The A.V. Club is an online newspaper 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 The Onion. In the early years after that was established on the Internet in 1996, the supplement had minimal presence on the website.
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. The publication's name is a reference to audiovisual clubs typical of American high schools.
The supplement was moved to its own domain name, theavclub.com, before the 2005 acquisition of the shorter avclub.com domain name. 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.
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. In late 2009 the website was reported to have received more than 1.4 million unique visitors and 75,000 comments per month.
At its peak, the print version of The A.V. Club was available in 17 different cities. 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.
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."
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.
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. Koski also said that she would continue to write freelance articles. 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. 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.
In April and June 2014, senior staff writers Kyle Ryan, Sonia Saraiya, and Emily VanDerWerff left the website for positions at Entertainment Weekly, Salon and Vox Media, respectively. In 2015, Ryan returned to Onion, Inc. for a position in development. Following his departure from The Dissolve earlier that month, Nathan Rabin returned to write freelance for the AV Club website in May 2015. He renewed his regular column "My World of Flops". The Dissolve folded in July 2015.
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. The series, hosted by Teti, began airing on Fusion on 16 March 2017 and ran for one season. The series featured news, criticism, and discussions about various popular culture topics and featured staff members from the website.
In January 2016 Univision Communications acquired "a 40 percent, controlling stake" in Onion Inc., the parent company of The A.V. Club. 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.
The site was subsequently migrated from Bulbs, an internal content management system developed by Onion Inc., to the Gawker-developed Kinja platform. 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.
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. After the review was removed, editor Keith Phipps posted an apology on the website. Leonard Pierce, the author of the review, was terminated from his freelance role with the website.
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.
Annual rankings for television began in 2010.
|2006||The Hold Steady||Boys and Girls in America||United States|||
|2007||Arcade Fire||Neon Bible||Canada|||
|2008||TV on the Radio||Dear Science||United States|||
|2009||Phoenix||Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix||France|||
|2010||Kanye West||My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy||United States|||
|2011||Wye Oak||Civilian||United States|||
|2012||Frank Ocean||Channel Orange||United States|||
|2013||Kanye West||Yeezus||United States|||
|2014||Angel Olsen||Burn Your Fire for No Witness||United States|||
|2015||Kendrick Lamar||To Pimp a Butterfly||United States|||
|2016||David Bowie||Blackstar||United Kingdom|||
|2017||Kendrick Lamar||DAMN.||United States|||
|2018||Beach House||7||United States|||
|2006||Alfonso Cuarón||Children of Men|| United States
|2007||Joel and Ethan Coen||No Country for Old Men||United States|||
|2008||Andrew Stanton||WALL-E||United States|||
|2009||Kathryn Bigelow||The Hurt Locker|| United States
|2010||Debra Granik||Winter's Bone||United States|||
|2011||Terrence Malick||The Tree of Life||United States|||
|2012||Paul Thomas Anderson||The Master||United States|||
|2013||Richard Linklater||Before Midnight||United States|||
|2014||Richard Linklater||Boyhood||United States|||
|2015||George Miller||Mad Max: Fury Road|| Australia
|2016||Kenneth Lonergan||Manchester by the Sea||United States|||
|2017||Sean Baker||The Florida Project||United States|||
|2018||Lee Chang-dong||Burning||South Korea|||
|2010||Breaking Bad||AMC||United States|||
|2012||Breaking Bad||AMC||United States|||
|2015||Mad Men||AMC||United States|||
|2016||The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story||FX||United States|||
|2017||The Good Place||NBC||United States|||
|2018||The Americans||FX||United States|||