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His Dark Materials: The Cave  Books Included   Season 2, Ep 2

Lyra and Will head to Oxford for answers; the Magisterium is faced with a choice. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Nov 23, 2020 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump & Election Results  Season 7, Ep 30

This week, it's one more installment from the White Void of Sad Facts. The main story is about Trump's refusal to concede the election and the webs of conspiracy theories he, his supporters and right-wing media have woven to claim that there was massive voter fraud. On YouTube (18m) And Now: 2020 Bingo. Finally... John Oliver takes a FaceTime call from Adam Driver. Uh-oh.... We find out what's outside the White Void! And we get some vengenance against the hellish, hateful year we're now nearing the end of. On YouTube (11m) This is the final episode of Season 7 of Last Week Tonight. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 16, 2020 - 11 comments

His Dark Materials: The City of Magpies  Books Included   Season 2, Ep 1

In the Season 2 premiere, Lyra and Will explore a new world; the Magisterium take action on past events; and Lee Scoresby embarks on a mission. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Nov 16, 2020 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: US Election 2020  Season 7, Ep 29

This week, the white void is a cheerier place. Launching in with the main story, the 2020 Election, and Joe Biden's election to US President, denying Donald Trump a second term. We take some time to celebrate that (including 30 seconds of awesome octopus facts). On YouTube (27m) And Now: At The End Of A Long, Exhausting Week: Dumps. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 9, 2020 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump's Handling of COVID and William Barr  Season 4, Ep 28

This week, from the white void, two main stories tonight, focusing of two different aspects of the Trump presidency. #1: the Coronavirus. Bewilderingly, a lot of US Americans seem to think Trump has handled it the best he could. LWT identifies three crucial areas he definitely didn't: Preparation, Coordination and Communication. First main story, on YouTube (21m) #2: Trump's Attorney General William Barr, hailed as a responsible figure when brought on, but quickly revealed himself to be a kind of ultra-toady. Second main story, on YouTube (19m) Other items-- And Now: Our Annual Look At What Happens When Local News and Halloween Collide, and, And Now: Public Officials Prepare Children For A COVID Halloween." Playing the show out is a clip of Attorney General Bill Barr playing the bagpipes. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 2, 2020 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Asylum  Season 7, Ep 27

This week from the white void. Trump is beset with October Surprises (contracting COVID, news finally breaks about his tax avoidance, and we find out he had a previously-unknown bank account in China), although his supporters think Hunter Biden's laptop is a thing, entirely because Fox News keeps telling them it is. Trump gets a pass from the press on the final debate because he acted like less of a loon than usual. And Now: The Movie Taste of People On CNBC Is Exactly What You Think It Is. Main story: Immigration, specifically, how the Trump administration has been extraordinarily cruel to asylum seekers trying to enter the US. On YouTube (21m) And Now: Like We Said, The Movie Taste Of People On CNBC Is Exactly What You Think It is.
posted by JHarris on Oct 26, 2020 - 6 comments

The Undoing: The Undoing  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 1

Grace Fraser becomes intrigued by a young mother at her son's school. Later, news of a tragedy rocks the school community. (HBO, adapted from You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz) [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Oct 25, 2020 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The World Health Organization  Season 7, Ep 26

Main story: the World Health Organization, Trump's stupid blaming them for the pandemic, and his decision to pull the U.S. out of it, which takes effect in July if nothing else changes (say in two weeks), and which could have huge consequences. It has 194 member states, nearly every country on Earth, but not the US if Trump's plans are not thwarted. On YouTube (19m) And Now: There's An Old Saying In Politics. Finally an update on Danbury, Connecticut, which is naming a sewage plant after John Oliver in exchange for donations to local food banks. At the end is the show's first location piece since the pandemic began (don't worry, John Oliver was wearing protection). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 19, 2020 - 3 comments

Lovecraft Country: Full Circle  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 10

After uncovering the origins of the Book of Names, the gang heads back to Ardham to cast the ultimate spell. (Season Finale) [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Oct 18, 2020 - 21 comments

Lovecraft Country: Rewind 1921  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 9

Leti, Montrose, and Tic go back to 1921 to rescue Dee. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Oct 11, 2020 - 38 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Election 2020  Season 7, Ep 25

