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The Monitor

WIRED

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The Monitor
The Monitor

The Monitor

WIRED

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About Us

Tune in each week to hear the WIRED Entertainment squad discuss (and sometimes bicker over) the biggest news in movies, music, TV, and Internet culture. Want to know what we think of the latest superhero flick, prestige TV show, or Twitter beef? It's all right here—you just have to turn off all your other screens first.

Latest Episodes

You Know What? 2016 Was a Pretty Great Year for Pop Culture

It’s that time of year again—the time when we all look back at the past 12 months and try to figure out what the hell just happened. Here on The Monitor, things are no different. In fact, that’s what this week’s entire episode is about. Yes, this week the WIRED Culture team started talking about 2016 and realized: Hey, you know what? This was a pretty good year for pop culture. We got some great new TV shows from Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure) and Donald Glover (FX’s Atlanta), some great new music from Chance the Rapper and Beyoncé, and a lot of awesome new podcasts. There were also quite a few good movies and some wonderful comics too. Want to know why this year was so good for pop culture? Then tune in. We’ve got editors and writers Peter Rubin, Charley Locke, and Angela Watercutter on the mic and they’re ready to get nostalgic for 2016 before it’s even over. A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast: -Charley Locke’s piece on the first time she watched Sta...

38 MIN2016 DEC 15
Comments
You Know What? 2016 Was a Pretty Great Year for Pop Culture

It’s Time for a Big Ol’ Holiday TV Smackdown!

Aside from turkey-eating, the biggest Thanksgiving tradition amongst your faithful WIRED Culture crew is sitting in front of the television not watching football. (OK, some of us watch football.) Our other tradition, of course, is fighting about what’s the best thing to watch while staring at that TV. For some of us, Community is always a crowd-pleaser. Others are Grey’s Anatomy die hards. And some of us just really love Die Hard. No, Die Hard isn’t a TV show. But it often plays on cable, so that counts, right? We also love to watch Friends, Simpsons, and scads of other shows during this time of food comas. But what’s the best? Well, that’s what your Monitor crew is here to fight out. We’ve got editors and writers Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter in the booth and they’re ready to rumble. A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast: -K.M. McFarland’s piece on the world-building of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them -WIRED’s guide to bi...

34 MIN2016 NOV 24
Comments
It’s Time for a Big Ol’ Holiday TV Smackdown!

A Tribe Called Quest’s New Record Is Awesome. National Politics? Not So Much

Alright, where to begin? Since we last stepped into the WIRED podcast booth, America elected a new president, Dave Chappelle took over hosting duties at Saturday Night Live for the first time, and A Tribe Called Quest released their first album in more than a decade. Yeah, it’s been a busy week. So busy, in fact, that we have a lot more to chat about on The Monitor than usual. We start by talking about the interesting political allegories to be found in the alien flick Arrival. From there we pivot into the stellar Chappelle-lead SNL that aired on Saturday night. And finally, we settle in to discuss all of our feelings about ATCQ’s We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. Settle in. Editors and writers Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter are here, and they’re ready to remember the week that was. A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast: -K.M. McFarland’s review of Arrival -WIRED’s roundup of November’s best albums -Chris Kohler’s story...

44 MIN2016 NOV 17
Comments
A Tribe Called Quest’s New Record Is Awesome. National Politics? Not So Much

Doctor Strange Has Us Totally Entranced

Last night, Donald Trump won the US presidency. Last weekend, Doctor Strange won big at the box office. What do these two things have in common? Well, for one, they’re both surprising outcomes. And, for another, we’re talking about both of them in this week’s WIRED Culture podcast. First up, we’re discussing how Strange was received—both at the US box office, where it made $85 million this weekend, and with critics, who gave it a 90 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme isn’t one of the studio’s big names, but his movie has everyone entranced, including your Monitor hosts, who loved the movie’s quirky tone and trippy 3-D visuals. As for the election, we decided to take a few minutes to talk about the impact pop culture—specifically late-night talk shows—had on the outcome. (Note: Trump had not yet won the presidency when we recorded this week’s episode.) So please do tune in. We have writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Waterc...

