What to Read After Finishing a Book, Movie, Game, or TV Show

I watched Westworld a few months after it aired and I felt lonely; nobody still wanted to talk about it. Half the fun of a good piece of entertainment – a TV show, movie, book, even a podcast or video game – is talking about it, studying it, learning more about it. Any good work of art benefits from studying, and a bad work of art benefits from laughing at it with someone.

So I opened the same tabs that I open whenever I finish something that I love or hate. These sites analyze stories, collect trivia, and give fans the opportunity to compare their impressions, reactions, and theories. (There are spoilers in the links.)

TV Trails

The best creative site, covering over 60,000 works including mainstream media such as television and books, as well as fanfiction, professional wrestlers, pinball machines, blogs, podcasts, toys, board games and real life.

The piece page provides a colorful summary and lists the “tropes” that the piece includes — elements such as “unreliable storyteller,” “breakup song,” or “butler did it” that are used in several pieces. On the page “World of the Wild West,” there are trails as “the AI Is a crapshoot” (robots act against their human masters) and “Color-coded for your convenience” (bad guys wear black hats and the good guys wear white hats). Here’s another one:

Furry Terrible / Ironic name: The heavily armed security strike teams, armed with machine guns full of live ammunition, ready to burn down any failed host, are called “QA”, which means “quality assurance”.

Since this particular show has a metaphysical theme, it is a particularly rich source of tropes. Much like many other works, Westworld also has TV pages for The Shiny Fridge (the kind of basic plot logic or hidden joke that you only learn a few hours later when you get a snack from the fridge) . (story elements that don’t add up), trivia , “Wild Mass Guesses” (fan theories) and “Your mileage may vary” (imagery that fans disagree with).


The Wikipedia plot summary might sound silly to Citizen Kane , but the Production section usually has some interesting details about how the movie or show came about. ( Westworld has a zesty option. ) The Welcome section is the starting point for reading reviews.

And those gruesome plots are a great way to scratch the itch when you really don’t feel like watching what everyone’s talking about. So I burned through a few seasons of “Lost.” I know I stole hundreds of hours of thought-provoking entertainment from me, but ars longa, vita brevis .


Pages with little things and nonsense on IMDb are very poorly moderated, so don’t trust them, but check them for fun. Especially the section “incorrectly regarded as dumb.” Here’s the first half of the slob for the Avatar movie :

An airplane that looks like a helicopter makes the sound of an ordinary helicopter – this is not true: high-speed propellers with a frame make a completely different, completely unique, buzz-like, smoother noise at a higher step. However, we know that they operate in an atmosphere that is completely different from that of Earth …

AV Club

The TV reviews at AV Club (a sister site of Lifehacker) are much less complete than these other databases, but they are great for TV discussions that only spoil the episodes you’ve already watched. And since AV Club revisits old shows, you can use it as a companion to 90s hits like The X-Files . If you are not interested in the reviewer of this show, you can skip other fans’ comments.


Most popular shows, video games, comics, and book series have their own subreddit, which usually opens a thread for each new episode and monitors for spoilers. These topics are still fun to read even years later. The real mega-hits have several subreddits, such as the Game of Thrones main subroutine , a dedicated theory subroutine , a Freefolk subscription for unmoderated , often spoiler-filled discussions, and a Song of Ice and Fire subset that focuses on books.

The most popular films have a branch in the Movies subreddit; here is the thread of Black Panther . The individual book discussions are much more scattered, but you can google “reddit [book name]” to dig up some of them.


It turns out SparkNotes works great as an add-on when you’re actually reading a book. I used it to appreciate the Victorian sexuality themes in Dracula . There are also many modern works on the site. If SparkNotes doesn’t let you down, try Schmoop (which wraps its analysis in questionable slang) or CliffsNotes (really a cheat sheet for thinking people). For example, while SparkNotes only covers two of Kafka’s stories, CliffsNotes covers nine more .

You can spend weeks, maybe years, reading some kind of entertainment. Each of the hundreds of video games has its own wiki . Thousands of music albums are cataloged on Allmusic , Genius and WhoSampled . Franchises like Pokemon and Star Wars are sorted by site. Shows like Nice Place have spawned hundreds of reviews, discussions, interviews with actors and writers, podcasts and fan art. Each iconic franchise inspires fanfiction and fan art . So tell me where do you go when you finish something and need to know more?


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