Pop culture has some pretty opinionated and expert fans, people who proudly claim the label of “nerd” or “geek” when it comes to putting forth their knowledge. Under this umbrella fall a number of celebrity fans, several of whom will have the chance to discuss heated topics across various geek-favorite genres in Syfy Wire’s The Great Debate, which premieres Thursday, June 18.
The half-hour, late-night series is based on a format that has been popular at Comic-Con. Like many events nowadays, this year’s Comic-Con has been canceled, but people bummed by not being able to go can enjoy the next best thing with The Great Debate, which will feature not only debates, but also improv and cosplay.
Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) hosts the series, fanning the flames and keeping the peace while his droid sidekick DB-8 checks the facts before a live audience.
Vaughn is a fitting host for the show, as he describes himself as “a nerd of all trades, a geek of none.”
The actor/comedian has previously been involved with this format in its previous incarnations, including hosting it at the New York Comic-Con.
“It’s a very different dynamic to host it than it is to be a panelist,” he explains, “because as a panelist, you’re being put on the spot to come up with something, hopefully something that makes sense. As a host, I get to kind of sit back and organize the chaos. I’m playing both sides of this chessboard, so I get to sort of witness what happens, and then ultimately, it’s whoever impressed me the most that gets awarded the victory of that topic.”
The panelists trying to gain victory here include actors, writers, comedians, podcasters and generally “people who love having strong opinions about nonsensical things,” according to Vaughn.
“The people who debate are personalities out of the world of geekdom and nerdery that a lot of fans of the show and of pop culture in general will recognize and appreciate,” he adds.
As it has with many shows, the pandemic has currently shut down production on The Great Debate, but eight completed episodes will air. Aisha Tyler, Orlando Jones, Mayim Bialik, Reggie Watts and Adam Savage will be among the rotating panel of celebrities from that world of “geekdom and nerdery” in these episodes.
They’ll tackle burning questions like, “Who’d be a worse boss — Darth Vader or the Joker?”; “Who would you rather hang out with — the ladies of Golden Girls or the gang from Cheers?”; or “If you were a superhero, would you rather be in the Marvel or DC Universe?”
Vaughn does admit that many questions like this “don’t have definitive answers, as much as that they’re things that we like to talk about. … We all are having fun with each other and trying to entertain each other with our opinions on all these different topics.”
It sounds like viewers will also be entertained, even if they aren’t necessarily “nerds of all trades.”
Syfy Wire’s The Great Debate, Syfy, Thursdays at 11pm ET beginning June 18