42 MIN2016 NOV 10
Comments
Doctor Strange Has Us Totally Entranced

Too Much Internet Speculation Is Ruining TV

Raise your hand if you’re watching Westworld. Great, thanks. Now, raise your hand if you spend as much time listening to podcasts and reading Reddit threads about the show as you do watching it. That’s what we thought. Aside from being HBO’s new wildly ambitious sci-fi program, Westworld has also become the Internet’s new favorite TV puzzle to solve, inspiring podcasts and comment threads galore. But just because it’s the latest Internet obsession, that doesn’t mean it’s the first. Not by a long shot. And on this week’s episode of The Monitor podcast, the crew is out to trace the path of the most picked-apart, conspiracy-theory-besieged shows on TV—from Lost to True Detective to, yes, Westworld. And beyond that, we’d like to answer this question: Can too much Internet speculation ruin a TV show? (Short answer: Yes.) That’s not all! We also have a mini-screed on why the book-to-film adaptations Inferno and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back are doing so poorly at the multiplex an...

42 MIN2016 NOV 3
Comments
Too Much Internet Speculation Is Ruining TV

But Really, Who’s Better: Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck?

It’s a question so simple we can believe we haven’t asked ourselves before: Who is better, Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck? One of them, Affleck, dominated the box office last weekend with The Accountant. The other, Cruise (obvi), has a big weekend ahead with the release of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Both have had their tabloid ups and downs. Both have had careers that slalomed between popcorn movies and credibility pictures. But really, which Hollywood titan is better? That’s what we set out to unearth on this week’s episode of The Monitor. And, man, did it ever lead to a heated discussion of who was Collateral damage and who was just Good Will Hunting. Want to know who came out as our top gun? You’ll have to listen to this week’s episode of WIRED’s culture podcast. We’ve got writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter in the booth and they suddenly deeply care about who the biggest movie star in the world is. Stick around after the Cruise vs. Afflec...

33 MIN2016 OCT 20
Comments
But Really, Who’s Better: Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck?

Which Late-Night TV Host Is Better at Trump Takedowns?

If the month before a presidential election is a time ripe for anything, it’s political satire. Memes, op-ed essays, riffs by standup comedians—all these things hit fever-pitch levels in the weeks before folks got to the polls in the US. But nowhere has it been more prevalent this year than on late-night television. But who is doing it best? Is it Samantha Bee and the team at Full Frontal? Is it The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? Or is it Lin-Manuel Miranda hosting Saturday Night Live? All of them have done segments riffing on the election—and, more specifically, taking Trump to task—but which has done it best? That’s the topic of this week’s Monitor—and while we won’t spoil the outcome here, we will say that the debate is heated. So check it out, won’t you? We’ve got writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter on the mic, and each of them is taking a different side in this matter. Then stick around after the late-night TV discussion for an exc...

38 MIN2016 OCT 13
Comments
Which Late-Night TV Host Is Better at Trump Takedowns?

Trust Us: Luke Cage and Westworld Are Better Off on TV

Westworld started life as a Michael Crichton movie. Luke Cage first burst on the scene as a comics character decades ago. This past weekend, both of those stories made their television debuts—and both are better suited for the small screen. At least, that’s what we think here at The Monitor. Luke Cage’s story, you see, is about one hero trying to help his community in Harlem. That’s a tale much better told in a series of episodes on Netflix than it is in a massive Avengers-vs.-everybody summer blockbuster. (Though we would really like to see Cage join the Avengers in a movie rumble sometime.) Meanwhile, Westworld, which premiered Sunday on HBO, is about what happens if a bunch of artificially intelligent “hosts” at twisted theme park get a virus and start acting out. AI technologies have advanced a lot since Crichton’s movie came out in 1973. Now HBO’s series can dig deep into the big questions of AI every week—instead of trying to tackle them all in one movie. Do you agree...

