COMPLEXITIES OF BEING
Love, Simon was hailed as a groundbreaking movie when it was one of the first rom-com/coming-of-age movies to feature an LGBTQ+ main character, but I'd like to shine the spotlight on the spin-off TV series, Love, Victor. The titular character, Victor, is a teenager who learns to accept his sexuality over the course of the first season, and the recently released (and much-awaited) second season explores the aftermath of Victor's coming out. Available to watch on Hulu, season two doesn't shy away from tackling the complexities of coming out to a family with strong religious beliefs, the intersectionality of Victor's identity as a gay Latino teenager, or the milestones in a new relationship, and is filled with both tough and heartfelt moments that make it a must-watch. (LILLIAN PIEL)
MAN FROM MARS
A full quarter of the U.S. population identifies itself as evangelical, yet most mainstream reporting on the evangelical movement has ranged from surface-level to nonexistent. Instead, it's conservative Christian publications like World magazine and Christianity Today that have done surprisingly thorough muckraking reporting on hypocritical pastors and collapsing churches. Which is why Christianity Today's latest podcast series, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, is so welcome. The series focuses on Seattle-based megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll, and how his controlling leadership style and macho brand of in-your-face preaching led to his downfall. (DANIEL WALTERS)
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
There's noteworthy new music arriving in stores and online July 23. To wit:
DESCENDENTS, 9th & Walnut. Songs from the earliest days of these punk legends finally get finished a mere 40 years later.
LEON BRIDGES, Gold-Digger's Sound. This modern soulster is simply undeniable as he drops his third album.
RODNEY CROWELL, Triage. A masterful songwriter who's never gotten his due, Crowell delivers a killer first single "Something Has To Change" on his new one. (DAN NAILEN)