Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What to play, watch, read, and listen to this weekend

Screenshot: Gorogoa/Annapurna Interactive

The video game to play


“The challenge it presents isn’t aimed at your intellect or problem-solving skills, but at your ability to look for truth past the surface, to see the worlds inside of worlds and the connections between all things. Viewed as merely an exercise in puzzle design, it’s wildly original, but what makes Gorogoa so impactful is how its call for slow, careful reconsideration resonates well beyond those inventive brainteasers. It’s not just trying to teach you how to solve its riddles; it’s trying to implore you to look at the real world with the same attentiveness, curiosity, and understanding.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The show to watch

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams

“A welcome addition to the roster of intellectually engaging sci-fi shows, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams is a solid resource for anyone mourning their too-soon completion of the latest round of Black Mirror. But unlike that series’ commitment to exploring the meaning behind technology itself and how it interacts and disrupts our capacities for traditional human behavior, the best episodes of Electric Dreams focus squarely on the people embedded in these situations, grappling with genuine ethical and emotional crises and dilemmas. More often than not, any technology or future society depicted is a MacGuffin through which to deal with heady psychological issues and moral questions. Yes, such drama is timeless, but isn’t it more fun when filtered through the lens of a noir-inflected Tomorrowland?”
Read the rest of our review here.

The comic to read

Secret Weapons #0, Eric Heisserer, Adam Pollina, and David Baron


“As the superhero genre developed, creators explored how superpowers and costumed secret identities can be a curse. Nikki Finch learns this firsthand in Secret Weapons #0, a one-shot prequel to last year’s Secret Weapons miniseries. Nikki is a psiot, a person with latent superpowers activated by a painful, potentially fatal procedure, but she doesn’t have a particularly effective talent. Nikki can talk to birds, and because her ability doesn’t have many applications, she’s sent to The Willows, a facility for psiots not valuable enough for the Harbinger Foundation’s main team of heroes. Heisserer jumped straight into the action with that script, and while there was plenty of character development in the story, the specifics of these characters’ pasts are still waiting to be revealed.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The movie to see

The Commuter

“‘On behalf of the American middle class, fuck you,’ growls Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson, obviously) not more than a third of the way into The Commuter, tipping the dizzying whodunit’s hand. Yes, it’s basically Non-Stop (also starring Neeson, also directed by the Spanish-born genre whiz Jaume Collet-Serra) on a train. The earlier film poked fun at the post-9/11 surveillance state, with Neeson as an alcoholic air marshal framed for hijacking a plane. But this time, as they say, it’s personal: debt anxiety, the subprime mortgage crisis, the manipulation of class resentments by a conspiracy of The Game proportions. One of the modern Hollywood B-movie’s most technically proficient and politically astute directors, Collet-Serra keeps his camera zipping; it takes a climactic crash of fiery twisted wreckage for his frantic twists and speed-addled Hitchcockian themes to lose momentum.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The podcast to listen to

Haunted, The Night Shift: Parts 1 and 2


“‘Belief and fear have one thing in common: They are contagious.’ So says Haunted host Danny Robins near the end of ‘The Night Shift,’ delivering a statement that caps not only the episode but also the podcast as a whole. That’s because this Panoply series is here both to spook listeners and balance the tales with science and logic. This isn’t to fully explain away the scare, mind you—Robins and the producers clearly want to believe—but to present a multitude of explanations (one of them being that, yes, ghosts are real and want to hurt you).”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

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