MOST RECENT ARTICLES BY:

Kathryn VanArendonk

Critic
  1. exit interview
    Sterlin Harjo Is Not Afraid to Sacrifice a Good IdeaThe Reservation Dogs showrunner leads by instinct: “There are a lot of first ideas out there. You have to break through that for it to be good.”
  2. comedy review
    At His Best, Nick Kroll Is a Mischievous Little DemonIn Little Big Boy, Kroll excels when he leans into the juvenile.
  3. close read
    House of the Dragon’s Brutal Birth Obsession Isn’t Realism. It’s Cruelty.In three separate instances, the Game of Thrones prequel reduces a birthing woman to the limits of her body.
  4. endings
    C’mon, Industry, Whisper Sweet Nothings to MeThe HBO series wields financial jargon like a magic spell. In its second-season finale, Harper’s sorcery runs out.
  5. comedy review
    Patton Oswalt Leaves His New Special Half-FinishedWe All Scream checks the comedy-special box, but as a demonstration of the comedian’s impressive skill set, it falls flat.
  6. highs and lows
    The Highs, Lows, and Whoas of the 2022 Emmy AwardsWhy was Zedd in charge of interrupting and playing off the best of TV?
  7. comedy review
    Kate Berlant’s Mirror MazeIn her Off Broadway show Kate, the comedian begs you to ignore her.
  8. profile
    ‘I Need to Tell You This’Kate Beaton captured the aesthetic of a late-aughts internet. Her new memoir is a monumental synthesis of politics, history, and her own life.
  9. royals
    Queen Elizabeth Was the First Monarch We Thought We KnewCrowned at the dawn of the TV age, she was defined by her distance as much as her ubiquity.
  10. comics to watch
    The Comedians You Should and Will Know in 202224 comics who industry insiders predict will be tomorrow’s superstars.
  11. best of 2022
    The Best TV Shows of the Year (So Far)A freshman series firing on all cylinders, auteurist comedies returning in peak form, and a highly original thriller are among 2022’s best offerings.
  12. emergency discussion
    Welcome to Wrexham Is Kind of Bizarre, Right?It may present as a feel-good sports docuseries, but there’s something oddly unpleasant going on in this elaborate piece of branded content.
  13. tv review
    The Rings of Power Is Too Big to FailPrime Video’s much-anticipated Lord of the Rings series is a best-case scenario for storytelling by monetary brute force.
  14. emergency discussion
    Where Does For All Mankind Go From Here?We have some humble suggestions/demands for season four.
  15. comedy review
    This Fool Is What Streaming Comedies Should BeAnd a just world would give us several more years of it.
  16. tv review
    A League of Their Own Pulls Off an Awkward Double PlayThis imperfect but captivating series adaptation of the 1992 film is both a correction and a celebration.
  17. best of 2022
    The Best Comedy Specials of 2022 (So Far)There’s been a shift back to big, ambitious projects and confident theater performances. Here are the most notable.
  18. stonks!
    Industry Is the Best Show to Listen ToWho knew money-flavored white noise could be so soothing?
  19. vulture vegetables
    Consider the PepperOne fleeting moment in The Rehearsal explains the entire Nathan Fielder project, the entire entertainment industry, and the entire world.
  20. it’s joni mitchell
    At Least We Have Joni MitchellJoni singing in 2022 is an uninterrupted conduit to every good and powerful and terrible feeling from the past few years.
  21. tv review
    Only a Star Could Make The Last Movie StarsEthan Hawke’s docuseries about Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman unearths a potent portrait of celebrity.
  22. emergency discussion
    The Final Moments of The Rehearsal Premiere Test Reality’s LimitsNathan Fielder’s genius and K. Todd Freeman’s acting chops deliver pure mindfuckery.
  23. comedy review
    Nathan Fielder’s Dazzling, Horrifying Trial Run of RealityThe Rehearsal lays bare the assumptions and expectations of social conventions. The more naked they become, the queasier it feels.
  24. awards season
    The Good, the Bad, and the Weird of This Year’s Emmy NominationsAbbott Elementary domination: good! Reservation Dogs snub: bad, bad, bad.
