The A.V. Club

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The A.V. Club
Avclub logo.png
TypePopular culture, entertainment, news, reviews, politics, progressive[1][2]
Owner(s)Onion, Inc.
Editor-in-chiefLaura M. Browning
Founded1993; 25 years ago (1993)
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, U.S.

The A.V. Club is an online newspaper[3] and entertainment website featuring reviews, interviews, and other articles that examine films, music, television, books, games, and other elements of pop culture media. The A.V. Club was created in 1993 as a supplement to The Onion, despite having a minimal presence on its website in its early years. A 2005 website redesign placed The A.V. Club in a more prominent position, allowing its online identity to grow. Unlike its parent publication, The A.V. Club is not satirical.[4]

The publication's name is a reference to school audiovisual clubs.[5]


In 1993, five years after the founding of The Onion, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stephen Thompson, launched an entertainment section of the newspaper.

In 1996, both The Onion and The A.V. Club made their internet debut.[6] The A.V. Club was originally a sub-section[7] of the main domain name. It was eventually moved to its own domain name [8] before the 2005 acquisition of the shorter domain name[9] which coincided with a redesign that incorporated reader comments and blog content. In 2006 the website shifted its content model again to add content on a daily, rather than weekly, basis.

In December 2004, Stephen Thompson left his position as founding editor of The A.V. Club.[10]

According to Sean Mills, then-president of The Onion, the A.V. Club website first received more than 1 million unique visitors in October 2007.[11] In late 2009 the website was reported to have received over 1.4 million unique visitors and 75,000 comments per month.[12]

At its peak the print version of The A.V. Club was available in 17 different cities.[13] Localized sections of the website were also maintained with reviews and news relevant to specific cities. The print version and localized websites were gradually discontinued, and in December 2013 print publication ceased in the final three markets.[14]

2012–2014 senior staff departures[edit]

On December 13, 2012, long-time writer and editor Keith Phipps who oversaw the website after Stephen Thompson left, stepped down from his role as editor of The A.V. Club. He said, "Onion, Inc. and I have come to a mutual parting of the ways."[15][16][17]

On April 2, 2013, long-time film editor and critic Scott Tobias stepped down from his role as film editor of The A.V. Club. He stated via Twitter, "After 15 great years @theavclub, I step down as Film Editor next Friday."[18]

On April 26, 2013, long-time writers Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson, and Genevieve Koski announced that they would also be leaving the website to begin work on a new project alongside Scott Tobias and Keith Phipps.[19] Koski also stated that she would continue to write freelance articles.[20] Writer Noel Murray announced he would also be joining their new project but would continue to contribute to The A.V. Club in a reduced capacity.[19] On May 30, 2013, it was announced that those six writers would be part of the senior staff of The Dissolve, a film website run by Pitchfork Media.[21]

In April and June 2014, senior staff writers Kyle Ryan, Sonia Saraiya, and Todd VanDerWerff left the website for positions at Entertainment Weekly, Salon and Vox Media, respectively.[22][23] In 2015, Ryan returned to Onion, Inc. for a position in development.[24] Following his departure from The Dissolve earlier that month, Nathan Rabin returned to write freelance for the website in May 2015;[25] this included the renewal of his regular column "My World of Flops". The Dissolve folded in July 2015.[26]

Television series[edit]

On February 16, 2017 The A.V. Club's editor-at-large, John Teti, posted an article on the website announcing the upcoming release of a television series, titled The A.V. Club, based on the website.[27] The series, hosted by Teti, began airing on Fusion on 16 March 2017.[28] The series features news, criticism, and discussions about various popular culture topics and features staff members from the website.

Move to Univision[edit]

In January 2016 Univision Communications acquired "a 40 percent, controlling stake" in Onion Inc., the parent company of The A.V. Club.[29] Later that year, Univision also purchased Gawker Media and reorganized several of Gawker's sites into the new Gizmodo Media Group, a division of Fusion Media Group.[30] The site was subsequently migrated from Bulbs, an internal content management system developed by Onion Inc., to the Gawker-developed Kinja platform[31][32], deleting the comment section and audience reviews hosted on the previous site.


