Eric Deggans

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It may be one of the saddest truisms of modern media: Attractive white women get news coverage when they go missing.

But missing women of color often get media coverage only when people notice how much attention everyone is paying to the white women.

HBO is synonymous with great TV and has been credited with redefining how we watch movies and shows at home. But it wasn't always so.

In his new book, Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, journalist James Andrew Miller charts the rise of the entertainment juggernaut and how it carved out a unique space in showbiz.

Miller is known for writing definitive histories, having written books on Saturday Night Live and ESPN, and for this latest project he says he conducted more than 750 interviews with people associated with HBO.

(Breaking news: This analysis contains spoilers from the season finale of Apple TV+'s The Morning Show.)

The initial announcement sent ripples through the pop culture universe: The New York Times is developing a documentary on Janet Jackson's Super Bowl incident.

Editor's note: This story contains quotes and information originally discussed during a Twitter Spaces event hosted by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and featuring NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann, Dopesick book author Beth Macy, Dopesick series creator/showrunner Danny Strong and more. Follow us on Twitter, and read more of NPR's addiction coverage here.

Every so often, a piece of television comes along that – despite a great pedigree and lots of stars – feels more like an acting exercise than a touching, emotional story.

Unfortunately, even with the best efforts from big names like Will Ferrell, Kathryn Hahn and recently crowned Sexiest Man Alive Paul Rudd, Apple TV+'s The Shrink Next Door falls in that category.

Editor's note: This story contains quotes and information originally discussed during a Twitter Spaces event hosted by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and featuring NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann, Dopesick book author Beth Macy, Dopesick series creator/showrunner Danny Strong and more.

If Netflix could be canceled, it seems the last few weeks would have done the trick.

In the avalanche of controversy following the release of comic Dave Chappelle's tone-deaf Netflix standup special, The Closer, no entity took it on the chin harder than the sprawling streaming company.

If you had any questions about where Colin Kaepernick's activist spirit originated, a look at Netflix's new limited series, Colin in Black and White, removes all doubt.

(Be warned: A few mild spoilers emerge below regarding Insecure's fifth season.)

Five years ago, I sat in a Los Angeles hotel meeting room with Insecure's creator/star Issa Rae, talking about how her new series was going to feel like a TV revolution because it focused on "basic" – her words – Black people, especially Black women, trying to make their way in life.

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In Hulu's Dopesick, Michael Keaton plays Sam Finnix as the kind of family doctor anyone would want taking care of them.

Folksy and smart, he cares enough to stop by an elderly patient's home after work to make sure she's taken her medication. He's still treating adults he delivered as babies in a small Virginia mining town.

(Warning: a few plot details may emerge, shaken but not stirred, about the new James Bond film No Time to Die. So be prepared for potential spoilers.)

I remember the moment when I first fell in love with British secret agent James Bond.

My uncle had sneaked me into a showing of 1971's Diamonds Are Forever in the theater (yes, I know how much that dates me). A bit into the story, Sean Connery's intrepid Bond unzipped a woman's dress, letting it fall to the floor — to make sure she had no weapons on her, I'm sure.

Dave Chappelle does not make it easy.

He is one of the most brilliant stand-up comics in the business. But he also makes a sport of challenging his audience — putting ideas in front of them that he knows are uncomfortable and unpalatable to those invested in modern notions of how to talk about feminism, gender, sexual orientation and race.

If you've been following the efforts by Britney Spears to get out of the conservatorship that has dominated her life for the past 13 years, then the broad outlines of Netflix's new film Britney vs Spears will not surprise you.

But for those who snap up every morsel of information in the case, director Erin Lee Carr has assembled a 90-minute feast filled with stories, details and sources sure to feed your hunger for new nuggets of information.

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Beck Bennett, known for playing former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday Night Live, will be leaving the show in a cast reorganization announced Monday. The announcement also includes another departure, two promotions and three new hires at NBC's Emmy-winning sketch comedy series.

Experienced critics know: sometimes it pays to be skeptical of TV show revivals that try to make an old series feel fresh by changing the race of the main characters.

But ABC's Black-centered reimagining of TV's classic exercise in nostalgia, The Wonder Years, avoids that pitfall for a simple reason. The year in which it is set, 1968, was one of the most pivotal times for Black America in recent history.

I'm not just saying this because I'm a TV critic, honestly. But it seems like it's about time for the Emmys and the Oscars to switch places in Hollywood's status-obsessed pecking order.

Think about it: the last Oscars season was focused on films many people would never see and handed out at a time the audience was still unsure about even stepping inside a movie theater.

This is an odd thing to hear from a radio personality who once proudly called himself the "Prince of Pissing People Off."

But Charlamagne tha God – also known as Lenard "Charlamagne" McKelvey – says he's a bit mellower now. The reason? He's wary that his button-pushing image is becoming a guilded straitjacket, pushing him into behaving in ways a 43-year-old father and husband maybe shouldn't be acting, anymore.

It's time to find something good to watch.

Maybe you didn't have exactly the hot vaccinated summer we were all hoping for. While we can't fix the big stuff, our critics do have good news about staying entertained — and challenged, and invigorated, and curious.

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And finally today, we remember that most people experienced the 9/11 attacks through television, especially TV news. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says, in the 20 years since, it's also shaped television.

There is a long list of ways America was transformed by the terrorist attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. But the question of how TV itself was changed – particularly in ways still relevant today – is more complicated.

CNBC anchor Shepard Smith, who covered the attack and its aftermath when he worked at Fox News Channel, points to a small but impactful TV innovation: the constant presence of an onscreen news ticker, scrolling through headlines, on cable news channels.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit


Emmy-nominated actor Michael K. Williams has died at the age of 54. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says Williams, featured in series like "Lovecraft Country" and "Boardwalk Empire," was a consummate character actor. He's here to remember him with us.

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Here's what I found most impressive about FX's Impeachment: American Crime Story — though Monica Lewinsky is a producer on the show, even she doesn't get out of this tale unscathed.

This is tough to admit now, but any good appreciation is grounded in honesty, so here goes:

I used to be one of those drummers who thought the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts was overrated.

Proof of my horrendous mistake in such thinking flooded social media Tuesday, as superstar musicians such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D paid tribute to Watts, who died Tuesday in London of an undisclosed illness. He was 80.

As the trial of disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly unfolds, it's tough to imagine reaching this moment without the 2019 Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.

That's because the six-part project seemed to transform public opinion about the singer in an instant, with detailed, harrowing accounts from women who said Kelly spent decades pursuing underage girls for sex and maintaining abusive relationships. Kelly has denied the allegations.