. We, the Brothers Moriarty, have chosen 10 'somethings' from the decade of the 1990s -- maybe a show we used to watch, or a way we used to do something, or whatever the case might be -- and talked about those memories, why they matter, and how they brought us to today. Needless to say, we really think you're going to like this one, especially if you were around and can remember the firsthand essence of the stories we tell. Enjoy! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 22, 2021
#161: The Movie Theater
For pretty much every child, going to the movie theater is a rite of passage. The thing is, the nature of that rite hinges mightily on when and where you grew up. For we The Brothers Moriarty, our formidable movie theater experiences were on Long Island in the '70s, '80s, and '90s, and it's from there that we can draw many memorable, funny, and resonant stories. Our pre-movie rituals. What snacks to eat. Getting rides to and fro. Meeting girls (or boys!). Playing in the arcade. Seeing flicks you weren't supposed to. The saga truly goes on and on. Today's episode of KnockBack -- voted on by the audience -- is dedicated to our favorite cinematic stories. Not on the screen, of course, but our stories of visiting them, instead. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 15, 2021
#160 | Blade Runner (1982 film)
In the early '80s, Harrison Ford was completely and undeniably in his element. Over a five year period, he appeared in The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, and The Temple of Doom. That's one hell of a run. But squished right in between those four movies is 1982's Blade Runner, where we see Ford lose the roguishness (kind of) for something decidedly deeper, darker, and more philosophical. Ridley Scott's classic sci-fi film tells the story of maverick androids that need to be hunted down and "retired," and it's based upon a '60s novel from Philip K. Dick. But -- much like with most of Dick's writing -- this is a story that challenges our very concept of what it is to be human. To feel, to think, to remember, to act. So let's head to Los Angeles in 2019, where things aren't quite what you'd expect. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 08, 2021
#159 | Rewriting Star Wars: Episode VII
We're pretty hard on Star Wars here on KnockBack. But it's only because we care so damn much! Yet, we're rarely (if ever) asked to put up or shut up when it comes to the topic... until now. As voted on by our listeners, this episode is the first of three that will be dedicated to the new Star Wars trilogy, but through a simple lens: If given free reign, what would our new trilogy look like, one that takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi and includes as much or as little of established lore as possible? Well, today, we open our respective trilogies with our Episode VIIs. Dagan sets up a tale of familial redemption through haunting spectres of Darth Vader's past. Colin writes about an out-of-control corporation commanded by a religious prophet intent on showing the lies of the Force. They are very different stories from each other, and certainly different from canon. Naturally, we hope you enjoy both. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 01, 2021
#158: BioShock Infinite
High above the clouds is a city in the sky. It's called Columbia, and it was once a part of the United States, a floating testament to American Exceptionalism and the sacred religion of The Founders. This is all true in BioShock Infinite, anyway, an adventure set in an alternate version of 1912. As Booker DeWitt, your charge is clear: Rescue an unusual girl named Elizabeth from the grasp of Columbia's deified leader and get out of dodge. But, as with Ken Levine's original BioShock, Infinite is about much, much more than meets the eye, a clever, well-written title that challenges the very essence of what makes games... well... games! Racism, nationalism, militarism, industrialism. These aren't exactly common thematic elements of the fare we usually play. But here, they're central to the story. So press play, my friends. It's time to wipe away the debt. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 22, 2021
#157: Board Games
Through a modern lens, board games seem... well... quaint. After all, why would a child play with plastic toys when they can hold an iPad, are we right? Thus, it's incumbent on us to explore the Old Ways, and in reality, those Old Ways are still quite new, indeed. Board gaming, as it turns out, is in a boomtime as we speak. But enough of the contemporary. Let's instead explore the borderline-antiquated, from the capitalistic madness of Monopoly and the frantic Game of Life to the ever-pugnacious Battleship and everyone's first bout with murder: Clue. Oh, and there's plenty more in there, too, from your checkers and chess to your Risk and Axis & Allies. So let's roll the dice to see who goes first, and don't even think about cheating. We're watching closely. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 15, 2021
#156: The Godfather
This week's episode of KnockBack makes you an offer you can't refuse, as we open up the floor to a discussion all about the classic 1972 film The Godfather, a movie some consider to be the very best that American cinema has ever had to offer. Is it true? Well, that's subjective, but what we do know is this: The Godfather is an amazing flick, and sets such an important template for all of the wonderful Mafia media that would come after it. Character, story, dialogue... it has it all. But the major question is: Is it the most influential movie ever made? We dive deep into this notion, because when you consider just how many quotes, scenes, and iconic imagery are pulled from this picture to this day, it becomes clear that it may indeed hold that level of exceptional influence. So, click play. Because today we take care of all family business. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 08, 2021
#155: Long Island
Long Island, New York is the nautical homeland of The Moriarty Boys, and it comes up on KnockBack constantly. Almost every one of our childhood and teenage stories, memories, and events happened there, and -- at the request of the audience -- we thought we'd take the opportunity to do a non-IP-driven episode of our show all about that peculiar strip of land in New York City's shadow. For without it, there would be no Colin and Dagan as you know us today, and in its absence, our lives would have been radically different. Why does this place matter so much to us? What do we miss the most about living there? Will we ever go back? Let's breakdown the sacred setting of Moriarty Lore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 01, 2021
#154: John Wick
The term 'action movie' is sometimes used as a pejorative in order to hand-wave away bombastic and violent films that don't have some sort of deeper meaning. Yet, 2014's John Wick -- starring the seemingly-affable Keanu Reeves -- may just have redefined the term for a modern era. The titular Wick's head-first dive into the underworld seems almost unimaginably absurd at first. And maybe it is. But it's the texture underneath that truly gleams here: The shadowy characters, the thoughtful world-building, the unrivaled stuntwork. So let's take a step into the Continental, friends. Just mind the rules. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 25, 2021
#153: The Royal Tenenbaums
In the late '90s and early '00s, writer and director Wes Anderson came out swinging with his beloved comedies Bottle Rocket and Rushmore. His third film, however -- 2001's The Royal Tenenbaums -- is perhaps his most beloved project, a movie all about an equally talented and troubled family of two estranged parents, three peculiar adult children, and a small group of outsiders that make up their wider clan. The Royal Tenenbaums is a hysterical flick, but it's also deep, moody, and meaningful. Let's discuss. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 18, 2021
#152: Band of Brothers
World War II raged from 1939 to 1945, and as its name aptly suggests, there was fighting pretty much everywhere: the Pacific, North Africa, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, France and the UK, and on and on. However, HBO's 10-part miniseries Band of Brothers -- released in 2001 -- explores one piece of one of the theaters of war through the eyes of the United States' much-celebrated Easy Company Airborne Regiment, one of the fiercest group of fighting men America has ever assembled. Band of Brothers tells their story from training camp all the way through the Nazi surrender, with stops at Normandy, Carentan, and Eindhoven, to Bastogne, Landsberg, and Berchtesgaden. It's a wonderful, much-watch series, and we're thrilled to talk about it here on KnockBack. Band of Brothers is a history lesson, yes. But it's also a story about brotherhood, valor, fear, and doing what's necessary for God and Country. Naturally, there's much to discuss. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 14, 2021
#151: Clerks
Every one of us have had a "we're not even supposed to be here today" moment, whether at work, school, or just about anywhere else. For Dante Hicks, though -- a young, 20-something worker at a local convenience store -- being where he wasn't supposed to be ends up netting him one of the most memorable (and also unfortunate) days he could possibly remember. Clerks is Kevin Smith's very first film, and it's an absolute doozy, showing us Jay and Silent Bob for the first time, giving us a glimpse into early-'90s New Jersey slacker culture, and providing a plethora of (largely inappropriate) laughs along the way. So come celebrate a great American comedy with us, and yes, we assure you: We're open! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 06, 2021
#150: A Milestone Celebration
Our retro and nostalgia podcast KnockBack is a bit of an enigma. On one hand, it's a relatively straight-forward, passion-driven project -- heavily directed by our wonderful audience -- but there's a catch: The nature of our show means it's hard to go back and talk about already-trodden topics again. Since we've reached this 150 episode milestone, however, we figured we'd try to change that, if not just for a brief flicker of time. That's because this episode gives you -- that aforementioned lovely audience! -- the ability to pick our brains further about already-visited topics, as well as discuss the past, present, and future of KnockBack. And yes: The future is indeed bright. So let's chat about all of it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 31, 2020
#149: The Nightmare Before Christmas
When you really sit and think about it, it's kind of interesting that a ghoulish holiday like Halloween and a celebratory and feel-good holiday like Christmas kinda butt-up against each other, with nary a couple of months separating them. It's here that Tim Burton's and Disney's 1993 stop-motion film The Nightmare Before Christmas begins, introducing us to Jack Skellington and his crew of mischievous misfits that help Halloween's horror operate effectively. But what happens when their leader gets distracted by a very shiny, very bright, and very hopeful holiday that has nothing to do with them? A lot of confusion (and some great music), that's what. What's this?! A podcast, of course! We hope you enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 24, 2020
#148: Home Alone
It's easy to make fun of child actors and children's performances in film and TV -- we do it all the time on this show -- but what makes 1990's classic film Home Alone so interesting is that its lead is a compelling kid protagonist. We all know who Macaulay Culkin is because of this movie, and rightfully so: He does a great job as Kevin McAllister, the mischievous child who's... well... left home alone when his family goes on a strangely-opulent European Christmas vacation. What results is one of the great holiday flicks of all-time, full of laughs, warmth, and physical comedy galore. So come to suburban Chicago, friends. Just watch out for that statue in the driveway when you pull in, and lock your valuables away. The Wet Bandits lurk... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 17, 2020
#147: Shadow of the Colossus
There are really only a small handful of titles that are regularly bandied about as potential Best Game of All-Time, and 2005's Shadow of the Colossus is one of them. Created by Team ICO -- an internal group working out of Sony-owned Japan Studio -- Shadow of the Colossus is a truly breathtaking, gorgeous, clever, and admittedly contentious offering, one that has since migrated to PlayStation 3 (in 2011) and in completely remade form on PlayStation 4 (in 2018). Wander's mysterious, sullen, and melancholic journey is certainly one worth remembering, and his journey leaves us with many questions. So let's get into it without further delay. Oh, and don't forget Agro. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 10, 2020
#146: 100 Items of 'Grateful' Nostalgia
Did you know KnockBack is a podcast about all things retro and nostalgia? It's true! Nearly 150 weeks into the project, we assume that's fairly well-established. But since this particular episode goes live on American Thanksgiving (for our Patrons, that is), we figured we'd do something just a little bit different. See, there are these things from our past that helped to establish who we are today: Sunday dinners. A specific artist's work. The perfect video game. Taken all together as a single tapestry, you can find out a great deal about any individual's personal journey. With that spirit in mind, let us take you through 100 pieces of personal nostalgia that may just give you a little bit of context into the nerds we were (and still are today). And of course, allow us also to offer up our sincere and everlasting thanks for you, our wonderful and loyal audience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 03, 2020
#145: Princess Mononoke
We happen to love Studio Ghibli here on KnockBack, and we know that many of you do, too. However, Hayao Miyazaki's 1997 animated picture Princess Mononoke may be the most beloved movie in his team's extensive, decades-long filmography. The setup is simple: Ancient and solidified nature is in existential crisis thanks to humanity's industrial progress, and with both 'sides' dug in, it looks like only one can emerge. Or is there another way? Let's follow the journey of the cursed Prince Ashitaka as he tries to save his life, ward off societal and natural destruction, and perhaps even unite two sides of a conflict, a move that once seemed impossible. So whistle for Yakul, friends! Our journey begins on the other side of Play. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 26, 2020
#144 | Star Wars: Rogue One
In its mere existence, 2016's Rogue One is an interesting movie. It's the first Star Wars film (per se) that's unassociated from the three trilogies, yet it intimately intertwines with and sets the stage for the very first Star Wars offering: 1977's Episode IV. Of course, it's even more interesting when it comes to what it's about, a daring caper to steal Imperial plans for the original Death Star so that the Rebellion may exploit its weakness and destroy the Empire's moon-sized weapon. We see that play out in A New Hope, so Rogue One is entirely prologue. Yet, that's what makes it awesome. We're infinitely excited to talk to you about what we deem to be easily one of the best Star Wars films, and if you don't agree when you hit play, you may just agree on the other end. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 19, 2020
#143: Grey Gardens
If you're a fan of documentaries, then there's a good chance you've heard of Grey Gardens, the 1975 so-called "direct-cinema" documentary that investigates the lives of two women -- a mother and daughter -- who live in isolation and complete squalor on the eastern end of Long Island. Why is that notable? Well, two reasons: They live in the Hamptons, one of the most exclusive and expensive places to dwell in the entire country, and the occupants of Grey Gardens (their crumbling estate) happen to be the aunt and cousin of none other than Jacqueline Kennedy. This is a truly strange film, eclectic and alive and real... and it's an absolute must-watch. Let's jump in. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 12, 2020
#142 | Horizon: Zero Dawn
It's not easy for a development studio to pivot from one group of projects to something radically different, but Sony-owned Guerrilla Games did just that when it released its open world action-RPG Horizon: Zero Dawn in early 2017. Horizon was unlike anything Guerrilla had ever done: Rather than an FPS like Killzone, Horizon is a wide-open, non-linear, character-driven affair, an interesting mixture of American Indian imagery, sci-fi tropes, and action-oriented gameplay that makes Zero Dawn among PS4's very best games. So let's chat about it, fellow Old Ones. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 05, 2020
