FROM Sonia Saraiya
Sophomore slumps & niche streaming services The Spin-off crew sums up the summer. They talk about Olympics ratings, discuss why two hot cable shows are struggling in their second seasons and contemplate whether the myriad niche streaming services can ever offer them the TV line-up of their dreams.
TV: L.A. in Prestige Comedies HBO’s Togetherness aired its last show over the weekend. It’s an example of a genre that’s been called “prestige comedies.” And in prestige comedies, LA seems like a particularly depressing place. Despite its sandy beaches, gorgeous vistas, and year-round good weather, the LA of shows like Togetherness, Love, The Comeback and BoJack Horseman is a pretty awful place filled with existential despair… and traffic. What’s driving this West Coast dreariness?
Re-boot Nation, the News Host Blues, Cable Domination A slew of new re-boots is headed our way. How much of the original gang must be on board to make a re-boot a success? The Trevor Noah backlash was swift and fierce. Do we have unrealistic expectations for hosts of news shows, comedy or otherwise? The cable-broadcast divide continues to fall and cable continues its ratings takeover. Finally, our monthly downloads.
Morgan Parker: There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé Morgan Parker says that the poems in her book There Are Things More Beautiful than Beyoncé take a stand against the clichés of the dominant culture.
Why did Jared Kushner want a back channel with Russians? News broke Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, tried setting up a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government. What are the consequences for Kushner, President Trump, and the investigation into Russian meddling?
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."