On December 9, 2010, the website ComicsComicsMag revealed that a capsule review for the book Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth had been fabricated. The book had not yet been published nor even completed by the authors.[33] The review was removed, and then-editor Keith Phipps posted an apology on the website.[34] Leonard Pierce, the author of the review, was terminated from his freelance role with the website.[35]

Regular features[edit]


  • 11 Questions: an interview series in which each participant is asked the same 11 interview prompts followed by a 12th question created by the previous interviewee.[36]
  • 100 Episodes: a discussion on the inception, rise to popularity, and legacies of syndicated TV shows that made it to 100 or more episodes.[37]
  • A History of Violence: a series written by Tom Breihan looking at what he perceives as the most significant action movie of each year since 1968.[38]
  • A.V. Undercover: a video series featuring bands covering songs in the A.V. Club office.[39]
  • AVQ&A: a forum where staff members offer opinions and personal anecdotes in response to a weekly pop culture-related question.[40]
  • Comics Panel: a monthly review of comic books.[41]
  • Expert Witness: an extended interview or oral history with participants in a certain event or industry insiders in a particular field. Past interviews have included game show participants, employees of the Columbia House mail-order music service, and American Idol winner David Cook.[42]
  • Great Job, Internet!: a news strand devoted to interesting websites, articles, or YouTube videos.[43]
  • Inventory: a list of examples from a pop culture-related theme such as "15 True Comeback Albums" or "24 Great Films Too Painful To Watch Twice."[44]
  • Marooned: An advice column for musicians written by Paul Maroon, the keyboardist for The Walkmen.[45]
  • Newswire: blog-style reporting of pop culture news.[46]
  • Podmass: a review of podcasts from the previous week.[47]
  • Primer and Gateways to Geekery: in-depth retrospective series intended to introduce readers to a specific popular culture subject such as the films of Akira Kurosawa, 1970s television sitcoms, or the discography of The Fall.[48][49] Gateways to Geekery articles were usually shorter than Primer installments, but were published more frequently. Gateways to Geekery was discontinued in July 2014, but installments of the longer Primer series have continued to be published.
  • Popcorn Politics: a video series discussing the political messages of movies.[50]
  • Random Reads and Random Roles: interview series focusing on several works from an author's or actor's career, respectively.[51][52]
  • Savage Love: a syndicated sex advice column by Dan Savage.
  • Scenic Routes: Mike D'Angelo looks at key movie scenes, explaining their meaning and importance.[53]
  • T.V. Club: episode-by-episode reviews of a wide variety of both current and classic TV shows.[54]
  • Wiki Wormhole: an examination of unusual Wikipedia articles.[55]


