TV Features

Jolene and Beth


"You're all a bunch of f**king c*cksuckers!"

That's how we're introduced to Jolene, a Black girl living at Methuen Home where Beth—the main character—is taken after surviving the car crash that killed her mother. She doesn't get nearly enough attention in The Queen's Gambit, appearing only in the first two and last two episodes to bookend Beth's life as a famous chess player, but she is critical to the plot.

The treatment of Jolene in The Queen's Gambit is quite similar to treatment of Black women in the social and political arenas: only acknowledged when useful in ways that can no longer be ignored.

Jolene, though older than Beth, proves to be more savvy than anyone would expect of a girl her age. In line to get "vitamins," she advises Beth to save the green pills to take at night when they work best.

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Hip-Hop has always consisted of larger than life personalities. Rappers have unique backstories and ways of storytelling that essentially make them into characters, so the fact that many of them have made the transition from music to film and television is a no brainer.

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Culture Feature

Meet Leta Powell Drake: The Woman Who Makes "Between Two Ferns" Look Comfortable

In celebrity interviews, Leta Powell Drake of Lincoln Nebraska cut

"Let's let 'er rip this morning."

That's the line that introduced the world to Leta Powell Drake in a viral clip on Thursday, and it seems to sum up her approach to life—and particularly to celebrity interviews.

The two-minute clip, which caught fire on Twitter, is a compilation of moments taken from Drake's 25-year tenure as the host of KOLN's morning show in Lincoln Nebraska. In that time she interviewed hundreds of celebrities, often choosing to cut through the usual pleasantries.

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TV Features

What We Want to See in Season 3 of "The Umbrella Academy"

Netflix's superpowered family drama has been picked up for a third season.

Netflix has just made it official: there will be a third season of The Umbrella Academy.

The show's main cast are all set to return for production that will kick off in February of 2021. Considering the streaming giant's tendency to cut shows off before their time, the news comes as a relief for fans of the popular show, as well as for people who are gullible enough to keep getting sucked in by the show's constant cliffhangers and loose plot threads (just give me some resolution, dammit!).

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TV Features

RIP Alex Trebek: 6 of the "Jeopardy!" Host's Best Moments

The iconic TV host passed away over the weekend after spending nearly four decades as the host of "Jeopardy!"

Over the weekend, as people across the country celebrated the long-delayed results of the presidential election, the entertainment world also faced the loss of Alex Trebek.

The long-running TV host, best known as the face of Jeopardy!, announced last year that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. After several rounds of chemotherapy over the course of 18 months, Trebek died in his Los Angeles home Sunday, November 8. He was 80 years old.

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TV Features

"Lovecraft Country" Reminds Us That Magick Is as Real as We Believe It Is

One of the ideas explored by HBO's Lovecraft Country was the meta-boundary between fiction and reality—not only for the characters of the show, but also for us, the viewers.

The show (which is based on a book called Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff) finds Tic, his love Leti, and his father Montrose contending with the storyline of an autobiographical book (also called Lovecraft Country) written by Tic and Leti's future son.

One of the earliest episodes mentions the Necronomicon, an infamous book of magic featured in H.P. Lovecraft's fiction stories. This is an acknowledgement of the 100-year-old Lovecraftian world of antediluvian terrors.

But the way Lovecraft Country introduces the esoteric arts is very much aligned with real history. Magickal lodges with secret initiations exist. Voodoo priestesses exist. Korean shamans, called mudang 무당, exist and even influence top-level politicians. Lovecraft Country and HP Lovecraft''s legacy constantly interrogates the boundaries between fiction and reality, asking readers to question their own realities as well as their capabilities to create their own worlds or influence them through stories.
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