#141: Dagan and His Son
When you grow up with a father who's obsessed with all things retro, it's safe to assume the apple won't fall from the ever-nerdy tree. In that spirit, we have a guest on this episode: Dagan's son, Graeden. Together, father and son take a walk through their shared passions -- video games, especially -- and how one dad's love of nostalgia naturally enchanted his kid. The end result is something we hope you find charming, if not a little different. It's almost like getting to interview our younger selves, and we hope you get a kick out of it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 29, 2020
#140: The Prestige
On its periphery, the 2006 film The Prestige is about an ever-escalating rivalry between two 19th century magicians, but in reality, its thematic focus is about something far more sinister: Obsession. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan's adaptation of the novel by the same name boasts a star-studded cast and a convincing recreation of late-Victorian London, but -- in true Nolan fashion -- it's what rests far beneath the surface that perhaps matters most. So practice your sleight-of-hand and pay your ingénieur well, friends. After all, it's worth paying a high price in order to revel in the glory of the crowd. Are you watching (well, listening) closely? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 22, 2020
#139: Halloween
There are a few holidays each year that attract near-ubiquitous participation -- think New Years Eve and the like -- but there's one such day that's especially strange: Halloween. The last day of each October is 24 hours dedicated to monsters, ghosts, and other scares... and lots of candy and peculiar costumes, too. As children, of course, Halloween takes on an extra-special dimension, but as we get older, so too does the holiday change around us. One minute you're shoving Reese's Pieces into your pillowcase; the next minute you're hunting down your neighbor's kids with eggs and shaving cream. Such is the case in western societies around the world as autumn begins to set in. So let's recollect our fondest memories of this bizarre holiday that's one part pagan, one part modern. Just make sure to check your apples for razor blades before you take a bite... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 15, 2020
#138: Kramer vs. Kramer
Divorce is a horrific experience for everyone involved. Spouses falling out of love is brutal, and children -- especially young kids -- end up as collateral damage. Such is the story of the 1979 film Kramer vs. Kramer, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep as a couple on the outs, with a young son caught in the middle. Kramer vs. Kramer is a notable picture because, in 1980, it won the Academy Award for Best Picture... and Best Director... and Best Screenplay... and Dustin Hofmann won Best Actor... and Meryl Streep won Best Supporting Actress... and on and on. So it's a critically-acclaimed movie unlike many others. But it's also an important look into the world of divorce, especially from the point-of-view of a man who's assumed not to be able to love his child like his ex-wife could, that they couldn't form a special bond on their own... and also of a woman who makes a major mistake, tries to find herself, and realizes the error of her own ways. Kramer vs. Kramer is one of the great dramas of all-time, so why not put an episode of KnockBack all about it on the docket? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 08, 2020
#137: Our Childhood Inspirations
When you're a child (or even a teenager), your mind is malleable, like a piece of clay. This is where the nature versus nurture argument often comes into play, because it's really those around us, those who help mold and form us, that make us who we are. Once we're jettisoned into the world as an adult, it's those formidable encounters, relationships, and even instances of hero worship that truly stand the test of time. As such, we want to take the time today to talk about the people who inspired us as kids. Colin (that's me!) takes a sentimental tact; Dagan a more pop-culture one. Together, let's cobble together a list that explains everything. You'll see. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 01, 2020
#136: Into the Spider-Verse
There's something special about Spider-Man. Is it his New York roots? Possibly. His intelligence and diligence? Maybe. His sense of family, community, and justice? Certainly. But in the realm of comics, Spider-Man happens to be different characters at different times, something the Academy Award-winning 2018 animated film Into the Spider-Verse so successfully celebrates. By melding Peter Parker(s), Miles Morales, and even more obscure spin-offs like Spider-Ham, Into the Spider-Verse travels decades of Spidey fandom in two brisk hours. The results are so strong that many not only consider it the best Spider-Man movie ever, but possibly one of the best animated features of all-time. In many ways, we can't help but concur with the consensus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 24, 2020
#135: Red Dawn
By the time the '80s rolled around, the Cold War was just about over. The Soviet Union was slowly-but-surely crumbling, and the threat posed by Mutually Assured Destruction was waning by the year. That's what makes movies like 1984's American action classic Red Dawn so interesting. In its alternate history tale, the USSR expands its sphere of power through Central and South America, while NATO dissolves, the US becomes isolated, and its only allies are a downtrodden England and a nearly-annihilated China. The result, as it turns out, is World War III, and Red Dawn shows one rather peculiar theater of that conflict: A guerrilla campaign conducted by some high school students in rural Colorado. So stock up on supplies, raid your gun cabinet, and run for the hills, Wolverines: The communists are here, and a political reckoning is brewing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 17, 2020
#134 | Breaking Bad (Season 5 + El Camino)
It's time to wrap up our three-episode run of Breaking Bad analysis with a deep dive into the beloved series' final season, as well as its surprise epilogue movie that came some six years later. The culmination of Walt's journey dominates Season 5, yet in El Camino, we finally get to see what happened with Jesse, too. There's much to discuss here: Madrigal, Todd, the Aryan Brotherhood, the fate of Hank and Gomez, and much, much more. But at the heart of it all lies Walt and Jesse, on a bullet train toward disaster. Obviously, we can't look away. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 10, 2020
#133: Dreams and Nightmares
The ethereal world of dreams has long fascinated humans (and our human-like ancestors) going back many millennia. In fact, when you really think about it, we kinda collectively take dreams for granted, as scholars and academics try to get to the bottom of why we (and seemingly all mammals, at the very least) dream while asleep. This episode of KnockBack isn't about the science, though. Instead, it's about experience. As kids, we all had dreams and nightmares that left indelible prints on us, and that's what we're going to discuss today. Really, though, we focus heavily on the nightmare aspect of dreaming, the uncontrollable horror that happens on the other side of closed eyes. So beware! The Tickley Monster approaches. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 03, 2020
#133 | Breaking Bad (Seasons 3 + 4)
While Episode 130 of KnockBack was dedicated to the first two seasons of AMC's crime drama Breaking Bad, this episode of our podcast is in ode to the show's third and fourth seasons, when things really start to get hairy. In these seasons, we have The Cousins. A ratcheting up of the danger surrounding working with Gus and the Mexican cartels. The car wash. Tons of contextual flashbacks. A whole lot of Saul Goodman. Ted and the IRS (and his "Act of God"). Jesse's relapse. The return of Badger and Skinny Pete. Hank's near-murder and redemption. I mean... there's a ton to cover. And we take about three hours or so going over it all, with plenty of your inquiries interspersed. After all, we are the ones that Knock...Back. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 27, 2020
#131: Inception
When Christopher Nolan's Inception came to theaters a decade ago, it impressed moviegoers with a bizarre sci-fi story that -- in true Nolan fashion -- felt grounded and believable. In fact, it's one of the best-received films of 2010, an Academy Award-winning mind-melter all about entering people's dreams in order to acquire restricted, secretive, and sensitive information. But what if you could plant entire ideas in people's heads, too, setting in motion an unstoppable butterfly effect? As voted on by Colin's Last Stand's Patrons, this episode of KnockBack is all about this notable and unusual flick, the remarkable performances throughout it, and a story so complex that it sometimes borders on convoluted. So close your eyes and grab your totem. It's go-time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 20, 2020
#130 | Breaking Bad (Seasons 1 + 2)
Breaking Bad is widely considered one of the greatest television dramas of the 21st century (and possibly ever). Released in the same era as Mad Men and The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad didn't only help put AMC back on the map as a respected TV channel, but gave us insight into an increasingly sinister world with a simple premise: A high school chemistry teacher and his burnout ex-student teaming up to cook meth. The story that unfolds is dramatic, sad, tragic, and ultimately irresistible to watch, and to do this topic extra justice -- one voted on by our Patrons -- we've decided to split our Breaking Bad coverage into three episodes. This is the first one, focusing on Seasons One and Two, the origins of Walt's and Jesse's partnership, Walt's battle with cancer, the beginnings of their fledgling criminal enterprise, and the ratcheting up of the personal stakes. So hit play: It's tight, tight, tight! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 13, 2020
#129: BioShock 2
Whether in television, movies, books, or games, it's always hard to follow-up a smash-hit with a worthy sequel. But publisher 2K endeavored to do just that when it launched BioShock 2 in 2010, doing so -- mind you -- without the series' creative visionary Ken Levine, whose team was off working on what would become 2013's BioShock Infinite. The result was divisive at the time, though most people liked returning to Rapture and getting more of that wonderfully-realized world. But over time, it appears the game has become even more appreciated and adored, and for good reason: It's pretty damn good, even in the shadow of the vaunted BioShock. So let's take a trip back under the Atlantic Ocean, Subject Delta. There are more Little Sisters to protect, this time in a collectivist (instead of libertarian) nightmare. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 06, 2020
#128: Back to School
For nearly five decades, Rodney Dangerfield was an American comedy legend. But it was in the 1980s that he rose to mainstream prominence not through his stand-up act as popularized on late-night TV in the '60s and '70s, but because of films like Caddyshack and Easy Money. Come 1986, however, Dangerfield would star in perhaps his strangest movie yet, a zany romp all about a wealthy businessman heading to college just so he can hang out with his son: Back to School. Like many '80s comedies, Back to School doesn't take itself all that seriously, which is perfect, because such loose parameters allow this flick to shine using Dangerfield's classic one-liners and zingers. Indeed, it's one of the most quotable films of the decade. It also happens to co-star some interesting and random actors, from a young Robert Downey Jr. to a typecast William Zabka to a nascent Sam Kinison. More than anything, though, it's a truly funny 90-something minute piece of nostalgia, and we couldn't help but dedicate an episode of KnockBack to it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 30, 2020
#127: The Witch
Robert Eggers' 2015 debut film The Witch isn't exactly old, but its subject matter certainly is. Taking place in the early 1630s in New England -- a full 60 years before the Salem Witch Trials -- The Witch tells the story of a banished family of devout Puritans who go into the Massachusetts woods to live alone. And... well... you may be able to guess what happens next. Written entirely in period English and lit only by natural light and candles, The Witch may be one of the most thoroughly colonial movies ever made. It also happens to be a masterpiece of pacing, tension, and acting. So let's delve into this spectacular and spooky period piece, as a tight-knit religious family slowly comes undone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 23, 2020
#126: The Things We Wish We Knew as Kids
Ignorance is bliss, or so the saying goes. But when we're kids, ignorance is also a way of life. In our tiny worlds, everything was magnified or understated: The glorious ups, our mundane everyday lives, and especially the seemingly-tragic downs. Little did we know then what we would learn later: That a lot of what we cared so deeply about didn't matter very much, that the stuff we should have paid more attention to we barely worried about, and that many of the people we looked to for guidance were flying blind, too. So instead of focusing on a movie, video game, TV show (or the like) this week, we thought we'd take the time to hone-in on the wisdom and knowledge we didn't even know existed as kids but take for granted as adults, and how a little tweak here or there in our past could have taken us in entirely different directions. If only we knew better. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 16, 2020
#125. St. Elmo's Fire
We recently lost American filmmaker Joel Schumacher to cancer at the age of 80. With a diverse filmography dating back to the '70s and running through to just a few years ago, it's hard to put Schumacher in a box, but it seems a lot of people wanted to memorialize him by focusing on his two maligned Batman movies instead of the great work he did. To pay him tribute, we decided to go back to his 1985 Brat Pack film St. Elmo's Fire, which he wrote and directed, and which still holds a place with '80s movie fans everywhere. So let's head to Washington DC and catch up with seven recent graduates of Georgetown University, young 20-somethings who are having a difficult time transitioning to adulthood, and an even more difficult time understanding how the dynamics between them have changed after college. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 09, 2020
#124: Mass Effect
When Mass Effect launched on Xbox 360 in 2007, it promised to be not only one of the most ambitious RPGs of all time, but the entry point to one of the most ambitious gaming trilogies ever. Designed as three games from the get-go, the original Mass Effect propelled Commander Shepard and his team into the galactic intrigue that would engulf the games-long story, but it also ended up doing something even crazier: Allowing subsequent iterations to read your previous games' saves, essentially crafting an agency-driven IP that still hasn't been replicated with any equivalent success. But this episode of KnockBack is dedicated to the very first game -- Mass Effect itself -- BioWare's influential and memorable foray into the world of third-person shooter RPGs. So hone your biotics, gather your Element Zero, and jump through the nearest Mass Relay. We'll see you on the other side. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 02, 2020
#123: Django Unchained
Writer and director Quentin Tarantino has long been a divisive and controversial filmmaker, primarily because of his seeming, unapologetic glorification of gore. But something deeper typically rests beneath his portrayal of human brutality. This is perhaps most true in his 2012 picture Django Unchained, a movie that takes place in the Southern United States on the brink of the Civil War. And while it's not a piece of history per se, it dedicates a lot of time delving into much of what made that Confederacy Eve era tick: Slavery, greed, and inhumanity. With multiple Oscar-worthy performances -- including from Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and Christoph Waltz -- a riveting story, and a redemptive arc, it could easily be argued that Django Unchained is Tarantino's strongest work. Whether you agree with that proclamation or not, however, there's no denying that it's given us a lot to talk about. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 25, 2020
