Geek Video Franchises

This page describes a silly game that I call “Geek Video Franchises”, as well as my results from playing it. The goal of this game is to interconnect as many geek video franchises as possible via common actors.

You’re only allowed to use video franchises that geeks tend to like. The notion of what “geeks tend to like” is vague, but I have in mind science fiction franchises (like Star Trek and Star Wars), fantasy franchises (like Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones), computer person as hero (Wargames), comic books/manga/anime (like Batman), humorous franchises common among geeks (like Monty Python and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and common tropes (Alice in Wonderland). Places like the best geek movies, The Jargon File, and this list hint at likely franchises. I’m trying to not discriminate against older or younger geeks, so both The Outer Limits and Nausicaa are in there. To show that two franchises are connected, you have to identify an actor who has played a role in both. At least one of those roles needs to be relatively important, and preferably both roles are important. The actors do not need to have been in the same episode or movie; all that matters is that they have shared a franchise.

For example: The Matrix connects to The Lord of the Rings via Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith/Elrond), which connects to Indiana Jones via John Rhys-Davies (Gimli/Sallah), which connects to Star Wars via Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones/Han Solo). The Lord of the Rings directly connects to Star Wars via Christopher Lee (Saruman/Count Dooku). Of course, Lord of the Rings also connects to X-men via Ian McKellen (Gandalf/Magneto), which connects to Star Trek via Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier / Captain Jean-Luc Picard). Star Trek connects to Dr. Who via Simon Pegg (JJ Abrams’ Montgomery Scott/The Editor), which connects to Harry Potter via David Tennant (Dr. Who #10/Barty Crouch Jr.), which connects to Monty Python via John Cleese (Nearly Headless Nick/Lancelot, etc.).

Here is the automatically-graphed PDF version of my current results.

The automatically-formatted graph isn’t as clean as I would have preferred, but it’s a real pain to maintain these by hand. In this graph the franchises are ovals. Roles are shown as italicized text, and actor names are shown with non-italic text. You can see the list of actors and the actors list in progress.

This game is somewhat like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, if you’re familiar with that. However, only certain video franchises are acceptable, and any appearance in that franchise counts. (Still, it’s interesting to note that Christopher Lee shows up prominently here, as he is one of top centers of the Hollywood Universe.) It’s more distantly similar to the Erdos number.

Want to see it changed? No problem. You can easily create your own version of this, if you have a Linux system with graphviz and ps2pdf installed. Just download this tarball; instructions are in its README file.

I don't intend to maintain some sort of "master list" of franchises. If you want to do that, let me know.