Television
Television

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.


Recent
Books

The Young and the Superpowered in Isolation: Revisiting Anne Dyson's 'Writing Superheroes'

Dyson's seminal Writing Superheroes, and how children process violence and power, is considered in a new light as children consume media in this time of social isolation.

Television

To Watch a Predator: The Difficult Handling of 'RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 12'

While RuPaul's Drag Race remains a celebration of campy queer culture, Season 12 premiered as serious allegations against a contestant were quickly confirmed, forcing the producers to recut the episodes to diminish the influence of a now-known predator. Did the gambit work?

Television

Where's the Strong Woman in Netflix's Adaptation of 'Good Hunting'?

Contrary to the intention of Ken Liu's short story, "Good Hunting", Netflix presents a superficial arc of female empowerment, then allows animation and the role of male characters to undercut that message.

Books

'Blackface Minstrel Show in Mass Media' Is a Roadmap to a Peculiar, Disturbing Terrain

Tim Brooks' detailed research tells us how blackface didn't die, but found ways to multiply as the entertainment industry grew.

Music

Drag Queen Trixie Mattel Tells All

How the joke-telling, cosmetic-slinging country music star Trixie Mattel sees the world.

Television

What We Want vs. What We Need: How 'Twin Peaks: The Return' Resists Nostalgia

David Lynch and Mark Frost's seminal Twin Peaks is rich with insight as to how both people and works of fiction can age gracefully.

Television

Is 'The Alienist' a Critique of Capitalism or a Pro-Neoliberal Narrative?

Author Caleb Carr's The Alienist explores the 19th century psychiatric debate between free will and determinism. TNT's nearly identical adaptation of the novel, however, comes up with a completely different conclusion.

Television

'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Is  Better Than Okay

The first season of Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a funny, big-hearted love letter to family.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Books

Nazism Repackaged? A Closer Look at the "Fascist Subtext" of 'Attack on Titan'

Many fantasy writers have incorporated the visual footprint of the Third Reich into their fictional worlds. Few, however, have done so as extensively as the creator of Attack on Titan, who revisited this terrible chapter of history not to find inspiration for a fearsome antagonist, but to excavate the divisive ideas that lay buried there.

Television

It Does Happen Here in HBO's 'The Plot Against America'

The organic growth of everyday American fascism and the understanding that pogroms are not a uniquely European phenomenon is rendered in stark and terrifying detail in David Simon's adaptation of Philip Roth's alternate historical novel, The Plot Against America.

Television

Sarah Watson's 'The Bold Type' As a Critique of Postfeminism

Television show The Bold Type goes against the postfeminist notion that feminists have conquered the patriarchy, let alone their own differences.

Books

Television and Women's History through the Lens of Soap Operas

Media critic Elana Levine's Her Stories explores television history and the conflicts of generation, gender, and race in the heyday of "women's" soap operas.

Television

You'll Never Make It Alone: On Groups in 'The Good Place'

What happens when you put an Arizona dirtbag, a human turtleneck, a narcissistic monster, and the dumbest person you've ever met in the same room? They become good people, sure, but more importantly, they become a group.

Film

Be Kind. Please Rewind: An Ode to the VCR

Like Netflix, the VCR diluted and transformed the film itself.

Music

Call for Essays and Staff Writers

With the mission to educate as well as entertain, our scope is broadly cast on the best of pop culture (or at least among the more interesting) and we are the world's largest site bridging academic and popular writing.

Music

The 2020 Grammy Awards Didn’t Chase the Dark Clouds Away

In 2019, a spotlight on queer musicians and fast-paced broadcast made the Grammys have some real cultural relevance. Its 2020 edition, clouded by tragedy, scandal, and bloat, only served to remind us why award shows are so problematic.

