Linda Holmes

I had several reasons to suspect I was not the ideal audience for The Last Duel. I'm not really an aficionado of period pieces with lots of bloody battles (or fantasy pieces that feel like period pieces; I was not a Game of Thrones person, for instance).

It was the week when we got a new Adele single. It was the week when Hollywood braced for a strike. Here's what NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

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Cory, latecomer to the crusade for decency

Cory starts this episode fighting on the phone with Fred, demanding that he stop trying to plant stories that smear Hannah. Fred is a man with little to lose, so he demands in response that Cory get the case settled already, threatening to reveal that Cory was part of negotiating Fred's departure and paying him off and claiming that "the woke mob" won't like it if they find out.

This week was the one when Squid Game kept tearing up the internet. It was the week when Oscar predictions started appearing in more places. And it was the week when we learned there would be more Agatha — and yes, you can start singing her song now.

Where we start: I don't know how Dave Grohl became the go-to Gamest Person In Show Business, but here's to you, Dave Grohl. Here's to you, Foo Fighters, playing Alex's comeback show.

Stella is feeling annoyed at how well Cory's "wall of blondes" strategy is going, but she can't deny that the audience loves it, which I cannot stop finding completely implausible, since they saw these women together for three weeks almost a year ago.

Game Highlights

It's the end of the season (for the team and the show), and Richmond plays a big game that drives Sam to a decision about whether to leave with Edwin Akufo. Ted wonders what to do about the information he now possesses about Nate ratting out his panic attack to the press, and Roy and Keeley try to figure out whether anything is actually wrong in their relationship.


Ted and his panic

It's never clear exactly what the stakes are supposed to be on The Morning Show. Are we supposed to be invested in the two women at the center of the action, Bradley and Alex, finding their way forward together and forging some kind of professional trust? Are we supposed to be invested in each of them, individually, finding her own ethical North Star? Are we supposed to care who succeeds and fails among the on-air talent? Are things like Alex's new office supposed to be juicy details about how the media really operates?

Game Highlights

Ted gets bad news, then more bad news, then the hardest news of all. Keeley and Roy are out of sync, and Sam gets an intriguing offer that Rebecca wants him to refuse.


Sam Obisanya

Emmy week is over, which means it can't be all that long until ... Oscars week? (Don't worry, it's still quite a while.) While you wait, we've got some suggestions.

What to watch

The Great British Baking Show, Netflix

Game Highlights

Rebecca copes with the death of her father and tries to figure out what to do about her new relationship with Sam. Ted walks himself through a panic attack with Dr. Sharon's help. And Jamie surprises Keeley with a confession.



The opening image of this week's episode is meant to represent the hard truth that New Year's Eve revelers in Times Square are gross. Well, they were gross, back when there were any, back when people crowded together without fear. So perhaps trash nostalgia is the appropriate emotion as the maintenance crews clean up after last week's big New Year's bash. Let's get right to these warm memories of early 2020, a time we all are eager to relive.

The Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night arrived at a moment when both the medium of television and the concept of awards shows are fighting the sense that they might be ... you know, old-fashioned.

Innovative shows are pushing narrative structures in interesting directions and tackling social issues in new ways with highly personal stories being told about characters often ignored in the past. But the awards show, despite some COVID-related tweaks, remains strictly traditional.

Here are five things to know about how it went.

Sometimes we find it hard to pry ourselves away from the news, but even when we can't, we often can find things that are good to watch or listen to or read that either keep us entertained, make us smarter, or help us understand things a little better.

It takes the second season of Apple TV+'s The Morning Show seven-and-a-half minutes to get real sweaty.

Let's step back: The first season, which aired a decade or so ago in late 2019, was the prestige drama project that Apple wanted to use to launch its streaming service: Big names! Current events! Finger on the pulse! Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston played a newbie and a veteran morning show host, respectively, who are thrown together after Aniston's former on-air partner, played by Steve Carell, is fired following a sexual harassment scandal.

Game Highlights

Beard goes out on the town after the team's big loss to Manchester City, and he finds adventure, danger, magic, new friends and a return to old patterns.


We begin at the end of "Man City," where Beard is telling Ted he's not going to come out with the team; he wants to "shake this off" on his own. But this time, instead of following Ted as we usually would, we follow Beard.

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.

It's fitting that the best promotion for the approaching premiere of HBO's Scenes From A Marriage was a seemingly candid exchange between its stars. The slow-motion clip, which went viral, shows Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac sharing an electric(-looking) moment on the red carpet at the Venice International Film Festival.

It's starting to be a little less hot and even a little less humid here in D.C., and fall entertainment is going to start up pretty soon, too. For now, we've got some things to keep you going as summer winds down.

What to watch

The Other Two Season 2, Episode 2 "Pat Connects with Her Fans," HBO Max

Game Highlights

Rebecca finally meets her mystery correspondent, and nervous laughter ensues. Dr. Sharon gets a concussion, and she reaches out to Ted. The jerk store called and they're all out of Jamie Tartt's father, but fortunately, Jamie's got plenty of good dads in his corner.


Sharon and Ted

Game Highlights

Roy learns to back off, Ted learns to follow through, and Nate can't stop grasping, in an episode about being strong enough not to hang on so tight.



Game Highlights

Roy asserts himself as a coach and encourages Jamie to assert himself as a jerk. Higgins struggles with his obligations as a friend when Beard gets back together with Jane, and Rebecca struggles with her obligations as a daughter when her mother breezes into town. And Ted, who has been sprinting to stay ahead of his own brain for quite a while, runs out of room.


Jamie and Roy

It's been a week full of heavy news from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan to the COVID surges in the U.S. to the destruction in Haiti after a massive earthquake. We hope you're managing in whatever way works best for you.

Exactly a week ago, we gathered in this same internet space to discuss what a complete mess had been made of the search for a host to succeed Alex Trebek on Jeopardy! After months of guest-host stints that were received as tryouts but were perhaps not tryouts after all, executive producer Mike Richards was announced as the new host.

Game Highlights

Ted Lasso's longitudinal study of love comes around to romantic comedies, in an episode in which Ted lays his heart on the line and convinces Roy to return to the loving arms of coaching Richmond.


The action this week centers on two men who were not coaches last season but will be coaching alongside one another by the time the episode is over: Roy Kent and Nate Shelley.


Spoiler alert: This piece discusses in detail the finale of The White Lotus.

Now that we're past the Olympics, we're already looking ahead to fall movies. But in the meantime, there's good writing out there, and good music, and there's no reason you can't enjoy all of it.

Let me say first that I don't have opinions — at all — about whether Mike Richards, who was recently announced as the new host of Jeopardy!, will be a good host.

Game Highlights

The Christmas episode is a standard of television — and especially of British television, which Ted Lasso is not, but which it sometimes, for brief moments, feels like it is. In this particular Christmas episode, even though Ted is feeling blue, the team finds joy in bonding over dinner, while Roy and Keeley try out door-to-door dentistry.