  25. comedy review
    Bill Burr’s Exhausting, Frustrating, Fascinating Battle With HimselfIn Live at Red Rocks, the stand-up has mastered the art of his act. There are also hints that he’s ready to master a new one.
  26. exit interview
    ‘This Show Is a Lot of Things, But Subtle Is Not One of Them’Showrunner Eric Kripke is clear about whose side The Boys is on.
  27. buffering
    Bad Design, Good Comedies, and Severance: Our TV Critics Rate the Streamers“The homepage is so busy, the search function is awful, and I am not particularly compelled by much of its original programming.”
  28. anonymous in hollywood
    ‘I Don’t Know How My Show Is Doing!’Streamers like Netflix run on data, but showrunners say they’re not seeing it. For some, that’s a recipe for serious anxiety.
  29. [ranks wetly]
    Stranger Things 4’s Best Descriptive Captions, RankedWhat more truthful statement about life’s eternal pain could there possibly be than [distant screaming, struggling]?
  30. comedy review
    Welcome Back to John Early and Kate Berlant’s Absurd DuetWould It Kill You to Laugh? is a monument to surrealist queer pettiness, standing high atop a foundation of incredible comedic harmony.
  31. comedy review
    Joel Kim Booster Mocks (and Craves) RelatabilityIn Psychosexual, the comedian goes meta. But he’s still a hot gay comedy goof.
  32. tv review
    Damn It, Players, You Got MeBehold, an esports mockumentary that improbably works despite the viewer’s utter ignorance of esports.
  33. endings
    Let’s Discuss Borgen’s Unsurprising Surprise EndingOn paper, Power & Glory’s final move is the least shocking twist the revival season could’ve offered. So why does it feel so unreal?
  34. emergency discussion
    Hooray, Star Trek Feels Like Star Trek AgainStrange New Worlds is the best the franchise has been in decades. Two lifelong fans break down why it works so well.
  35. tonys 2022
    The Highs, Lows, and Whoas of the 2022 Tony AwardsBig night for two Michael Jacksons.
  36. tv review
    For All Mankind Season 3 Navigates Heady Highs and Cavernous LowsA race to colonize Mars brings out the alternate-history series’ best qualities amid some maddening missteps.
  37. emergency discussion
    Let’s Disagree About HacksThe beloved HBO Max series submits to interrogation: effortless comfort watch or lazy depiction of stand-up?
  38. comedy review
    Norm Macdonald’s Final Hour Makes the Best of NecessityNothing Special is caught between what it had to be and what it could’ve been.
  39. exit interview
    ‘Reality Never Gives You the Perfect Narrative’In We Own This City, David Simon and George Pelecanos argue police corruption has never been worse.
  40. summer preview
    Summer TV Used to Mean Something, Damn ItOnce upon a time, television programming mirrored the rhythms of life. Now it’s become the calendar version of the endless scroll.
  41. appreciations
    The Standard-Setting Beauty of Live in CrenshawLil Rel Howery’s 2019 stand-up special shows that when a special looks distinctive, the comedy feels that way too.
  42. decisions decisions
    Everything to Consider When Making a Comedy Special SpecialAside from what jokes to tell.
  43. yikes
    A Warning From the Future About The Time Traveler’s WifeA time-traveling TV critic considers Steven Moffat’s strangely chintzy, tonally odd adaptation of the 2003 novel.
  44. tv review
    The Kids in the Hall Make a Head-Crushing ReturnAgainst all odds, the sketch comedy’s Amazon revival is almost miraculous.
  45. exit interview
    Julia’s Writers See Julia Child As a Fable“We are making a piece of fiction about a real person.”
  46. tv review
    Mike Myers Returns, Cautiously, With The PentaverateThe Netflix series feels way too timid — except for all the poop jokes.
  47. 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.
  48. tv review
    Under the Banner of Heaven Scratches the True Detective ItchAndrew Garfield finds fresh empathy in the FX on Hulu series’s tired true-crime patterns.
  49. tv review
    The Flight Attendant Returns, Dizzy and Fizzy As EverSeason two turns melodramatic-thriller fodder into background noise. That’s because it’s foregrounding a much more compelling set of tensions.
  50. spoilers
    Anatomy of a Scandal’s Final Line Achieves GreatnessGreatness in the category of ‘Most Absurd Ending.’
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