44 MIN2016 OCT 6
Comments
Trust Us: Luke Cage and Westworld Are Better Off on TV

The Secrets of Luke Cage, Straight From Its Showrunner

Sweet Christmas! After months of teasers, trailers, and WIRED cover stories, Marvel’s new Netflix series, Luke Cage, finally comes out today. And if you need to break up your binge-watching, we’ve got a special edition of The Monitor just for the occasion. In honor of our favorite bulletproof superhero, we caught up with Cheo Hodari Coker, Luke’s showrunner, who conceived of and led the transition from pulpy blaxploitation comic book to streaming-TV star. In this special edition of the WIRED Culture podcast, we talk with Coker about how he got the gig, what it’s like to work with Marvel, how superhero movies are different from superhero TV shows, and how he shaped his hero’s journey. “I said [to Marvel], ‘Look, I want to take a hip hop approach, but at the same time have a hero that is very conscious of who he is, knowing that because he’s black and he’s not wearing a mask, he’s going to have to do this hero thing a little differently,’” Coker says. “And they dug that....

17 MIN2016 SEP 30
Comments
The Secrets of Luke Cage, Straight From Its Showrunner

Folks, TV May Have Reached Peak Millennial Slacker-Com

You can’t fire up a Roku these days without immediately being offered a steady stream of shows about twenty-, thirty-, and fortysomethings figuring out their lives in the hip ‘burgs of cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. (See: Love, You’re the Worst, Master of None, etc.) The most recent additions—Easy and High Maintenance—both dropped within the last couple weeks, and while we here at WIRED Culture are enjoying them, they’ve got us wondering: Are we at peak millennial slacker-com? (That’s not what these shows are actually called; we just made that up.) On one hand, the Monitor crew argues, it is possible that too many shows in the same vein can be overkill. But on the other, these shows come from smart creators like mumblecore maverick Joe Swanberg and stoner comedy mavens Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair—and with most of these shows being on streaming services like Netflix and HBO Go, they’re great for leisurely consumption. So maybe the answer is, appropriate...

35 MIN2016 SEP 29
Comments
Folks, TV May Have Reached Peak Millennial Slacker-Com
the END

Latest Episodes

You Know What? 2016 Was a Pretty Great Year for Pop Culture

It’s that time of year again—the time when we all look back at the past 12 months and try to figure out what the hell just happened. Here on The Monitor, things are no different. In fact, that’s what this week’s entire episode is about. Yes, this week the WIRED Culture team started talking about 2016 and realized: Hey, you know what? This was a pretty good year for pop culture. We got some great new TV shows from Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure) and Donald Glover (FX’s Atlanta), some great new music from Chance the Rapper and Beyoncé, and a lot of awesome new podcasts. There were also quite a few good movies and some wonderful comics too. Want to know why this year was so good for pop culture? Then tune in. We’ve got editors and writers Peter Rubin, Charley Locke, and Angela Watercutter on the mic and they’re ready to get nostalgic for 2016 before it’s even over. A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast: -Charley Locke’s piece on the first time she watched Sta...

38 MIN2016 DEC 15
Comments
You Know What? 2016 Was a Pretty Great Year for Pop Culture

It’s Time for a Big Ol’ Holiday TV Smackdown!

Aside from turkey-eating, the biggest Thanksgiving tradition amongst your faithful WIRED Culture crew is sitting in front of the television not watching football. (OK, some of us watch football.) Our other tradition, of course, is fighting about what’s the best thing to watch while staring at that TV. For some of us, Community is always a crowd-pleaser. Others are Grey’s Anatomy die hards. And some of us just really love Die Hard. No, Die Hard isn’t a TV show. But it often plays on cable, so that counts, right? We also love to watch Friends, Simpsons, and scads of other shows during this time of food comas. But what’s the best? Well, that’s what your Monitor crew is here to fight out. We’ve got editors and writers Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter in the booth and they’re ready to rumble. A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast: -K.M. McFarland’s piece on the world-building of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them -WIRED’s guide to bi...

