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Close Read

  1. endings
    Succession Made You Decide“Who will win?” is a question as appealing and empty as Tom and Shiv’s apartment. The much harder one has always been, “What kind of show is this?”
  2. endings
    Let’s Talk About the Ending of John Wick: Chapter 4That final shot and the end-credits stinger might be more closely connected than they appear.
  3. close read
    Yellowjackets, We Have a Lottie ProblemShe’s the most narratively important character, but who is she other than a conduit for mystery?
  4. close read
    Succession’s Song of Ice and FireA trio of eulogies negotiate the final word on Logan Roy.
  5. endings
    Mrs. Davis Wasn’t Really About AI After AllAre you satisfied?
  6. close read
    But Seriously: What Would Logan Roy Do?The poison drips through in three very different ways.
  7. close read
    The (White Rapper) BlueprintDave manages to be the perfect depiction of the “white rapper’s” journey through the music industry.
  8. close read
    This Is Vintage Tom and ShivThe implosion of Father Sexmas and his scorpion bride has been fermenting for quite some time.
  9. close read
    We’re Almost Done Raising Pete DavidsonHe’ll be 30 this year! Should we let him grow up?
  10. close read
    Darth GregHow Succession’s favorite moron learned to love being evil.
  11. close read
    Tom Wambsgans Said “If”Of course Succession’s most honest moment comes wrapped inside a conditional.
  12. close read
    Extrapolations’ Good Intentions Aren’t Good EnoughOnly once does the Apple TV+ series allow for the idea that in a climate emergency, there can be virtue in breaking the rules.
  13. workplace sitcoms
    American Auto Ruins Everyone EquallyThat’s a compliment!
  14. close read
    In Beef, Therapy Isn’t the AnswerNeither Amy nor Danny can bring themselves to confront the darkness within, until they are forced to do so together.
  15. close read
    Succession’s Echoing CrescendoThrough its evocations of the past, “Connor’s Wedding” suggests the Roy children have been subconsciously practicing for this world-exploding moment.
  16. close read
    Succession Did It in Episode Three“Connor’s Wedding” is a triumph of anticlimax.
  17. close read
    Let’s Talk About the Black Madwoman in SwarmThe show is at once frustrating and fascinating in how it fails to disrupt the conventions of a potent pop-culture archetype.
  18. close read
    Monster Factory Assembles an Unexpected Superhero StoryIn Apple TV+’s new indie-wrestling docuseries, Danny Cage and his students don’t need to be told the odds are against them. It wouldn’t matter anyway.
  19. close read
    The Uncomfortable Dissonance of Swarm’s Faux DocumentaryDespite a standout central performance, the penultimate episode rings hollow in a show heretofore luxuriating in ambiguity.
  20. close read
    Swarm’s Most Dangerous DevotionThe Prime Video series about a murderous stan falls short in exploring the ways female companionship can be amplified into something more sinister.
  21. finales
    The Last of Us Is Faithful to the EndThe season finale’s climax effectively streamlines its source material but illuminates the show’s narrowing adaptational ambition.
  22. close read
    Poker Face Toes the Thin Blue LineIs it possible to make a show about crime and punishment that isn’t copaganda? That’s a mystery season one couldn’t quite solve.
  23. close read
    The Last of Us Is Lost in the Darkness of the American MythThe first season navigates a devastated nation defined by tribalism and filled with individuals enduring and surviving at the expense of others.
  24. anniversaries
    The Chicken and the BabyForty years ago this week, M*A*S*H signed off with an emotional jab at network TV’s commitment to sanitizing the ugly stuff.
  25. resource management
    Give It Up for the Last of Us Menstrual CupEllie’s item upgrade is a perfect combination of video-game mechanics and character-based detail.
  26. close read
    Physical: 100 Isn’t Built to Be BrutalDon’t be fooled by the Squid Game aesthetics: Netflix’s Korean reality competition may just be the best example of good sportsmanship on TV.