This week, again from the White Void of Sad Facts: Trump comes down with COVID-19 in an epic display of poetic justice. And Now: Newscasters Trying To Have Fun With What Month It Is. The main story is the election, now coming in less than a month. Remember: in most states, you don't have to vote on election day or rely on the mail to count your ballot, you can vote at home and hand it to your registrar. Go to canivote.org for information on how to vote in your state, perhaps doing so early to take pressure off of voting systems. And Now: People Miss A Lot Of Things Due To The Pandemic. Finally, museums are experiencing significant issues during the pandemic, with around a third of them expected to close forever. To attempt to help them out, Last Week Tonight is offering to donate money to museums that sponsor their tour of paintings, including the rat erotica they bought, Lisa Kudlow's tie paintings, and a painting of Wendy Williams enjoying a lamb chop. Direct queries to john[at]johnoliverhasyourraterotica[dot]com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 6, 2020 - 2 comments

Lovecraft Country: Jig-a-Bobo  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 8

A distraught Diana finds herself in Captain Lancaster's crosshairs. Meanwhile, a when a visitor from his past arrives at the boarding house, Atticus and Leti each take steps to protect their future. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Oct 4, 2020 - 33 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Supreme Court  Season 7, Ep 24

This week, again in the white void: A grand jury declined to indict the perpetrators over the death of Breonna Taylor, heaping more fuel onto the Black Lives Matter protests. Main story: the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, giving Republicans a third Supreme Court pick during Trump's term, largely and ultimately due to the machinations of "mule piss" Mitch McConnell and the weird anti-democratic games the US system plays to preserve power to the powerful. And Now: An Unexpected Update Regarding Peeps. Finally, the Census, and the importance for US residents to fill it out. 14 million households haven't yet despite its tremendous importance to our systems to have an accurate count of people. You can complete it, probably in just a couple of minutes, at my2020census.gov. To help encouraage viewers to do that, the show played a couple of minutes of the audiobook version of Sean Penn's novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff (hoo boy), to drive people away in order to do this essential thing. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 29, 2020 - 5 comments

Lovecraft Country: I Am  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 7

Hyppolyta's relentless search for answers takes her on a multidimensional journey of self-discovery, and Atticus heads to St. Louis to consult an old family friend. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Sep 27, 2020 - 27 comments

The Third Day: Saturday - The Son  Season 1, Ep 2

Jess and Sam take time to get to know each other. The Martins continue to dodge questions by answering them. Sam Appears to be in less and more danger than he's aware of. Our mystery deepens when Sam finds the coroner who did his son's autopsy living on the island. The night concludes with hasty decisions all around, and Epona's might be the worst of all. [more inside]
posted by FirstMateKate on Sep 25, 2020 - 2 comments

The Third Day: Friday — The Father  Season 1, Ep 1

Today is a very important day for Sam, played by Jude Law, but unfortunately it's sidetracked when he comes across a young girl in need of help while walking in the woods. He finds his life turned upside down when the folk-rich island she heralds from won't let him leave, in more way than one. [more inside]
posted by FirstMateKate on Sep 22, 2020 - 7 comments

Lovecraft Country: Meet Me in Daegu  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 6

In the throes of the Korean War, nursing student Ji-Ah crosses paths with a wounded Atticus, who has no recollection of their violent first encounter. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Sep 20, 2020 - 19 comments

The Vow: The Science of Joy  Season 1, Ep 1

Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson, high-ranking former NXIVM leaders, describe the dream and mission of NXIVM to build a better world; Bonnie Piesse, Mark's wife, tells him she is worried about the organization and leader Keith Raniere. [more inside]
posted by knownassociate on Sep 16, 2020 - 10 comments

Lovecraft Country: Strange Case  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 5

After making a devil's bargain with William, Ruby steps into the charmed shoes of a white woman, but her transformation only fortifies her resentment of the racial divide. A betrayal by Montrose unleashes Atticus' pent up rage, leaving Leti deeply disturbed and sending Montrose into the comforting arms of his secret lover. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Sep 13, 2020 - 42 comments

Lovecraft Country: A History of Violence  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 4

