Pop Culture Free Time: January 2021 Comic Years
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Pop Culture Free Time: January 2021

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BY May 19, 2022

Wow, it’s already time for our first Pop Culture Free Time of the year. In my January 2021 free time, I feel like I haven’t consumed as much as I usually do. I guess we’ll find out. But before we get to that, let’s have a quick refresher on this series. This is a regular update in which I (and maybe someday, other writers here) talk about all the stuff I’ve been enjoying just for fun. Like the TV I watch when I just want to relax. So let’s talk about that.

Pop Culture Free Time: January 2021 Television

When we last spoke in a regular edition–in my December 202 Free Time–I’d been having some trouble finding a new show. Welp, many of my old shows are back, so I’m having the opposite problem. In other words, I’m struggling to find the time to watch it all.

But of course, that’s a good problem to have, and I’m delighted that my stories are back. Just this past week, I’ve enjoyed watching the returns of 911 (and 911: Lone Star), Prodigal Son, Nancy Drew, and The Unicorn, among others.

free time january 2021 Walton Goggins should be in everything, not just The Unicorn. (image via CBS)

But if I had to pick one standout for the month, then it would be the second special episode of Euphoria, “Fuck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob.” I was medium on the first special episode, the Rue-centric “Trouble Don’t Last Always.” This new one, though, was transcendent. I found the opening sequence, in which Jules’s memories play out on her eye, while soundtracked by Lorde’s “Liability,” to be particularly moving. However, the rest of the episode, which Hunter Schafer cowrote, matched its quality. Schafer is the real thing, a genuine revelation, and the episode required her to be vulnerable in a way that not a lot of actors could have achieved. The fact that this is Schafer’s first professional role is astounding.

What I’ve Been Listening to This January

As far as my podcast listening goes, I haven’t really been listening to any new ones. As for my old faithfuls, I do have to say that I really enjoyed the two-parter Last Podcast on the Left just did on family annihilator John List. Something about cohost Henry Zebrowski’s impression of List, which skewers him as rigid and self-righteous, made me lose it. Maybe it’s that List was a brutal murderer, but he was still five miles up his own ass. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried to read Collateral Damage, List’s own book about how great he is.

Outside of podcasts, like a lot of people, I’ve been caught up in the “Drivers License” storm. I have no interest in the supposed drama behind it, and I will hiss at you if you try to make me learn literally anything ever. I also can’t personally relate to the story. Still, in these troubled pancake times, there’s something cathartic about wailing along to the song.

In addition, after watching Trickster, I’ve got “Skoden” on repeat. Between that and Megan Thee Stallion’s debut studio album Good News, I’m becoming almost too powerful.

Reading List: The Books and Other Things Occupying My Time

So far this year, I’ve read 10 books. And while I haven’t had any five-stars yet, some have come close. This includes Heartbreak Bay, the upcoming fifth (and likely final) book in Rachel Caine’s Stillhouse Lake series. Sadly, Caine (the pen name for Roxanne Longstreet Conrad) passed away last November. But you can still read her books, including Stillhouse Lake. The series follows Gwen Proctor, who used to be Gina Royal. One day someone crashes their car into the Royals’ home, and that starts the chain of events that ends in everyone finding out that Gina’s husband, Melvin, is a serial killer. Now Gwen’s just trying to get on with her life and protect her kids. However, some people believe that there’s no way Gwen couldn’t have known, so she always has to worry about that. Anyway, Heartbreak Bay will be out in March.

free time january 2021 composite featuring image via William Morrow Paperbacks

I also enjoyed Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane. It has an irresistible hook. Lila’s husband is missing, which is really weird, because she killed him. Does his (body’s) disappearance have anything to do with the rash of missing young women in the area? You can find out.

And finally, a follow-up to an article I mentioned in my inaugural Pop Culture Free Time. It was from Wired, and it was about a body that had been found in the woods. Wired now has an update–they’ve identified the man–but his story is, as they say, unsettling.

Now if y’all will excuse me, I have to get back to my current book, Lisa Gardner’s Before She Disappeared, about a woman who finds missing people.

But before I go, be sure to tell me what you’re into this month, either here in these comments or on our social media.

featured image via HBO

Pop Culture

Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]


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