10 episodes

Tune in each week to hear the WIRED Entertainment squad discuss (and sometimes bicker over) the biggest news in movies, music, TV, and Internet culture. Want to know what we think of the latest superhero flick, prestige TV show, or Twitter beef? It's all right here—you just have to turn off all your other screens first.

The Monito‪r‬ WIRED

    • TV & Film

Tune in each week to hear the WIRED Entertainment squad discuss (and sometimes bicker over) the biggest news in movies, music, TV, and Internet culture. Want to know what we think of the latest superhero flick, prestige TV show, or Twitter beef? It's all right here—you just have to turn off all your other screens first.

    You Know What? 2016 Was a Pretty Great Year for Pop Culture

    You Know What? 2016 Was a Pretty Great Year for Pop Culture

    It’s that time of year again—the time when we all look back at the past 12 months and try to figure out what the hell just happened. Here on The Monitor, things are no different. In fact, that’s what this week’s entire episode is about.
    Yes, this week the WIRED Culture team started talking about 2016 and realized: Hey, you know what? This was a pretty good year for pop culture. We got some great new TV shows from Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure) and Donald Glover (FX’s Atlanta), some great new music from Chance the Rapper and Beyoncé, and a lot of awesome new podcasts. There were also quite a few good movies and some wonderful comics too.
    Want to know why this year was so good for pop culture? Then tune in. We’ve got editors and writers Peter Rubin, Charley Locke, and Angela Watercutter on the mic and they’re ready to get nostalgic for 2016 before it’s even over.
    A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast:
    -Charley Locke’s piece on the first time she watched Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope
    -WIRED’s feature on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story VFX supervisor John Knoll
    -Jason Kehe’s piece on Alan Tudyk, who plays Rogue One’s K-2SO

    • 38 min
    It’s Time for a Big Ol’ Holiday TV Smackdown!

    It’s Time for a Big Ol’ Holiday TV Smackdown!

    Aside from turkey-eating, the biggest Thanksgiving tradition amongst your faithful WIRED Culture crew is sitting in front of the television not watching football. (OK, some of us watch football.) Our other tradition, of course, is fighting about what’s the best thing to watch while staring at that TV.
    For some of us, Community is always a crowd-pleaser. Others are Grey’s Anatomy die hards. And some of us just really love Die Hard. No, Die Hard isn’t a TV show. But it often plays on cable, so that counts, right? We also love to watch Friends, Simpsons, and scads of other shows during this time of food comas.
    But what’s the best? Well, that’s what your Monitor crew is here to fight out. We’ve got editors and writers Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter in the booth and they’re ready to rumble.
    A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast:
    -K.M. McFarland’s piece on the world-building of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
    -WIRED’s guide to binge-watching The Simpsons
    -WIRED Book Club’s discussion of Bitch Planet

    • 34 min
    A Tribe Called Quest’s New Record Is Awesome. National Politics? Not So Much

    A Tribe Called Quest’s New Record Is Awesome. National Politics? Not So Much

    Alright, where to begin? Since we last stepped into the WIRED podcast booth, America elected a new president, Dave Chappelle took over hosting duties at Saturday Night Live for the first time, and A Tribe Called Quest released their first album in more than a decade. Yeah, it’s been a busy week.
    So busy, in fact, that we have a lot more to chat about on The Monitor than usual. We start by talking about the interesting political allegories to be found in the alien flick Arrival. From there we pivot into the stellar Chappelle-lead SNL that aired on Saturday night. And finally, we settle in to discuss all of our feelings about ATCQ’s We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.
    Settle in. Editors and writers Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter are here, and they’re ready to remember the week that was.
    A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast:
    -K.M. McFarland’s review of Arrival
    -WIRED’s roundup of November’s best albums
    -Chris Kohler’s story on the high demand for the NES Classic Edition
    -Brian Raftery’s piece on Dave Chappelle’s SNL opening monologue

    • 45 min
    Doctor Strange Has Us Totally Entranced

    Doctor Strange Has Us Totally Entranced

    Last night, Donald Trump won the US presidency. Last weekend, Doctor Strange won big at the box office. What do these two things have in common? Well, for one, they’re both surprising outcomes. And, for another, we’re talking about both of them in this week’s WIRED Culture podcast.
    First up, we’re discussing how Strange was received—both at the US box office, where it made $85 million this weekend, and with critics, who gave it a 90 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme isn’t one of the studio’s big names, but his movie has everyone entranced, including your Monitor hosts, who loved the movie’s quirky tone and trippy 3-D visuals.
    As for the election, we decided to take a few minutes to talk about the impact pop culture—specifically late-night talk shows—had on the outcome. (Note: Trump had not yet won the presidency when we recorded this week’s episode.) So please do tune in. We have writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter in the booth and they’ve got a lot to gab about.
    A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast:
    -K.M. McFarland’s piece on the best late-night TV moments of the presidential race
    -WIRED’s review of Doctor Strange
    -Angela Watercutter’s essay on why this election wasn’t funny
    -WIRED’s piece on what Doctor Strange’s success means for the future of Marvel

    • 43 min
    Too Much Internet Speculation Is Ruining TV

    Too Much Internet Speculation Is Ruining TV

    Raise your hand if you’re watching Westworld. Great, thanks. Now, raise your hand if you spend as much time listening to podcasts and reading Reddit threads about the show as you do watching it. That’s what we thought. Aside from being HBO’s new wildly ambitious sci-fi program, Westworld has also become the Internet’s new favorite TV puzzle to solve, inspiring podcasts and comment threads galore.
    But just because it’s the latest Internet obsession, that doesn’t mean it’s the first. Not by a long shot. And on this week’s episode of The Monitor podcast, the crew is out to trace the path of the most picked-apart, conspiracy-theory-besieged shows on TV—from Lost to True Detective to, yes, Westworld. And beyond that, we’d like to answer this question: Can too much Internet speculation ruin a TV show? (Short answer: Yes.)
    That’s not all! We also have a mini-screed on why the book-to-film adaptations Inferno and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back are doing so poorly at the multiplex and some thoughts on our other current pop culture obsessions. Join us, won’t you? We’ve got writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter on the mic and they’re ready to prophesy.
    A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast:
    -Charley Locke’s piece on true crime podcasts
    -Angela Watercutter’s essay on neo sincerity

    • 42 min
    But Really, Who’s Better: Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck?

    But Really, Who’s Better: Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck?

    It’s a question so simple we can believe we haven’t asked ourselves before: Who is better, Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck? One of them, Affleck, dominated the box office last weekend with The Accountant. The other, Cruise (obvi), has a big weekend ahead with the release of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Both have had their tabloid ups and downs. Both have had careers that slalomed between popcorn movies and credibility pictures. But really, which Hollywood titan is better?
    That’s what we set out to unearth on this week’s episode of The Monitor. And, man, did it ever lead to a heated discussion of who was Collateral damage and who was just Good Will Hunting.
    Want to know who came out as our top gun? You’ll have to listen to this week’s episode of WIRED’s culture podcast. We’ve got writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter in the booth and they suddenly deeply care about who the biggest movie star in the world is. Stick around after the Cruise vs. Affleck face-off, because we’ll be discussing Ava DuVernay’s new documentary 13th and the rise of docs on streaming services. Enjoy!
    A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast:
    -The trailer for 13th
    -Ben Affleck in our ranking of the best Batmen

    • 33 min

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