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Close Reads

  1. close reads
    The Best Scene in Heat Just Isn’t the Same Without These TwoIf you ever wanted to see what one of the most iconic scenes in film history would look like with, well, two other guys, now’s your chance.
  2. book review
    Ottessa Moshfegh Is Praying for UsThe author has been hailed as a high priestess of filth. Really, she wants to purify her readers.
  3. close reads
    E.T. and Close Encounters Told the Same Sad Story From Different EyesLooked at one way, they’re companion pieces: One tells the story of a father who leaves, and the other stays with the family he left behind.
  4. close reads
    Outer Range Goes Off the Rails in the Best WayThe show’s closing stretch leans into its weirdo instincts, illuminating something interesting and true about the American West.
  5. all the pieces matter
    We Own This City Asks Us to Look BackwardWhile David Simon and George Pelecanos’s new series has plenty to say on its own, considering it as a sequel to The Wire enriches the experience.
  6. close reads
    Let’s Unpack That Diabolical Incest Scene in The NorthmanA prince creates an unalterable image of his mother and takes it with him into her bedchamber — where she destroys it.
  7. exit review
    Black-ish Was No Televised RevolutionThe show always aimed for the third rail, but it played it safe more often than not.
  8. album review
    Syd’s New Love StoryThe singer-producer’s latest album, Broken Hearts Club, sheds the hedonistic visions of her earlier work.
  9. close reads
    Bridgerton Needs to Decide Whose World It’s Living InThe Netflix series fashions itself as a Regency theme park, but its historical fantasy is built on shaky ground.
  10. close reads
    An Ode to Drive to Survive’s Saddest ManThe perennial loser of Netflix’s F1 series, Guenther Steiner faces new troubles in the latest season that nod to the sport’s dark underbelly.
  11. endings
    Pam & Tommy’s Misplaced ForgivenessIn giving unearned absolution to Rand Gauthier, the miniseries also provides it for itself.
  12. trends
    The Limits of the Women’s Redemption PlotYou know the story: A previously maligned public figure gets an eight-episode empathy tour.
  13. the other ava
    A Plea to Abbott Elementary: Let Ava Stay TerribleJanelle James’s scene-stealing principal gives the breakout comedy a hard edge that doesn’t need to be softened.
  14. close reads
    The Sublime Narcissism of EuphoriaLexi unveiling her masterpiece is Euphoria at its best, which is inextricably bound up with Euphoria at its worst.
  15. parallel story lines
    Attack on Titan Echoes Game of Thrones’ Death RattleThe controversial anime’s final season rings “The Bells.”
  16. close reads
    Euphoria Found Its Focus, and It Was GoodIt was also excruciating, but that’s the point.
  17. close reads
    The Fundamental Flaw in And Just Like That …Sex and the City made life over 30 look fun. And Just Like That … makes life over 50 seem confusing and sad.
  18. close reads
    Trinity Valley Deserved Better From CheerThe scrappy team with the gigantic chip on their shoulders and a simmering dislike of Navarro should have been season two’s central focus.
  19. endings
    The Yellowjackets Finale Gave Us All It Needed to GiveNot all mystery-box shows are built to sustain the speculation and scrutiny they invite, but this one has laid a strong foundation.
  20. close reads
    Search Party’s Millennial Horror Was Always Going to End This WayAt its end, a series that’s always been defined by fear turns the subtext into the whole damn text.
  21. close reads
    Eternals Is Just the Plot of Steven Universe But BadLet’s talk about Celestials and gem clusters.
  22. reboots
    The Wonder Years Is Exactly What a Good Reboot Should BeThis week’s “Brad Mitzvah” episode is a great example of how a show can honor its predecessor while charting its own course.
  23. close reads
    Hanya’s BoysThe novelist tends to torture her gay male characters — but only so she can swoop in to save them.
  24. meta analysis
    2021 Was the Year of Too Much MetaverseWhen everything is a part of something else and nothing ever ends, it all feels so much cheaper.
  25. close reads
    Station Eleven Finds the Sublime in the ApocalypseThis pandemic story’s winter 2021 debut seems almost perfectly wrongly timed, but that’s precisely what makes it so perversely satisfying.
  26. close reads
    The Elves Just Can’t Catch a BreakFrom The Lord of the Rings through The Witcher, fantasy has long positioned elves as victims of humanity’s selfishness.
