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…or “keep stealing from Shakespeare and you can’t go wrong.” I’m not alone in encouraging my literature students to think about how contemporary pop culture has portrayed the texts and historical events of the past. Io9’s “The Shakespearean Heroes Science Fiction Should Steal From” notes a number of parallel character types, e.g.:

The war criminal repents.

I always thought Gaius Baltar was doing some kind of Macbeth riff, until he turned into a robe-wearing cult leader in Battlestar Galactica‘s final season. You have Baltar responsible for crimes that make killing King Duncan seem like a misdemeanor, and the whole time the ghost of Caprica Six is whispering in his ear about how he’s destined for greatness, like a virtual Lady Macbeth….

The column also considers characters from Star Wars, Heroes, Star Trek, and Dollhouse. Since Joss Whedon is a well-known Shakespeare geek, no surprise if he steals from the master (not from the Master).