  27. adult themes
    Awful Adults Haunt Lockwood & Co.’s Ghost-Hunting TeensJoe Cornish’s Netflix series suggests adolescent anti-authoritarianism is society’s most valuable asset against dispassionate grown-up greed.
  28. close read
    The 1619 Project’s Standout Episode Resonates With Infuriating TimelinessA six-episode adaptation of the sprawling New York Times effort can’t help but feel scattered, but “Capitalism” is honed to a sharply incisive point.
  29. close read
    The Empty Sentiment of The Last of UsIn imitating the rhythms of prestige TV, the video-game adaptation loses its emotional center.
  30. spoilers
    The Last of Us Humanizes a Monstrous Turning PointThe changes the series makes to a pivotal moment from the game give it even grander existential stakes.
  31. close read
    The Makanai’s Twin AppetitesHirokazu Kore-eda’s live-action manga adaptation serves up cozy nourishment with a side of feminist ambition.
  32. close read
    Break Point’s Noble LosersSports stories have long tended to focus on the greats. What about just being in the struggle?
  33. close read
    The Last of Us Levels Up Its OpeningIn its first 25 minutes, the HBO adaptation achieves an energy the game longed to emulate.
  34. close read
    What’s Happening to Nonfiction Sports Storytelling?Welcome to Wrexham is God-tier branded content disguised as documentary. It’s also a portent of what’s to come.
  35. close reads
    Holy Spider’s Ending Uncovers a Tangled Web of MisogynyHoly Spider is at its most precise and upsetting in the film’s final scene.
  36. close read
    Fleishman Is in Trouble Does What the Book Couldn’t DoThe episode “Me-Time,” adapted by Taffy Brodesser-Akner from her own novel, is a prime example of the potency of stories told onscreen.
  37. close read
    The Real Cost of The White LotusThe best things — really all things — in life? They definitely are not free.
  38. finales
    The White Lotus’s Watery EndThe season finale plunges into the unknowable depths of Mike White’s favorite symbol.
  39. tv review
    South Side Enters Its Golden AgeIn its fantastically funny third season, the Chicago-set comedy exudes a sense of unparalleled confidence.
  40. close read
    Luthen Rael Embodies Andor’s Gray SideIn his similarities to Star Wars’ biggest villain, Stellan Skarsgård’s character challenges what we expect and accept from the franchise’s good guys.
  41. finales
    Andor Radicalized the Hero’s JourneyTony Gilroy’s prequel series took the world of Star Wars seriously, and in the process found new life within an old text.
  42. close read
    The Crown Did Diana DirtySeason five’s diminishment of the “people’s princess” as petulant and reckless feels like nefarious intent hidden behind fictional license.
  43. finales
    The Good Fight Carries OnAfter six seasons spent toying with escapism, the frequently surreal legal drama ends with its feet on the ground.
  44. close read
    Serena’s Journey Has Become the Heart of The Handmaid’s TaleSeason five raises a loaded question: Is it possible for oppressors to see the error of their ways?
  45. fire & blood
    What’s Going on With House of the Dragon’s Mysaria?Her fate in the season’s penultimate episode is as confusing as everything else about this character.
  46. close read
    To Understand Athena, Watch The Battle of AlgiersWhat the films have to say about the long-lasting impact of colonial structures is as illuminating as it is rare.
  47. close read
    The Fantasy-Prequel ProblemHouse of the Dragon and The Rings of Power have been presented as shining new jewels in the streaming pantheon. They also belie a lack of imagination.
  48. fire and blood
    Is Queen Alicent Acting in Bad Faith?The presence of a certain seven-pointed star adds an intriguing new wrinkle to House of the Dragon’s Targaryen-Hightower power struggle.
  49. close read
    The Hollow Impersonation in BlondeIn life, Marilyn Monroe was a complex artist and human being. In the hands of Ana de Armas, she’s an eternal victim.
  50. close read
    The Sax Man’s Tribute to Reservation Dogs’ Lost BoyThe season-two finale’s closing Tim Cappello performance is both a sly wink and a poignant eulogy.
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