The first season of the Netflix series Glow was a winning introduction to the fictionalized history of the real-life '80s formation of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. While the first season essentially introduced the cast of women just making their way into the new "sport," the new second season offers much richer storytelling thanks to our familiarity with Marc Maron's "Sam," Betty Gilpin's "Debbie," Alison Brie's "Ruth" and the rest. The league finds unsteady success during season two, and we find out a lot more about the non-wrestling lives of the "Welfare Queen" and "The She Wolf." As a combination of comedy and drama, Glow hits hard. (DAN NAILEN)
ON THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
Some noteworthy new music arrives online and in stories July 20. To wit:
LORI McKENNA, The Tree. Best known for penning hits for Little Big Town and Tim McGraw, she's finally being recognized for her own folk excellence.
PUNCH BROTHERS, All Ashore. The ace acoustic band led by Chris Thile is back and coming to town Aug. 15 for a show at the Bing.
TY SEGALL AND WHITE FENCE, Joy. Two Cali garage-rockers, one excellent collaboration.
WILD PINK, Yolk in the Fur. If you love power-pop, add this Brooklyn crew's sophomore album to your collection right now.
'BLAST OF ANGRY WHITE WATER'
Two men cling to a ferry stolen from an Indian boy as it bucks down the Spokan River in bestselling author Jess Walter's latest piece of fiction, published in Harper's this month. "Plante's Ferry" follows the escape of a thief and an unwitting 17-year-old accomplice in a time of knife fights, pelts and when Spokane was spelled without the "e." Walter brings the beast of a river to life ("like a nest of white serpents") as it rolls toward the "cold froth" at the bottom of the deadly falls. At once, the river is a symbol for the white man's arrogance and a vehicle for his reckoning. (MITCH RYALS)
Queer Eye, the Netflix hit that follows a group of gay men with the goal of improving the lives of people who need just a little help, has been nominated for four Emmys. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that almost every episode of this show leaves me in tears. Each episode involves the guys mentoring and encouraging a person who is struggling with something, whether it be self-acceptance, motivation, etc. It's delightfully cheesy and, at times, overwhelmingly heartwarming, which is the perfect combination for waterworks (for me, anyways). (BROOKE CARLSON)
THE DEFECT IN SLAY THE SPIRE
Slay the Spire is already a unique enough game: Yes, it's one of those role-playing games that forces you to restart whenever your character dies. But its fighting system uses cards, playing out like Magic: The Gathering battles, instead of moves. Best of all, the three classes of characters play in radically different ways: The most interesting class is "The Defect," a robot who can summon up to three floating orbs. You can either let those orbs passively defend, buff or attack. Or you can play a card to supercharge the orb's power in a single moment, destroying it in the process. (DANIEL WALTERS)