Books

'Mister Rogers and Philosophy', for the Children Now Grown

Mister Rogers and Philosophy considers reality, fantasy, and our philosophical role in both worlds of the long-running PBS children's program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Television

'The Simpsons' Plus-Size Marathon Is Aging Me All Over Again

For a show that so cynically pokes holes in the inanities of our plastic, apathetic world, The Simpsons' rough-edged bedrock of brilliantly conceived sentiment can cup a heart without compromising comedic integrity.

Television

In Nickelodeon's 'Rocko's Modern Life', Corporations Steal Our Souls to Enchant Their Commodities

In a society of things, social responsibility requires a recognition of the influence of commodities upon our most foundational spiritual experiences. Nickelodeon's animated series, Rocko's Modern Life, puts it simply.

Television

In HBO's 'Watchmen', the Devil Doesn’t Disappear

Damon Lindelof's over-plotted, over-anxious, daring, genre-hopping offshoot of Alan Moore's alternate-history graphic novel, Watchmen, is less a show about hunting down the bad guys than it is about the twisted turns and stubborn legacies of racist trauma in America -- and the resistance to atoning for it.

Games

'The Witcher' Game and Those Inescapable Nietzschean Blues

Who is man? Who is monster? Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomies are at play in the video game series, The Witcher, soon to be a Netflix series.

Television

​Existential Musings and Indigenous Wisdom in Amazon's 'Undone'

Amazon's eight-episode animation, Undone is a poignant reflection on grief, loss, mental illness, and heritage.

Television

HBO Teen Drama 'Euphoria' Has More Lows than Highs

As Showtime's brutally honest Nurse Jackie showed, there is nothing glamorous about addiction. It is a harrowing experience, and HBO's Euphoria, season one, fails to capture that.

Television

Jane Goldman's 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Will Be Better Than the Original

As Empress of the Fantasists, if you will, Jane Goldman's prequel to Game of Thrones promises to be far less straightforward, way messier, and much more fun -- even without the dragons.

Television

BBC's 'Fleabag' and the Inescapable Awkward Family

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag forces viewers to sit down at the dinner table with "the family", which is a game of conversational hot potato -- and nobody wants the f*cking potato.

Television

The Pulpy Origins of Netflix's 'Typewriter'

Less polished than Netflix's usual fare, Sujoy Ghosh's new haunted house series, Typewriter, borrows from India's rich tradition of genre fiction.

Television

Men and Women Behaving Badly: 'Pursuit' and 'The Girl Most Likely To'

Made for TV programs of the '70s really knew how to dish it out. Michael Crichton's Pursuit is all about men conquering each other; whereas Lee Philips' The Girl Most Likely To is a poisoned bon-bon about making pain palatable.

Music

Warming Up to Melody: An Interview with Film/TV Score Composer Cliff Martinez

Film/TV score composer Cliff Martinez talks with PopMatters about his work with Steven Soderbergh, Harmony Korine, and Nicolas Winding Refn, whose new series Too Old to Die Young features one of Martinez's most ambitious scores to date.

Television

The Cost of Comfort: Racial Hierarchies in 'King of the Hill'

At its best, animation comedy show King of the Hill asks, Why are"race" issues in America always about white people?

Television

Not Where But When: Past and Future in Netflix's 'Dark'

The German-language sci-fi thriller Dark perfectly captures the unsettling experience of being trapped by history.

Television

'Designated Survivor' S3: How Do We Deal with Neo-Fascists, Anyway?

Designated Survivor Season Three effectively criticizes the Trump administration and poses complex questions in our time of the rise of the extreme right.

Music

Former 'Nashville' Star Clare Bowen Brings Show of Strength, Hope to Debut Album

Portraying promising singer-songwriter Scarlett O'Connor on Nashville, Australian Clare Bowen learned a lot about the Music City … and herself. Bowen tells us about her journey in this extensive interview.

Television

Quit Dreaming: Quasi-Feminism in Nike's Women's Soccer "Dream Further" Ad

Women with economic privilege are positioned to celebrate Nike's "Dream Further" ad as progress while ignoring their complicity in the exploitation of other women.

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