After Christina mysteriously shows up at her doorstep, Leti confronts Atticus about his plan to surreptitiously return to Florida. Later, in search of missing pages to a crucial text, Leti, Tic, and Montrose head to Boston, with Hippolyta and Diana (Jada Harris) along for the ride. Back in Chicago, a handsome stranger nurses Ruby's disappointment over a squandered job opportunity. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Sep 6, 2020 - 27 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: RNC 2020 & Kenosha  Season 7, Ep 23

This week, from the void: The RNC convention is filled with tonedeaf shouting people who think the world is great and only getting better! But also there's the recent horrors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with Jacob Blake being repeatedly shot in the back by police and a teenage vigilante killing two people. On YouTube (20m) And Now: The RNC Gets Off To A Great Start. Finally, the city of Danbury, Connecticut responds to John Oliver's playful dissing of their town, up to their mayor threatening to name their new sewage plant after him. But they didn't actually do it, leading John to make a promise: name their sewage plant after him, and he'll donate $55,000 to various charities in the Danbury area. And in case the major is reluctant to spend public money on the sign, LWT went ahead and made one for them. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 31, 2020 - 9 comments

I May Destroy You: Line Spectrum Border  Season 1, Ep 8

After discovering a demoralising development in the investigation, Arabella hatches a risky plan and convinces an adverse Terry to bankroll it; still navigating his own assault, Kwame challenges himself to explore the full spectrum of his sexuality. [more inside]
posted by knownassociate on Aug 31, 2020 - 0 comments

Lovecraft Country: Holy Ghost  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 3

Leti hopes to mend her relationship with her sister, Ruby, by turning a ramshackle Victorian on Chicago's North Side into a boarding house--an endeavor that stokes neighborhood racism and awakens dormant spirits stuck in the house. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Aug 30, 2020 - 34 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Border Wall, Revisited  Season 7, Ep 22

This week, again from the void: The Democrats' "unconventional convention," and their decision to give a significant amount of speaking time to Republicans. The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report that Trump's 2016 campaign had repeated contacts with Russian operatives, more news for who's saying it than what was said. And Now: Yes, It's Still August, But Guess Who's Back? (Pumpkin spice, the go-to autumn conversation topic of newscasters nationwide.) Main story: Remember the border wall? In the home stretch of Trump's first (and hopefully only) term, how has that gone? Not well at all. On YouTube (23m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 25, 2020 - 2 comments

Lovecraft Country: Whitey's On The Moon  Books Included   Season 1, Ep 2

The lodge of the Sons of Adam fills with guests, including Letitia, George and an increasingly suspicious Atticus, on the night before a major ritual. Our heroes are tormented by memories and plan their rescue of Atticus' missing father. This thread includes discussion of Matt Ruff's original book of 8 linked short stories.
posted by mediareport on Aug 24, 2020 - 4 comments

Lovecraft Country: Whitey's On The Moon  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 2

Inexplicably recovered from their terrifying night, Leti and George luxuriate in their new surroundings, while Atticus grows suspicious of their Ardham Lodge hosts - Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee) and her elusive father Samuel (Tony Goldwyn) - who unveil cryptic plans for Atticus' role in their upcoming "Sons of Adam" ceremony. Later, after Tic, Leti, and George stumble upon a clue that could lead them to Montrose, each takes an unwelcome walk down memory lane. [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Aug 23, 2020 - 30 comments

Lovecraft Country: Sundown  Books Included   Season 1, Ep 1

HBO's new horror/period piece series about black lives in a 1950s where H.P. Lovecraft's shoggoths are real, including discussion of Matt Ruff's original collection of 8 linked short stories.
posted by mediareport on Aug 18, 2020 - 13 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Juries  Season 7, Ep 21

This week, from the void: Biden picks Kamala Harris as running mate, prompting the usual stupid attacks from right-wing media and President Trump. Marjorie Green may well become the first QAnon-believing member of Congress, making the world even dumber. And Now: Larry King, Master Salesman. Main story: Juries, and how the system is stacked against black jurors despite it being technically illegal to do so. YouTube (21m) And Now: Jim Cramer's Fun-Time Quarantine Activity Makes You Sad. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 17, 2020 - 9 comments

Lovecraft Country: Sundown  Show Only   Season 1, Ep 1

Atticus Freeman meets up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. (HBO) [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Aug 16, 2020 - 47 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. History  Season 7, Ep 20

