SURVIVE AT ALL COSTS
By the fifth season of The 100, I started to worry things were getting a little too crazy. Teenagers cast to Earth from a space station to see how survivable it is a century after nuclear destruction? Sure. Surviving fights with murderous survivors? Totally. (SPOILERS AHEAD) But fighting a biotoxin that makes people want to kill each other and only gets released when binary stars eclipse each other on the Earth-like moon of a Saturn-like planet? Inside a compound maintained by a cult? You're starting to lose me. Still, I love when a series wraps up in any meaningful way, and those who stick through the seventh season on Netflix will not walk away wondering what could have come next. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)
THE TALENTED MR. LING
In their podcast Finding Drago, Australian comedians Alexei Toliopoulos and Cameron James played internet detectives searching for the enigmatic author behind some bizarre Rocky IV fan-fiction. It was a funny, surprising dive into internet ephemera, and they're back with another baffling audio mystery called Finding Desperado. This time, they're on the hunt for one Sidney Ling, who was listed in an old edition of the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's youngest movie director, but scant evidence of Ling's career and his supposed trailblazing film (1973's Lex, the Wonder Dog) exists. Their hunt includes diversions into the arts community of Ibiza, a woman who believes she is Marilyn Monroe's secret daughter, and a man who claims to be a centuries-old mystic. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)
READ THIS NOW
A new piece by Spokane author Sharma Shields (The Cassandra) is always reason to rejoice, and Humanities Washington is hosting the celebration. It took me a minute to catch up with Good Steak on the state humanities organization's blog, and the tale is one you should read right now, featuring Little Boy Blue, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater and, in a starring role, the Man in the Moon. Find it at humanities.org/blog/good-steak. (DAN NAILEN)
SECRETS & LIES
True crime miniseries are a dime a dozen, and while HBO's Murder on Middle Beach has a lot of the genre hallmarks, it's unusual in that it's as much a mystery as a memoir. Director Madison Hamburg details his relationship with his mother, Barbara, and the circumstances surrounding her 2010 murder, a heartbreaking odyssey that involves a multilevel marketing scam, his estranged father's shady business dealings and his relatives' outlandish theories about the crime. There's no clear-cut solution by the end of the four-episode arc, but it's still an engrossing study of grief and family secrets. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
There's noteworthy new music arriving in stores and online Jan. 22. To wit:
MOON TAXI, Silver Dream. The Nashville indie-poppers deliver some breezy new tunes.
STEVE HACKETT, Under a Mediterranean Sky. He's a prog-rock god, so I can only assume this album is one long boring song.
VARIOUS ARTISTS, Cuba: Music & Revolution - Culture Clash in Havana Cuba - Experiments in Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1. With a title that long, there's no space to describe how excellent it should be. (DAN NAILEN)