One of the things we love to do here at Nerds and Beyond is highlight different photographers, artists, and podcasts from different fandoms. We recently caught up with Keith, Eamon and Kyle from the podcast Highlander Rewatched. The three hosts go back and watch the popular 90s series, Highlander, and analyze and discuss a different episode of the show in each episode of the podcast.
If you don’t know much about Highlander, that’s ok! The series was released in 1992 and centers around Duncan MacLeod, who was born 400 years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. He is immortal, and we learn that he is not the only one. The series shows Duncan as he tries to live a normal life, but is confronted by other immortals. The series stars Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, who we’ve previously interviewed.
Highlander Rewatched primarily focuses on Highlander the series, but they also review a Highlander film between each season. The podcast is a lot of fun to listen to, and Keith, Eamon and Kyle are thoroughly engaging. You can listen to Highlander Rewatched on Soundcloud, ITunes and all other major platforms. You can visit their Twitter and Facebook for more information on them and the show! They also have some really great Highlander magnets for sale, featuring artwork from Eamon, which help towards funding the podcast. You can check them out here!
We asked Keith, Eamon and Kyle a series of questions about their podcast, the show, and more! Read their answers below!
Nerds and Beyond: How did the podcast start? What originally inspired you to start podcasting and a ‘Highlander’ podcast in particular?
Keith: I had recently gotten some free time on my hands and had just rewatched the first season of Highlander on DVD after not having seen it in a number of years. Highlander was a show I fell in love with as a young child. It was probably the first show of its ilk I could point to in elementary school and say “I love that show!” It was great to revisit and see how the show has aged (for better and for poorer in some ways). It struck me it would be great to chronicle a rewatch of the show and I thought a podcast would be a great place to do it. I have always wanted to do a podcast so I called up my best friends Eamon and Kyle and we got to work! We spent some time working on possible formats for the show, creating a theme song, and developing a strategy to launch. We did a test podcast using the film “Killing American Style” as the basis of our criticism. Once we had that down, we hit the ground running and have been releasing podcasts every single week for the past 3 years!
Eamon: Keith approached me with the idea of doing the podcast with Kyle. We’re friends and Keith knew I liked the same types of podcasts and movies that he did. I can’t remember if Keith knew I was a fan of the Highlander television show when I was a kid, or if he just figured I would be a good fit for the podcast. I always wanted to be on a podcast ever since listening to Anime World Order back in the day, then Comedy Bang Bang, How Did This Get Made and Never Not Funny. Keith and Kyle were bigger Highlander fans than I, but I had fond memories of watching the television show with my Grandmother, and the cartoon show, when I was younger. At the time there weren’t any other regular Highlander podcasts, and there was plenty of Highlander material to cover. Seemed like a no brainer to give it a shot!
Kyle: We are all huge podcast fans and were interested in exploring the medium in our own stupid, overly literal, way. We were also all big Highlander fans, who enjoyed the show long ago but hadn’t revisited (dare we say, Rewatched), it in a long time. Keith suggested putting those two things together and now here we are over 100 episodes later.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have a favorite episode of the podcast that you’ve done?
Keith: This is a tough question. I feel like our podcast keeps growing and getting better the more we do it. So it’s tough to pick a favorite. I am really proud of our coverage of the original Highlander film (1986) that started it all. We did SEVEN episodes on the movie and really got into the nitty gritty. We talked about everything from the script, behind the scenes trivia, cinematography, and meaning behind the film. Did you know you can view Highlander as a gay allegory? Or a Cold War allegory? Or even a telling of the Christ mythology? It is all there and we break it all down. Pertaining to the series, my favorite episode we have done might be the episode “Courage.” The show excels when it combines a core philosophical questions (in this case: When do you stop helping or forgive someone? When are they past all hope?) with amazing flashbacks, kickass sword play, and stellar performances from the cast. We always have fun on our show and try to make our episodes humorous, but it is always great to bookend our crazy impressions and dick jokes with a deep philosophical Talmudic discussion about morality.
Eamon: This is a hard question. I know some of our episodes are better than others…I think our best episode might be covering season 3’s episode Courage, but I think my personal favorite might be our Christmas Carol episode, because it is ambitious and batshit crazy.
