Eric Deggans

In avoiding one racial controversy, Emmy voters created another one.

Voting for 2020 Primetime Emmy nominations got underway in early July, just as the nation was focused on the anti-racism reckoning begun by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. The general public was seeking out films and TV shows centered on Black people and issues to learn more; TV critics like me wondered how that dynamic might affect the Emmys.

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Finally today, Beyonce's long-awaited visual album "Black Is King" dropped yesterday on the Disney Plus streaming service. It includes a song Beyonce released earlier as a music video called "Already."

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For a guy who has spent more than 35 years handing out answers as host of the popular TV quiz show Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek holds back a lot of them in his new memoir, ironically titled The Answer Is ...: Reflections on My Life.

TV Review: 'P-Valley'

Jul 12, 2020

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Ramona Gray Amaro has a spot in reality TV history. She is the first Black woman to compete on CBS's unscripted hit series Survivor, which took 16 people and isolated them on an island in Malaysia, vying for a million-dollar prize, on the show's first season in 2000, Survivor: Borneo.

But when she saw how she was depicted in the show, which takes footage filmed on the island and edits it into episodes aired months later on network TV, Amaro also felt she was also one of the first Black people stereotyped by Survivor.

America's reckoning on race has come to TV animation, as stars Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell, who are white, have agreed to stop voicing characters who are biracial.

And while some fans may be disappointed to see their favorite performers leaving TV shows they enjoy, the moves also end a subtle way in which actors of color have been marginalized. It's an attention-getting moment when performers have recognized their white privilege and moved to end it.

If there is one emotion that hangs over our world these days — other than fear and anger, perhaps — it is grief.

There's the grief that comes from watching the death of George Floyd captured on a bystander's video, pleading for his mother and his breath, while a police officer kneels with a knee on his neck.

There's grief over what that moment said about police and the policing of black people, along with grief over the protests and violence in some American cities as people demand answers.

ABC may believe it has faced down some criticism by naming Matt James as the first black man to star in its dating "reality TV" franchise The Bachelor. But its challenge in dismantling the show's racist and sexist elements has only begun.

My longtime criticism of the Bachelor franchise speaks to the heart of the show's design. It is a princess fantasy, built around the idea of a woman finding fulfillment by landing the perfect man, filtered through an upper-middle class, predominantly white lens.

Since 1989, Cops has made riveting television from verité footage of arrests and emergency calls — often capturing scenes of police interacting with clueless suspects — filmed by riding along with police officers.

But the long-running unscripted show has been canceled after 32 seasons. The Paramount Network dropped it amid widespread protests nationwide about policing.

The show's 33rd season was scheduled to debut next Monday.

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If the pandemic shuts down TV production for many months, can the industry still crank out new seasons of television series that viewers will watch?

Tonight, CBS' legal drama All Rise hints at an answer with an episode crafted after actors and production staffers began isolating in their homes. It's the first network TV drama to film a new virtual episode about the coronavirus pandemic and it unfolds so seamlessly you'd never otherwise know it was developed during a global crisis.

I nearly lost it when the number dropped from 50 to 10.

My mother's church pastor tried to be steady and consoling, but I could hear the emotion at the edges of his voice. His news: Instead of the 50 mourners we hoped to host, just 10 people would be allowed to attend her funeral on March 28, courtesy of the latest social distancing requirements laid down by state and local officials. Including church staff.

After more than a month of stay-at-home orders triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, it may feel as if you have watched every bit of new and classic TV that your subscriptions allow. But there's actually more to be found, thanks to special free packages and events organized by media companies eager to earn your loyalty. This includes plenty of educational content to inspire children.

We've pulled together a list of interesting TV events and free stuff, mostly on streaming.

Apple TV+

YouTube

There weren't many laugh-out-loud moments during a historic Saturday Night Live At Home episode – 90 minutes of comedy and music produced via remote video by writers, producer

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Last night, Lizzo won Entertainer of the Year honors at the 51st NAACP Image Awards. And her acceptance speech sounded a bit like the mission statement for the whole show.

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The "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul" is back for a new season in a two-night event on Sunday and Monday. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show and its portrait of lawyer Jimmy McGill has stayed sharp, cinematic and tragic.

Kia Motors America via / YouTube

This year's Super Bowl commercials were packed with superstar cameos and in-your-face messages — from Ellen DeGeneres

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The man behind some of the landmark television shows of the '70s and '80s has died. Fred Silverman was the network executive who gave the green light to...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOVIN' ON UP")

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon has been a devoted Star Trek fan since he was 10 years old — but when people ask whether it's a "dream come true" to be a showrunner and executive producer on Star Trek: Picard he says no.

"I say 'no' because I never would have had the ... chutzpah to dream that," Chabon says. "I would have been happy just shaking Patrick Stewart's hand and telling him how much I loved him on Star Trek. But to be able to actually write words that he will speak and act? It's incredible."

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HBO's latest prestige mini-series is a TV version of a Stephen King novel, "The Outsider." NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says this series, which debuts on Sunday, takes a dark subject and makes it darker.

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Ricky Gervais promised to skewer Hollywood's hypocrisy as host of last night's Golden Globes. He followed through with this warning to winners about preachy acceptance speeches.

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NPR's TV critic and Pop Culture Happy Hour hosts pick 19 of their favorite television and streaming series of the year.

Chernobyl (HBO)

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The "Newer Services" section of this story was updated at 2:55 p.m. on March 18, 2020.

What's your strategy for watching TV?

That might sound like an obvious question. ("Turn it on?") But there will soon exist so many high-profile streaming services that the concept of watching TV — and how to do it without breaking your bank account — will be redefined.

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CNN can be dramatic when it comes to hosting Democratic presidential debates. We saw a bit of that back in July in Michigan.

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