Super Bowl Ads Reveal a Brave, New, Digital World

14
Super Bowl ads

“I watch the Super Bowl for the ads,” some say. And this year, those folks might’ve been some of the few who actually enjoyed it. (Why yes, I was rooting for the Rams. Why do you ask?) While football fans were treated to a 13-3 victory by the New England Patriots, commercial fans were treated […]

Continue Reading

What Netflix Shows Are Your Family Watching?

42
family watching tv

Here at Plugged In, we do our best to cover the TV shows everyone’s talking about, whether they’re on broadcast TV, cable networks or, increasingly, on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Typically, we cover one or two new shows each week, as well as two-to-four episode reviews of series we’ve looked at […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: Kylie Gets Egged

3

Move over Kylie Jenner. You’ve been egged. On Instagram. No, the social media star isn’t wearing slimy yellow protein on her face. Instead, an image of a lovely brown egg has become Instagram’s most-liked image ever. As of this writing, it has secured a whopping 46,113,472 likes (and counting) since being posted on January 4. […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: “Alexa, What’s a First Down Anyway?”

3
football

It’s that time of year. The time when some of us build our weekend schedules around football games, both college and pro. Bowl games. Championships. Wild Card showdowns and Divisional Rounds. And soon … the Super Bowl. For some of us, we can’t remember a time when we didn’t know what a fist down was, […]

Continue Reading

“Bandersnatch”: The Possibility—and Peril—of Story

4
bandersnatch

Stories are never one-way streets. It’s not just what the story’s creator pours into them; we, the consumer, bring elements to the party as well—our experiences, our ideals, our moods. These elements inherently shape a given story we’re reading or viewing or playing. So even while watching the same movie, two people can have two […]

Continue Reading

Pop Culture’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers (2018 Edition)

14
movers and shakers

See ya, 2018. Wouldn’t want to be ya. Who would? The year was so crazy that even Vincent Van Gogh would have suggested it get a hold of itself. Terrible fires in California. Terrible cold out east. A Tesla Roadster is driving around in space. Certain eels are compulsively swimming into the noses of certain […]

Continue Reading

Top Television 2018: Paul Asay and Kristin Smith’s Year-End Picks

11
television tops

Fun fact: About 495 scripted television series were reportedly aired in 2018. If true, that’s a new record—up from the old record of 487 set last year, which in turn was up from the previous record of 455 set the year before. That’s a lot of television. And even for Plugged In’s intrepid television reviewers […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: Nostalgia Cuts Both Ways

7

Nostalgia is big business. If it’s been a hit in the last century, whether on the big screen or small, someone in Hollywood is figuring out a way to reboot, repackage or relaunch it. That’s because familiar entertainment properties from the past pack built-in marketing muscle, full of yesteryear’s fond memories. Disney, of course, has […]

Continue Reading

Can 13 Reasons Why be tragically influential? A Grieving Mom Says Yes, and Why.

2
13 Reasons why

When researching a book I wrote about media discernment, I found scores of studies linking numerous negative human behaviors to entertainment. For instance, researchers believe that kids who see characters smoke onscreen are more likely to light up in real life. Other studies link onscreen sexual activities and actual sexual behaviors. But what about suicides? […]

Continue Reading

Culture Clips: Are Conservative Stars Keeping Quiet?

10

Many celebrities these days adopt political views that tend to align with liberal positions and politicians. But what about those who don’t? What price might a conservative actor, actress or entertainer pay for voicing a right-leaning opinion? The Hollywood Reporter notes that conservative celebrities are “skittish” about being politically vocal in our “toxic” times. “There […]

Continue Reading

Lots of Winners at the Emmys, But Families Were the Losers

2
emmys

Did you watch the Emmys? If so you’re one of a select few. Television’s annual awards gala posted a 7.4 rating—which might not mean much to you, but it’s apparently a 10% drop from the previous year and puts the viewership bar at an all-time low. Like, don’t-try-to-limbo-under-that-sucker low. Some will naturally point to the […]

Continue Reading

‘Hey, Do You Guys Review Netflix Movies?’

5
netflix movies

Yes. That’s the short answer to the question in the title—and a question we’ve been hearing from our readers more and more frequently, I might add. The long answer is slightly, um, longer. Netflix, of course, continues to challenge both the TV- and movie-distribution paradigms. The streaming service, along with others such as Amazon and […]

Continue Reading