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Obama’s 8 Essential Sci-Fi Films and TV Shows

He may be America’s nerdiest president ever.

Image via Twitter.

Former President Barack Obama is known for being one of the cooler cats to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But he didn’t shy away from showing his nerdy side during his time in office.


Back in 2009, he pledged to make “science cool again” and hosted the first White House Science Fair, which became an annual tradition. He also launched the Educate to Innovate initiative to improve America’s performance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Obama took a giant leap out of the nerd closet in 2012 when he gave the Vulcan salute in a photo with “Star Trek” star Nichelle Nichols. “I’m a guy who grew up watching ‘Star Trek’ — and I’d be lying if I said that show didn’t have at least some small influence on my worldview,” Obama told Wired.

“What’s remarkable is the way ‘nerd’ is such a badge of honor now. Growing up, I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who read ‘Spider-Man’ comics and learned how to do the Vulcan salute, but it wasn’t like it is today,” Obama told Politico. “I get the sense that today’s young people are proud to be smart and curious, to design new things, and tackle big problems in unexpected ways. I think America’s a nerdier country than it was when I was a kid — and that’s a good thing!”

Obama in 2016 signed on as guest editor for the November issue of Wired. In that issue, he revealed his essential sci-fi TV shows and films. Although the list isn’t that controversial, it does show that Obama knows his hyperdrive from his dilithium crystals.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)

He chose Stanley Kubrick’s epic story of man’s evolution from ape to Star Child because “it captures the grandeur and scale of the unknown.”

“Blade Runner” (1982)

He chose Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir about artificial intelligence because “it asks what it means to be human.”

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)

He chose Steven Spielberg’s fantasy about making contact with visitors from outer space because “it is fundamentally optimistic.”

“Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope” (1977)

He chose George Lucas’ space opera because “it was fun and revolutionized special effects.”

“Star Trek” (1966-1969)

Obama is a lifelong Trekker because “it uses science fiction to promote a humanist ethnic.”

“The Martian” (2015)

He says “The Martian” was his favorite film from 2015 because “it shows humans as problem solvers.”

“The Matrix” (1999)

Obama is a big fan of the Wachowskis’ reality-bending film because “it asks basic questions about our reality—and looks very cool.”

“Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” (1980)

He chose Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking TV show because “it fed my lifelong fascination with space.”