There's a lot of pop culture to sort through week after week. Times staff writer Chris Barton offers his take on what's up and what's down in music, movies, television and just about anything else out there that's worth considering.
With Trevor Noah still trying to balance outrage and charm on "The Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert struggling to reach his previously inventive heights in trying to overcome the viral celebrity pandering of Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show," "Late Night With Seth Meyers" has quietly become the most consistent source for late-night comedy. His "Weekend Update"-styled monologues offer some of the sharpest political commentary this side of John Oliver, and his comic bits outside of his interview segments remain willing to take chances. It almost makes insomnia worthwhile.
KING's 'We Are KING'
Existing almost as a secret password among local R&B aficionados, this L.A. trio composed of Anita Bias and twin sisters Amber and Paris Strother earned heavy buzz for a debut EP in 2011, which caught the ear of Prince, Questlove and Robert Glasper, who tabbed the group for a cameo on his breakthrough record, "Black Radio." Now KING has released its full-length debut, building on its early promise with rich harmonies, shimmering keyboard textures and rich grooves. Start with "Supernatural" for proof that KING rules.
Super Bowl ads
This week brings the annual latticework of sports and marketing that is the Super Bowl, and maybe the only thing worse than all the hype generated for the game is the similar level of energy devoted to its commercials, which have grown from becoming bugs in the programming into actual features. When the Internet buzzes on Monday with deep appreciations for 30-second spots we try to avoid the other 364 days of the year, think of how many times we're exposed to brands and ads every moment outside of the big game and whether another day of marketing is really worth celebrating.
The O.J. Simpson trial
To people born in the '90s: This was such a weird part of American history that it almost doesn't look weird now. Of course a celebrity murder trial would merit constant coverage, and of course the best legal defense money could buy would ultimately triumph. This brought the name Kardashian into the public consciousness and definitively proved celebrity news was the only news that really mattered. It was a fascinating time, but after its cynical stranglehold on pop culture and lingering impact, a 10-episode FX series and an ESPN documentary miniseries more than 20 years later somehow feel too soon.