With fall TV season underway, Hollywood’s award season approaching and the music industry preparing for its slew of big pre-Christmas releases, there’s a lot going on in pop culture right now. But worry not, because we’re here to help you sort the “must try” from the “don’t even bother.”
1. WHAT TO WATCH AT THE CINEMA IF YOU LIKE A FRIGHT
This sequel to 1999’s groundbreaking found-footage horror movie The Blair Witch Project was only announced at Comic-Con in July after being made using the fake name The Woods. The plot follows a group of college pals as they venture into Maryland’s sinister Black Hills to find Heather, a character from the original film who disappeared while making a documentary about spooky local legend the Blair Witch. Early reviews suggest it’s a tense, well-crafted follow-up that’s not for the faint of heart.
2. WHAT TO WATCH AT HOME IF YOU LIKE A FRIGHT
For the first time, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have decided not to reveal American Horror Story’s latest theme ahead of its season premiere on September 14. Recent set photos suggest it could take place in Roanoke, a colony in North Carolina where 117 people mysteriously disappeared in the 16th century, but then again, these could be red herrings. Whatever the setting, the usual starry cast led by Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates and Lady Gaga will surely be given roles to relish.
3. WHAT TO WATCH AT THE CINEMA IF YOU FANCY SOMETHING COMFORTINGLY FAMILIAR
Twelve years after her last big screen outing, Renée Zellweger‘s endearing British singleton is back and caught between her dependable ex Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and a dashing new American beau called Jack (Grey’s Anatomy‘sPatrick Dempsey). If you don’t mind more jokes about Bridget’s dating disasters and persistent bumbling, this sequel co-written by Emma Thompson (who also appears as Bridget’s amusing OB/GYN) offers a surprisingly likable slice of late-’90s nostalgia.
4. WHAT TO WATCH AT HOME SO YOU KNOW WHICH SHOW TO BINGE ON NEXT
The small-screen Oscars become more competitive every year as TV revels in its post-streaming golden age. Veep, Game of Thrones and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story are this year’s leading contenders, but don’t rule out upsets from slightly less-hyped series like The Americans, Transparent andThe Night Manager. A pair of BBC America series are also in the running, withLuther’s Idris Elba and Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany both nominated for acting prizes. ABC will be airing the main ceremony live on September 18 with host Jimmy Kimmel aiming zingers at all your favorite TV stars.
5. WHAT TO WATCH AT HOME IF HAVEN’T SEEN IT IN A WHILE
This pitch-black teen comedy starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater andShannon Doherty flopped when it opened in 1988, but it’s now rightly acknowledged as a cult classic. With TV Land ordering a pilot for a Heathersseries, and Ryder enjoying a career revival thanks to Netflix’s Stranger Things, it’s the perfect time to revisit Westerburg High School and its scarily intense female clique, all of whom happen to be named Heather.
6. WHAT TO WATCH ONLINE IF YOU CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO GO TO A CONCERT THIS MONTH
Formerly known as iTunes Festival, this 10-day concert series takes place every year at London’s 1,700-capacity Roundhouse. U.K. residents can apply for free tickets to see performances from A-list acts who wouldn’t normally play such an intimate venue, while everyone else can watch online using their Apple or non-Apple devices: either live as each gig happens, or whenever they like afterwards. This year’s concert series begins with a headline set from Elton John on September 18, and Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Calvin Harris and OneRepublicwill all headline before Apple Music Festival 2016 wraps on September 30. Find out more at applemusicfestival.com.
7. WHO TO FOLLOW ON SNAPCHAT FOR INSIDER POP KNOWLEDGE
Until fairly recently, Justin Tranter was best known as the lead singer of glammy New York City rock band Semi Precious Weapons. But over the last year or so, he’s also established himself as one of pop’s most in-demand songwriters, crafting hits for Justin Bieber (“Sorry”), Selena Gomez (“Hands to Myself”) and Nick Jonas (“Close”), among others. If you want to find out which pop star he’s heading into the recording studio with next, his Snapchat is the best place to start.
8. WHAT TO LISTEN TO BECAUSE EVERYONE WILL DEFINITELY BE ASKING WHAT YOU THINK OF IT
Premiering last Friday, Lady Gaga’s big comeback single is a bombastic disco-rock stomper co-written with British super-producer Mark Ronson and Kevin Parker from cool Aussie psych band Tame Impala. Although “Perfect Illusion” already feels like a grower, it never quite reaches the blissful pop peaks of top-rate Gaga singles like “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance,” even when they chuck in a shameless key change towards the end. Gaga’s raw and muscular lead vocal, though, feels like a definite triumph.
9. WHO TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER FOR PARALYMPIC GAMES INSIGHT
RJ Mitte—the actor who played Walt Jr. on Breaking Bad—has joined U.K. broadcaster Channel 4’s presenting team for the Paralympic Games. Mitte, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, has become an advocate for people with disabilities. Follow him for behind-the-scenes pictures, interviews with the athletes and all the latest intel from the ground in Rio de Janeiro, where the games are now underway and run until September 18. The 2016 Paralympics have been beset by negative press in recent weeks because of disappointing ticket sales and apparently drastic funding problems, but the athletes certainly won’t let this affect their performances.
10. AND, FINALLY, WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM IF YOU’RE MISSING JUSTIN BIEBER
Last month, Justin Bieber disappointed his 77 million followers by deleting his account after receiving an onslaught of negative comments about his rumored relationship with Sofia Richie, daughter of pop star Lionel. While the Biebs remains in self-imposed Instagram exile, why not follow this new accountbelonging to his adorable Chow puppy, Todd, who’s even cuter than his owner and probably a lot better behaved too.