Summer '19 Pop Culture Round-Up

A lot has happened in entertainment this summer…let’s talk about it. Here’s a compilation of some of the hottest movies, music, and TV shows of the season divided into three categories: Hottest Hits, Bright Stars, and Hidden Gems.

Hottest Hits = The stuff that you’ve definitely heard about and have probably already seen/listened to (but it’s never too early for a re-watch/re-listen).

Bright Stars = The stuff you may have heard about and are considering checking out (I’m here to tell you: you should!).

Hidden Gems = The stuff you’re just learning about now that you won’t regret watching.

If you and your roomies can never agree on what to put on the TV or listen to in the car, use this list to narrow down your decision—and maybe find some new, fresh, entertaining content to consume. Enjoy!


  1. 1. HOTTEST HIT: Avengers Endgame

    Movie – Released April 26th

    Notable Quote: “Part of the journey is the end.”

    We started the summer watching our favorite heroes defeat Thanos and save their snapped friends. We said goodbye to Black Widow and Tony Stark and welcomed the new leaders of the Avengers, praying that good fortune befalls them in Phase 4. Endgame has moments of levity amongst the action and adventure, and it’s a nostalgic romp that longtime Marvel stans and new fans alike will enjoy.

  2. 2. HOTTEST HIT: Stranger Things 3

    TV Show – Released July 4th on Netflix

    Notable Quote: “Turn around…look at what you see…”


    Not even summer vacation is relaxing in Hawkins, Indiana. The threat the Mind Flayer posed in Season 2 came to fruition this season, which felt more epic than any season in the past. The bright, bubbly setting of an 80s shopping mall running parallel with the grossest monster in Stranger Things history was a totally tubular contrast. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to three characters: new fan-favorite Alexei, a Slurpee-loving Russian scientist; a flayed Billy Hargrove; and the heroic Chief Hopper. There’s been no official word from Netflix about a Season 4, but another season is—I need more Robin and Steve BFF Excellence in my life. Also, I need more #Jopper and #Mileven content! (Duffer Bros., I hope you're listening.)

  3. 3. HOTTEST HIT: Lover (Taylor Swift)

    Album – Released August 23rd

    Notable Quote: “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue. All’s well that ends well to end up with you.”


    Swift has been releasing singles all summer to get us excited about her new music, starting with “ME!” featuring Brenden Urie. Lover is Swift’s seventh album, and it’s already making headlines. According to Billboard, “In its first five days of release, Taylor Swift’s Lover has claimed the largest week for nay album in the U.S…since her last release, Reputation, in 2017.” I love the dreamy, ethereal feel of the songs on Lover, and I could listen to it from start to finish over and over again.

  4. 4. BRIGHT STAR: Good Omens

    TV Show – Released May 31st on Amazon Prime

    Notable Quote: “Can I hear a wahoo?”


    Good Omens starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen is based on the Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman book of the same name. Action-packed and existential, it’s a 6-episode limited series about an angel and a demon trying to stop the end of the world. It's fun, it's fresh, and it makes me question everything I've ever heard about fate, destiny, and the apocalypse.

  5. 5. BRIGHT STAR: Spider-Man Far From Home

    Movie – Released July 2nd

    Notable Quote: "I don't think Tony would've done what he did, if he didn't know you were gonna be here after he was gone."


    Anyone else crying the club rn? Peter Parker just wants a normal trip with his classmates and friends after the events of Endgame, but the Elementals have other plans. This movie rounded out Phase 3 of the MCU and left us with quite the cliffhanger—and also gave us enough Jake Gyllenhaal content to keep us fed for months. If you love Spider-Man, Tony Stark, and summer vacation movies, this is the one for you. It gets a little trippy during some of the Mysterio sequences, so remember not to believe everything you see...

  6. 6. BRIGHT STAR: No. 6 Collaborations Album (Ed Sheeran)

    Album – Released July 12th

    Notable Quote: "'Cause I don't care when I'm with my baby, yeah/All the bad things disappear."


    Ed Sheeran’s newest album is another collab album. The album consists of 15 songs featuring many other singers and musicians from all genres of music. I mean, before I listened to "Blow," I never thought Bruno Mars and Chris Stapleton could pull off a collab, but dang, Ed proved me wrong. Chances are, you’ve heard “I Don’t Care” with Sheeran and Justin Bieber on the radio, but be sure to check out the rest of the songs on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you like to listen. Like me, you might discover some new artists to listen to that you never knew about before.

  7. 7. HIDDEN GEM: Neotheater (AJR)

    Album – Released April 26th

    Notable Quote: “Just don’t forget about me when you get out of college.”


    My article from last April discussed my first impressions of AJR's newest album, and I've had all summer to continue to listen to it. My verdict is that it's my favorite album of all time. That's a little strong, I know, but it's amazing! AJR has a way of turning each song and album into pieces of real art. The songs have so much going on and are interesting to listen to, and the deeper meanings behind the lyrics make the listening experience transcendent. My suggestion is to listen to Neotheater in order—don't shuffle it. Each song is connected to another in some way, and listening to it in order allows you to follow along with the story the band is telling.


  8. 8. HIDDEN GEM: Blood and Treasure

    TV Show – Released May 21st on CBS

    Notable Quote: "I need someone who thinks like a criminal."


    In a world of streaming TV, we can’t forget about our good old cable channels. Blood and Treasure was CBS’ newest show this summer, about a former FBI agent named Danny teaming up with a former(?) criminal named Lexi to stop a terrorist and find Cleopatra (who's been missing from her tomb since WWII). Although Blood and Treasure was a little cheesy and predictable at times, it was filled with great action sequences and fight scenes, and it had a lot of heart. Also, it was set in countries all over the world with beautiful landscapes. The show has already been renewed for a season 2, and I can’t wait to see where the next season takes Lexi and Danny next.

  9. 9. HIDDEN GEM: Dora the Lost City of Gold (no, seriously)

    Movie – Released August 9th

    Notable Quote: “Can you say delicioso?” (Yes, that is a real quote from the movie.)


    Don’t judge me, readers, but I—a 21-year-old—dragged my family to see the Dora movie in the theater. I had to see what was up when I saw the trailer of teenaged-Dora being a badass in the jungle. Besides, I was a hardcore Dora the Explorer stan as a kid, and I wanted to know how she was different for the new generation. The movie was a fresh take on a beloved children’s show, and it almost felt like National Treasure for kids. There was humor, sweet moments between friends and family, jungle puzzle-solving, fourth-wall-breaking, and not to mention a star-studded cast. Is Dora and the Lost City of Gold going to win an Oscar? Probably not. But is it a wonderful homage to a great educational children's program that I hold dear to my heart? Yes, yes it is.

What was your favorite song, movie, or show of the summer? What are you most looking forward to that’s premiering this fall? Tweet @HerCampusUNCW with your answers!

[Gifs courtesy of Hero Image courtesy of Virtual Crickets on YouTube.]