The Atlantic's Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

James Baldwin with Medgar Evers  (Bob Adelman / Magnolia Pictures)

Don’t Miss

The Imperfect Power of I Am Not Your NegroDagmawi Woubshet praises Raoul Peck’s new documentary on James Baldwin, but critiques its omission of the writer’s sexuality.

Summit Entertainment


John Wick: Chapter 2 Is More Brilliant, Bloody FunDavid Sims revels in the sequel to the Keanu Reeves-starring cult classic.

Fifty Shades Darker: A SpoilereviewChristopher Orr provides a blow-by-blow recounting of the awful, retrograde sequel.

Will There Ever Be a Great Video-Game Movie?David Sims examines the artistic potential of the derided subgenre of films.

The Lego Batman Movie Is the Funniest Superhero Movie in YearsDavid Sims enjoys the new animated film, which deconstructs pop culture’s angriest comic-book character.



The Genius of Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live—Sophie Gilbert pinpoints why the actress’s surprise appearance on the sketch show was so hilarious and effective.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show and How Sitcoms Moved to the CityKay Hymowitz explains how the influence of the 1970s, which was one of the first to recognize a changing socio-economic reality.

Legion Is Visually Dazzling, but Little ElseDavid Sims argues that the new FX superhero series is more style than substance, so far.

Netflix and Chill With a Michael Bolton Valentine’s Day SpecialSophie Gilbert watches the surreal comedy that tasks the ’80s soft-rock god with saving romance.

‘Recruit Rosie’: When Satire Joins the ResistanceMegan Garber discusses the possibility and implications of the comedian playing Steve Bannon on SNL.

Stephen Colbert’s New Approach to Trump Is WorkingDavid Sims explains why the Late Show host’s ratings are finally taking a turn for the better.

What Is CNN For? (Samantha Bee Edition)Megan Garber recaps the Full Frontal host’s tips on making the cable-news network great again.

The Wistful, Sharp Return of GirlsSophie Gilbert argues that the HBO show is considering a deeper purpose in its sixth and final season.

Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports / Reuters

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl That Felt Like DestinyRobert O’Connell recaps an incredible win for the New England Patriots, who overcame a huge lead to beat the Atlanta Falcons and make history.

Lady Gaga Made America Spectacular AgainSpencer Kornhaber unpacks the singer’s dazzling halftime show at the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl LI Ads Sold an Escape to the FutureSophie Gilbert analyzes the overarching desire to move forward expressed in this year’s commercials.

Doug McLean


The Key to Writing a Mystery Is Asking the Perfect QuestionJoe Fassler talks to the veteran author John Rechy about the powerful enigma of William Faulkner and the beauty of an unsolved narrative, as part of The Atlantic’s ongoing “By Heart” series.

Andrew Harnik / AP


‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’ and the Age of the Weaponized MemeMegan Garber weighs in on the power of Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced by Mitch McConnell in the Senate chamber.

Matt Sayles / AP


Your 2017 Grammys Cheat SheetSpencer Kornhaber lays out the categories, performances, and artists to look out for at this year’s ceremony.

Migos the PioneersSpencer Kornhaber demystifies the surprising success of the Atlanta rap trio’s new number-one album, Culture.

Katy Perry Proclaims a New Era of ‘Purposeful Pop’Spencer Kornhaber explains how the singer’s latest release is a cheerfully depressing indictment of society.

Sandy Huffaker / Reuters


The Political Saga of AvocadosSophie Gilbert traces the surprisingly contentious history of the popular fruit.