Get us in your inbox


From 'Star Wars' to '2001': what Barack Obama's taste in sci-fi says about him

Tom Huddleston

He's the nerdiest President America ever had, unafraid to openly declare his love for comic books, space opera and 'Star Trek'. Now, as part of a guest-editing gig with technology magazine Wired, Barack Obama has prepared a list of his favourite sci-fi movies and TV shows - and what they reveal about the man is pretty interesting. He may be about to leave the Oval office - and heaven knows what happens next - but he's left us with a generous parting gift. Here's the full list, which as far as we can tell is in in no particular order:

2001: A Space Odyssey
Blade Runner
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Star Wars
Star Trek: The Original Series
The Martian
The Matrix
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

So what can we learn about the man from the list? Well for starters, we can glean that President Obama isn't a deep nerd: he may have geeky tendencies, but he's probably been too busy with his political career to really explore the dark corners of sci-fi. With the arguable exception of Carl Sagan's classic science series 'Cosmos', which is better known in the US than it is here, every one of Barack's choices is a household name - which is totally fine, because they're all great as well. 

Secondly, he loves American stories: every one of these movies is US-made, and despite a touch of British influence (director Ridley Scott on 'Blade Runner', writer Arthur C Clarke on '2001'), they're all solidly American properties. But we can't criticise him too much: after all, sci-fi has traditionally been an American genre, and despite a handful of great British, French and Japanese entries, the vast majority of popular SF comes from that country. And hey, maybe he just forgot 'Akira'...

Lastly, we learn that this is a man who truly loves epic tales. There's nothing small or intimate on this list, all of them feature huge battles, brain-frying concepts, grand exploratory journeys out into the galaxy. Does Obama perhaps see himself as part of a similarly grand story, the plucky President taking on the forces of darkness? The crusader for science and truth in a darkening world? Of course, there are a few folks around the world who might see America itself as the Evil Empire, but that's a whole other conversation...

Overall, this is a really solid list - six classic movies and two great TV shows, all of them displaying impeccable taste and discernment. Barack Obama, Nerd-in-Chief, we're going to miss you.

Watch the new trailer for 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Read Time Out's list of the 100 Best Sci-Fi Movies

Check out Time Out's list of the 50 Best Star Wars Characters


    Popular on Time Out

      Latest news

        Read next