The Atlantic’s Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment


Don’t Miss

The Ethics of HodorSpencer Kornhaber interviews an expert about how Game of Thrones’s latest twist fits in with George R.R. Martin’s typically cliché-busting portrayal of disability


20th Century Fox

X-Men: Apocalypse: A Calamitous DudDavid Sims on how the latest entry in the long-running comic-book franchise has been outstripped by its superhero-movie rivals.

I Am Your Father — Cass R. Sunstein on how Star Wars is an eternal tale of paternal love and redemption—for both George Lucas and Anakin Skywalker.

Alice Through the Looking Glass Is a $170 Million ShrugDavid Sims on how the non-awaited sequel to Tim Burton’s 2010 fantasy spectacle seems almost aware of its own pointlessness.

Weiner: The Story of a MarriageChristopher Orr on the new documentary, which explores what happens when political collapse meets personal scandal.

Thelma & Louise Holds Up Well—A Little Too WellMegan Garber on how the film feels just as fresh today as it did in 1991.  



How Should Game of Thrones Kill Its Most Evil Character Ever?Lenika Cruz on how speculation about how Ramsay Bolton might die reveals the challenges of devising a cathartic TV death—and illuminates a larger issue facing the series.

Finding My Identity Via The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Saidat Giwa-Osagie on how the ’90s American sitcom was crucial in helping her understand blackness as a young girl of Nigerian descent growing up in Scotland.

Where Saturday Night Live Failed This SeasonDavid Sims on how the show had some bright spots—such as Larry David’s work as Bernie Sanders—but it largely failed to capture the zeitgeist in the year of Trump.

Game of Thrones: Sansa Stark Will Be HeardMegan Garber on how Sansa forcing Littlefinger to hear of the violence that she endured was a moment of catharsis—not just for the character, but for the show.

Preacher: A Refreshingly Fun Comic-Book DramaDavid Sims on how AMC’s new series is a ridiculous, ultra-violent thrill ride that only works because its tongue is planted firmly in cheek.


Alex Kacha

Moogfest 2016: A Futurism Weighted With History and TrepidationDavid Graham on the music and technology festival, where artists paid tribute to the pioneering synthesizer and its creator—sometimes more in spirit than in sound.

Finding the Magic: The Secrets of the Music Producer Daniel LanoisDavid Graham talks to the Canadian musician, who has collaborated with Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, and U2.

The Noble Futility of Madonna’s Price TributeSpencer Kornhaber on how her patchy Billboard Awards performance is drawing the inevitable flak, but fortunately other artists will get their chances to pay homage.


Barnes and Noble

Frog and Toad and the SelfBert Clere on how Arnold Lobel’s beloved books taught children to understand and appreciate their individuality.


Fabian Bimmer / Reuters

How to Play Like a GirlAdrienne LaFrance on the line between making products children love and telling kids how they should play.

Half-Life 3: The Video Game That Never ArrivedDavid Sims on how a continuation of Valve’s acclaimed sci-fi series has been promised for 10 years, but seems no closer to fruition.


Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Casual Friday and the ‘End of the Office Dress Code’Megan Garber on how the day—a celebration of corporate conformity disguised as a celebration of individuality—helped to bring about the current dominance of “business casual.”