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Autumn brings pumpkin spice, chillier nights and some of the most highly-anticipated books, albums, TV shows and video game releases.
At Yahoo Entertainment, we pride ourselves on our pop culture prowess and good taste, if we do say so ourselves. Here's what we're most excited to read, stream and play this fall.
Page-turners we won't put down
Britney Spears's The Woman in Me
For nearly 14 years, Britney Spears was held in a conservatorship she objected to. The pop star was told when to work, what meds to take, where she could go and how to spend her money — by people she was forced to pay. She was watched 24/7, put in treatment against her will and became the non-custodial parent of her sons (from whom she's now completely estranged).
Since her conservatorship ended in 2021, Spears has been fighting to find her voice and place in a world in which everyone has an opinion about her mental health, relationship status and Instagram posts. The hope with this memoir is getting true insight into her experience and life — not from "sources close to Britney," her lawyer, court documents, but... her.
Which family members does she talk to? What happened with her sons? Will she perform again? Is she OK? Getting answers to those questions just scratches the surface of what I hope is included in this tome. — Suzy Byrne
The Woman in Me is available Oct. 24 at bookstores, including Amazon.
The Mysteries from Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson
On Dec. 31, 1995, the world bid farewell to irascible, imaginative mischief-maker Calvin and his tiger sidekick Hobbes. That final Calvin and Hobbes comic strip was also the last word by their creator, Bill Watterson... until now. The reclusive artist and writer is back on bookshelves with The Mysteries, a "fable for grown-ups" set in a medieval-like world.
Watterson hasn't been entirely silent during his 28-year hiatus, giving the occasional interview, penning appreciations of other artists and doing guest cartoonist cameos. But The Mysteries is his most substantial creative work since Calvin and Hobbes ended and it's appropriately been shrouded in mystery since it was first announced. Only a handful of images have been made available prior to its Oct. 10 release, and they promise a stark contrast to the colorful world of his signature comic strip.
Then again, Watterson also regularly made room in Calvin's world for flourishes of horror — think of those tentacled monsters under the boy's bed or the genuinely unsettling poem, "A Nauseous Nocturne" that had its roots in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." The Mysteries appears to continue in that vein with moody black-and-white images of dark forests and knights on a perilous quest.
Time will tell if this is a one-off or the first of several stories that Watterson has planned. One thing's for sure: He's never gonna touch Calvin and Hobbes again — or let anyone else reboot it, for that matter. And you know what? That's how it should be. — Ethan Alter
The Mysteries is available Oct. 10 at bookstores, including Amazon.
The Cure co-founder's Goth: A History
The Cure wrote the book on Goth… so who better to literally write the book on Goth than one of the Cure's original imaginary boys?
While frontman Robert Smith has long eschewed the "Gothic" tag, the band's co-founder, Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst, is fully embracing it, and exploring it, in his second book, Goth: A History.
The follow-up and companion piece to Tolhurst’s 2016 autobiography Cured: A Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, Goth joins the dots of Tolhurst's own unique story with the darkest, doomiest and most romantic moments in pop culture.
The book investigates the genre's literary inspirations (Plath, Camus, Sexton, Sarte); fashion icons; protopunk influences (everyone from Nico to Suicide to Bolan and Bowie); "Eternals" (Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie); and "Legion" followers (Drab Majesty and Cold Cave). The result is a fascinating tome that is part memoir, part travelogue, part textbook, and ultimately a definitive guide to what has always been one of music’s hardest-to-define genres. — Lyndsey Parker
Goth: A History is available Sept. 26 at bookstores, including Amazon.
Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll
The second book from author Jessica Knoll, who penned the New York Times bestseller Luckiest Girl Alive, is inspired by serial killer Ted Bundy's vicious attack on the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University in 1978, in which two women died and two more were wounded.
But in a departure from many crime stories, Knoll zooms in not on the Bundy-esque character, but on his victims. She told the Washington Post that she was inspired by a comment the judge made about Bundy at his sentencing; He called the convicted murderer a "bright young man" who chose to go down the wrong path.