#122: Do the Right Thing
There are times when an older movie feels like it could have been made yesterday. 1989's Do the Right Thing -- one of Spike Lee's very first films -- is just such an offering. Based in the racially-mixed Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn during one hot summer day and night, Do the Right Thing is ostensibly about a group of black people (children, teens, and adults) and their daily experiences, particularly through the lens of a white-owned pizzeria that sticks out like a sore thumb in an era of simmering racial tensions. But underneath the surface, this Spike Lee Joint is about so much more than just that. It's about police brutality, gentrification, crime, differing generational views, work and joblessness, and on and on. Yes, this movie was made in '89... but for better or for worse, it feels like it could have been crafted specifically for right this very minute. So let's talk about it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 18, 2020
#121: Our Childhood Friends
We've been recording KnockBack week-in and week-out for more than two years, and while we tell lots of stories about our time with video games, TV shows, movies, toys, and much more, we also include mentions of some very important people: Our childhood friends. These folks aren't just random characters from our past; they're people who helped shape who we were then, and still are today. To celebrate some of the individuals most important to us in our youth, we thought we'd dedicate an episode of KnockBack specifically to them, telling tales of how we met, the times we spent together, and how they molded us. Dedicated listeners of the show have definitely heard these names before, but never in this much detail and with this much love. As always, we hope you enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 11, 2020
#120: EarthBound
Nintendo is undoubtedly best-known for its long-running, ubiquitous franchises: Mario, Zelda, and the like. But sprinkled in the mega-selling mixture are games that sold far less, but have earned their own level of reverence. EarthBound -- launched in 1994 in Japan and 1995 in the US -- is one such adventure. Known as Mother 2 in Japan (the original Mother was a Famicom game that didn't see western release for more than two decades), EarthBound is a truly peculiar, truly charming title, one that pits four children against a dangerous, world-consuming foe. It's a JRPG based heavily on conventions introduced by Dragon Quest, but its quirky style, colorful graphics, and humorous dialogue are all its own. It also didn't sell very well, either in Japan or outside of it, and has many divisive features. So let's chat about all of it -- the whole tapestry that makes EarthBound... well... EarthBound... -- and sort out whether Ness' journey has earned its place in the annals of gaming history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 04, 2020
#119 | Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Did Disney's Star Wars trilogy end with a loud bang or a resounding thud? It depends on who you ask, of course. But just late last year (in 2019), the new galactic journey that began with Episode VII ended with Episode IX, and the results were about as divisive as you'd probably imagine. Mired by rewrites, production problems, roving directors, and the death of an iconic actor, The Rise of Skywalker tried to undo many of the problems introduced by Rian Johnson's Episode VIII, but whether or not it even remotely succeeded is a matter of endless debate. So let's talk about the conclusion of Rey's journey, chat about Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, and all of the other characters, worlds, and pieces of lore... and maybe spend approximately half of this episode talking about Babu Frik, too, because... well... he deserves all the attention he can get. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 28, 2020
#118: Far Cry 3
Do you know the definition of insanity? After playing 2012's Far Cry 3, you just might. While this open world FPS series began inauspiciously enough under the direction of none other than Crytek, it's when Ubisoft brought the shooter franchise in-house that it truly began to shine. And it perhaps shines brightest with its third core entry, one that takes place on the fictional Rook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, pits rich kids against drug-and-slave-trading thugs, and challenges players to find meaning in all of the gratuitous and endless violence surrounding them. Far Cry 3 is a high water mark in open world design, gunplay, and narrative -- with awesome in-game systems and some fascinating characters to boot -- and it absolutely demands an episode of KnockBack. So grab your rucksack, islander. There are psychopaths about. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 21, 2020
#117: The Patriot
For Americans, the year 1776 is sacred. It isn't the year the American Revolution started (that's 1775), nor is it the year it ended in victory (that's 1783). Instead, '76 represents the year the US declared its independence from England, changing the course of domestic and global history alike forever. The 2000 film The Patriot -- starring Mel Gibson and the late, great Heath Ledger -- is one of the few flicks that actually delves into the War For Independence in any substantive way, and while it's an action flick first, and while it takes sometimes great liberties (pardon the pun) with history, it's still a fun, enjoyable movie that The Brothers Moriarty happen to cherish. So aim small, miss small... and enjoy the podcast while you do. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 14, 2020
#116: E.T.
This week's episode of KnockBack is a special one, not only because of its subject matter -- the 1982 Steven Spielberg smash-hit film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial -- but because our guest host this week is none other than Dagan's wife, Helene. E.T. was, is, and will likely always be one of the most seminal movies ever created, and it's because it has what so many other pictures all-too-often lack: Heart and imagination. There's a good reason why, for more than a decade after it launched, it was the highest-grossing film in the history of the industry, and why -- nearly 40 years later -- it remains a seminal piece of Americana. So sit back, hit play, and don't phone home. At least, not until you hear what we have to say. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 07, 2020
#115: The Powerpuff Girls
The Powerpuff Girls might seem like an unassuming piece of animation... yet it's anything but. Nestled within the soul of Cartoon Network's hit show is a surprising amount of depth, an amalgamation of influences ranging from anime to gaming to old superhero TV shows. The result is one of the most charming cartoons of the last 30 years. The adventures of Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles -- three five year old girls, mind you -- are equal parts hilarious and clever, with a cast of memorable villains and side characters that round out the entire product. In the late '90s and early aughts, The Powerpuff Girls were everywhere. For the next few hours, allow them to barrage your ears like they barrage HIM. You'll be glad you did. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 30, 2020
#114 | Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Comedian and actor Mike Myers has always been a bit of an enigma. The hilarious Canadian made his bones on Saturday Night Live and drew international acclaim for his Wayne's World skits and films, but it was 1997's James Bond spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery that might be his most famous and most beloved work. Playing both the movie's protagonist (the titular Austin Powers) and antagonist (the amazing Dr. Evil), Myers put in work. After all, he devised all the characters, the story, and even wrote the screenplay. More than two decades (and two sequels) later, does his original '90s-era classic still retain the respect we once held for it? Or should it be fed to sharks with friggin' laser beams attached to their heads? Well, listen to the podcast and find out. Because you're the boss around here... and you need the info. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 23, 2020
#113: True Detective (Season One)
We live in a golden age of television, but even some of the best series stick around too long. Unlike many of its contemporaries, though, HBO has a good habit of identifying ideas that don't need to linger, and while True Detective has three seasons, they're all detached from one another. The first season -- running eight episodes back in early 2014 -- is widely considered one of the best miniseries ever created, with exceptional performances, amazing writing, and a setting so thoroughly realized, it's as if it's the main character. So let's delve into the story of detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart, the brutal and sadistic murders they uncover in the Louisiana Bayou, and their 17-year long saga to find the truth of these crimes... and the reality of their relationship with one another. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 16, 2020
#112: The Little Mermaid
The ocean is a mysterious and even scary place, but in Disney's 1989 classic animated film The Little Mermaid, it's pretty damn awesome. That's what makes protagonist Ariel's insistence on leaving her home waters for the world above so confounding... that is until she falls in love and finds the perfect excuse to live her dream. The Little Mermaid was the first film in the so-called Disney Renaissance of the '80s and '90s, and it still holds up wonderfully these few decades later. So let's examine Ariel's story, the history behind it, and the gorgeous animation that may just convince you to remain Under the Sea, even if you like your oxygen in gaseous form. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 09, 2020
#111: Inglourious Basterds
Few modern filmmakers are more popular, beloved, controversial, and even reviled than Quentin Tarantino. When he got his start in the early '90s with the cult classic Reservoir Dogs, no one could have predicted his meteoric rise in the American and global movie industries, but it's his 2009 flick Inglourious Basterds that's perhaps his most popular offering. Inglourious Basterds tells an alternate history tale in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, and it melds an intriguing story, wonderful acting, and Tarantino's trademark violence, humor, and clever writing into something truly memorable. We release a new episode of KnockBack week-in and week-out, but you know what, audience? This might just be our masterpiece. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 02, 2020
#110 | Batman: Arkham Asylum
Today, Rocksteady is one of the most famous game developers on the planet, but back in 2009, they were basically unknown. With only one obscure PS2 game under their belt, the British team was met with an enticing challenge: Make a good Batman title. Turns out, such a task is easier said than done, but Rocksteady rose to the occasion. 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of the very best licensed games ever created, an ode not only to the Dark Knight, but to 3D exploration and kinetic fisticuffs, too. Packing exceptional vocal performances, tons of unlockables and secrets, and the perfect playtime in an era of too-long adventures, Arkham Asylum more than deserves its own episode of KnockBack. You asked for this one, CLS Patrons, and we're all too happy to oblige. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 26, 2020
#109: Divorce
It's true: We would have never chosen to do this topic on our own. But when our beloved audience voted on Patreon to hear this discussion, we simply had to oblige. In 1992, the Moriarty Brothers' parents split. In the wake of that event, our lives were reshaped forever. This isn't an uplifting episode of KnockBack by any stretch of the imagination, but it's most certainly a candid and honest one, one about loss, pain, choice, and consequences. We are who we are, in part, because of this traumatic event, one that occurred when we were 18 and 7. Two wildly different ages packing two radically different perspectives. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 19, 2020
#108: Cuphead
The so-called run-and-gunner Cuphead is hands down one of the most beautiful video games ever created. Crafted in the spirit of the rubber hose cartoon stylings of the 1920s and 1930s, Cuphead is a rarity in the modern industry: It's drawn and animated by hand, and it's brutally (and we mean brutally) difficult. It's also charming, artfully designed, funny, and full of lush detail that truly showcases the sheer amount of work and energy that went into making it. Thus, we simply had to dedicate an episode of KnockBack to Studio MDHR's masterpiece, and we hope you enjoy it. Without further ado: Here's a real high-class bout! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 12, 2020
#107: Birthdays
No matter who you are (unless you were born on February 29th!), your birthday rolls around once a year, every year, without fail. That's how calendars work, after all. What you do with that most sacred of days is, of course, entirely up to you and yours, but in our younger years, birthdays tended to mean a whole lot. There were presents, cake, family, friends, and a ton of attention. (Possibly too much attention.) And so we thought we'd spend an entire episode of KnockBack reminiscing about all things birthday-related from the days of yore, from the parties, to the gifts, to the rituals, and of course the cursed Happy Birthday song, arguably the worst piece of music ever written. So put on your party hats, grab a fork or spoon (for your dessert, doofus!), and gather 'round so we can blow out these damn candles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 05, 2020
#106 | Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
The infamous Prequel Trilogy of Star Wars films left a bad taste in many enthusiasts' mouths, particularly those who have been fans of the space opera franchise going back to the '70s and '80s. That's why it was so amazingly exciting when -- in 2015 -- Star Wars appeared primed to return to form with a JJ Abrams-led movie that had the entire galaxy eager to see what happens next. The result was something safe, but solid, with a returning cast of familiar faces joined by a new generation of rebels, imperials, pilots, scoundrels, and would-be Jedi. Join us for a discussion (nearly twice as long as the movie itself!) about the ins and outs of the plot, characters, worlds, and more than make The Force Awakens tick... and why it's perhaps the greatest shame of all that such a promising start to something new was quickly squandered only a couple of short years later. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 27, 2020
#105: When I Grow Up
The Brothers Moriarty ended up with pretty awesome jobs, one of us in the gaming industry, the other in animation. But it's also true that, in our younger years, we aspired to some other professions. We ultimately found our way towards what makes us happy, but there were deviations along the way, and this week's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to the what-ifs that could have had us doing something totally different with our lives. Colin was nearly a historian; Dagan thought about law enforcement. Colin wanted to go to the stars; Dagan wanted to skate firmly on the ground. Let's chat about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and hear from the audience on the subject, too. Shall we? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 20, 2020
#104: The Warriors
New York City has long been one of the world's most important and renown cities... it just wasn't a very nice place to be for a few decades in between World War II and the 21st century. The seminal 1979 picture The Warriors captures NYC's decay and despair through a unique lens of youth and camp, and it does so with great visual flair, solid acting, and a surprising story that actually asks an interesting question: Could street gangs take America's most populated metropolis over if they put aside their differences and fought the law as a single unified army? Based on an obscure mid-'60s novel, The Warriors is a must-see film about betrayal and survival, and we're thrilled to talk about it. So come out and play for a few hours, won't you? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 13, 2020