34 MIN2016 NOV 24
Comments
It’s Time for a Big Ol’ Holiday TV Smackdown!

A Tribe Called Quest’s New Record Is Awesome. National Politics? Not So Much

Alright, where to begin? Since we last stepped into the WIRED podcast booth, America elected a new president, Dave Chappelle took over hosting duties at Saturday Night Live for the first time, and A Tribe Called Quest released their first album in more than a decade. Yeah, it’s been a busy week. So busy, in fact, that we have a lot more to chat about on The Monitor than usual. We start by talking about the interesting political allegories to be found in the alien flick Arrival. From there we pivot into the stellar Chappelle-lead SNL that aired on Saturday night. And finally, we settle in to discuss all of our feelings about ATCQ’s We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. Settle in. Editors and writers Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter are here, and they’re ready to remember the week that was. A few helpful links for things we talk about in the podcast: -K.M. McFarland’s review of Arrival -WIRED’s roundup of November’s best albums -Chris Kohler’s story...

44 MIN2016 NOV 17
Comments
A Tribe Called Quest’s New Record Is Awesome. National Politics? Not So Much

Doctor Strange Has Us Totally Entranced

Last night, Donald Trump won the US presidency. Last weekend, Doctor Strange won big at the box office. What do these two things have in common? Well, for one, they’re both surprising outcomes. And, for another, we’re talking about both of them in this week’s WIRED Culture podcast. First up, we’re discussing how Strange was received—both at the US box office, where it made $85 million this weekend, and with critics, who gave it a 90 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme isn’t one of the studio’s big names, but his movie has everyone entranced, including your Monitor hosts, who loved the movie’s quirky tone and trippy 3-D visuals. As for the election, we decided to take a few minutes to talk about the impact pop culture—specifically late-night talk shows—had on the outcome. (Note: Trump had not yet won the presidency when we recorded this week’s episode.) So please do tune in. We have writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Waterc...

42 MIN2016 NOV 10
Comments
Doctor Strange Has Us Totally Entranced

Too Much Internet Speculation Is Ruining TV

Raise your hand if you’re watching Westworld. Great, thanks. Now, raise your hand if you spend as much time listening to podcasts and reading Reddit threads about the show as you do watching it. That’s what we thought. Aside from being HBO’s new wildly ambitious sci-fi program, Westworld has also become the Internet’s new favorite TV puzzle to solve, inspiring podcasts and comment threads galore. But just because it’s the latest Internet obsession, that doesn’t mean it’s the first. Not by a long shot. And on this week’s episode of The Monitor podcast, the crew is out to trace the path of the most picked-apart, conspiracy-theory-besieged shows on TV—from Lost to True Detective to, yes, Westworld. And beyond that, we’d like to answer this question: Can too much Internet speculation ruin a TV show? (Short answer: Yes.) That’s not all! We also have a mini-screed on why the book-to-film adaptations Inferno and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back are doing so poorly at the multiplex an...

42 MIN2016 NOV 3
Comments
Too Much Internet Speculation Is Ruining TV

But Really, Who’s Better: Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck?

It’s a question so simple we can believe we haven’t asked ourselves before: Who is better, Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck? One of them, Affleck, dominated the box office last weekend with The Accountant. The other, Cruise (obvi), has a big weekend ahead with the release of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Both have had their tabloid ups and downs. Both have had careers that slalomed between popcorn movies and credibility pictures. But really, which Hollywood titan is better? That’s what we set out to unearth on this week’s episode of The Monitor. And, man, did it ever lead to a heated discussion of who was Collateral damage and who was just Good Will Hunting. Want to know who came out as our top gun? You’ll have to listen to this week’s episode of WIRED’s culture podcast. We’ve got writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter in the booth and they suddenly deeply care about who the biggest movie star in the world is. Stick around after the Cruise vs. Afflec...

33 MIN2016 OCT 20
Comments
But Really, Who’s Better: Tom Cruise or Ben Affleck?

Which Late-Night TV Host Is Better at Trump Takedowns?

