The A.V. Club

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

The A.V. Club
Avclub logo.png
TypePopular culture, entertainment, news, reviews, politics, progressive
Owner(s)G/O Media
Editor-in-chiefPatrick Gomez
Founded1993; 27 years ago (1993)
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, U.S.

The A.V. Club is an online newspaper[1] 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 its satirical parent publication, The Onion. While it was a part of The Onion's 1996 website launch, The A.V. Club had minimal presence on the website at that point.

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.[2] The publication's name is a reference to audiovisual (AV) clubs typical of American high schools.[3]


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

In 1996, both The Onion and The A.V. Club were debuted on the Internet.[4] The A.V. Club was originally a sub-section[5] of the main domain name.

The supplement was moved to its own domain name,,[6] before the 2005 acquisition of the shorter domain name.[7] The latter change 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. Some contributors have become established as freelance writers and editors.

In December 2004, Stephen Thompson left his position as founding editor of The A.V. Club.[8]

According to Sean Mills, then-president of The Onion, the A.V. Club website first reached more than 1 million unique visitors in October 2007.[9] In late 2009, the website was reported to have received more than 1.4 million unique visitors and 75,000 comments per month.[10]

At its peak, the print version of The A.V. Club was available in 17 different cities.[11] 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 production in the last three markets.[12]

2012–2014 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."[13][14][15]

On April 2, 2013, long-time film editor and critic Scott Tobias stepped down as film editor of The A.V. Club. He said via Twitter, "After 15 great years @theavclub, I step down as Film Editor next Friday."[16]

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 with Scott Tobias and Keith Phipps.[17] Koski also said that she would continue to write freelance articles.[18] Writer Noel Murray announced he would be joining their new project, but would also continue to contribute to The A.V. Club in a reduced capacity.[17] 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.[19]

In April and June 2014, senior staff writers Kyle Ryan, Sonia Saraiya, and Emily VanDerWerff[20] left the website for positions at Entertainment Weekly, Salon, and Vox Media, respectively.[21][22] In 2015, Ryan returned to Onion, Inc. for a position in development.[23] Following his departure from The Dissolve earlier that month, Nathan Rabin returned to write freelance for the A.V. Club website in May 2015.[24] He renewed his regular column "My World of Flops". The Dissolve folded in July 2015.[25]

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 and based on the website.[26] The series, hosted by Teti, began airing on Fusion on 16 March 2017 and ran for one season.[27] The series featured news, criticism, and discussions about various popular culture topics and featured staff members from the website.

Move to Univision, then G/O Media[edit]

In January 2016, Univision Communications acquired "a 40 percent, controlling stake" in Onion Inc., the parent company of The A.V. Club.[28] 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.[29]

In November 2017, due to the community's expanding membership and an increasing volume of original content, The A.V. Club offshoot website After Dark was switched from Disqus to a separate WordPress site, re-branded The Avocado. The site was subsequently migrated from Bulbs, an internal content management system developed by Onion Inc., to the Gawker-developed Kinja platform.[30][31] It has deleted the comment section and audience reviews hosted on the previous site. In July of 2018, Univision announced they were looking for a buyer for the entire Gizmodo Group.[32]

In April 2019, Gizmodo and The Onion were sold to private equity firm Great Hill Partners, which combined them into a new company named G/O Media.[33] In July 2019, executive editor Laura M. Browning and managing editor Caitlin PenzeyMoog left.[34] In early 2020, it was announced that former People magazine and Entertainment Weekly editor Patrick Gomez had been named editor-in-chief and the site was opening a Los Angeles bureau.[35]

Onion Inc. Union[edit]

In March 2018 the employees of the company announced they had unionized with The Writers Guild Of America, East.[36] The union comprises "all of the creative staffs at Onion Inc.: The A.V. Club, The Onion, ClickHole, The Takeout, Onion Labs, and Onion Inc.’s video and art departments."[37] (ClickHole was subsequently acquired by Cards Against Humanity in February 2020.[38]) The union was recognized on April 20, 2018[39] and reached a contract agreement with management on December 20, 2018.[40] The contract includes "annual pay increases, minimum pay grades, strong diversity and anti-harassment language, just cause, union security, editorial independence, intellectual property rights, and an end to permalancers."[41]


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.[42] After the review was removed, editor Keith Phipps posted an apology on the website, stating that the reporter assigned the review could not locate a copy of the book ("for obvious reasons") and so fabricated it.[43] Leonard Pierce, the author of the review, was terminated from his freelance role with the website.[44]


  • 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 A.V. 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 My Year of Flops column by Nathan Rabin, along with new material not previously available. It is the first A.V. Club release credited to a single author.
  • Monsters Of The Week: The Complete Critical Companion To The X-Files (2018, ISBN 1-4197-3247-1) is a collection of the X-Files episode recaps written by A.V. Club contributor Zack Handlen and former A.V. Club TV editor Emily VanDerWerff. In addition to The A.V. Club recaps, the book includes X-Files cast and writer interviews, illustrations from Patrick Leger, and a foreword by X-Files creator Chris Carter.


In 2017, The A.V. Club won an Eisner Award for "Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism" (for works published in 2016).[45] The award went to writers Oliver Sava, Caitlin Rosberg, Shea Hennum, and Tegan O’Neil, and editor Caitlin PenzeyMoog.[46]

A.V. Club year- and decade-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, together with lists created by individual writers. Additionally, decade-end lists were published for the 2000s and 2010s.[47][48]

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 [49]
2007 Arcade Fire Neon Bible  Canada [50]
2008 TV on the Radio Dear Science  United States [51]
2009 Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix  France [52]
2010 Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  United States [53]
2011 Wye Oak Civilian  United States [54]
2012 Frank Ocean Channel Orange  United States [55]
2013 Kanye West Yeezus  United States [56]
2014 Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire for No Witness  United States [57]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly  United States [58]
2016 David Bowie Blackstar  United Kingdom [59]
2017 Kendrick Lamar DAMN.  United States [60]
2018 Beach House 7  United States [61]
2019 FKA Twigs Magdalene  United Kingdom [62]

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 [64]
2008 Andrew Stanton WALL-E  United States [65]
2009 Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker  United States
2010 Debra Granik Winter's Bone  United States [67]
2011 Terrence Malick The Tree of Life  United States [68]
2012 Paul Thomas Anderson The Master  United States [69]
2013 Richard Linklater Before Midnight  United States [70]
2014 Richard Linklater Boyhood  United States [71]
2015 George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road  Australia
 United States
2016 Kenneth Lonergan Manchester by the Sea  United States [73]
2017 Sean Baker The Florida Project  United States [74]
2018 Lee Chang-dong Burning  South Korea [75]
2019 Martin Scorsese The Irishman  United States [76]

Television Show of the Year[edit]

Year Show Network Nation Source
2010 Breaking Bad AMC  United States [77]
2011 Louie FX  United States [78]
2012 Breaking Bad AMC  United States [79]
2013 Enlightened HBO  United States [80]
2014 Hannibal NBC  United States [81]
2015 Mad Men AMC  United States [82]
2016 The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story FX  United States [83]
2017 The Good Place NBC  United States [84]
2018 The Americans FX  United States [85]
2019 Fleabag Prime Video  United Kingdom [86]


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External links[edit]