#103: Final Fantasy VII
With thousands upon thousands (upon thousands!) of video games released since the 1970s, it's easy for some (well... many) to fall through the cracks. Very few are seminal titles that helped to define their era, genre, or hardware. Yet, 1997's Final Fantasy VII is undoubtedly one of the most important games ever released. It brought JRPGs from niche to mainstream, put Squaresoft on the map for millions of new customers around the world, helped solidify the original PlayStation's place in a competitive and changing market, and spawned a globally-viable franchise that only saw limited western releases in the years prior. Beyond that, though, Final Fantasy VII is deep. Like, really deep. It's a story about eco-terrorism, environmentalism, capitalism-run-amok, power, fear, and more. It also has a wonderful cast of characters -- from the evolving Cloud to the dangerous Sephiroth -- buttressed by what was at the time world-class 3D graphics and a still-amazing soundtrack. There's so much to say, really, and while we can't say it all, we can certainly say something. And that's what this episode of KnockBack is all about. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 06, 2020
#102: Fast Food
They say that nothing's better than mom's home cooking (and in the Moriarty's case, that's very true). But when we're young, we seem to have an insatiable appetite for fast food. McDonald's. Burger King. Taco Bell. Whatever junk we could shove in our fat faces, we wanted. And the worst thing that could happen is hearing our parents say, "but we have food at home!" What a deathblow that was. A deathblow, indeed! So let's fondly remember the days of Happy Meals, paper crowns, ball pits, and burger patties with so much salt in them that you could have mistaken them for cured meats from Magellan's trip around the world. For as much as we loved a meal at the table with our family, we loved McDonald's inevitably crack-doused fries even more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 30, 2020
#101: The Matrix
The 1999 sci-fi film The Matrix was released at an interesting inflection point in the history of nerd culture. It launched at a time when -- with the help of Star Wars' resurgence, the soon-to-be-released Lord of the Rings movies, and others -- dorkiness went mainstream, and The Matrix might have been the straw that broke the camel's back, in this regard. The story of Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity, and their battle to break out from a computer simulation and into a horrifying reality, is considered a genre classic, and with good reason. More than two decades later, it holds up shockingly well, with deep philosophical, technological, and even religious messaging that seems to uncannily predict at least one permutation of our actual future. So let's chat about The Wachowski Brothers' (now Sisters') stylish tour de force, and maybe learn some kung-fu along the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 23, 2020
#100: 100 Video Games We Adore
It seems like only yesterday that we launched our retro and nostalgia podcast KnockBack, and yet it's been nearly two years since our maiden voyage. A hundred weeks on, we've naturally arrived at our 100th episode, and to celebrate, we thought we'd talk about our greatest shared love: Video games. More specifically, we thought we'd talk about 100 games we absolutely adore, 100 games any aficionado of the medium should check out. Enjoy our longest episode of KnockBack to date (four hours!), and thank you so much for supporting our show, and making it the hit it has become. As usual, we simply couldn't do it without you. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 16, 2020
#99: Dead Space
In 2017, EA shuttered its fully-owned studio Visceral, which bummed a lot of people out, since they were developing a Star Wars game. But back in 2008, before they were called Visceral -- when the team was known by the more quaint moniker EA Redwood Shores -- the talented NorCal developer launched Dead Space, one of the most beloved survival horror adventures ever created. Taking place in the 26th century and loaded with a mixture of sci-fi and religion, Dead Space tells the tale of Isaac Clarke, a mechanic who finds himself in a harrowing situation light years from home and without any sort of practical arsenal. So let's chat about the USG Ishimura, the planet known as Aegis VII, and a mysterious artifact known as the Red Marker. For it's that artifact that transforms humans into Necromorphs, and turns everything on its head, zero gravity be damned. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 09, 2020
#98: Grandparents
Nothing pleases grandma and grandpa more than spoiling their grandchildren. Indeed, it's the key rule of Grandparenting (made up word!). The most blessed among us get four of these mystical beings from which to learn from, be fed by, and circumvent the rules with, and the rest of us make do with perhaps one, two, or three. For the sometimes lengthy and other times brief periods we're lucky enough to be with these people -- the parents of our parents, the patriarchs and matriarchs of our brood, the seers of previous years long since gone -- we're indelibly molded by them, sometimes for the worse, but usually for the better. So let's dedicate an episode of KnockBack to the mighty grandmas and grandpas that helped make us who we are today, and all of the poignant, important, and hysterical moments that come along with remembering them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 02, 2020
#97 | Dracula (novel)
In 1897, a most unusual British novel was written by an at-the-time unknown author named Bram Stoker. It was simply called Dracula, and for most western readers, it was their introduction into the centuries-long mythology, mysticism, and straight-up horror stories coming from Eastern Europe and surrounding environs, tales of men and women who would feast on the blood of others, and who may even be immortal. Stoker's novel isn't only important in the history of western fiction, but especially vital in the development of nerd culture, video games, and more. Even if you've not read it (and you should!), understanding just how much hails from this book is important for any dork. So press play freely, and of your own will, and away to the Carpathians we'll go... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 26, 2019
#96: The Thing
John Carpenter hit a bit of a home run with The Thing back in 1982, though contemporary critics didn't give him or his movie any shine. In fact, his film's reception was so bleak that it kinda-sorta destroyed Carpenter's career... at least for a while. But hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and with nearly four decades to marinate on it, many people have come around to The Thing's seminal place in horror and sci-fi history. Its hopeless tale of a stranded Antarctic research base grappling with something from quite literally out-of-this-world is only bested by its amazing practical effects, which are considered some of the goriest ever seen in a major motion picture into the '80s. So gas-up your chopper, strap-in, and get ready. Those wily Norwegians really screwed up, and now we're all gonna pay the price. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 19, 2019
#95: Going to Church
For many of us, going to church (or temple, or mosque, or whatever) was a part of childhood. And while some of us got something useful out of our often-weekly visits, the most lingering memories tend to revolve around everything but what we were actually supposed to be there for. The parental bribery. The coercion. The distractions. Time moving so slowly that it's as if you're stuck in one of those futuristic computers in the Black Mirror episode White Christmas. Join us, if you will, for a very festive (and we use that term lightly) KnockBack adventure, as we regale you with religious stories of our youth... and hear plenty of yours, too. (Can you guys please stop having sex on hallowed ground? Thanks.) Please don't judge us too harshly, God! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 12, 2019
#94: Marijuana Memories
For thousands of years, humans have been smoking, eating, and enjoying the fruits (well, buds) of the marijuana plant, also known as cannabis. Once associated with deviant behavior and long mislabeled as a gateway drug, marijuana -- like virtually any other substance, legal or illegal -- has different effects on different people, and while certainly not a positive for some, many others the world 'round enjoy smoking a joint, blunt, bowl, or bong. Some among us even prefer it over alcohol and other common libations. Fresh off of the late 20th century's War on Drugs, grass has found greater and greater acceptance (and even outright legality) in parts of US, all of Canada, and elsewhere, and a majority of people (particularly in western countries) have at least one experience with The Devil's Weed. So let's talk about it from two perspectives: The occasional dabbler (Dagan) and the chronic user (Colin), the ups and downs it provides, and the funny and memorable stories that accompany its use, acquisition, and more. Only then can we answer the age-old question: Who's got the herb? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 05, 2019
#93: Parks & Recreation
Pawnee, Indiana doesn't actually exist, but after watching Parks & Rec on NBC, many of us wish that it did. That's because Pawnee is full of some of the most hilarious, charming, and ridiculous characters in modern TV history, and their antics offered more accessible and often kind-hearted takes when compared to its far more vulgar and out-of-control sister show The Office. What resulted is something truly memorable, a series full of both character and characters. So let's talk about the sometimes hard-working and often incompetent Pawnee government, all that surrounds it, and have a few laughs along the way. Just don't get Jammed in the process. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 28, 2019
#92: Our Favorite Songs
In what will undoubtedly be an ongoing, years-and-episodes-long saga, we've decided to talk about some of our very favorite songs, a nice complement to Episodes 39 and 56 of KnockBack, which were all about our most beloved albums and concert experiences. Narrowing songs down is a lot harder, of course, but we did our absolute best, coming up with two lists of 10 tracks each that best represent our tastes, our stories, and our respective life journeys. And, to make it as awkward as possible, we introduce all 20 songs by trying to sing parts of them in order to see if the other person can guess what it is. So listen, laugh, and cringe as we regale you with the songs that we just can't shake (and wouldn't want to if we could). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 21, 2019
#91: PlayStation 3
The original PlayStation completely dominated its generation. So did PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 4. PlayStation 3, on the other hand, fought tooth-and-nail for every single unit its pushed, and its particular battle -- waged against Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii -- ended up being Sony's most perilous corporate period in decades. In fact, PlayStation 3 ended up costing Sony nearly $2 billion in its first year on the market alone. Yet, through its horrendous start, bad PR, and staunch competition, PS3 ended up becoming the fifth best-selling home video game console of all-time, and at nearly 90 million sold, it ultimately ended up surpassing its arch-nemesis Xbox 360 in total sales. So let's take some time to celebrate Sony's little engine-that-could, from an era that could have easily spelled doom for the PlayStation brand completely, yet didn't. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 14, 2019
#90: House Parties
In middle school and high school, the house party -- or your local equivalent -- was a rite of passage. It's when you got away from the doldrums of secondary academia, socialized with your peers away from the prying ears and curious eyes of teachers and parents, and perhaps even indulged in some age-inappropriate pastimes. Indeed, it's all a tale as old as growing up itself. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to cracking open the now-dusty party time memories of our youth, the good and bad, the funny and harrowing, the hilarious and cringey. From the mid-'80s through the early-aughts: Let's party, dude. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 07, 2019
#89: Spirited Away
Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki brings a fantastical flair to all of his work, but out of Studio Ghibli's entire roster of films, 2001's Spirited Away might be the weirdest and more extraordinary of all. Steeped in Shinto symbolism and vague in its message, Chihiro's misadventure is enchanting in its imagery and sometimes even sudden in its harshness, and it -- like all Ghibli flicks -- is more than deserving of a little KnockBack-style attention. So grab a handful of bath tokens and come along with us as we discuss the beautiful and eerie world of the spirits beyond, and the little girl who one day finds herself in their midst. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 31, 2019
#88: Goodfellas
There's nothing quite like a good mob movie, and when it comes to 1990's Goodfellas, there are few better. Based on a authoritative, journalist-written book drawing from historic experiences and events, and played by a series of actors mimicking their real-world counterparts perfectly, Goodfellas is one of the most quotable and beloved films of any kind in the last few decades. DeNiro. Pesci. Liotta. Sorvino. Brocco. These are powerful names in film and television, particularly when it comes to this type of fare. So go home, get your shinebox, and come on back and listen to a two-plus hour long conversation about one of Martin Scorcese's very best flicks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 24, 2019
#87: Alien
Like horror, the science fiction genre simply wasn't taken very seriously until well into film history. By the 1970s, though, specific pieces of cinematic sci-fi were beginning to distance themselves from the schlock that dominated decades past, and Alien should certainly be counted amongst the most notable of the group. Buttressed by good writing, excellent cinematography, and a frightening atmosphere, Alien still stands out more than 40 years later as an example of how to do sci-fi right, particularly when you mix elements of horror into the concoction. So let's chat about the Nostromo for a little while, and the strange and ancient danger is stumbles upon in deep space, just as the crew was about to head toward the safety of home...        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 17, 2019
#86: Superbad
For many of us, high school was a bizarre experience, particularly in hindsight. It turns out that much of what we cared a great deal about in our teens doesn't actually matter whatsoever, but when you're there -- in the moment and living that life -- the gravity is all too real. 2007's Superbad -- starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera -- celebrates that reality, from the seeming hopelessness of young romance to the pursuit of all-important booze. It also doesn't hurt that the film is incredibly funny and outrageously inappropriate. So sit down, kick back, and reminisce along with us about one of the great teen movies of all-time. And if you don't? Well... prepare to be fucked by the long dick of the law. (Not really.)        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 10, 2019
#85: The Last of Us
It took a while for PlayStation 3 to really get going, but when it did, it graced players with a slew of amazing exclusive games that solidified the console's place in industry history. Interestingly enough, though, it was one of its very last exclusives -- launched in the shadow of PlayStation 4 -- that easily takes the cake as PS3's best game. Naughty Dog's The Last of Us came out in the early summer of 2013, and immediately bowled over millions of gamers around the world with its incredible story, amazing characters, award-winning performances, and fantastic gameplay. It's truly, actually, really, and definitely one of the best games ever made, and we are thrilled to dedicate nearly three hours to talking all about it. So take a knee, craft what you need, and let's get going.  Oh... and avoid those spores. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 03, 2019
#84: '80s Fashion
