The ever-growing glut of great new TV, movies, books, music, comics, and podcasts can be a lot to keep up with. So we here at Vox Culture — where our current obsessions include Amazon’s latest iteration of The Tick, some of the summer’s best movies, and the end of Marvel’s Secret Empire crossover event — have a few suggestions for how to make the best use of your pop culture–consuming time.
Here are seven items you should really consider adding to your queue.
Watch: Train to Busan traps a bunch of people on a train with zombies. It’s awesome.
Okay, Train to Busan isn’t exactly “new.” It came out in 2016, and it’s been on Netflix for several months. But if Labor Day weekend isn’t a good time to check out a superbly entertaining Korean zombie movie, when is there a good time?
You might be sick of zombies — I sure am — but what Train to Busan does beautifully is introduce a bunch of characters (who skew toward “types,” rather than fully developed human beings), then trap them on a train full of zombies, where they have to travel through cars filled with monsters in order to reach their objectives. The movie takes a while to set up its premise, and you’ll have to wade through some cheese on the way. But the effort is worth it for a final hour that doubles as a primer in how clear geography in a film (the characters need to get from here to there) can make its action scenes that much more exciting. —Todd VanDerWerff
Watch: a bunch of great summer movies are still in theaters
This summer yielded a bumper crop of great movies — so don’t let them get away before the “prestige” movie season officially begins in a few weeks. Use your long weekend to check out the wry romantic comedy The Big Sick; the stylish ‘80s action flick Atomic Blonde; the fast-cars-and-great-music comedy Baby Driver; the confounding and cosmic romance A Ghost Story; and/or the hilarious West Virginia heist film Logan Lucky. They’re all well worth your notice. —Alissa Wilkinson
Listen: Brockhampton cements themselves as rap’s best (and first) boy band with Saturation II
A sprawling collective with shades of Odd Future, Outkast’s Dungeon Family, and Pharrell’s Star Trak, the rap group/boy band Brockhampton have seen their star rise precipitously thanks to their diverse flows, visceral lyrics, and a knack for blistering, shape-shifting production. There are too many members to list, and a huge part of the group’s appeal is that each contributor is their own fully-formed artist, adding a unique perspective to each track.
Still, particular starring turns on Saturation II — their second of three Saturations promised this year — come from Kevin Abstract (who scorches earth on “JUNKY”), Dom McLennon (who dexterously rides “QUEER”), and Ameer Vann (who sums up Brockhampton’s sudden rise succinctly on “TOKYO”). You’ll want to be acquainted with their group records now, because soon enough they’ll start sprouting solo stars on par with Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, or maybe even Frank Ocean. —Grant Rindner
Read: the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in History is now in paperback
When Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, by Heather Ann Thompson, was nominated for the National Book Award last year (it lost but would go on to win the Pulitzer), we called it “a masterpiece of narration,” a cinematic view of the nation’s most infamous prison standoff. Gripping and meticulously researched, Thompson’s book uncovers a wealth of new information and backstory behind the New York prison riot that led to the deaths of 39 people. Perhaps the most compelling and revealing part of Thompson’s saga isn’t the actual recounting of prison injustice in a system that remains unjust today, but the methods and great lengths taken to conceal the full story from the public — a hidden history that took decades to uncover. —Aja Romano
Watch: The Tick is a refreshing take on a beloved character
Whatever you might have been expecting from Amazon’s riff on the beloved superhero deconstruction The Tick, it probably wasn’t what actually arrived in late August.
Instead of being a straightforwardly silly riff on superhero tropes, as with the character’s two previous TV series (one animated and one live-action), it’s somehow a deconstruction of superhero deconstruction stories. If that sounds confusing, it’s not. Just imagine something like FX’s Baskets or Netflix’s BoJack Horseman set in a world of superheroes and supervillains — silly and just a little bit sad with some intriguing thoughts about wasted potential and finding your purpose.
The series perhaps hits the same handful of story beats a few too many times (one character says he’s going to give up on this superhero shit in what starts to feel like every episode), but the visuals are bright and poppy, and the performances are terrific. As the troubled Arthur, Griffin Newman (someone I personally know well enough to have a conversation with if I were to bump into him in a restaurant, so, grain of salt) offers a human eye on wild goings-on. And as the Tick himself, Peter Serafinowicz is filled with bold bravado — and an intriguing sense that something horrible lurks in his past. —TV
Read: Secret Empire wraps up a stupendous chapter in Marvel’s comic book universe
It’s strange, after a vocal backlash erupted prior to its release, that Marvel’s Secret Empire crossover event has concluded without the same kind of fervent attention. The series, which saw Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America become Hydra’s most powerful agent, has been a thrilling ride that’s taken the heroes of Marvel’s universe to hell and back. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Steve McNiven’s excellent final chapter to Secret Empire shows its heroes at their best and its villains at their darkest. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read the whole series. —Alex Abad-Santos
Listen: Fifth Harmony’s new Fifth Harmony album is their first without their fifth member
The four remaining members of Fifth Harmony seem to be taking the somewhat disputed departure of former fifth member Camila Cabello in stride. After symbolically tossing her offstage at the VMAs, they’re back with their newest album — the group’s third since they were formed on The X-Factor in 2012. And while Fifth Harmony is now technically four harmonies, their sound hasn’t been hurt in Cabello’s absence. The album boasts 10 solid tracks, including the bouncy singles “Down” and “Angel” (as in, “Who said I was an angel?”), all rife with attitude and a take-no-prisoners theme. —AR