This week, from the white void: Coronavirus spreads like crazy due to idiotic mass gatherings by US Americans, enabled by powerful idiots who refuse to take it seriously. And Now: For An Extra $150, Steve Gutenberg Brainstorms Names For Our Co-Worker's New Dog. The main story is on U.S. history, and many US Americans' ignorance of it, especially its history of slavery. On YouTube (28m) LWT is off next week. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 3, 2020 - 3 comments

Perry Mason: Chapter Six  Season 1, Ep 6

The trial begins and a damning witness testimony takes center stage. [more inside]
posted by everybody had matching towels on Jul 29, 2020 - 8 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: China & Uighurs  Season 7, Ep 19

This week, again from the void (but with a glass desk now): the protests in Portland over the death of George Floyd escalate sharply as Donald Trump sends in anonymous federal agents in unmarked vans to kidnap protesters off the streets, dear god. And Now: Martha Stewart Loosens Up During The Lockdown. Main Story: the Uighurs, an ethnic minority in China whose culture that nation is trying to destroy. And Now: We Promise You These People Are Not Saying "Masturbate." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 27, 2020 - 2 comments

I May Destroy You: Happy Animals  Season 1, Ep 7

Arabella takes a job working alongside Theo at a vegan delivery start-up. Terry takes covert measures to ensure Simon won't make an appearance at her birthday party. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jul 21, 2020 - 1 comment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Conspiracy Theories  Season 7, Ep 18

This week, from the void: many administration and state officials want to reopen the country as quickly as possible despite how stupid that is. And Now: Parents On Television Just Want One Thing (to send kids back to school). Main story concerns conspiracy theories, those things that tons of people believe in, are wantonly spread by Facebook and YouTube, and that are argubly tearing the world apart. On YouTube (22m) To help convince people to stop believing so much bullshit, Last Week Tonight asked several celebrities (Alex Trebek, John Cena, Paul Rudd, Catherine O'Hara and Billy Porter) to make videos asking people to think more critically about what they read on the internet, and put them up at thetruetruetruth.com. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 20, 2020 - 10 comments

I May Destroy You: The Alliance  Season 1, Ep 6

Arabella attends a support group for rape and sexual assault survivors run by their high school acquaintance, Theo. In a flashback to 2004, teenage Arabella and Terry intervene when Theo attempts to flip the narrative on consensual sex. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jul 15, 2020 - 0 comments

Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas, as vindicated in the NYT

If you slept on it, Wyatt is still there for you. The Second Season is a must-watch if you want to think "What does 're-opening' schools mean in the middle of a pandemic?" HBO published all the episodes on Youtube in the wake of George Floyd's murder. Earlier Fanfare posts 1 and 2 [more inside]
posted by eustatic on Jul 12, 2020 - 0 comments

I May Destroy You: It Just Came Up  Season 1, Ep 5

Arabella reassesses a sexual encounter with Zain and opens up to Biagio about her assault. She is in danger of breaking the internet when she goes off script at a writing summit. Kwame is prompted to report his assault to the police. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jul 7, 2020 - 2 comments

I May Destroy You: That Was Fun  Season 1, Ep 4

2 months after the incident, Arabella meets with a therapist, Carrie. Her agents assign another client, Zain, to help her with the first draft of her book. Kwame introduces his new love interest, Damon, to a stranger he met online. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jul 7, 2020 - 0 comments

I May Destroy You: Don't Forget the Sea  Season 1, Ep 3

In a flashback, Terry visits Arabella in Ostia, where she is living it large. After procuring party favours from Biagio, Arabella and Terry each have a wild night. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jul 7, 2020 - 1 comment

I May Destroy You: Someone Is Lying  Season 1, Ep 2

Disturbed by what little she remembers of the previous night, Arabella attempts to retrace her steps, but Simon seems reluctant to help her. Meanwhile, Terry has a lousy audition. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jul 7, 2020 - 0 comments

I May Destroy You: Eyes, Eyes, Eyes, Eyes  Season 1, Ep 1

After visiting her boyfriend in Italy, Arabella returns to London and a deluge of frantic messages from her literary agents. She plans to pull an all-nighter to finish a draft of her book but is tempted to join a friend on a night out. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jul 7, 2020 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus and Evictions  Season 7, Ep 17

