The Great Debate premiered on SYFY Channel June 18, hosted by Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie, MST3K: The Return) and a stellar cast of geeks: Amber Nash (Archer), Jonah Ray (MST3K: The Return), Orlando Jones (American Gods), and Adam Savage (Adam Savage’s Tested, Mythbusters). The premiere was a non-stop geek repartee as the guests went head-to-head to prove that they were the best geek debater.
The series is based on the fan-favorite, widely attended, eponymously named panel at SDCC and NYCC called The Great Debate. It’s hosted by comedian Baron Vaughn in front of a live audience. Vaughn is a witty host who challenges many of the funniest and brightest minds in geekdom to debate some of the hottest topics in science fiction, fantasy, comics, horror, cosplay, and more. Vaughn is joined by DB-8, a wisecracking AI who always has an answer for any question.
Each television episode of The Great Debate is broken into sections where multiple topics will be debated using different formats. In the first episode, the segments were Debattle Royal, Head-to-Head Debate, Green Screen, Take a Stand, and the Final Round. Debattle Royal started the evening with a debate about Tired Tech-technology from past years. This segment started with a fantastic, laugh-out-loud defense of a certain piece of old tech by Orlando Jones. If you have not seen this episode, I will not reveal which tech it was, but expect to be in tears when you do watch it.
The Head-to-Head Debate features guests debating each other on multiple topics. The Green Screen challenge promises to be a winner in future episodes, as two of the guests defend their position in front of a greenscreen that highlights whatever they happen to be defending. From the Greenscreen round, the participants moved to Take a Stand, where two of the guests debated a new topic, and then Sphere of Influence. Watch for Nash’s very adult comments, which are absolutely hilarious.
The episode ends with the final debate where the two guests with the most points debate the last topic of the evening. The final debate capped off an evening of highly entertaining witty commentary by the guests, host, and DB-8.
Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Baron Vaughn, the host of The Great Debate, about the first and future episodes of the series. Vaughn revealed that DB-8 is voiced by Danielle Radford, one of the staff writers for the series. The many episodes were filmed before the COVID-19 shutdown, so they were able to have a live studio audience. With guests such as Amber Nash and Orlando Jones, one might assume that a script would be unnecessary; however, Vaughn stated there were scripted parts but he and the guests were free to ad-lib as they saw fit. Judging by the first and second episodes, they really did not need a script.
Vaughn said they had planned to film more episodes but COVID-19 halted production. There is a “super wish” list of guests that he, the producers, and the writers would love to have on future episodes of the series. Tricia Helfer, are you listening?
If the first two episodes are any indication, then The Great Debate promises to be a laugh-a-minute series. With the following very impressive roster of future guests, fans will not be disappointed.
- Mayim Bialik (Star and EP of Call Me Kat and Big Bang Theory)
- Steelo Brim (Ridiculous)
- Colton Dunn (Superstore)
- Open Mike Eagle (New Negroes)
- Dani Fernandez (Writer on Girls on the Bus)
- Maude Garrett (Creator of Geek Bomb)
- Brea Grant (EastSiders)
- Akilah Hughes (Author of Obviously)
- Matt Kirshen (Writer and Comedian)
- Lauren Lapkus (“The Wrong Missy)
- Mike Lawrence (Writer on Inside Amy Schumer)
- Yassir Lester (Black Monday)
- Ify Nwadiwe (Comedian and Actor)
- Brian Posehn (Grandpa Metal)
- Aisha Tyler (Archer)
- Janet Varney (Legend of Korra)
- Reggie Watts (The Late Late Show with James Corden)
- The Cast of Critical Role – Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Matthew Mercer, Liam O’Brien, Sam Riegel, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham
This series is a fun romp for geeks everywhere. Even if fans are not persuaded by their arguments, the guests will hilariously defend their views. Watch SYFY Wire Presents The Great Debate on the SYFY Channel on Thursday nights at 11 PM Eastern time starting June 18. If you want to continue this discussion, please join us on the FoCC Forum.