“Girls”: Heading into its finale Sunday, this show has probably generated more stories about its provocative story lines and sociological import than what was used to write its 60-episode run. Like “Mad Men,” this HBO series has long been more talked about than actually watched, but we’ll miss not having Lena Dunham’s misfit toys to bang on anymore. In a fitting sort of paradox, the series’ closing run is its strongest yet with a standalone episode about sexual assault and an approaching finish that seems intent on avoiding the happily ever after for something uncomfortable and, to an extent, more real.
Linda May Han Oh’s “Walk Against Wind”: Having performed with jazz royalty that includes Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron and, most recently, Pat Metheny’s latest ensemble, this bassist further solidifies her credentials as a composer and bandleader with an excellent fourth album, which arrived Friday. Backed by a powerful but nimble group that includes Kneebody saxophonist Ben Wendel and rising star Matthew Stevens on guitar, Oh navigates an eclectic, deeply melodic mix of haunting ballads and driving workouts for an album that was inspired by the artist’s journey but holds a unique appeal reaching much further.
“13 Reasons Why” on Netflix: Maybe one needs to be more in touch with their teen years to fully embrace this new series, but for all the vital issues of sexual assault, bullying and suicide addressed in its binge-able structure, the end result feels tedious and heavy-handed. Spread out over 13 episodes that correspond with sides of tapes recorded by a teenage girl before she took her life, the series cycles through stories of responsibility for her death, and despite strong performances from Katherine Langford as Hannah and Dylan Minnette as her quietly compassionate friend, predictable characters and overwrought storytelling diminish its effect.
Coachella: Quick, name four acts from this year’s festival. For bonus points, name one aspect beyond a palm tree sunset and a dry heat that separates this bill from any of the top-dollar music festivals dotting the country. Coachella long ago dropped any pretense of credibility as a counterculture event, but there was at least an identity beyond woozy revelers in wizard hats and a excessive displays of leather fringe. Granted, this year’s model is equally hampered by the cancellation of Beyoncè, but for a snapshot of the best in music, its smaller, more convenient — and far cheaper — sibling FYF has stolen the show.
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