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The A.V Club

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The A.V Club

The A.V. Club
Type Alt-Weekly Entertainment Newspaper
Format Paper (included with The Onion) and Internet
Owner The Onion, Inc.
Founded Mid-90s (see History)
Headquarters Chicago
Official website

The A.V. Club is an entertainment newspaper and website published by The Onion. It features reviews of new films, music, television, books, games and DVDs, as well as interviews and other regular offerings examining both new and classic media and other elements of pop culture. Unlike its parent publication, The A.V. Club is not satirical, though much of its content maintains a similarly humorous tone.

The A.V. Club print edition is bundled with The Onion and distributed as a free publication in Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Denver/Boulder, Austin, Ann Arbor, Columbus and Providence.[1]

The A.V. Club is based in Chicago.[2]


In 1993, five years after the founding of The Onion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW student Stephen Thompson launched an entertainment section, later renamed The A.V. Club as part of the newspaper's 1995 redesign. (The name references "The Audio-Visual Club"). While the section was initially viewed as an afterthought to the publication's flagship fake news stories, Thompson credited it as becoming "very important" in allowing The Onion to expand distribution nationwide, as it was easier to sell advertising next to movie reviews and concert listings than satirical news items.

Both The Onion and The A.V. Club made their Internet debut in 1996, although not all print features were immediately available online. The A.V. Club website was redesigned in 2005 to incorporate blogs and reader comments. In 2006, concurrent with another redesign, the site shifted its model to begin adding content on a daily rather than weekly basis.

According to then Onion president Sean Mills, the A.V. Club website received over one million unique visitors for the first time in October 2007.[3] In late 2009, the site was reported as receiving over 1.4 million unique visitors and 75,000 comments per month.[2]

In December 2004, Stephen Thompson left his position as founding editor of The A.V. Club.[4]

On December 9, 2010, it was discovered 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 or even completed by the authors.[5] The offending review was removed from The A.V. Club, and editor Keith Phipps posted an apology on the site.[6]

2012-13 senior staff departures

On December 13, 2012, long-time writer & editor Keith Phipps—who oversaw the development of the site for eight years after Stephen Thompson left—stepped down from his role as editor of The A.V. Club stating, "Onion Inc. and I have come to a mutual parting of the ways."[7][8][9]

On April 2, 2013, longtime film editor and critic Scott Tobias stepped down from his role as film editor of The A.V. Club stating, "After 15 great years @theavclub, I step down as Film Editor next Friday."[7]

On April 26, 2013, it was announced that longtime writers Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson and Genevieve Koski would also be leaving the site to begin work on a new project alongside Scott Tobias and Keith Phipps,[10] with Genevieve Koski stating on her Twitter that she'd continue to write freelance articles.[11] In the comments section of the article announcing the departures, writer Noel Murray also announced he would also be joining their project but would continue to contribute to The A.V. Club in a reduced capacity.[10] On May 30, 2013, it was announced that the six writers would be a part of the senior staff of The Dissolve, a film website run by Pitchfork Media.[12]

Regular features


  • A.V. Undercover, a video series featuring bands covering songs in the A.V. Club office.
  • AVQ&A, a forum where staff members offer opinions and personal anecdotes in response to a weekly pop culture-related question.
  • Comics Panel, monthly (formally bi-weekly) reviews of comic books.
  • B movies
  • 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"
  • Newswire, blog-style reporting of pop culture news items
  • Podmass, a review of podcasts from the past week; published every Friday
  • Pop Pilgrims, Dan Telfer and Brian Berrebbi's video series of their travels to famous film, TV, and literary locations.
  • Random Reads, an interview focusing on several works from an author's career
  • Random Roles, an interview focusing on several selected roles from an actor's career
  • Random Rules, an interview asking a celebrity to account for random tracks on his or her personal MP3 player
  • Red Meat, a syndicated comic strip by Max Cannon
  • 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.
  • Taste Test, reports and reviews of unusual foodstuffs
  • The Office. The Tolerability Index is still published weekly, although it has become more known amongst regular commenters as a forum in which to post discussions on a variety of topics, often personal and unrelated to the feature's content that week.
  • T.V. Club, episode-by-episode reviews of a wide variety of both current and classic TV shows


  • A.V. Club Crossword, edited by Ben Tausig
  • Commentary Tracks of the Damned, a feature reviewing DVD audio commentaries of universally panned films
  • My Favorite Music Year, a series where various writers try to answer the question: What year in music means the most to you?
  • My World of Flops, reviews of box-office, television, and literary bombs by Nathan Rabin
  • Sawbuck Gamer, a column highlighting inexpensive games.
  • The New Cult Canon, a series by Scott Tobias examining movies from the '90s and the '00s that have attained cult status.
  • 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!
  • Whatever Happened to Alternative Nation?, Steven Hyden's personal retrospective on alternative music in the 1990s.

The eight print editions of The A.V. Club include subsections containing local content such as event previews and dining guides. They also include additional comics such as Postage Stamp Comics by Shannon Wheeler and Wondermark by David Malki. Not all print editions include Savage Love and Red Meat, generally due to other syndication arrangements in those cities.


In 2002, The A.V. Club released a collection of 68 interviews that had been featured in previous issues, entitled The Tenacity Of The Cockroach: Conversations With Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (2002, ISBN 1-4000-4724-2).

On 13 October 2009, the second A.V. Club book, 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) was released, featuring a combination of never-before-published lists and material already available on the AV Club website.

The A.V. Club released 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) on 19 October 2010. The book consists of entries taken from the site's recurring My Year of Flops column along with new material not previously available. It is A.V. Clubs first release credited to a single author, Nathan Rabin.

A.V. Club year-end lists

The A.V. Club began publishing website consensus year-end album and film lists beginning in 2006. Before that year (starting in 1999), only individual writers' lists were published. Lists for individual writers continue to be published alongside the website consensus list.

Album of the Year

Year Artist Album Nation Source
2006 The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America  United States [1]
2007 Arcade Fire Neon Bible  Canada [2]
2008 TV on the Radio Dear Science  United States [3]
2009 Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix  France [4]
2010 Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  United States [5]
2011 Wye Oak Civilian  United States [6]
2012 Frank Ocean Channel Orange  United States [7]

Film of the Year

Year Director Film Nation Source
2006 Alfonso Cuarón Children of Men  Mexico [8]
2007 Coen Brothers No Country for Old Men  United States [9]
2008 Andrew Stanton WALL-E  United States [10]
2009 Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker  United States [11]
2010 Debra Granik Winter's Bone  United States [12]
2011 Terrence Malick The Tree of Life  United States [13]
2012 Paul Thomas Anderson The Master  United States [14]


External links

  • The A.V Club
  • The Hater

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