This week, again from the White Void: Mike Pence gave a speech that seems to indicate that we had done enough to slow the Coronavirus epidemic, an amazingly stupid take, and the very states that have been most aggressive about reopening have been the ones to suffer from the highest spikes in new cases. Main story: evictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening to turn the health crisis into a homelessness crisis. On YouTube (19m) And Now: The Citizens of Palm Beach County, Florida, Have Some Thoughts On Mandatory Face Masks (Warning: extreme entitlement). Finally, John "Papa John" Schnatter, rich white man and founder of the pizza chain, has become a highly undeserving Instagram star in an attempt to rehabilitate his image, and is as potent an argument against obscene wealth as anything on this Earth. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 30, 2020 - 6 comments

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: Murder Habit  Season 1, Ep 1

A look at author Michelle McNamara's investigation regarding a violent predator she dubbed the "Golden State Killer," who terrorized California in the 1970s and '80s. (HBO miniseries) [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Jun 29, 2020 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus in Prisons  Season 7, Ep 16

This week (another void episode): After a quick recap of Trump's first rally since the pandemic hit (not a lot of people showed up) and Juneteenth, we go right in to the main story, the Coronavirus, "that thing you regularly have to convince your parents still exists." Specifically, about a surge in cases in prisons, in some cases up to 80% of their residents having contracted it. On YouTube (28m) And Now: A Father's Day Tribute to the World's Greatest Dad. (It's Trump. They're being sarcastic.) And a final piece on fancams, for the old people out there, "short montages of a performer that you like set to music." Which performer? Any performer. The point is, however, K-Pop stars are deploying fancams to fight the white supremacy hashtag [hash]whitelivesmatter, and support tags like #protecttheprotestors. They have also overwhelmed an app police published for people to use to report protestors with irrelevant images. LWT made their own rat-erotica-K-Pop-fancam for use in signal jamming; it's available from (takes a deep breath as I prepare to type this) rateroticafancam.com. Another proud member of the HBO family of websites! [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 22, 2020 - 5 comments

Perry Mason: Chapter 1  Season 1, Ep 1

Perry Mason and Pete Strickland are hired by an attorney to solve a perplexing case: the brutal kidnapping of a one-year-old whose parents were targeted for a $100,000 ransom. (HBO, prequel-reboot) [more inside]
posted by oh yeah! on Jun 21, 2020 - 18 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Facial Recognition  Season 7, Ep 15

This week (again from the White Void): protests over the brutal police killing of George Floyd continue, Tucker Carlson gripes about puppets telling kids about racism, and Minneapolis votes to abolish their police department while New York criminalizes the use by police of chokeholds like the one that killed George Floyd. Statues of slave traders the world over have been toppled, wrecked or defaced, but police unions continue to angrily justify the status quo. (There's a lot of infuriating material in this section.) And Now: C-Span Callers Have Some Thoughts On The Coronavirus For The Second Most Patient Man On Television. Main Story is on the use of technology for facial recognition, and, ominously, its increased use by law enforcement, especially as provided by a company called Clearview AI. On YouTube (21m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 16, 2020 - 4 comments

Insecure: Lowkey Lost  Season 4, Ep 10

Molly takes Andrew to a work function, and they struggle to see eye-to-eye; Issa continues to search for happiness; the girls get a distressing call about a friend. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jun 15, 2020 - 1 comment

Insecure: Lowkey Trying  Season 4, Ep 9

Issa considers doing Nathan a favor; Dr. Rhonda and Andrew ask Molly to consider a different approach in dealing with people who have wronged her. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jun 8, 2020 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Police  Season 7, Ep 14

This week: it's a strange episode, even from among those coming from the White Void of Sad Facts, as the entire show is about the protests over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, and the police reaction to them. In the words of John Oliver, "If police are trying to convince the public that they're not guilty of displaying excessive force, it's probably not a good idea to repeatedly display excessive force on national television[...]" Instead of listening to me summarize it, you can watch the entire episode on YouTube (33 minutes). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 8, 2020 - 9 comments

Insecure: Lowkey Happy  Season 4, Ep 8

Issa and Lawrence catch up to discuss their lives, careers, past mistakes, and what makes each of them happy. [more inside]
posted by gladly on Jun 1, 2020 - 2 comments

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