Yes, it's true: There's a lot to love about the 1970s. But the reality is, it was kind of a down decade. Unemployment was high, and inflation was, too. An oil embargo crippled western economies. The peace and love of the '60s rapidly gave way to stagnation, corruption, and agitation. By 1980, people were ready to break free, and they did just that. Buttressed by a technological boom and a rapidly recovering market, the '80s were a time of excess, a time to be loud and bold. The music, movies, games, and television shows each tell a portion of the overall tale -- and we've talked plenty about 'em here on KnockBack -- but it's perhaps that 10 year span's fashion that spoke (and still speaks) loudest. This was an era when sneakers and caps first became an obsession, when accessorizing reached an all-time high, when the colors you wore better be bright (and preferably neon), or else. So grab your Aquanet, tease that hair, and turn on your answering machine. Let's discuss a time when people wore 10 watches at once, when shoulder pads were considered hot for some reason, and when Air Jordans somehow cost more than they do today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 26, 2019
#83: Aladdin
By the early '90s, Disney's much-vaunted animation revival was in full swing. The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast had the company buzzing, yet the decade still had much, much more in store. In late 1992, Aladdin joined the roster, packing a rock-solid cast of voice actors helmed by comedian Robin Williams. Yet, while Williams' ad-libbed performance as Genie is the most celebrated part of the film (and the way Disney treated him perhaps the most notorious), a wonderful crew of animators worked tirelessly to bring the world of Agrabah to life. So let's take a step back and remember a movie from the very thick of the so-called Disney Renaissance, and remember why it was so special to begin with. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 19, 2019
#82: Our Greatest Childhood Fears
Children aren't exactly the most rational creatures on the planet, and naturally, the Moriarty Boys weren't immune to this reality in their younger years. Today's episode of KnockBack is structured around that irrationality, specifically when it comes to the things kids fear. Dagan was afraid of nuclear war, sharks, and aliens. Colin (that's me!) lived in silent fear of a recurring nightmare known as The Tickley Monster, being buried alive, and often wondered if was he was going to die of AIDS (thanks, late-'80s and early-'90s Paranoid America!). All of this is easy to look back and laugh at (and trust us, we do), but it's likewise rooted in the mysticism of youth, when we frankly don't understand very much about the world around us, but think we do. So let's embarrass ourselves just a tad, shall we? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 12, 2019
#81: Jurassic Park
Dinosaurs are a bit of cultural phenomenon, and have been for a century and a half, since the earliest professional paleontologists ventured out to find the fossilized remains of one of Earth's most mysterious and fascinating prior occupants. Yet, perhaps no single piece of fiction has ever played on that human love of dinosaurs quite like Jurassic Park. While Jurassic Park found its origins as a book, released in 1990 and written by the late, great Michael Crichton, it was intended on a movie from pretty much the word go (Crichton even adapted the novel into film form himself for a cool half a million bucks). It's the movie that captured the world's imagination, and it was such a smash hit that it became the highest-grossing film of all-time following its run through theaters in the summer of 1993. Not too shabby! So let's talk about Crichton's classic, Steven Spielberg's directing, John Williams' score, and the performances of Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and many others. (Like Jeff Goldblum. Duh!) Just be sure you say the magic word. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 05, 2019
#80 | Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
In May of 1999, the very Earth below us shook as Star Wars fully emerged from dormancy. While George Lucas ate around the edges throughout the '90s, re-releasing the classic trilogy multiple times while launching an absurd amount of toys and other merchandise, it all ultimately led to one thing: Episode I. As the first Star Wars film since 1983's Return of the Jedi, Episode I -- subtitled The Phantom Menace -- had immense pressure put on it from the moment it was announced, and for most fans, it simply didn't deliver. But really, there's a lot more here than just (in our opinion) a subpar film. There's a ravenous fandom to discuss, too, one that we were (and kinda still are) a part of. There was the early Internet, forums, leaks, rumors, and more. There's a director who probably shouldn't be directing, a producer who didn't really seem to be producing, and special effects that don't age quite as well as you'd think. What went wrong with E1? What did it do right? And what was it like seeing it in the theater, opening day, opening show, around a lot of very, very, very excited people, about a decade before you could even share the experience on your smartphone? This is the longest episode of KnockBack yet, and you voted for it. (Yes: We're angels.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 29, 2019
#79: The Big Lebowski
What can you really say about The Big Lebowski? Well... a ton, as it turns out. The Coen Brothers' 1998 cult-classic comedy is one of the most quotable films of all-time, with one of the most bizarre cast of amazing characters you'll ever encounter in the genre. Smart, witty, and wonderfully written, The Big Lebowski rings loudly more than two decades after its release not because of '90s nostalgia or hazy retro glasses. It's an authentically hysterical movie, and more than worthy of an episode of KnockBack. So mark it an eight, Dude, and then sit down, do a J, and join us for a fun episode about an enormously influential flick. He asked me to repeat that: Join us for a fun episode about an enormously influential flick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 22, 2019
#78 | The Road (novel)
Even the darkest fiction we watch and read typically has some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. But not Cormac McCarthy's The Road. First published in 2006 (and later turned into a film in 2009), The Road is unlike any father-and-son tale you've ever experienced. Civilization is in ruins, the sun is blotted out by endless smoke, almost everyone is dead, and the world and its few remaining inhabitants are completely unrecognizable. What does it take to survive in such an unimaginably dark situation? And is it even worth surviving at all? Let's delve into this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and ask ourselves a simple question, the question at the very heart of McCarthy's narrative: Is there any limit to what you'd do for love? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 15, 2019
#77: Our Favorite Teachers
No matter where we're from, many of us spend something like 14 years in mandatory school systems that served only to distract us from our toys, video games, and watching cartoons. Yet there we were, imprisoned and desperate to escape. But school wasn't always an agonizing experience, especially when you had the right teacher helming your class. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to them, to the teachers we've taken with us, the ones that inspired us, helped us, cared about us, and -- ultimately -- stuck with us. From an English teacher who instilled the value of literature, to the history teacher who ran a tight ship except for one specific day a year. From an art teacher who insisted on seriousness from the truly talented, to a math teacher who was perhaps a little to easy on us. Let's chat about our very favorite instructors from our youth. And some of yours, too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 08, 2019
#76: Rosemary's Baby
When Rosemary's Baby hit theaters in 1968, the horror genre as we know it today didn't really exist yet. The scariest flicks of the era were low budget, poorly lit, and corny beyond belief. But Roman Polanski's film helped define a shift towards the same kind of well written, expertly produced and directed psychological horror that had already found a niche on nascent TV. Written by a bohemian novelist, adapted and spearheaded for the big screen by a highly controversial director, and starring a famous actress who was then known only for her work on a soap opera, Rosemary's Baby is a horror film for the ages. But back in 1968, its religious, witchcraftian premise was utterly offensive to mainstream American sensibilities. That, of course, is part of why it's so great. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 01, 2019
#75: Meet Mr. Moriarty
Our beloved KnockBack is a lot of things. It's a celebration of nostalgia and memory, of reminiscing and remembering, and, as it turns out, the many characters that make up The Moriarty Cinematic Universe. As our listenership (that's you!) knows, our dad -- Gerard Moriarty -- comes up all the time, sometimes in jest, other times in seriousness, and always with reverence. So this week, we thought we'd invite him on the show so that you can all meet the man himself. What does Mr. Moriarty think about his sons' popular podcast? How does he feel about being brought up almost every week? And, perhaps most vitally, does he want to correct the record in any way, shape, or form? Without further ado, allow us to introduce our father, the Air Force veteran, the retired FDNY lieutenant, the man who used to make meatloaf with cereal. The person, as it turns out, who makes Colin cry for the very first time in KnockBack history. In a good way, of course. It's Onion Man's time to shine! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 25, 2019
#74: Resident Evil 2
In 1998, Capcom followed its beloved survival horror game Resident Evil with a sequel. But Resident Evil 2 wasn't just any sequel. It experienced a tortured development, coming to store shelves a full year later than intended, which -- at the time -- was an absolutely catastrophic delay. So expectations were incredibly high. But, with now-famous game dev gods Shinji Mikami (Producer) and Hideki Kamiya (Director) helming the project, it turned out that the wait was more than worth it. Resident Evil 2 is one of Capcom's best-selling games ever, and its modern remake is considered one of 2019's finest titles. We think it's more than worthy of a lengthy episode of KnockBack? Wouldn't you agree? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 18, 2019
#73: Dagan's Great Adventures
The Brothers Moriarty co-host KnockBack, but it's no secret who the star of the show is: Dagan. So let's focus solely on him today, and hear some of his stories from the '70s, '80s, and '90s. The through-line? These random events -- from his first experience seeing real-life gore to getting chased by the cops through the streets of Philadelphia (and more!) -- are completely unassociated with almost anything else we'd talk about on our retro and nostalgia show. But that doesn't mean these stories shouldn't be told. They should definitely be told. So let's let Dagan tell 'em! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 11, 2019
#72: The Fourth of July
In America, The Fourth of July -- our so-called "Independence Day" -- is a time of raucous celebration. Families and friends gather around the country for burgers and hot dogs, slaw and baked beans, beers and cigars, and plenty of fireworks (of course). As children, though, The Fourth of July takes on an almost mystical air, when permutations of people get together you don't often see at once, where entire neighborhoods collapse under the weight of visitors, when adults seem to get hammered at light speed while their kids play in the pool from dawn 'til dusk, and where you don't have to ever get up to catch the school bus in the morning. In the end, celebrating Fourth of July is all about Summer in America, and all the awesomeness that comes along with it. So let's reminisce. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 04, 2019
#71 | Metroid + Metroid II
When it comes to Nintendo franchises, Metroid sticks out like a sore thumb. It's completely unlike almost any other Nintendo fare. It simply doesn't fit. But that's what makes it so interesting. It all started humbly enough in the 1986 original, but underneath the unassuming facade of a side-scrolling action game was a shockingly deep (and ruthlessly difficult) adventure, one that required its earliest players to make maps by hand, distinguish between items and weapons with unclear uses, and keep their wits in a sprawling map far harder to decipher and navigate than its cousin, The Legend of Zelda. There were even multiple endings! By the early-'90s, Metroid returned with a Game Boy-exclusive sequel created with the same explorative mantra in mind, and, well, the rest is history. Or herstory, perhaps, since Metroid also introduced gamers to one of the medium's first iconic female protagonists. But enough delay: Let's chat about Metroidvanias long before that term even existed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 27, 2019
#70: Interstellar
Christopher Nolan is one of the modern world's most talented filmmakers, full stop. If you ask 10 people what their favorite Nolan flick is, you may very well get 10 different answers. (Really. He's directed 10 films.) Yet, in a catalog of works-of-art, Interstellar may very well be greatest of them all. Released in 2014 to an astounding critical reception and with hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars grossed, Interstellar tells the unusual (and riveting!) story of the end of the world, and how a daring trip through space and time might just be able to undo Earth's dire, apocalyptic situation. When it comes to storytelling, Interstellar is thorough, but in terms of its rigorous and realistic science that hinges upon what's actually possible, Interstellar's a movie so deep, you could drown in it. So let's drown for a bit, shall we? Not like Dr. Doyle on Miller's Planet, mind you. Metaphorically. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 20, 2019
#69 | Batman: The Animated Series
Every month, our lovely Patreon audience gets to vote on a topic we cover here on KnockBack, and today, we deliver one such episode. Batman made his comic book debut all the way back in 1939, and his amazing staying power is due, in part, to the exceptional number of ways DC has allowed him to be portrayed. Perhaps one of Batman's most iconic portrayals, however, is in cartoon form. Batman: The Animated Series -- which initially ran from 1992 through 1995 -- is a stellar piece of art, an accessible-yet-deep look at all the Batman franchise has to offer. From its portrayal of Gotham to its amazing villains (to its treatment of Batman/Bruce!), Batman: The Animated Series has earned its sterling reputation. So allow us to be your billionaire caretaker, and you our boy ward, and let's learn a thing or two about The Bat-Man. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 13, 2019
#68: The Arcade
Video gaming began after World War II, when primitive punch card and oscilloscope games were played exclusively on university and government supercomputers. But what started as a small niche for the educated and elite quickly found its way into venues every person could enjoy, like bars, lounges, and restaurants. Before you knew it, pinball machines were everywhere, and by the late-'70s, so too were arcade machines. Space Invaders. Pac-Man. Galaga. Arkanoid. While it may be hard for the younger generations to fully grapple with, for older gamers, the arcade really meant something. And it still does today. So let's hearken back to a time before smart phones, or even the Internet. Hell, let's even hearken back to a time before mainstream home console gaming, and show our appreciation for the quarter-gobbling machines that spawned one of modern entertainment's most vital verticals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 06, 2019
#67: '90s Nicktoons
With Rugrats, Doug, and Ren & Stimpy, Nickelodeon launched a cartoon revolution in the early '90s. These three initial Nicktoon-branded offerings toted completely unique art styles, stories, tones, and even target audiences, and the trio proved to be animated powerhouses that persisted in popularity long after their initial runs. Nicktoons' positive reputation continued right on through the decade, though, as shows from Hey Arnold and Real Monsters to Rocko's Modern Life and The Angry Beavers delighted audiences around the world, replacing those older offerings with something fresher. Today's episode of KnockBack -- as voted on by the show's Patreon supporters -- is all about the Nicktoons of the 1990s. And no, this won't preclude us from doing specific episodes on specific shows in the future, so fret not. (There's a Ren & Stimpy episode of KnockBack, after all!) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 30, 2019