Kyle: I’m really partial to our coverage of Finale I and II from season three. We always joke that when the episode of Highlander we are covering is really solid, our own episode tends to flag a little because there are fewer weird little kernels for us to pick apart, over analyze, and make stupid dick jokes about. We like to think that Finale I and II disprove that theory because they are some of the most memorable Highlander episodes ever, but we still manage to have a lot of fun with them.
Nerds and Beyond: What draws you to Highlander? What would you say is your favorite episode of the show? Favorite Highlander movie?
Keith: Highlander is one of those rare properties that really has something for everyone but still manages to excel at being a completely unique and a singular show/series like no other. It has history, beautiful costumes, exotic locations, romance, drama, fantasy elements, philosophy, and fucking karate! If that isn’t a winning combo I don’t know what is. My favorite episodes from the show might be the amazing Four Horseman of the Apocalypse arch in season 5. It has such a mythic scope and we are confronted with new revelations about one of the show’s heroes, Methos. The episode “Duende” is a tour de force of amazing sword play and action. The level of choreography and physical performances you see in that episode are something that is rare on syndicated television- let alone in the mid 90s!
The original film from 1986 staring Christopher Lambert is the hands down winner and the film is a great gateway for people interested in the franchise. (Just don’t say we didn’t warn you about watching the sequels!) The film truly captures lighting in a bottle (pun intended!) with the amazing visual flair of music video turned feature director Russel Mulcahy, the at times off beat, but iconic performance of Christopher Lambert as the reluctant hero Connor MacLeod, Clancy Brown rivals Darth Vader (yeah, I said it) as one of the greatest on screen villains of all time and finally the absolutely incredible soundtrack by legendary rock band Queen. Under other circumstances Highlander may have been a forgettable B- Action film from the 80s. However, it rose to cult movie status, gained a worldwide following and has been in the public zeitgeist for over 30 years! After all, who doesn’t know the famous line, “There can be only one!”
Eamon: The movie is easy. Highlander, the first movie, is the best one. There is no contest. It’s a great cult 80’s action/fantasy movie. The movie started it all. As for the television show, so far I would have to say either Courage or The Samurai is my favorite episode. Finale parts I and II are also great…but so is Methos. It’s hard to pick! The best thing about Highlander is the moral questions it asks. Even though the show is about immortality, it is at its best when it examines what it means to be human, how your choices and actions determine what kind of person you are, all the while featuring cool sword fights and flashbacks!
Kyle: My favorite has to be Mortal Sins. The flashbacks are incredible, it has a strong moral core, and killer action scenes. I could watch Duncan MacLeod kick the crap out of white supremacists all day. Plus, its more topical to the current era than any of us would care to admit.
Nerds and Beyond: Eamon mentions that he always thinks of Kenny in the back of the school bus (in “The Lamb”) as one of his favorite moments – What other Highlander moments stick out to you?
Keith: The theme song, “Princes of the Universe” instantly takes me back to being 11 years old. Every time I hear the song I clearly picture watching Highlander (right after Baywatch) on a little black and white TV in our old family house.
I also always remember the episode “The Stone of Scone”. The episode is one of the rare “all comedic” Highlander episode and features amazing early 20th century fashion and The Who’s Roger Daltrey. I always wanted to dress like they did in that episode and it was always one of those episodes I hoped to catch on re-run when I was young.
Eamon: Before the podcast that moment we see Kenny (a murderous immortal trapped in the body of a little boy escaping from our hero on the back of a school bus) was burned into my memory forever after seeing it. It is such a brilliant twist on the concept of the show, and an extremely effective, and CREEPY, piece of imagery.
Kyle: One of my favorite moments has to be when Randall Tex Cobb has a giant Looney Tunes style fight with a ADR’d bartender in Line of Fire. It’s so over the top and goofy, but somehow it just works.
Nerds and Beyond: Your love for Highlander definitely comes through the podcast. Now that you’re rewatching with more focus on the details in each episode, has that helped or hurt your overall opinion for the show?
