Still Watching the Skies: Episode 118 “2010: The Year We Make Contact”

Robert, Nat, and Cody journey to the moons of Jupiter to follow up on the mysteries of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and discover cooperation amidst the Cold War.

Legacy sequels are very common these days. 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT may not be the first legacy sequel, heck PSYCHO II was released the year prior, but it was following in big shoes, just the same.

Arthur C. Clarke published 2010: Odyssey 2 in 1982. It was a well received, Best Seller and it didn’t take long for Hollywood to come calling. What’s more there was some ambition, if not to rival 2001, to at least make it a respectable followup. And by Hiring Peter Hyams, some care was shown.

Now, 2010 does not rival 2001. There’s more star power in 2010, Roy Scheider, Helen Mirren, John Lithgow, and Bob Balaban certainly have all had long, famous careers. Otherwise, Peter Hyams aimed to create a smart, call for peace and cooperation during the heights of the Cold War. It doesn’t have the ambitions, or the frustrations, depending on your point of view of the original, but it has a story that makes sense, has a more practical sense of wonder, and for better or for worse has a more easily grasped message.

It’s definitely a more literal movie that its predecessor. But, that has its charms too. Roger Ebert, in his review, quoted e.e. cummings:

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”

Perhaps Roger Ebert was being a tad too dismissive and not engaging with the film presented. Regardless, it’s been almost 40 years since 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT came out and perhaps we have the benefit of time and perspective.

No, this episode is not a backdoor way to discuss 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, a movie I’m pretty sure everyone on the podcast loves, but a consideration of 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT in its own right. What’s aged well? What hasn’t? And where do we fall all these years later on an “unnecessary sequel”. Especially since there’s no need for ‘member berries.

No need to journey to Jupiter to listen to this episode. You can give us a play below or download the episode from the link in the player. Also, feel free to let us know what you think by commenting on our page at Facebook or you can Email Us at as we appreciate feedback.

Time tracks:
0:00:00 – 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT Discussion
1:17:32- Next Movie and Outro

Next month, we return to the works of an old favorite, Phillip K. Dick with Richard Linklater’s ambitious adaptation of A SCANNER DARKLY. We hope you’ll join us.

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