Everybody loves The Onion but I wonder how many people make it past the staples over to their Arts & Entertainment half, The A.V. Club. (Or, in the internet world, click on the little A.V. Club link on the Onion’s main page.) I have long thought — since I discovered it online when they interviewed Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Mike Nelson way back in 1997 — that they have some of the smartest, most on-the-ball writers in Entertainment Journalism. Some might call that faint praise in a world of charticles, trend pieces and blurbs, but The A.V. Club is able to convey serious ideas about movies, music and books (and TV) in a way most everyone can appreciate without ever dumbing things down.
They also reassure my own tastes as well. Keith Phipps was about the only other person to understand the genius that is the Josie & the Pussycats movie — besides myself. (It really is good, though it was so in tune with the pop culture zeitgeist of the time it’s bound to be dated now.)
Above almost all other year-end lists, I look forward to The A.V. Club’s the most. There’s no general consensus Top 50 Albums — each writer gets his own space. Editor Keith Phipps picks The Go! Team’s Thunder Lightning Strike as tops; Head writer Nathan Rabin picks Edan’s Beauty and the Beat; and Josh Modell likes The National’s Alligator the most.
They have yet to publish their annual Least-Essential Albums of the Year list (I couldn’t find last year’s online, but here’s the 2003 list) but the joy that is the annual Cheap Toy Roundup (which features Barbie Posh Pets, seen at right) can now be perused at your leisure.
Also, The A.V. Club Blog is awesome too.