The metaphor applies to my experience of pop culture over the past quarter. Aside from a couple of new movies in early July and a bunch of new albums in September, it was also a fairly dry season in terms of new pop culture. I used a bit of that time to do some catching up - although, as usual, not as much as I would have liked - but it was really nice to not have to spend a lot more time and energy on keeping up with things, just like it was nice to have a bit of a break from the garden.
What I experienced
Baby Driver - In short, I really enjoyed it.
Black Mirror (Series 1-2) - I finished the first two series of this twisted technological contemporary Twilight Zone and loved them; now I just need to finish the third batch of episodes before the new episodes are released.
Doctor Who (Series 10, BBC) - Although I think that Peter Capaldi is my favourite Doctor, I think this was his worst season. There were a couple of great episodes - the two-parter featuring the Monks in particular - but mostly this season was a miss, which is unfortunate. I am, however, very excited about Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth Doctor, even though I have to wait until 2019.
Dunkirk - One of the greatest theatre movie experiences I have had in a long time and one of Nolan's best films. Rewatchings and awards season will help to cement its legacy, but I think it will be regarded as one of the best films of the year.
New music - There was a lot of new music to hear, but the albums that I listened to the most were Stavesacre's MCMXCV, MuteMath's Play Dead, and the Foo Fighters' Concrete and Gold. More on them later, but suffice to say that I enjoyed them all - but not nearly as much as I loved listening to U2's new songs, of course.
Shauna Niequist - I read Bittersweet and Bread and Wine - both of which resonated significantly with me - so I look forward to reading her other books.
Revisionist History (Season 2) - Malcolm Gladwell's podcast returned for season 2 with a renewed focus on racial inequality, and it was better for being more personal. It's a must-listen for fans of Gladwell's, especially.
Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) - I started with Annihilation in preparation of the upcoming film directed by Alex Garland, and I just kept on reading from there through one of the more interesting "weird fiction" series of recent memory.
Spider-Man: Homecoming - I probably enjoyed this more than I should have, but I really liked how it rebooted Spider-Man and made his story into a high school movie. Also, Michael Keaton was amazing.
Also: Chuck Klosterman - X; Split
What I missed
Broadchurch (Season 3, BBC) - I'm sure I'll catch it on Netflix sometime.
The Dark Tower - Ditto.
New music - As I mentioned, there was a lot of new music this last month, so I missed a few albums, such as The Lone Bellow's Walk Into A Storm, The Killers' Wonderful Wonderful, Macklemore's Gemini, and The National's Sleep Well Beast, among others.
The Stone Sky - I only became aware of N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy when The Obelisk Gate won the 2017 Hugo, but I am looking forward to reading the whole series, including this final book that was released this past quarter.
The Tick (Season 1, Amazon) - Peter Serafinowicz brings back the titular blue hero in another live-action adaptation. SPOOOOOOOOOOOONNNN!
Wind River - Taylor Sheridan's directorial debut received some strong reviews, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.
Also on my radar but missed: Top of the Lake: China Girl (Season 2, Sundance); Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; War for the Planet of the Apes
What I skipped
The Deuce (Season 1, HBO) - Although David Simon is a draw, I just don't need to watch this particular show about porn in '70s New York.
Marvel's The Defenders (Season 1, Netflix) - I'm still holding to my decision to avoid Marvel's small screen projects.
New summer TV shows - Nothing new and exciting like Stranger Things in 2016 or Mr. Robot in 2015, despite some contenders: Ozark (Season 1, Netflix); Snowfall (Season 1, FX); Will (Season 1, TNT).
In the Queue
The ongoing list of the top items in my pop culture queue, which is updated every quarter (often from items that I have missed). An asterisk (*) indicates a new addition to the list.
Movies: Get Out; Logan; Manchester by the Sea; Moonlight; O.J.: Made in America; Wind River*
Television top five: Black Mirror (Series 3)*; The Handmaid's Tale (Season 1); Sherlock (Season 4); The Tick (Season 1)*; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 3)
Television backlog: Broadchurch (Season 2-3); The Hour (Season 1-2); Master of None (Season 1-2); Morton and Hayes; Top of the Lake (Season 1)
Television projects*: Curb Your Enthusiasm; Parks and Recreation (Season 5-7); Star Trek: The Original Series; The West Wing; The Wire
Television to investigate: BoJack Horseman (Season 1-4); Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Season 1); GLOW (Season 1); Great News (Season 1); The Man in the High Castle (Season 1-2); The OA (Season 1); Superstore (Season 1-2); The Young Pope (Season 1)*
Video Games: Chrono Trigger (DS); Earthbound (SNES); The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D (3DS); Pikmin 3 (Wii U); Splatoon 2 (Switch)*
Non-Fiction Books: Brené Brown - Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection; Bruxy Cavey - (Re)union*; Shauna Niequest - Present Before Perfect*; Matthew Paul Turner - Provocative Faith; Ann Voskamp - The Broken Way and One Thousand Gifts
Fiction Books: N.K. Jemison - The Broken Earth trilogy*; Kim Stanley Robinson -Mars trilogy
Looking forward to Quarter 4
Andy Weir - Artemis (November 17) - Weir's new novel - his first since The Martian - has not been released yet, and it has already been optioned for a movie version by Lord and Miller.
Blade Runner 2049 (October 6) - Natch.
Downsizing (December 22) - Alexander Payne's new movie about shrinking people could be fun satire.
The Good Place (Season 2, NBC, September 28) - Season 1 was a delight, and I'm really looking forward to more philosophy
Molly's Game (November 22) - Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut.
Mr. Robot (Season 3, USA, October 11) - I caught up in the off season, so I'm looking forward to being part of the zeitgeist as it unfolds this time.
Phantom Thread (December 25) - The new Paul Thomas Anderson movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis in his final role.
Star Trek: Discovery (Season 1, CBS All-Access, September 24) - It has great reviews so far.
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch, October 27) - Now I just need to buy a Switch.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15) - It's time for the Jedi to end.
Stranger Things (Season 2, Netflix, October 27) - I think I'm more excited about this than any other returning show this fall, so I guess that's that weekend shot.
Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers (September 27) - I'm not sure I like the new theme, but I'm always in for an interesting cast, and I think this one will be very interesting.
Thor: Ragnarok (November 3) - [Goes to watch the first trailer again.]
John Green - Turtles All The Way Down (October 10) - It has been far too long since we had a new John Green novel to read, and I imagine this will send me on a Green binge.
U2 - Songs of Experience (December 1) - [Goes to watch the video for "You're the Best Thing About Me" again.]
Also: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 5, Fox, September 26); Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 9, HBO, Oct. 1); Darkest Hour (November 24); The Death of Stalin (October 20); Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Season 2, Netflix, October 14); The Disaster Artist (December 8); The Killing of a Sacred Deer (November 3); Pitch Perfect 3 (December 22); The Shape of Water (December 9); Suburbicon (November 3); Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (November 10); Tin Star (Season 1, Amazon, September 29)