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Editors' Pop Culture Picks

The things we watched, listened to, read and streamed during the first few days of October


Apparently I've reached the point in my television obsession where now when I'm not watching TV, I'm reading about it. In "TV (The Book)," two seasoned television critics sit down and pick the top 100 shows of all time. Their expertise is evident as they analyze each show in its own extensive essay, considering topics such as innovation, influence, consistency and storytelling. Woven throughout are more specific miniature lists such as the "Best Series Finales" and the "Best Theme Songs." While I agree with many of their choices, I am completely taken aback by their choice for the best show of all time, as it's a show I have never seen before. That being said, their accompanying essay has convinced me to give it a shot. While critics have been listing the best movies of all time for ages, it's refreshing to finally see a compendium of the greatest television shows as well. (Devon Shuman, Culture Editor)


I haven't ever really liked singer/songwriter material before, nor do I listen to lyrical or melodic music much, so a review of Leonard Cohen should surprise a careful reader. There isn't a bad track on "Songs From a Room," Cohen's second full-length release from 1969. The album contains those crank-artistic traits some people pull from The Beatles -- they sound oddly contemporary. This is a characteristic music critics have tried to nail down for a while, but for some reason I don't think they've ever reached a conclusion on just what is the essence of timeless music. Cohen exhibits this dead on. These older tracks sound like something that would get a "Best New Music" on today's pop-music blogs, without the expectant over-polished studio quality. Cohen is often called "Canada's Bob Dylan," but his brooding, intensely measured songs convey a whole lot of power without yelling (like Dylan). I've also been reading Cohen's book of collected poetry and he's also an author of several novels. When I first heard "It Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" it was the most haunting song I'd ever heard, and recently I've been listening to it over and over. (Kyle Hayden, Design Editor)