Keith: We do try to look at each episode critically and part of the fun of the journey we are on is to track what our reactions to the show are today as opposed to when we first saw them. At the end of the day I still love Highlander but I am pretty realistic about it. Sure it has cheesy 90’s fashion and a few clunker episodes but the thing is while the landscape of TV has changed since Highlander has been on – so have I. The show’s moral questions are timeless and have been debated for ages. Every rewatch I find the themes of the show confront me in new and exiting ways at every stage of my life. Whether the question is posited in a bright purple vest and a pony tail, or a current hipster plaid shirt and a man bun, questions like “Is redemption possible?” or “How long do you keep a promise” never cease to captivate and fuel conversation.
Eamon: For me it has definitely helped. Before the podcast I couldn’t remember how deep the show gets. I isn’t just dudes in trench coats with pony tails flipping around with swords. There is a lot more to it than that, and I think the show was really ahead of it’s time in terms of the types of stories it was trying to tell, as well as the grand scope. I think shows like Game of Thrones owe Highlander a great debt.
Kyle: While there are definitely some puzzling decisions and weird moments (we’re looking at you Duncan’s Indian impression), overall the show still delivers in a way that is ahead of its time. Any extra attention to the show’s flaws is more than balanced out by the added depth that comes from discussing the show’s moral core, (generally) solid production value, and the jokes that come from studying its worts.
Nerds and Beyond: What does your process look like? Do you all record together in one room?
Keith: We record every few weeks together in our home studio. We are around a table so we can face each other. I think it is important to do podcasts like this live so we can capture our excitement and really play off each other. Our recording sessions start early in the morning and can typically go to all hours of the night. It is a miracle we haven’t killed each other yet. (Sometimes we get close, though.)
Eamon: We record once a month, and will record 3 or more (usually more) episodes in a day- long monster recording session. Many times we will eat all 3 meals that day together! And probably finish a case of beer. We meet up and record in Keith’s living room. We each watch the episodes and prepare our notes separately, and have the format of our show pretty much figured out. Keith does all of the editing as well as the facebooking and the lion’s share of the administrative work. The show wouldn’t exist without Keith. I do the logo for each respective season and movie we cover, and much of the instagramming and twittering. I also did the artwork for our collectible Highlander magnets! On sale now! Kyle does the episode descriptions that you read for the episode every week. Teamwork!
Kyle: We all record together and plow through 3 or 4 episodes in a sitting. As a result, we tend to be pretty tired and drunk by the final episode of the day. Then Keith spends a gazillion hours editing the thing so we don’t sound like stammering mouth breathers.
Nerds and Beyond: What challenges do you face as podcasters?
Keith: One of the biggest challenges is balancing personal time and time spent working on the podcast. I think a lot of people assume to create a podcast you get a microphone, record, and just put yourself on the internet. It is a LOT more than that. We all have full time jobs and do this podcast as a labor of love. For me personally it takes 3 hours prep for every episode of the podcast, prepping the clips/notes/and audio equipment takes another 4 hours, our recording sessions are typically upwards of 12 hours long, then each episode has about 6 hours worth of post production put into it, and finally there are hours of other work, like data management, managing all our social media platforms, responding to fan emails, scheduling guest spots, and a lot more. At the end of the day we are all proud of our show and we are lucky enough to have fans that have supported us on this journey!
Eamon: I don’t really know if any of us anticipated how much work it is to do a podcast. The biggest challenge, I feel, is how much time it takes to do this stuff, for little to no (99.9% no) recompense. We all have a great time doing it, I know I do, and we love our listeners and the places the podcast has taken us (we were nominated for a Philly Geek Award, and traveled to Florida and California for the show, and had 2 live shows!) but it is a huge consistent effort to keep the show going and to a high level of quality. This is thanks to Keith and his inspiring work ethic, honestly. Some money would be nice! But money isn’t everything.
Kyle: Its tough to standout when you are competing against so much outstanding –free– content.
Nerds and Beyond: Are there any other podcasts/podcasters whose work inspires you?
Keith: My two podcast heroes are Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang Bang) and Jimmy Pardo (Never Not Funny). Scott Aukerman launched a podcast network and has built his network into one of the top podcast destinations online. Jimmy Pardo, blazed the trail, produced his show independently and the way he wanted and the people followed. All independent podcasters, like us, owe Jimmy Pardo a debt of gratitude for his contributions to the podcasting medium. We also both owe Scott and Jimmy for hours of gut busting laughter!