  27. close reads
    Succession’s Sincerity ConundrumIn a world where caring for another person might mean harming your own interests, does love between the Roys matter?
  28. it was tom-atha all along
    Tom Wambsgans Finally Becomes a Real Person, InvolvedThe Roy family’s biggest outsider has turned his chief weakness to his advantage.
  29. hello & goodbye
    The Arrivals and Departures of And Just Like That …Farewell to those who were written out of the Sex and the City revival series, and hello to those who have arrived to fill their places.
  30. close reads
    That Succession Moment Is About a Lot More Than Roman’s ‘Item’Once you manage to stop cringing, there’s a lot to unpack here.
  31. close reads
    What Is the Allure of Kendall Roy?Succession’s would-be No. 1 boy is a deeply broken soul, and the sympathy he inspires is anything but simple.
  32. the long and winding show
    The Beatles: Get Back Is Too Long, But It Has to BeWhat may at first seem like a major bug in Peter Jackson’s new docuseries is actually its greatest feature — and a gift.
  33. close reads
    The Unbearable Sadness of Tom WambsgansAs Succession explores increasingly baroque ways to make nothing happen, one character is poised to break the cycle.
  34. finales
    What We Do in the Shadows Accepts Its HumanityA tremendous third season ends with a twist revealing just how much these idiot vampires have grown.
  35. close reads
    Chucky Turns a Tired Horror Cliché on Its HeadAs the first Child’s Play installment with a gay lead, the new TV series is reclaiming a harmful trope that’s dogged the slasher genre for decades.
  36. profile
    Writing Through the MomentThe Kings are known for making TV that captures the Zeitgeist. It’s a high-wire act that’s gotten trickier post-Trump.
  37. close reads
    A Game of Marbles Turns Squid Game’s Anti-Capitalist Critique Inside OutThe season’s narrative turning point fully reveals the stacked-deck nature of the game, and how it fundamentally changes its players.
  38. close reads
    Decoding The Many Saints of Newark’s Parallels With The SopranosSeven ways the new Sopranos film echoes the original series and treats its story as mythology that can be retold, reinterpreted, and revised.
  39. exit strategy
    The Circle Might Have a Catfish ProblemWhat was initially a perfectly legitimate tactic within the larger game has become one of the latest season’s biggest bummers.
  40. close reads
    Ted Lasso Reveals Its Long GameWith “Man City,” season two finally addresses the trope in the room, giving the show and its characters alike a much-needed dose of reality.
  41. performance review
    Erika Jayne and the Runaway NarrativeWhatever sympathy the embattled Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star might have built is buckling under the expectations of being a Housewife.
  42. how we spent our bummer vacation
    The Genre of the Summer Is Resort HorrorThe premise of a luxury vacation gone wrong is an ideal match for the Hot Vaxxed Summer that wasn’t.
  43. the discourse
    Why a Christmas Episode Supercharged the Ted Lasso DebateThat’s serial storytelling for you!
  44. fantasy franchises
    Netflix’s Expanded Witcher Universe Is Upon UsBoth a stand-alone story and a teaser for what’s ahead, the new Nightmare of the Wolf is a proof of concept for the Witcher franchise’s next phase.
  45. close reads
    The Enigmatic Ending of The Green Knight, ExplainedIt’s like The Sopranos, but maybe not exactly like The Sopranos.
  46. close reads
    When Presented With a Black Gaze, the Emmys Turned AwayThis year’s nominations struggled to recognize works that approach Black stories as three-dimensional portraits, rather than blunt, thematic hammers.
  47. teen drama
    Let’s Talk About That Big Gossip Girl RevealWhich is really just the new Gossip Girl premise.
  48. close reads
    Infinity Train Outgrew Its Audience — and Grew Better for ItThe animated series’s cancellation over the lack of “a child entry point” underestimates what audiences of all ages are capable of enjoying.
  49. bird watching
    Tuca & Bertie Are Just As Anxious As You AreThe best bird buds are back on Adult Swim and perfectly suited to our new neurotic normal.
  50. close reads
    Love, Victor Is Maturing Into a Better, Messier Version of ItselfSeason two of the Hulu YA series gets more explicit, yes, but it also allows its protagonist, and the series, to exist outside tidy resolutions.
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