  • A.V. Club Crossword: a crossword puzzle edited by Ben Tausig.
  • Cheap Toy Roundup: showcases of cheap and poorly-made dollar-store toys.
  • Commentary Tracks of the Damned: reviews of DVD audio commentaries of films that were not particularly successful.
  • Films That Time Forgot: examinations of B movies.
  • Games of Our Lives: a weekly column written by actor Wil Wheaton about retro video games.[56]
  • The Hater: a column by Amelie Gillette that focused on pop culture and celebrity news. The Hater was put on hiatus in May 2010 after Gillette left The A.V. Club to become a writer for the TV series The Office.
    • The Tolerability Index, a weekly infographic that was an offshoot of The Hater and also written by Gillette. Despite her departure from The A.V. Club, Gillette continued to write weekly installments of this feature for the site until April 2016.[57]
  • HateSong: an interview series in which a guest discusses a song they dislike.[58]
  • Memory Wipe: a series examining the popular culture of the 1980s and 1990s.[59]
  • My Favorite Music Year: a series where various writers tried to answer the question "What year in music means the most to you?"
  • My Year of Flops and My World of Flops: reviews of box-office, television, and literary bombs by Nathan Rabin.[60][61] The feature was discontinued by the site on May 11, 2017,[62] but Rabin announced soon after that he would continue writing new entries in the series for his personal website.[63]
  • Money Matters: a set of interviews conducted by Nathan Rabin with individuals who had to overcome financial setbacks after having early success in entertainment.
  • One-Season Wonders, Weirdos, And Wannabes: a series focusing on television shows that lasted only one season.[64]
  • Pop Pilgrims: travel video series related to famous film, TV, and literary locations.[65]
  • Random Rules: an interview that asked celebrities to account for random tracks on their personal MP3 player.
  • Red Meat: a syndicated comic strip by Max Cannon.
  • Sawbuck Gamer: a column that highlighted inexpensive games.
  • Taste Test: Reports and reviews of unusual foodstuffs.[66] The feature has since moved to The A.V. Club's sister food website The Takeout.
  • The New Cult Canon: a series by Scott Tobias that examined movies that had attained cult status from the 1990s and the 2000s .
  • Then That's What They Called Music: a series by Nathan Rabin chronicling pop music's evolution through the CD series Now That's What I Call Music!
  • TV Outland: an analysis of unusual television networks.
  • We're No. 1: an in-depth essay series on the subject of albums and songs that reached number one on various worldwide charts with a focus on the Billboard 200 album chart and Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[67]
  • Wrapped Up in Books: a monthly book club for AV Club readers which included analysis articles and live discussions on various books with the A.V. Club staff.

The formerly available print version included subsections containing local content such as event previews, dining guides, and comics such as Postage Stamp Comics by Shannon Wheeler and Wondermark by David Malki.


  • The Tenacity Of The Cockroach: Conversations With Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (2002, ISBN 1-4000-4724-2) is a collection of 68 interviews featured in previous issues.
  • Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists (2009, ISBN 1-4165-9473-6) is a combination of never-before-published lists and material already available on the AV Club website.
  • My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure (2010, ISBN 1-4391-5312-4) consists of entries taken from the website's recurring My Year of Flops column along with new material not previously available. It is the first A.V. Club release credited to a single author: Nathan Rabin.

A.V. Club year-end lists[edit]

Starting in 1999, only lists written by individual writers were published. Beginning in 2006, The A.V. Club began publishing website-consensus year-end album and film rankings alongside lists for individual writers.

Annual rankings for television began in 2010.

Album of the Year[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Source
2006 The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America  United States [68]
2007 Arcade Fire Neon Bible  Canada [69]
2008 TV on the Radio Dear Science  United States [70]
2009 Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix  France [71]
2010 Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  United States [72]
2011 Wye Oak Civilian  United States [73]
2012 Frank Ocean Channel Orange  United States [74]
2013 Kanye West Yeezus  United States [75]
2014 Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire for No Witness  United States [76]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly  United States [77]
2016 David Bowie Blackstar  United Kingdom [78]
2017 Kendrick Lamar DAMN.  United States [79]

Film of the Year[edit]

Year Director Film Nation Source
2006 Alfonso Cuarón Children of Men  United States
 United Kingdom
2007 Joel and Ethan Coen No Country for Old Men  United States [81]
2008 Andrew Stanton WALL-E  United States [82]
2009 Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker  United States
2010 Debra Granik Winter's Bone  United States [84]
2011 Terrence Malick The Tree of Life  United States [85]
2012 Paul Thomas Anderson The Master  United States [86]
2013 Richard Linklater Before Midnight  United States [87]
2014 Richard Linklater Boyhood  United States [88]
2015 George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road  Australia
 United States
2016 Kenneth Lonergan Manchester by the Sea  United States [90]
2017 Sean Baker The Florida Project  United States [91]

Television Show of the Year[edit]

Year Show Network Nation Source
2010 Breaking Bad AMC  United States [92]
2011 Louie FX  United States [93]
2012 Breaking Bad AMC  United States [94]
2013 Enlightened HBO  United States [95]
2014 Hannibal NBC  United States [96]
2015 Mad Men AMC  United States [97]
2016 The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story FX  United States [98]
2017 The Good Place NBC  United States [99]


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External links[edit]