The plot centers around two women "brought together by violent acts of the same man, and become allies and sisters in arms as they pursue the justice that would otherwise elude them." Knoll's extensive research for the novel included a meeting with Kathy Kleiner, a survivor of Bundy's attack on the Chi Omega house who testified against him at his trial. — Raechal Shewfelt
Bright Young Women is available now at bookstores, including Amazon.
TV shows we're ready to binge
The Golden Bachelor
I was a die-hard Bachelor, Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise fan for years. But circa 2019 — before the franchise reckoned with race-related issues — I slowly gave up. Everyone who came on the show seemed like they only wanted to become influencers. Even if practically no one is there for the right reasons, I need to believe at least some people are there for love and that hasn't seemed like the case recently.
But, I'm ready to take it slow and get back together with the franchise again now that ABC is debuting The Golden Bachelor. At age 72, it seems unlikely Gerry Turner, a retired restaurateur, is just doing this for more followers. Every one of the women competing for his heart is at least 60 years old. Maybe it's because I'm older now than when I started watching the dating franchise, but I'm ready to mature with it. — Taryn Ryder
The Golden Bachelor premieres Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
The Gilded Age Season 2
Don’t you love a dynasty? After the deliciously witty first season of The Gilded Age ended on a high note, I'm eagerly awaiting the anticipated return of New York City's turn-of-the-century high society.
Loosely based on America's first mega-rich families (the Astors, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, to name a few) at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, Season 2 continues the enduring tension between "old money" and "new money."
The second season will largely focus on "dueling opera houses," touching on the first-ever opening night of the Metropolitan Opera (which, at the time, was considered a symbol of the new money vanguard), according to executive producer David Crockett.
"You have this very clear choice for all of New York society: Are you going to go the old money route, or the new money route? It's a great engine for a classic clash," Crockett told Vanity Fair. Oh, the drama of it all! — David Artavia
The second season of The Gilded Age premieres on Oct. 29 on Max.
Music to our ears
1989 (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift
I remember exactly where I was when I listened to 1989 for the first time. (Driving down Santa Monica Blvd. — cliché, I know.)
Taylor Swift's transition from country to pop was a masterpiece and is one of the few albums I still listen to all the way through. Like every Swiftie, I hung on her every word that may or may not have been about Harry Styles. We've got five new tracks — "Is It Over Now?," "Now That We Don't Talk," "Say Don't Go," "Suburban Legends" and "Slut!" — and I'm going to act like it's 2014 again as I try and uncover all the Easter eggs.
Swift said this is her "FAVORITE rerecord" because the "the 5 From The Vault tracks are so insane." Bring it on! — T.R.
1989 (Taylor's Version) will be released on Oct. 27 on Taylor Swift's official website.
Jonny by the Drums
One of the greatest songwriters of his generation, or maybe any generation, Jonny Pierce started Brooklyn indie band the Drums in 2008, when he was still in the closet. Growing up in a cult-like religious community in small-town upstate New York and raised by strict, unsupportive Pentecostal-preacher parents, he later struggled with being gay in the public eye, and he found himself estranged off and on from his family due to his sexuality.
Over the years, Pierce has chronicled his fraught coming-out journey and channeled all of his long-held pain into a string of increasingly confessional, near-perfect jangle-pop records. Along the way, he's reached an increasingly younger audience – a rare feat for a band that’s been around for 15 years – with one particular decade-old Drums earworm, the soaring and Smiths-like "Money," suddenly going viral last year and racking up 230 million streams on Spotify.
Now, having achieved bona fide queer icon status, the 41-year-old Pierce is unveiling his most self-reflective album yet, Jonny, in which he opens up more than ever before about his childhood trauma. (The eponymous title, and the stark cover-art portrait of a literally naked Pierce, indicate the vulnerability and intimacy of the content within.)