If the month before a presidential election is a time ripe for anything, it’s political satire. Memes, op-ed essays, riffs by standup comedians—all these things hit fever-pitch levels in the weeks before folks got to the polls in the US. But nowhere has it been more prevalent this year than on late-night television. But who is doing it best? Is it Samantha Bee and the team at Full Frontal? Is it The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? Or is it Lin-Manuel Miranda hosting Saturday Night Live? All of them have done segments riffing on the election—and, more specifically, taking Trump to task—but which has done it best? That’s the topic of this week’s Monitor—and while we won’t spoil the outcome here, we will say that the debate is heated. So check it out, won’t you? We’ve got writers and editors Peter Rubin, K.M. McFarland, and Angela Watercutter on the mic, and each of them is taking a different side in this matter. Then stick around after the late-night TV discussion for an exc...

38 MIN2016 OCT 13
Comments
Which Late-Night TV Host Is Better at Trump Takedowns?

Trust Us: Luke Cage and Westworld Are Better Off on TV

Westworld started life as a Michael Crichton movie. Luke Cage first burst on the scene as a comics character decades ago. This past weekend, both of those stories made their television debuts—and both are better suited for the small screen. At least, that’s what we think here at The Monitor. Luke Cage’s story, you see, is about one hero trying to help his community in Harlem. That’s a tale much better told in a series of episodes on Netflix than it is in a massive Avengers-vs.-everybody summer blockbuster. (Though we would really like to see Cage join the Avengers in a movie rumble sometime.) Meanwhile, Westworld, which premiered Sunday on HBO, is about what happens if a bunch of artificially intelligent “hosts” at twisted theme park get a virus and start acting out. AI technologies have advanced a lot since Crichton’s movie came out in 1973. Now HBO’s series can dig deep into the big questions of AI every week—instead of trying to tackle them all in one movie. Do you agree...

44 MIN2016 OCT 6
Comments
Trust Us: Luke Cage and Westworld Are Better Off on TV

The Secrets of Luke Cage, Straight From Its Showrunner

Sweet Christmas! After months of teasers, trailers, and WIRED cover stories, Marvel’s new Netflix series, Luke Cage, finally comes out today. And if you need to break up your binge-watching, we’ve got a special edition of The Monitor just for the occasion. In honor of our favorite bulletproof superhero, we caught up with Cheo Hodari Coker, Luke’s showrunner, who conceived of and led the transition from pulpy blaxploitation comic book to streaming-TV star. In this special edition of the WIRED Culture podcast, we talk with Coker about how he got the gig, what it’s like to work with Marvel, how superhero movies are different from superhero TV shows, and how he shaped his hero’s journey. “I said [to Marvel], ‘Look, I want to take a hip hop approach, but at the same time have a hero that is very conscious of who he is, knowing that because he’s black and he’s not wearing a mask, he’s going to have to do this hero thing a little differently,’” Coker says. “And they dug that....

17 MIN2016 SEP 30
Comments
The Secrets of Luke Cage, Straight From Its Showrunner

Folks, TV May Have Reached Peak Millennial Slacker-Com

You can’t fire up a Roku these days without immediately being offered a steady stream of shows about twenty-, thirty-, and fortysomethings figuring out their lives in the hip ‘burgs of cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. (See: Love, You’re the Worst, Master of None, etc.) The most recent additions—Easy and High Maintenance—both dropped within the last couple weeks, and while we here at WIRED Culture are enjoying them, they’ve got us wondering: Are we at peak millennial slacker-com? (That’s not what these shows are actually called; we just made that up.) On one hand, the Monitor crew argues, it is possible that too many shows in the same vein can be overkill. But on the other, these shows come from smart creators like mumblecore maverick Joe Swanberg and stoner comedy mavens Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair—and with most of these shows being on streaming services like Netflix and HBO Go, they’re great for leisurely consumption. So maybe the answer is, appropriate...

35 MIN2016 SEP 29
Comments
Folks, TV May Have Reached Peak Millennial Slacker-Com
the END
hmly
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