Take a deep breath. Fall is finally here (technically...everyone knows summer is just starting in SF) and that means all the good cultural stuff is about to happen. No more staring slack-jawed at the worthless Hulu options. No more summer disaster movies to avoid. No, now is the time for the GOOD things. The things their creators hope will win awards. We here at KQED Pop couldn't be more excited. Here are our picks for what you should watch, read and listen to this fall.
Lizzy Acker's picks:
Release date: September 3, 2013
I've loved Margaret Atwood's version of the future since I first got my hands on Handmaid's Tale sometime inappropriate like sixth grade. Since then, I've been down with everything she writes. Even the books that don't blow my mind and change my world (The Robber Bride, for example), keep me engaged the whole way through, which seems like a tall order sometimes. Her most recent trilogy, consisting of Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood and the new and wonderful MaddAddam, is some of her best work. The books have everything: pre- and post-apocalypse America, romance, strange hybrid animals, religious sects, sex. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of MaddAddam and truly the only negative thing I can say about it is that it ended too soon and I read it too quickly and, as a result, I was really sad for about a day and a half. Dear Margaret Atwood: WRITE MORE BOOKS. Your humble servant, Lizzy.
New season premiers on September 8, 2013 at 9pm on HBO
I guess I've been slowly infected by Boardwalk Empire until it has become one of my favorite shows on TV (okay, on my laptop). Why is the gangland drama of Prohibition in New Jersey so intriguing? It's some magical mix of characters, writing, authenticity, beauty and tragedy that just works, season after watch-us-kill-your-favorite-character season. Fingers crossed the guy with half a face makes it out alive in Season Four, because he is one of the best bad/good guys HBO has ever dreamed up.
Release date: September 24, 2013
I'm going to be honest, I have no idea what "The Mother We Share" is about. But I also FEEL like I actually do know what it's about. Lines like "If I told the truth, I would always be free" and "When it all f***s up, you put your head in my hand/It's a souvenir for when you go" are very true, in the poetic sense of the word. So I'm pretty excited for Chvrches full-length album, coming out right before I turn 31, at a time when I will need some weepy emo truth to keep me going.
New season premieres on September 29, 2013 at 9pm on Showtime
Carrie on Homeland is, of all the characters on all the TV shows ever created, the character I feel most connected to, which is insane because the only real thing we share is our gender and our general age and race. However, Claire Danes has taken playing a emotionally unstable CIA agent to a transcendent level. My hopes for Season Three are so high, I almost don't want to watch it. But then again, I am so excited for it to start I can barely breathe. More crying! More Brody! More of his daughter, taking being the teenage daughter of a war hero/terrorist to the next level!
Expected release date: December 18, 2013
In the future, we will all fall in love with our phones because they will be programmed to be our perfect soul mate. This seems totally possible to me because what is harder and more important and more elusive than true love? Wouldn't you pay for it? I would. Luckily for humanity, Spike Jonze, creator of two of the Best Movies of All Time (Being John Malkovich and Adaptation) is tackling the subject early. I cannot wait so much, I am thinking of camping out in front of the theater and dressing up like a cellphone.
Emmanuel Hapsis's picks:
Expected release date: October 25, 2013
This movie should have just been called An Embarrassment of Riches, for its subject matter (luxury sponsored by drug trafficking!) and the talent behind the project. Penelope Cruz would have been enough, but, on top of that, there's Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Cameron Diaz. And it's written by Cormac McCarthy! And directed by the man responsible for Blade Runner, Alien, and Legend, Ridley Scott! Not sold yet? There are explosions and a pet cheetah. See you at the theater on October 25, 2013.
It's already out! Lucky you!
Some songs take you back to places you know: your childhood bedroom or the roof where you shared your first kiss. And other songs take you somewhere you've never been. Julianna Barwick accomplishes the latter with minimalistic music composed almost entirely by layering her own voice. The songs usually lack actual words, but manage to evoke an emotional landscape. I listen to her music every time I'm on a plane to escape the claustrophobia and am taken from cramped middle seat arm wrest wars to anywhere else: wind-lashed tundras, fog-filled forests, haunted convents, and underwater havens. Her latest album Nepenthe is named after a drug mentioned in The Odyssey that served as a remedy for grief, a way to forget sorrow. That's not too surprising since that's exactly what her music can do.
Premieres on September 26, 2013 at 9pm on CBS
Fall TV is a battlefield. Tons of brand new shows asking you to love them. Sometimes things click and you do fall in love, only to have the network axe it (R.I.P. Bunheads), so it's understandable to not want to put yourself out there again. But that's no way to live! Onward into the arms of Robin Williams (San Francisco native!) and Sarah Michelle Gellar. In The Crazy Ones, they play a father-daughter duo who work at a struggling advertising agency. If your debt to Mrs. Doubtfire and Buffy isn't enough to check out the pilot trailer, then a guest spot by Kelly Clarkson certainly is.
September 26, 2013
Feeling disillusioned by the recycled uninspired pop music you're hearing on the radio? Fear not; Ella Yelich-O’Connor a.k.a. Lorde is here to rescue your eardrums! The 16-year-old (yep, feel old) New Zealand native was discovered at the age of 13 and has been writing and making music ever since. With only an EP out there, she has already made an impact: she's the first woman to top the Billboard Alternative Songs chart since Tracy Bonham in 1996 (which happens to be the year she was born). Her full-length Pure Heroine is out on Septmeber 26, 2013.
New episodes are on their way!
We've written about web series before, the art form that allows storytellers to do exactly what they want to do without the constraints of being under a big network's thumb. The Outs, Adam Goldman's story of two 20-something gay men dealing with the aftermath of a messy breakup, accomplished the sort of impact most shows strive for over many years on air in just six episodes. Despite the selfish desire for the storyline to continue, the ending felt right, like going out on top. Thankfully, Goldman didn't make us wait too long before coming up with a new idea in the form of Whatever this is. The show follows a team of production assistants as they try to pay the rent with their souls intact. The premise is reminiscent of Party Down, in that they tackle a new gig each episode. If you're gonna borrow, Party Down is a great place to start. Check out the first episode!