Eamon: I’ve been thinking about it, and Anime World Order and The Greatest Movie Ever shows were what first got me listening to podcasts. These were people who were passionate about there interests and went out there and did it! Never Not Funny is probably my favorite podcast, How Did This Get Made is another big influence. Also Matt Gourley and his podcasts like Superego and I Was There Too, and James Bonding with Matt Mira!
Kyle: As a lawyer, I’m obsessed with “More Perfect” a surprisingly funny and poignant look at famous Supreme Court cases from the people over at Radio Lab. It really shows the full range of the medium and proves that content can be funny, informative, moving at the same time.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any advice, tips, tricks or words of wisdom for aspiring podcasters?
Keith: You don’t need to get a ton of fancy equipment in the beginning. It can be pretty daunting to see the price tags of soundboards, mics, sound insulation, etc. However, there are some great USB microphones available now that will get the job done. You can always grow your setup later. My biggest tip is head into your podcast with a clear plan. Know what kind of show you want, make sure it is unique or you have something unique to add to the conversation, come up with a social media strategy to get your podcast heard, and block out your show! Take notes on the outline of your show and even try to record a test podcast or two that you don’t plan on releasing. Take a listen to that test podcast and take notes – What worked? What didn’t? Do you need smoother transitions? Is the audio quality ok? Just make sure to do your homework so you ensure you step off with your best foot forward!
Eamon: Work hard, put out your content on a regular schedule, and be yourself! HAVE FUN. And edit out your “ummmms” and “ahhhhhs”…Keith’s editing makes me sound a lot smarter than I am.
Kyle: Just pick a topic you are passionate about and do it! It can be a lot of work but if you genuinely enjoy what you are talking about, listeners can tell.
Nerds and Beyond: What’s something other than Highlander or Podcasts that you’re “nerding out” on right now?
Keith: I am always nerding out about food. Cooking and eating take up most of my free time. I worked as a chef for 16 years and have never really let go of that aspect of my life. I read cookbooks like novels front to back like holy manuscripts and am aways trying new techniques while trying to hone my skills. More recently I have been obsessed with Szechuan cooking. There is almost nothing I don’t want to add chili oil and numbing peppercorns to! I also nerd out about colonial cooking! I love sifting through old cookbooks and historical documents to connect with the past. I try to cook at least four big colonial feasts a year for family and friends. Looks like even my cooking has a little Highlander influence!
Eamon: James Bond books and movies. Also comic books! I have a problem.
Kyle: I’m nerding out on Dragon Ball Super right now. It’s soooooooooo dumb but I love it. It’s loaded with fan service (Krillin is back, getting shithoused and Yamcha isn’t invited to the party, because he sucks)— it makes me feel like I am 12 again, but without the mullet.
Nerds and Beyond: We have a running theme of asking people what their lightsaber color would be. So, if given the choice, what would you choose?
Keith: Return of the Jedi was always my favorite Star Wars movie and the first second Luke whipped out that new green saber I always new if I had a lightsaber it would have to be green!
Eamon: Kind of a boring answer…but I’d have to go with Return of the Jedi green to emulate my favorite Jedi. Or, if they could figure it out, plaid!
Kyle: It’s all about that Mace Windu purple. Seriously. It’s dope.
Nerds and Beyond: Anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Keith: Give Highlander and our podcast a try! It is a great show to watch with your family or loved ones because it sparks interesting and dynamic discussions about life and morality! Then tune into our show for a few dick jokes! Also check out our awesome line of Highlander magnets available for only $15 on our Facebook or Etsy store!
Facebook Store: https://www.facebook.com/commerce/products/1155758061146502/
Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/listing/485867210/highlander-magnet-set?ref=listing_published_alert
Eamon: Listen to our podcast! You can rewatch along with us easily because all of Highlander is on YouTube now for free. You won’t be disappointed.
Kyle: Register to vote! Or, if you want to do something really important, check out our awesome Highlander magnets available on Facebook and Etsy. It supports the podcast and provides us with fuel to keep bringing you sweet, sweet content.
Nerds and Beyond: Last question – How many entrances are there to Joe’s Bar?
Keith: THREE! – Front entrance. Back Entrance. And a hotly contested (only by me) 2nd floor mystery entrance!!!!
Eamon: At least 2!
Kyle: In the immortal (pun intended) words of the show, and as confirmed by producer Ken Gourd, there can be only one.