#66: My Neighbor Totoro
It can't be overstated how unusual it is that so-called "Nerd Culture" has taken over the world. Not too long ago, it was completely unthinkable that something like Game of Thrones or The Avengers could be the biggest entertainment properties in the world. But along with the mainstream popularization of fantasy, superheroes, and the like has come a quieter revolution that we definitely take for granted: The influence of Japanese media, particular when it comes to its animation. It seems incredible to think that we're only a few years removed from anime itself being a truly underground phenomenon, but it's true. And one of films that help popularized Japanese animation in the west during its more niche days was My Neighbor Totoro, the gorgeous Studio Ghibli picture that hinged on a unique sense of eastern post-war nostalgia the likes of which only a master like Hayao Miyazaki could capture. This episode of KnockBack is dedicated entirely to Ghibli's 1988 classic, and all of the conversation, points of interest, and even conspiracy theories that come along with any thorough analysis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 23, 2019
#65: Star Wars Toys (1977-1985)
Sometimes, The Brothers Moriarty get a little too ambitious, and this particular episode of the show is a good example of how. That's because we went into recording this entry of KnockBack assuming we'd be able to talk about both of our eras collecting Star Wars toys all at once. But such an idea quickly proved too unwieldy for just one episode. So instead of trying to cover literally decades all at once, we thought we'd focus on Star Wars' original era -- A New Hope through Return of the Jedi and the couple of years that followed -- and dive deep into Dagan's experience in particular collecting the action figures, vehicles, and playsets as they came to market. Dagan has a near-complete collection of Kenner toys from 1977 (well, technically 1978) through 1985, so let's just say he has quite a bit of experience. And alongside that experience, thankfully, comes a head full of memories and stories to share. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 16, 2019
#64: Breakfast Cereal
When you're a kid, you can't escape breakfast cereal. (And frankly, why would you want to?) You ate it in the morning, or maybe out of a sandwich bag on the bus or at lunch. When you got home from school, you may have helped yourself to half a box while watching afternoon cartoons. And who hasn't snuck a bowl or two late at night? The point is, cereal rules, and we wanted to dedicate an entire episode to it. From marshmallow-filled favorites to the bizarre stuff your parents ate -- and everything in between -- let's reminisce about milk's favorite companion, and how it quietly defined our childhoods. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 09, 2019
#63: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Hey bud! Way back in 1981, Rolling Stone journalist Cameron Crowe wrote and published a book chronicling his time spent undercover at a Southern California high school. It was called Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and it's something of a collector's item today, having never even been republished since. Indeed, it would have no doubt become an obscure (albeit interesting) piece of early-'80s trivia, save for one thing: It shares its name (and some of its characters and plot) with a tremendously well-regarded film. Fast Times (as the movie is commonly referred) is a seminal teen flick from an era where that term hadn't really been defined yet. It stars young actors in believable, yet archetypal roles, provided near-unheard of amounts of candor and realism in its dialogue and situations, and -- perhaps most importantly -- introduced the world to the majesty of Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli. So listen in to our conversation that's longer than the film itself, and perhaps you, too, can answer the immortal question: "Where did you get this jacket?!" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 02, 2019
#62: The Pool
For many of us, being a child during the summer largely revolved around one thing: The swimming pool. Whether you had an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool, or you had to rely on your friends' pools for your aquatic adventures, or even if you spent the dog days of summer at the municipal pool or at the local Y, there's a decent chance you've got some swimming-related memories tucked away in your head. That's what today's episode of KnockBack is all about: All the games, the toys, the friends, and the stories that took place in, around, and under that (usually) blue, (sometimes) pee-infested water. Oh, and of course the dives, flips, and other jumps that probably could have killed all of us at one point or another. Cannonball! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 25, 2019
#61: The Goonies
Way back in 1985, a most unusual flick came to the silver screen. It was called The Goonies, and for most people that saw it (both then and now), it morphed into an instant classic, a memorable movie in an era of memorable movies. Thing is, it's an interesting product well above and beyond it '80s cult status. It stars some famous actors, it was conceived by one of the film industry's most famous names (both then and now), it wasn't a merchandising cash cow, and -- perhaps mercifully -- it's never been remade. There isn't even a proper sequel (though there is that Konami game...). At the end of the day, The Goonies was all about childhood adventure and imagination, and it's those two aspects of our younger days that we celebrate during today's episodes. See, it turned out The Goonies were good enough. Question is: Are you? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 18, 2019
#60: Childhood Homes
Let's face it: Nostalgia is often heavily rooted in locations, and not only events. Today's episode of KnockBack seeks to explore that idea, going over the homes we've lived in with a fine-tooth comb in order to extract some deeply-held memories. From a few houses on Long Island for the both of us, to Colin's experience living in Maine and New Hampshire for a few years as a kid, it turns out that by focusing on where we lived, and not only when, we can grab onto the past in ways we never thought possible. And listener memories of your own childhood homes -- of which we include many -- round things out to an even greater degree. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 11, 2019
#59: PlayStation 2
What can you say about the best-selling home video game console of all-time? PlayStation 2 -- launched in 2000 -- completely morphed the way we looked at gaming machines. The fact that PSone could even play audio CDs was a revolution; now we were looking at a machine that could play game discs and DVDs alike, opening up even more entertainment possibilities. More than 150 million units sold later, PlayStation 2 is a staggering 50 million units ahead of the second place console on the vaunted Best-Selling Home Consoles of All-Time list. Let that sink in. Think about how incredible that is. And then listen to our 2+ hour reminiscence of Sony's beloved second foray into gaming, the wonderful experiences that it brought with it, and the memories it left with us all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 04, 2019
#58 | The Office (US version)
If there's one true reason why the American adaptation of The Office resonates so much with people, it's because it feels hauntingly real. Lots of us know a Michael Scott or a Dwight Schrute, a Pam Beesly or a Jim Halpert. And lots of us understand, in one fashion or another, the 9-to-5 grind, and all that comes along with working in seemingly soul-sucking corporate environments. While The Office first premiered as a British show starring Ricky Gervais back in 2001, its 2005 to 2013 run starring Steve Carell is widely considered to be one of the greatest television comedies ever made, and today's episode of KnockBack -- the longest in our podcast's run so far -- we take the time necessary to show this monumental cringefest the love and respect it deserves. So let's travel to Scranton, Pennsylvania, the home of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, and get to know some folks. If you're good, we can stop by Schrute Farms on the way home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 28, 2019
#57: First Dates and "Girlfriends"
Do you remember your first "girlfriend" or "boyfriend?" Your first date? Your first kiss? Today's episode of KnockBack -- as voted on by the show's Patreon supporters -- is dedicated to just such topics. As adults, matters of the heart are often incredibly complicated and high stakes. That's why it's so important to occasionally reminisce about our far more innocent, far more straight-forward days, when we were just figuring everything out. When we were discovering who we were, and who we are. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 21, 2019
#56: Our Favorite Concerts
We don't often talk about music on KnockBack, which is strange, considering it's a massive part of Moriarty Life. So for only the second time in our show's run, we're dedicating an episode entirely to music, particularly live music. What have been our very favorite concert experiences? What were our first concerts, our most memorable concerts, and the worst concerts we've been to? How has live music inspired us and driven us? Which acts have we seen the most, which acts do we long to see, and which acts -- because of time and place -- we'll simply never get to see? We discuss it all, and give you a little glimpse into the sonic accompaniment that helped (and still helps) define our lives. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 14, 2019
#55: BioShock
Video games have unrivaled narrative potential, and 2007's BioShock is possibly the single greatest example of how gaming and storytelling can expertly intertwine. BioShock is the story of an underwater libertarian utopia run by a brilliant business magnate, and how the weight of his own stringent ideology leads to his dream's rapid undoing. But in reality, it's about far more than that. It's a master class in gameplay, in environment, in design, in voice acting, in writing, in combat, in pacing, and much more. So let's celebrate Ken Levine's most famous game -- one of the greatest ever made -- and dodge the men in Washington, the Vatican, and Moscow, who may just seek to rob you of all you've rightly earned. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 07, 2019
#54: The Karate Kid Trilogy
'80s movies are a goldmine for a nostalgia and retro podcast like this one, but few films of the era are held in as high esteem as 1984's Karate Kid. The story of Daniel LaRusso and his trials and tribulations as "The New Kid" -- a new kid who just happens to learn lethal karate from an old, unassuming man -- is an undeniable classic. So let's chat about Daniel-San, his sensei Mr. Miyagi, his nemesis (or is it victim?) Johnny, the bizarre Kreese, and more. And let's also delve into Karate Kid's two questionable sequels, and try to make sense of it all, because no Karate Kid conversation is complete with Parts II and III, too. So let's strike first and strike hard, shall we? No mercy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 28, 2019
#53: A Retrospective's Retrospective
When we launched KnockBack, we didn't know what to expect. We had this idea to do a nostalgic, retro-driven podcast, but nothing was set in stone, and Dagan had never co-hosted a show before, so we had no idea how it'd turn out, or if anyone would like it. The end result, though, has been extraordinary. KnockBack is a passion project for us -- the Brothers Moriarty -- and convening every couple of months to record a handful of episodes is a highlight for both of us on our respective calendars. But, more than that, it has become thousands of people's favorite CLS show, with a hardcore, thoughtful, and connected community. Watching as more and more people find their way to our podcast (last month was its biggest month ever!) is the definition of gratifying. So as we move into Year Two, we first thought we'd reflect a bit on Year One, and reminisce about our own journey tapping into our memories like we never have before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 21, 2019
#52: Growing Up in the '50s and '60s
Today's episode of KnockBack is very special, because it stars our mother, Betty Ann Moriarty. Our mom was born in Brooklyn in 1950, and grew up in the shadow of New York City -- on our beloved Long Island -- during a storied era of American history. Our (too) brief discussion centers around her childhood and teen years, reminiscing about days long gone. Brought up in an Italian household with an Irish twist, our mom lived through a great deal, including the seminal Vietnam War years that engulfed her generation and saw her real life friends sent to war. Some even died. Yet, this was also an era of great music, of "peace and love," and of Leave It to Beaver-style sensibilities that have long since gone extinct. C'mon: What's more retro than chatting about the days before Dagan and Colin were even born? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 14, 2019
#51: Malls in the '80s and '90s
The 21st century has brought with it the slow-but-steady demise of malls across the United States (and elsewhere, of course). But in the post-World War II era, when families started sprouting up in the suburbs in huge numbers, malls weren't only centers of commerce, but centers of pre-Internet socializing, too. So today, let's chat about the mall during the latter end of its triumphant era, in the '80s and '90s. The stores we loved and hated. The people we met. The food courts. And, of course, the toy stores, game shops, and all of the other nerdy things we relied upon a great deal before the advent of Always Online. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 07, 2019
#50: Childhood Pets
For many children, one of growing up's great traditions is having a pet or two. (Or maybe even five or 10.) This episode of KnockBack revolves around our memories of the pets we grew up with, our many cats, our rabbits, and even a scorpion named Wellington. We also solicited a ton of entries from the audience, and go through your pet stories, too. What did these animals mean to all of us? How did they shape our adolescent and teen years? And what kind of funny, sad and meaningful stories about these creatures have we carried through to today? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 31, 2019
#49: The Ren & Stimpy Show
When Nickelodeon launched its original Nicktoons lineup in the late summer of 1991, it did so with an eclectic collection of three shows. You had the young adult-friendly Doug, Rugrats for the younger viewers, and The Ren & Stimpy Show for... well... for some other strange reason. For four years, from '91 until 1995, only 52 episodes of Ren & Stimpy would be produced and aired, but the misadventures of the Odd Couple-like cat and dog duo enraptured cartoon fans around the world with its absurd characters, heinous humor, and completely bizarre aesthetic. But where did it come from? Who made it, anyway, and why? And where has it gone these last two-plus decades? Let's jump in and find out. And then, when we're done, I'll teach you to be happy. I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 24, 2019
#48: The Super Mario Bros. NES Trilogy
There's probably no single trilogy more responsible for the trajectory of the video game industry than Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3 on NES. The first game, in particular, was revolutionary, while the third game showed the true power of what Nintendo's aging hardware could do. (As for the second game, well, we love that one, too.) Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to remembering these three classic games, not only for what they meant, but for what they are: Master classes in design, graphics, music, and -- perhaps most importantly of all -- gameplay. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 17, 2019
#47: The Films of Don Bluth
If you're one of the many KnockBack listeners that loves when Dagan dives deep into animation, this episode is for you. Today's nearly two and a half hour-long chat is dedicated to Don Bluth, a man famous for his work at Disney in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. And then there's his own independent work in the decades since, works ranging from An American Tail and The Secret of NIMH to The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go To Heaven. So sit back and let Dagan regale you about the career and films of an extremely fascinating man, a man far more important to the American (and global) animation scene than he may get credit for.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 10, 2019
