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Here’s hoping Anthony Mackie and crew can soar with it

Photo: Marvel Studios

At the end of 2019’s , an elderly Steve Rogers passes his mantle as Captain America to his trusted comrade, Sam Wilson. This exchange is more than just figurative; Rogers entrusts Wilson with his iconic shield.

Forged with vibranium from the nation of Wakanda, the shield would now belong to someone whose ancestors were taken from the same continent centuries ago. It was not the only moment within where a Black hero replaced a White predecessor — the film functioned to resolve multiple disparate storylines and launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) into a new narrative phase —…


Marvel’s latest hit is perfect for our Covid reality

“Yet it seems clear that ’s success mostly comes down to how well it reflects the cultural moment. For better or worse, it’s a show about a woman retreating into…


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

‘All due respect, you got no f****in’ idea what it’s like to be #1'

The cast of The Sopranos posing
The cast of The Sopranos posing
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

6. Season five

We fuck with Steve Buscemi as much as the next guy, but the blandness of this season is ultimately tied to his character, Tony Soprano’s cousin Tony Blundetto. As much as he seemed like a habitual line-stepper — in the mafia world, that means killing folk he probably shouldn’t — dude seemed more like an embarrassment of a relative than a true threat to Tony’s place in the mob.

5. Season two

This felt like an Italian homicidal acid trip. Focusing on character development rather than plot, it looked so deeply into its own navel it got lost in the lint it found…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

One foot in reality, the other foot jammed deep in your saddened soul

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Endemol Shine UK via Netflix

9. ‘Be Right Back’ (Season 2, Episode 1)

Creating A.I. out of someone’s social media posts and writings is possible. Putting that A.I. into a convincingly humanlike body that isn’t just an uncanny valley disaster? Much less likely.

8. ‘Hang the DJ’ (S4, E4)

This surprisingly optimistic take on online dating depicts would-be lovers put through seemingly infinite sets of circumstances to determine their compatibility. But let’s be real — humans are just fine with smartphone-swiping their way into someone’s heart or bed.

7. ‘The Entire History of You’ (S1, E3)

Recording memories to video is an actual thing likely to happen in our lifetimes, but considering the storage and bandwidth currently required to do it at all — let alone record…


The franchise’s diversity quick fix has still failed its contestants of color

’s January debutoffered another fresh start, mainly since it followed the franchise’s statement about a newfound commitment to diversity. Although James’s season had the most diverse cast in…


Thought you’d watched everything out there? Time to broaden your horizons.

Photo illustration. Photos: Yu Yu Hakusho, Cowboy Bebop, Hunter x Hunter/Hulu, Aggretsuko/Netflix, timnewman, SB, Robin Gentry/Getty Images

Bet you didn’t know streaming platforms had a bottom. Not a quality bottom, like the social media muck where White supremacists and Tory Lanez apologists congregate, but an actual bottom. Like, you’ve officially seen it all. At least that’s how it feels almost 11 months after the first shutdowns began; we’re all still inside watching the same hodgepodge of warmed-over crime dramas or the umpteenth episode of . Don’t worry, there’s an entire universe of shows out there waiting for you: anime.

While so many other genres seemed to fall flat this year, 2020 was glorious for stylish…


Don’t be fooled by the new ‘woke’ race coverage — it’s business as usual

Colin Jost and Michael Che on Weekend Update, “Saturday Night Live.” Photo: YouTube

“A change is gonna come,” Sam Cooke sang on his 1964 album, . Five months later, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it did. But the burden of being Black in America has barely budged.

Changes, though, keep coming. Ever since George Floyd’s murder last year ushered in a new age of racial unrest and reckoning in the U.S., many mainstream publications have shifted focus to race-related content. That has resulted in increased awareness and more freelance work for me, but I’ve remained wary.

Is it just about keeping up appearances, or do the White editors…


The show’s embittered longshoremen presage the mentality of the Capitol Hill terrorists

“The Wire” Photo: HBO

There’s a scene in “Duck and Cover,” the eighth episode of ’s second season, that has been on my mind for the past two weeks.

In the scene, detectives Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski and Lester Freamon are cracking the code behind tracking the longshoremen’s illegal drug-smuggling shipments. Prez notes that they uncovered Frank Sobotka’s scheme much more easily than they did the Barksdale operation in the Baltimore projects. Rather than sending codes like the Barksdale crew did, Sobotka and his fellow longshoremen made direct phone calls using their real numbers and talking plainly about their criminal activity.

“Not as careful…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

There’s rules to this shit. We wrote us a manual.

Photo illustration; source: Jakub Porzycki/Getty Images

6. They’re playing Robin Hood with passwords

There’s an unspoken and sanctified contract between the actual account holder of a streaming service and whoever is lucky enough to be bestowed with (free) access: This is for your eyez only, word to Cole. Passing around the login info like a blunt in rotation — to the point where the person whose credit card is on file is being bumped from viewing — is a surefire way to get your privileges revoked.

5. They don’t set up their own profile

Have some manners; don’t fuck up the algorithms. There’s nothing worse than scrolling to the “Because You Watched” section on Netflix only to find the first scene…


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

Get your kinara out!

Photo illustration; source: “Proud Family”/Disney Plus

4. ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ (Season 3, Episode 10)

There are lots of reasons some folks might ditch Christmas and embrace celebrating Kwanzaa — heritage, the associated principles, taking part in a candle-lighting counterpart to Hanukkah — but for Julius (played by Terry Crews), it’s all about being frugal.

3. ‘The Black Candle’

Wanna get lit while learning the history and customs behind Kwanzaa? This Maya Angelou-narrated documentary is the perfect starter kit.

2. ‘Rugrats’ (Season 7, Episode 13)

Now, this is how you power past tokenism. Susie, the Black toddler of the crew (voiced by Cree Summer), takes center stage in this episode about cultural discovery and self-esteem that earned an NAACP Image Award.

1. ‘The Proud Family’ (Season 1, Episode 11)

The crème de…

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