During Jonny's between-song vignettes, Pierce sings directly to his younger selves. And judging by how 6,000 young superfans belted along to the then-unreleased record’s new material at Los Angeles’s Shrine Expo Hall in July, the music is connecting, and will continue to resonate, with many other young "Jonnys" out there. — L.P.
Jonny is out Oct. 13 on Apple Music.
Danse Macabre by Duran Duran
While Duran Duran don't get a mention in Lol Tolhurst’s Goth anthology, the new wave legends have always had a dark side. For instance, 41 years ago – a whole year before Michael Jackson's similarly monster-mashing "Thriller" premiered on MTV – they were terrorized by a fleet of rotting zombies in their freaky "Night Boat" video. And last year, they resurrected that creepy classic on a cobweb- and coffin-bedecked stage for a special one-off Halloween show in Las Vegas.
Five days after Halloween 2022, Duran Duran were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but sadly, original guitarist Andy Taylor was unable to appear at the Hall ceremony due to his battle with stage 4 prostate cancer. But now, everything is coming full-circle. That Halloween Sin City extravaganza not only inspired Duran Duran to head into the studio and create the most spontaneous and organic album of their career, but that album, Danse Macabre, features their first recordings with Taylor since 2004.
Notably, Taylor plays on a new version of frontman Simon Le Bon’s favorite Duran song, the spooky-season-appropriate Seven and the Ragged Tiger-era B-side "Sekret October" (now retitled "Secret Oktober 31st"). The original title track features another former Duran guitarist, Warren Cuccurullo, who hadn't worked with the group since 2001.
Other all-stars joining what not-so-closeted Goths Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor have described as their "ultimate Halloween party" include longtime producers Nile Rodgers and Mr. Hudson and Måneskin's Victoria De Angelis. This record is full of all sort of tricks and treats for dark-hearted Duranies. — L.P.
Danse Macabre is out Oct. 27 on Apple Music.
Games we can't wait to play
Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Growing up, I was strictly a Nintendo kid. But when the PlayStation 5 hit shelves three years ago, I made the late-in-life switch to Sony specifically to try my button-mashing luck at two specific franchises: Naughty Dog's The Last of Us two-parter and Insomniac's Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. After getting over the Nintendo-to-Sony learning curve, I had a blast with the games — plus Ghosts of Tsushima — getting lost in their expansive worlds and next-gen gameplay.
I've taken an extended break from the PS5, but the machine's going to get a fresh workout when Spider-Man 2 swings onto shelves. The early trailers are an aspiring wall-crawler's dream, with new neighborhoods to visit, Spider suits to find and villains to fight, including the web-slinger's most formidable opponent, Venom... although sadly not the Tom Hardy version. Best of all, Miles and Peter are now full partners in crimefighting — you can switch between the two Spider-Bros as the game unfolds, although Insomniac has confirmed that a co-op mode isn't happening.
There's a good reason why Insomniac's version of Spidey's New York is now just as popular — if not more so — than the one featured in Marvel Comics or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The games weave together classic bits of Spider-lore into a new web of emotional storytelling choices, memorable character designs and above-average voice acting. And then there's the gameplay itself, which simulates the experience of being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man better than any previous video game. Maybe one day we'll finally get a Superman game that's on this level. — E.A.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 will be released on Oct. 20 for PS5 on Amazon.
Assassin's Creed Mirage
Get your consoles ready! Possibly one of the most anticipated video games of the year is Ubisoft's Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the latest iteration in the groundbreaking series that first premiered in 2007.
Mirage is set in 9th century Baghdad with arch-assassin Basim as the lead character (20 years before he first appeared in Valhalla). So far, we know Basim will be joining the Hidden Ones, whose mission is to find and eliminate the Order of the Ancients, a gang of radicals and anarchists who are the main antagonists in the series, in efforts to break their hold over Baghdad.
As artistic director Jean-Luc Sala told GameSpot, players will the option to implement a "nostalgic visual filter" to explore the game with a blue-gray color palette reminiscent of the very first game (oh, the memories), making it even more personal. — D.A.
Assassin's Creed Mirage will be released on Oct. 5 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One and PC on Amazon.