#46: Metal Gear Solid
For those of us that grew up with the NES, Metal Gear was a fun -- albeit strange -- game that kinda just came and went. It wasn't until 1998's Metal Gear Solid, about a decade later, that we understood the full ramifications of what creator Hideo Kojima was really trying to say and do. A tale of politics, espionage, and warfare, Metal Gear Solid is a beloved franchise today, and although it didn't technically begin here... it kinda, sorta did. So let's chat about one of PSone's very best titles, a mind-bending adventure that exerted incredible influence on many a game that came after it. And don't forget to change controller ports, either, or we may just be able to read you. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 03, 2019
#45: Holiday Memories
For a podcast about all about nostalgia, we'd be crazy to skip the so-called Holiday Season, the section of the annual calendar perhaps most rife with memories. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to Christmastime (or whatever you might celebrate), and all of the amazing remembrances of festive times past. Presents. Family. Food. Togetherness. And that time Colin knocked down the tree, and claimed he had nothing to do with it. So let's explore all of the grand memories this time of year gives us (and some painful recollections, too). And if there's time, we'll get to an Airing of Grievances, too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 24, 2018
#44: SEGA vs. Nintendo
In the early '80s, the home console vanished as quickly as it arrived. But only a few years later, a new champion emerged -- Nintendo -- and gaming on your television has only grown since. Nintendo was a force to be reckoned with during the NES era, with no real competition, but as the decade turned and the Super Nintendo appeared poised to continue NES' dominance, a fresh-faced challenger arrived on the scene: SEGA. A corporate afterthought in the '80s, SEGA's Genesis console rose to battle the SNES, and the melee that ensued is one of gaming's most memorable multi-year fights, one that coined the term Console War. So let's dive into what it was like to be a Nintendo or SEGA kid growing up, and all that entailed. Mario vs. Sonic. SNES vs. Genesis. And Big Kids vs. Little Kids... or so some people thought.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 20, 2018
#43: The Back to the Future Trilogy
In the early-to-mid '80s, Michael J. Fox was a household name because of his work on Family Ties, the beloved American sitcom. But by 1985, Fox was catapulted even further into the stratosphere by Back to the Future, a film about time travel, and the unexpected -- and often fun and zany -- results of utilizing such advanced technology. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated not only to the original Back to the Future, but to its two sequels, as well, and was voted on by Colin's Last Stand's Patrons. Is your Flux Capacitor ready? We sure hope so. We just ask that you stop saying "gigawatt" incorrectly.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 13, 2018
#42 | The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
It's not terribly uncommon for Nintendo fans to feel that The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game ever released. The third title launched in the series -- coming to stores in 1991 in Japan and 1992 elsewhere -- A Link to the Past marks the fledgling franchise's first jump to new hardware, and represents a serious retooling of the original's winning formula. Of course, it's also impossible not to connect it to today's games, too, both in and outside of Zelda's continuity. We do just that on this episode of KnockBack, delving deep not only into a classic, but discussing at length the newest spin on our Hyrulian Hero, and which style we prefer: The "Old," the "New," or somewhere very much in between. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 06, 2018
#41: Disney Animated Films (1937-1959)
In 1937, Walt Disney and his fledgling animation company executed a quantum leap when they released Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the first animated feature film of its kind. The rest, as they say, is history. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to those early days of Disney features, from Pinocchio and Dumbo to Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, as well as many others. And who better to learn about it all from than a professional animator with more than two decades of experience, who just so happens to be an authority on these films, the people who made them, and the art scene that fostered their amazing work? See, there's no need to whistle while you work. Just listen to this podcast instead.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 29, 2018
#40: Caddyshack
There are a lot of classic sports films, from the somber and serious to the wacky and insane. Caddyshack squarely falls in the latter camp. Released in 1980, Caddyshack tells the story of a midwestern American country club via the antics of its most colorful patrons and employees. With an all-star cast including Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Ted Knight, and with Harold Ramis helming the film as both writer and director, Caddyshack's cult status isn't happenstance. It's the result of a brilliant mixture of talent, talent that rewrote, reworked, and improvised through much of production in order to take advantage of their greatest comedic assets. So join us as we show love and appreciation for one of film's great comedies. And put on some weight, will ya?         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 22, 2018
#39: The Music of Our Youth
For many kids, music is a gigantic part of life, and the bands, albums, and songs we grow up listening to and enjoying often help shape the people we end up becoming as adults. With that in mind, we dedicate the longest episode of KnockBack to date to 10 albums each (or 20 albums total) that indelibly influenced us as children and teenagers. Indeed, much of our focus is on our middle school and high school years, represented by an enormously eclectic collection of music... an assortment of music we'd still gladly listen to today, from hip-hop to rock, and just about everything in between.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 15, 2018
#38: Lunchtime and Recess
For virtually all students, lunchtime (and the recess that often followed) was a pivotal moment of each school day. Indeed, going off to eat and goof off with your friends acted as the perfect respite from never ending waves of math problems and reading assignments. Today's episode of KnockBack -- framed heavily around listener comments -- is all about lunchtime and recess, and the many, many stories we (and all of you) have about those times. This episode is full of laughs, and tons of nostalgic memories, too. So grab your lunchbox or bagged lunch, and take a seat with us: The cool kids. (Only kidding. We're not cool.)         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 08, 2018
#37: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
It's almost always true that "the book is better than the movie." But when it comes to the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- which is based on the 1964 Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- the movie is definitively better than what inspired it. Starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a timeless mix of humor, music, and zaniness, and, nearly five decades after its release, it's as amazing as ever. So join us as we take a trip down the Chocolate River and remember the unusual adventure of a young boy named Charlie, his grandfather Joe, and a group of terrible children intent on inheriting a lifetime's supply of goodness, goodness that eludes all but one of them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 01, 2018
#36 | Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
For a decade, Castlevania fans knew their beloved series as something traditional. You'd go through a stage full of bad guys, you'd fight a boss at the end, and you'd move on to the next level, where you'd do it all again. But then, in 1997, Symphony of the Night came to PlayStation (and Saturn!), and changed the formula forever. Widely considered one of the very best games ever created, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night took influence not only from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest on NES, but Super Metroid on SNES, and fused RPG and non-linear elements with the atmosphere, characters, and story Castlevania fans were so familiar with. The result was -- and is -- something totally unforgettable. So let's take some time and talk about Alucard's famous adventure, one he undertakes on behalf of a family hellbent on killing his own father.      Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 25, 2018
#35: Random Childhood Memories
Almost every episode of KnockBack is focused on something: A topic, or a product, or a place and time. Today's episode is a bit different, though. Each month, CLS Patrons get to vote on what we should cover in a future episode of this show, and you guys and gals voted for us to tell some of our favorite childhood memories. So we've done just that. From feats of hockey heroism and snowball fights with the older kids, to fake-out birthday gifts and family vacations, to school assemblies and fights with bullies, this episode kinda lacks focus. But then again, that's sorta the point.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 18, 2018
#34: Akira
In the late '80s, Katsuhiro Otomo changed animation forever with the release of Akira, the film adaption of his manga series of the same name. His Akira manga began in 1982, and wouldn't conclude until 1990, two years after the movie was released. But one thing was true then, and remains true now: Akira, as a film, is one of the most impressive and important pieces of long-form animation ever created, and continues to inspire artists around the world to this day. So let's delve into all things Akira, why it's important, why it's awesome, and why it's still so relevant today, not only through the lens of a fan, but through the eyes of a professional animator who was deeply influenced by it as a teenager, and remains influenced by it today.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 11, 2018
#33: Calvin and Hobbes
From late 1985 until the very end of 1995, immensely talented artist Bill Watterson produced Calvin and Hobbes, a beloved comic strip all about a young boy and his imaginary tiger friend. During the decade it ran -- and in the decades since -- Calvin and Hobbes has touched millions, but even more fascinating than the strip itself is the reclusive man who made it, a man who voluntarily walked away from it all and refused to capitalize on the potential, untold success of his creation. Today's KnockBack is dedicated not only to Watterson's seminal work of art, but to his story. Indeed, this episode circulates around a single theme: If it's okay to sell out.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Oct 04, 2018
#32 | The Lord of the Rings (novels)
In 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien -- British writer, scholar, and Oxford professor -- released the most important and influential piece of fantasy in literary history: The Lord of the Rings. As a follow-up to The Hobbit, which Tolkien published nearly two decades earlier in 1937, the so-called Trilogy represents some of the most beloved fiction in the entire English language. A mere podcast cannot and will not do these seminal works justice, but for roughly two hours, we gush over a trio of works so essential that the entire fantasy genre, and everything that's spun off from it -- including video games, tabletop games, card games, and more -- would be far, far different (and possibly non-existent) today. But thankfully, we don't live in a Tolkien-less alternate reality. So let's celebrate, shall we?       Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 27, 2018
#31: Guilty Pleasure Movies
There are films we really love. Other flicks we totally hate. And a mass of movies in the middle that just kind of exist. Then, there are the so-called Guilty Pleasure Movies, films that, regardless of critical reception and box office draw, have us coming back for more... even if we try to keep our adoration of these films to ourselves. As requested by CLS Patrons, this episode of KnockBack is all about our secret (and perhaps shameful) cinematic loves. 10 of them in total, in fact. So let's make the case for some could-be gems, shall we?        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 20, 2018
#30 | Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
In 1983, the original Star Wars trilogy wrapped up with Return of the Jedi. From Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett to Emperor Palpatine and Admiral Ackbar, Episode VI is chock-full of great characters, but it also happens to be the culmination of a story that, at the time, was six years in the making. So let's delve into what was once assumed to be the final Star Wars film and talk about our favorite and not-so-favorite moments, spanning from the assault on Endor (with those cute Ewoks!) and a near-death experience on Tatooine to the attack on a new Death Star and a fairer Vader-Luke battle. Oh, and there's lots of Episode VIII talk here, too, because The Last Jedi and The Return of the Jedi share one important feature: They're both the most disparaged entry in their respective trilogy. There's much to explore there, too, contentiousness and all.       Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 13, 2018
#29 | The Batman: Dark Knight Trilogy
The three movies in the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy are widely considered to be the best superhero movies ever made, particularly within the nearly decade-long time they were produced and released. Rife with exceptional acting talent -- from Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and Heath Ledger to Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and beyond -- Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight flicks feel realistic, grounded, and gritty, and have earned and retained legions of fans around the world. Today's discussion revolves around those three films: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. From the production and the writing to the performances and the reception, there's much to discuss, and even more to show respect and admiration for.      Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 06, 2018
#28: Saturday Mornings
In the Analog Days, nothing was more important to a kid than Saturday morning, for it was there that a week's worth of pent up creative, athletic, and outright childlike energy could be expended. Fueled by sugary cereal, Saturday mornings typically began with cartoons, but it was what these mornings in front of the TV could lead to that's perhaps most tantalizing. Playing sports. Going to the movies or arcade. Goofing around outside with friends. Remaining glued to a screen to play video games. Today's episode of KnockBack revolves around these memories, and the serious nostalgia they inevitably invoke in all of us.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 30, 2018
#27: Mad Men
The 1960's in the United States was a turbulent time of upheaval and reform, and Mad Men -- which ran on AMC from 2007 to 2015 -- gave viewers a glimpse into that world from an unusual perch: Madison Avenue. Widely considered one of the greatest television shows of all-time, Mad Men introduces audiences to a wide-ranging cast of characters all revolving around one man: Don Draper, the Creative Director of a New York City advertising agency. With so much to talk about, we structured our two hour-plus conversation by talking about the characters. Not only Don, but Betty, Peggy, Roger, Pete, Joan, and many others. So grab yourself an old-fashioned, sit back, relax, and travel back in time.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 23, 2018
#26: Nintendo GameCube
