Between movies, books, music, comics, podcasts, and the ever-growing glut of TV, there’s a ton of pop culture out there.
It can be a lot to keep up with. So we here at Vox Culture — where our current obsessions include the biggest movie in Japan, a hot new Euro noir TV show, and one of the biggest flops in Broadway history — have a few suggestions for how to make the best use of your pop culture–consuming time.
Here are some items you should really consider adding to your pop culture diet this week.
Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened is the best thing to happen to your Netflix queue
When Merrily We Roll Along premiered on Broadway in 1981, everyone, including its cast of bright young unknowns, expected it to be a smash hit. It was the new show from legendary composer Stephen Sondheim and producer Hal Prince, fresh off the success of Sweeney Todd — how could it fail to succeed? But fail it did, and legendarily so. Merrily closed its doors after 16 performances.
Almost 40 years later, Lonny Price, one of Merrily’s leads, is a director. He’s returned to his first big break in his new documentary, Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened. It’s a warm-hearted and rueful documentary that looks back at all the hopes raised and dreams dashed as Merrily rolled its way to an early grave, and now it’s on Netflix. —Constance Grady
Review aired a surprise series finale
It was a surprise when Comedy Central’s brilliant but chronically low-rated series Review got a third season, but it was a shock when that season’s third episode ended the series for good on March 30. “Cryogenics; Lightning; Prank” is, perhaps fittingly, the show’s bleakest chapter yet, with Andy Daly’s beaming host going fully down the delusional path of no return as he commits so hard to his job of reviewing “life itself” that he ruins his life once and for all. Review was strange, and brutal, and very funny in all the most unexpected places. We will miss it, existential crises and all. —Caroline Framke
Rick and Morty unexpectedly dropped its season 3 premiere
The week of TV surprises didn’t end with Review, as beloved weirdo series Rick and Morty dropped its third season premiere out of nowhere — on April Fool’s Day. But it wasn’t a joke, and you can now watch “The Rickshank Redemption” every day this week at 10 pm on Cartoon Network. (The rest of the third season is, allegedly, coming out in the summer.) —CF
Revolutionary Girl Utena turned 20 this week
Bedecked in roses and flush with girl power, Utena is one of the most iconic anime ever made — and an unexpected, genre- and gender-bending delight 20 years after its 1997 debut. Chiho Saito’s story about a young girl who decides to become a prince and fight epic sword duels to defend her fair maiden is a surreal modern take on chivalric folklore that’s layered over a rich, uniquely Japanese aesthetic. With her neon-pink hair, iconic dueling wardrobe, and homoerotic shoujo narrative, Utena is still a revolution. Stream the entire series on YouTube. —Aja Romano
Hotel Beau Séjour brings Euro noir with a magical realist twist to Netflix
If you’re a fan of moody, overcast European noir like Forbrydelsen and The Returned, then Netflix’s recent debut of the Belgian mystery Hotel Beau Séjour is a must-watch. Like Forbrydelsen (which was remade as The Killing in the US), Beau Séjour concerns the mysterious death of a young girl and the impact of the subsequent criminal investigation on her community. But like The Returned, Beau Séjour deals with elements of the supernatural and magical realism. Murder victim Kato is our main character — or rather, her ghost is. As she tries to solve her own murder, Kato interacts freely with friends and enemies who are all tied to the crime and who each manipulate her afterlife for their own ends. It’s a neat trope subversion, played with all the gravitas expected of the genre, making this crime thriller a standout. —AR
The indie kaiju-inflected relationship comedy-drama Colossal hits theaters
In Colossal, which hits theaters this weekend, Anne Hathaway stars as a burnout alcoholic who moves home to New Jersey after her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) breaks up with her. She picks up a job at the bar owned by her old school friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and spends nights after the bar closes drinking with him and his buddies. But then she discovers that the mysterious monster they’ve all seen attacking Seoul on the news every morning seems to be — her? Colossal doesn’t try to make perfect sense, opting instead to be a funny, smart parable about trying to wriggle loose of old relationships and ruts. —Alissa Wilkinson
Watch all of The Leftovers before season 3 premieres on April 16
It’s been a wild ride for The Leftovers, HBO’s series about a world where 2 percent of the planet’s population abruptly disappeared, Rapture-style. The first season attracted a dedicated cult of fans (including me) but seemed to turn off a bunch of people as well. Creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta tweaked the show before season two, and the result was one of the best TV seasons of the decade.
Now the third and final season arrives on April 16 — Easter Sunday, appropriately — and if you want to hop on board before then, this is the perfect time to start a binge watch. There are only 20 episodes, but if you want to skip through season one (a totally defensible option), watch episodes one, three, six, nine, and 10, before watching all of season two. (You can also just skip to season two, which is a soft reboot of the whole premise.) But get caught up. There’s no TV show quite like this one. —Todd VanDerWerff
The Japanese box office smash Your Name hits the US
If you live in one of the handful of cities where it’s playing, definitely check out the US release of Your Name, one of the biggest movies in the history of Japan. The animated drama follows a high school boy and girl — from Tokyo and from a small rural village, respectively — who mysteriously swap bodies. Their attempts to solve the mystery are only the opening act for a film that proves to be a sweet-tempered romance. The movie has already made more than $300 million worldwide without opening in the US, a rarity for animated films. —TV