Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 278 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.
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On this week’s episode, the critics discuss True Detective, an HBO crime drama starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as odd-couple detectives hunting for a serial killer in southern Louisiana. Next the gabbers turn to The Spoils of Babylon, a star-studded series on IFC that parodies the sort of miniseries-melodrama that was popular in the early 1980s. Is it hilariously absurd or too rarified to make for meaningful satire? Finally, the critics welcome Chris Molanphy, Slate contributor and music critic, to discuss the absence of African-American recording artists at the top of last year’s Billboard charts. What changed in the pop music landscape to account for the dearth of No. 1 hits from black artists?
Links to some of the things we discussed this week follow:
- Willa Paskin’s Slate review of True Detective.
- The New York Times’ Mike Hale claims that the show “falls into an artsy stasis” in its later episodes.
- The Wire, created by David Simon.
- True Blood, HBO’s other crime drama set in southern Louisiana.
- Blossom, starring Mayim Bialik.
- The official site for IFC’s The Spoils of Babylon.
- The Thorn Birds, one of the early-’80s miniseries that Spoils of Babylon is spoofing.
- Roots, the complete miniseries.
- An enormous Orson Wells endorses Gallo wine.
- Chris Molanphy’s Slate piece about the absence of African-American artists on the pop charts.
- “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.
- “Royals” by Lorde.
- “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
- “Adorn” by Miguel.
- Kanye West’s Yeezus.
- Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Dana: Stephen Kuusisto’s poetic blog recording his life as a blind writer.
Chris: Night Time, My Time, Sky Ferreira’s moody debut album with NSFW cover art.
Steve: Spiral (Engrenages), a French police drama that supposedly gets better in the second season.
Outro: “Love in Stereo” by Sky Ferreira
You can email us at email@example.com.
This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. Our intern is Anna Shechtman.