Television
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.


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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.

Television

Lisa Hanawalt's 'Tuca & Bertie' Explores Female Friendships with Raunchy Humor and Compassion

Tuca & Bertie is decidedly female-centric and bold, featuring -- among other things -- a plethora of boobs: boobs on pastries, on plants, and boobs shaking on buildings.

Sports

Sense and Sensibility at the World Cup

I've sworn, after learning about the latest kleptocrat billionaire to buy a club, or scrambling from the clash between hooligans and riot police, or hearing a homophobic chant rise up from the stands, I would give up on the game. Anyone with sense would.

Television

The Willful Child in HBO's 'My Brilliant Friend'

HBO's My Brilliant Friend feels almost radical for its raw and un-romanticized depiction of female friendship and resistance in all its emotional complexities.

Television

'Black Mirror' Season 5 Should Be Its Last

It makes perfect sense that 2019 — the last year of the decade — should also be the last year for one of the 2010s' best shows. To continue would be a disservice to viewers.

Television

Shaun Evans, aka DS Endeavour Morse, on the Economy of the Gesture in Storytelling

When Shaun Evans was recruited to play young Morse, he had been acting for over ten years, yet it's Endeavour that's likely his magnum opus. In this interview, he discusses the defining work that not only allowed his acting talent to blossom but also nurtured his natural storytelling ability.

Television

Never Ending Endings in 'The Avengers: Endgame' and 'Game of Thrones'

In both The Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones, the key conflicts are not between good and evil, as one might think, but between the beginnings and endings of their stories.

Television

Hulu's 'Ramy' Offers a Refreshing Angle on the Coming-of-Age Dramedy

Ramy's representation of the Muslim-American experience, the first-generation immigrant experience, and the bilingual experience, is a necessary and welcome addition to the millennial dramedy genre.

Television

Netflix's 'Bonding' Is Worth Getting Tied Up With

With Bonding, Netflix offers up a sweet and salty treat that explores what we must otherwise suppress within ourselves.

Television

Cross Examination: David Cross on His New Special, Trump, and (Of Course) Colonics

David Cross, the alum of comedy classics like Arrested Development and Mr. Show, talks Trump, time travel, and his penchant for coming up with terrible names for his standup specials.

Television

The Catharsis of the Void in Anime Horror, 'Vampire Princess Miyu'

Within the 26 hard-to-find episodes of Vampire Princess Miyu, there are murders, suicide, and even murder-suicides. There really is something for everyone. So why did it fail?

Television

The 'Twilight Zone' Reboot Is an Uneven Anthology of Schlocky Horror

The first five episodes of The Twilight Zone (2019-) developed by Jordan Peele, Simon Kinberg and Marco Ramirez, vary wildly in quality, but even the best of the bunch lack nuance and bite.

Books

Cruelty at the Core of American Comedy: On 'Funny Man: Mel Brooks'

Gross-out comedies like Paul Feig's Bridesmaids and boy-child juvenilia from the worlds of Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow would be nowhere without the standard set by Mel Brooks.

Film

'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' Amplifies What Happens to Us When We Experience Narrative Without Form

Without a set form, there can be no water-cooler talk about Bandersnatch, no collective reflection and analysis, because each viewer watched a different movie.

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