In 2001, Nintendo followed up the poor-selling Nintendo 64 with a console that would barely do 60% of N64's total sales. It was called the GameCube, and when compared to its contemporary PlayStation 2, it was largely looked at as a children's toy, and an unpopular one at that. But for those who ignored the haters and delved into its rich catalog, Nintendo's GameCube arguably offered the best pure gaming experiences of its generation, and left a surprisingly positive legacy in the wake of its weak retail performance. So let's take 90 minutes to talk about the box-shaped console with the inexplicable handle, and why it still resonates with us today.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 16, 2018
#25: The Lion King and the Animation Revival
Few animated films are more important than The Lion King, released in 1994 towards the height of the Disney Renaissance. An unlikely hit, the movie was animated by what was at the time considered a b-team, with the so-called "Top Talent" toiling away on 1995's Pocahontas. Turns out both movies are awesome, but The Lion King is considered the better product. Go figure. Today's episode of KnockBack is framed around The Lion King, but really, the podcast doubles as a comprehensive look back at the dark times that preceded the Disney boom of the late '80s and into the '90s, with lots of animation history and anecdotes from a man who happens to know a thing or two about the field.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 09, 2018
#24: The Early Internet
The Internet began as an academic and military experiment in the post-World War II United States, and decades later, the World Wide Web built on top of it changed the world forever. In the mid-'90s, the Brothers Moriarty gained Internet access at very different moments in their lives. So let's explore what made those dial up days so special, and what it was like being on the Internet during the moments when people realized what it could be, and what it would become. Looking around the Internet today, things sure were quaint in the not too distant past. You'll see.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Aug 02, 2018
#23: The Video Store
In the late 1970s, something amazing happened: People didn't have to go to the movie theater anymore to watch films. Crazier yet, they didn't have to be home at specific times to watch TV. The same device made both revolutions possible: The VCR. But the VCR didn't reach its full potential until the advent of the video store in the early '80s, and it's here that we begin our tale, reminiscing over stories about our shops. What did we rent? What kind of people worked there? What was it like watching the whole industry shrivel up and die? Let's chat about the analog days, where you had to leave your house to find something to watch.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 26, 2018
#22: Transformers
Between GI Joe and Star Wars -- not to mention all of the other competing toy lines of the time -- the early '80s were a busy era for little boys across the west. But then, 1984 rolled around and brought with it a revolutionary new toy line: Transformers. Transformers' three-pronged approach -- action figures, cartoons, and comics -- saturated the landscape for several years, years Dagan remembers fondly. So sit back, relax, and allow us (well, him) to regale you of stories of toys past, toys that, it turned out, were far more than meets the eye.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 19, 2018
#21: Mega Man 1, 2, & 3
In 1987, upstart Japanese publisher-slash-developer Capcom changed the game when it released Mega Man (known as Rockman in Japan), a silky smooth, beautiful, and dynamic non-linear side scrolling shooter. By 1990, Capcom had followed up the original Mega Man with two fantastic sequels, cementing the franchise in old-school Nintendo lore. Today, on the longest episode of KnockBack to date, we dissect our love of the Blue Bomber, and discuss at length the special bond we developed over the series.          Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 12, 2018
#20: Skateboarding in the '80s
Skateboarding as we know it today became a true phenomenon on the west coast in the late '70s and into the '80s, and it just so happens that skating has been one of Dagan's biggest passions for more than 30 consecutive years. So we dedicated today's episode of KnockBack to those neon days, when skating was niche, looked down upon, and truly rough around the edges. It's always a pleasure when Dagan goes into storytelling mode, so... without further ado: Here's what it was like to skate when no one else was.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jul 05, 2018
#19: The Breakfast Club
While there are a number of amazing '80s teen movies we could easily swoon over, John Hughes' 1985 classic The Breakfast Club is the most quintessentially '80s of 'em all. It's strange that a straight-forward movie about five students serving Saturday detention together could become such a powerful and beloved calling card of a place and time, and yet, The Breakfast Club remains a beacon to Gen X-ers (and their kids) to this day. So let's spend some time talking about the Brain, the Athlete, the Basketcase, the Princess, and the Criminal, shall we?        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 28, 2018
#18: Seinfeld
Few (if any) television shows in history tickled our funny bones like Seinfeld. From 1989 until 1998, the demented stories of Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine captivated audiences with their absurdity, told with the assistance of incredible humor and world class writing. Today's KnockBack is dedicated to the amazing, spectacular, GOAT 180 episode run of Seinfeld, and focuses on the characters themselves. What makes the four protagonists tick? Why are their lives so insane? And how do they attract scores of crazy people into their worlds in nine years? Let's sit around our table at a digital Monk's and hash it out.      Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 21, 2018
#17: The Indiana Jones Trilogy
Throughout the '80s, the Indiana Jones trilogy riveted moviegoers around the world with its tale of a cunning, adventurous archaeologist traveling the planet in search of priceless relics. Today's episode of KnockBack jumps into what makes Indiana Jones so beloved and so well-remembered, with specific sections of the show dedicated to each of the core Indy movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade. So grab your whip, and maybe your pistol, too. It's time to get historical.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 14, 2018
#16: Final Fantasy IV
In 1991, Final Fantasy IV came to SNES (we initially knew it as Final Fantasy II in the west), and it changed entirely our expectations of what a role-playing game could be. With a dire, multi-dimensional story, a diverse cast of interesting characters, a stunning soundtrack, and a serious gameplay hook, Final Fantasy IV burrowed its way into gamers' hearts and minds the world over, and 27 years later, it's as beloved as ever. So let's dedicate a solid 100 minutes to chatting about one of the great JRPGs of all-time, how we discovered it, what it meant to us at the time, and what it still means to us today.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jun 07, 2018
#15: The Star Wars Expanded Universe
In 1978, a year after Star Wars: A New Hope came to theaters, a book quietly found its way onto store shelves. It was called Splinter of the Mind's Eye, and it took place in between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. And thus, the Star Wars Expanded Universe was born, storytelling from A Galaxy Far, Far Away done outside of the films themselves. Spanning across literally thousands of books, comics, cartoon episodes, video games, and on and on (and on), the Expanded Universe founds its footing in the early '90s, reached fever pitch in the early aughts, and was snuffed out and built again during this New Era of Star Wars. So let's chat about it, shall we?        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 31, 2018
#14: The Sopranos
From 1999 through 2007, The Sopranos aired on HBO. Indeed, it was only HBO's second scripted series ever (kinda crazy when you think about that through today's lens, huh?). The story of Tony Soprano and his two families -- his actual family and his crime family -- is considered some of the finest storytelling to ever grace television, and is more than worthy of a meaty episode of KnockBack. Allow us to take you through one of our very favorite shows, reminiscing about what the show meant at the time... and what it still means today.       Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 24, 2018
#13: The Original PlayStation
In the late '80s and early '90s, few (if any) electronics companies were more respected than Sony. Eager to get into gaming, Sony partnered with Nintendo on a project called Play Station (with the space!), but Nintendo pulled out of the deal, leaving Sony embarrassed and bruised. But Sony sought retribution, and in 1994, it launched PlayStation (intercapped!), and changed gaming forever. Today's extra-long episode of KnockBack is dedicated to Sony's seminal console, to our memories of it, what it was like living through that era, and to the amazing games that made it the first 100+ million selling video game console ever launched.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 17, 2018
#12: Movies We Shouldn't Have Watched as Kids
We all have movies that stick with us as we move through life. Some films inspire us and make us happy; others provoke thought or make us sad. And some are movies we had no business watching as children, and stuck with us simply because of how terrified they made us. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to just that: The movies our parents shouldn't have let us see, movies that have lingered in our minds for decades.          Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 10, 2018
#11: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has had exceptional staying power. It's enjoyed ebbs and flows in its relevance and success, of course, but it's been in the nerd consciousness for more than 30 years, and there's a reason for that: TMNT is awesome. Today's KnockBack is dedicated to the Turtles, with much of the conversation focusing on the classic 1990 film. But obviously, we touch on the cartoons, toys, and more, too. So let's jump in! Oh... and bring your Jose Canseco bat, if you can find it.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
May 03, 2018
#10: '80s Nickelodeon
In the pre-Internet days, few things distracted children as much as Nickelodeon, one of the earliest and most successful cable television channels ever created. With humble origins in the late '70s (when it was known as Pinwheel), Nickelodeon hit its stride during the Reagan Administration and never looked back. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to Nickelodeon during the '80s; Dagan and I spend nearly two hours breaking down some of our favorite shows, and have more than a few laughs as we reminisce about those simpler times.         Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 26, 2018
#9: Street Fighter II
In 1991, a game came out that changed the Moriarty Brothers' lives: Street Fighter II. SF2 took the world by storm, and changed the way we looked at, played, and experienced games forever. Indeed, when it comes to sheer hours played, there are few games we dumped more time into, whether then or now. This episode is dedicated to our many memories playing Street Fighter II (and its offshoots), reminiscing about how we discovered it, when we finally procured our own copy, and about how good we thought we were... 'til we went to Disneyland in 1992 and Dagan got his ass beat. Select your character and jump on in!       Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 19, 2018
#8: The Greatest War Movies of All-Time
War is hell. But on the big screen, it's sure as hell fun to watch. On this week's episode of KnockBack, Dagan and I take a long, hard look at our favorite war movies -- from the obvious to the obscure -- and discuss why movies that show such heinous acts of violence can also uplift us all with equally amazing acts of heroism and valor. So suit up, grab your M1 Garand, and get listening!       Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 12, 2018
#7: The Most Underrated NES Games
On today's episode of KnockBack, Dagan and I veer back into the realm of video games, and reach back toward one of our absolute favorite consoles: The NES. With a ton of games in its library, it makes sense that some titles would go underappreciated, unnoticed, or underrated. This podcast is dedicated to the latter, specifically: Underrated NES games -- well-known or otherwise -- that don't get the love they deserve.       Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Apr 05, 2018
#6: When Anime Was Underground
In the late '80s, Dagan and his friend would venture to a monthly comic book convention at a Long Island Holiday Inn, where a lone merchant would sell mysterious video tapes from Japan for $30 apiece. These tapes were full of cartoons that he'd never seen or heard of before, and it was at this point -- earlier than all but the best-connected and absolute nerdiest westerners -- that Dagan was introduced to anime. The rest, as they say, is history. This podcast is all about Dagan's origin story with anime. Tales of scouring, discovering, and collecting are told, old anime is discussed and dissected, and a line is drawn between that Holiday Inn nearly three decades ago, when anime was as niche as it got, to today, where it has never been bigger.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 28, 2018
#5: We Love G.I. Joe (and Other '80s Toy Talk)
From 1982 through 1994, G.I. Joe took the toy world by storm, introducing an extensive line of action figures, a never-ending comic book run, multiple TV series (and a full-length movie), and much more into the lives of kids the world over. It just so happens that Dagan and I share a deep affinity for all things G.I. Joe, and wanted to dedicate an episode of KnockBack not only to the Joe toys, comics, and cartoons (and our many memories surrounding it all), but to other '80s toys that dominated our lives.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 21, 2018
#4: How Twilight Zone Inspired Our Love of Sci-Fi
There are few properties in nerdom Dagan and I love more than The Twilight Zone, the classic late '50s-early '60s television show that spawned generations of televised sci-fi, including the beloved Black Mirror. Today's episode starts with the Twilight Zone, but it doesn't end there. Instead, we walk you through our favorite episodes of the show before pivoting to other fiction -- from Ray Bradbury to JRR Tolkien (and much more) -- explaining how, why, and where we drew inspiration from some of modern history's greatest storytellers.       Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 14, 2018
#3: The Art of Retro Video Game Collecting
On this week's episode of CLS: KnockBack, Dagan and I discuss the ever-growing retro game collecting scene. Dagan is an avid and dedicated collector of old games (particularly NES, SNES, Famicom, and Super Famicom), and has tons of insight and lots of interesting stories about what it's like being a collector these days. This is a really fun and lively episode, and I hope you enjoy it.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Mar 07, 2018
#2: Ranking the Nintendo Consoles
Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to Nintendo, the great video game company that has brought all of us so much joy over the decades. Question is, which of their products is best? To figure that out, we take the time to discuss every console and handheld released by Nintendo, from NES through Wii U, and then put them in our preferred orders. We hope you enjoy!        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 28, 2018
#1 | Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Welcome to the inaugural episode of KnockBack, the all-new podcast series co-hosted by brothers Colin and Dagan Moriarty! KnockBack is a series dedicated to the nerdy things we love from our past, from movies, TV, and video games, to books, toys, and comics, and much more. We dedicated our first episode to a topic we know and love: The Empire Strikes Back. We hope you enjoy our chat.     Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 21, 2018
Welcome to Colin's Last Stand: KnockBack
CLS: KnockBack is an all-new podcast series co-hosted by brothers Colin and Dagan Moriarty. Each week, the show delves into a nostalgic, memory-driven topic from the World of Nerdom, whether that's a video game, a movie, a TV show, a toy, or something else entirely. New episodes go live each Wednesday, but you can get each show six days early -- plus lots of other perks -- but financially support Colin's Last Stand at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Feb 17, 2018