Hi and welcome to the new Slate culture newsletter, where we will slice and dice our way through the last week in culture! Sign up here to receive this roundup in your inbox every week.
Wondering what’s up with this fall’s new TV shows? It’s not pretty, according to TV critic Willa Paskin. “The airwaves are heavy with the mild fug of feet,” she writes, launching into a review of FX’s The Bastard Executioner, “an incoherent Game of Thrones knock-off full of senseless carnage, wooden performances, a dash of nudity, and a few scenes so poorly executed they play like farce.” Paskin also watched Neil Patrick Harris’ “feckless, pointless, sweet” new variety show, Best Time Ever. You may be better off sticking to The Mindy Project, now on Hulu, which Slate’s June Thomas reports is just “as smart, funny, and frustrating as ever.” And the Culture Gabfest teased apart how “Stephen Colbert” the conservative political character is different from Stephen Colbert, late-night host.
Anyone who’s anyone in the movie biz headed to the Toronto International Film Festival this week for a first look at some of the fall’s big award contenders. Also in movies, expect lots of chatter about the Bahston accent this fall, with Black Mass—the Whitey Bulger movie starring, Dana Stevens says, an ice-cold Johnny Depp in his stongest performance in years—hitting theaters this week, and Oscar hopeful Spotlight coming down the pipeline.
Let’s finish off this culture recap with some book news: Update your reading list ’cause National Book Award longlists are out. Listen to the Audio Book Club on Between the World and Me, one of the nonfiction nominees, or read Laura Miller on Fates and Furies, listed in fiction. Also on the fiction longlist is Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life; we reached back into the Slate Book Review archives for the all-time classic author-editor conversation in which Yanagihara revealed to her editor Gerry Howard that his notes on her novel felt “epic and assaultive.”
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