Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour


Get obsessed with us. Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Join arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris - plus a rotating cast of guest pop culture aficionados. The Happy Hour team leaves room at the table for exploring a range of reactions and opinions on every bit of the pop universe. From lowbrow to highbrow to the stuff in between, they take it all with a shot of cheer.


2021 Best Books For Music Lovers

If you're looking to discover a new book, NPR has a marvelous mechanism to help you out: It's called Books We Love, and it's a sortable guide to hundreds of great books from 2021, as handpicked and recommended by the NPR staff. Today we're talking about some of the music-related books we loved in 2021.
24/01/2211m 2s

Abbott Elementary And What's Making Us Happy

The fantastic new ABC series Abbott Elementary is a sitcom set at a severely underfunded Philadelphia public school. Quinta Brunson is the creator and very funny star of the mockumentary-style comedy, which follows a cast of teachers who are dedicated, but burnt out as they make do with limited resources and a hilariously incompetent principal.
21/01/2223m 10s

And Just Like That...

And Just Like That... the ladies of Sex and the City are back. (Well, most of them anyway.) The HBO Max series finds Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon reprising their roles as Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda. The new cast features several non-binary characters and performers of color including Nicole Ari Parker, Sara Ramirez, Karen Pittman, and Sarita Choudhury. But do these updates make the nostalgia trip worth it?
20/01/2224m 42s

Great 2021 Music Documentaries

Today we're recommending some of the great music documentaries we missed in 2021: The Velvet Underground, Framing Britney Spears, Controlling Britney Spears, and Tina.
19/01/2214m 44s

Sort Of

The slyly innovative HBO Max series Sort Of follows Sabi, a gender fluid millennial in Toronto trying to figure their life out. Sabi, played by co-creator Bilal Baig, nannies for a family whose matriarch winds up in a coma, placing Sabi in a tough spot between living their life and caring for others first. It's a show with good word of mouth that makes for a great Saturday afternoon binge.
18/01/2219m 38s

The Tragedy Of Macbeth And What's Making Us Happy

The Tragedy of Macbeth adapts Shakespeare's familiar tale of blood and betrayal, dreamlike daggers and stubborn stains. But its stars Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand are significantly older than the leads usually are, which makes the whole thing hit differently. Directed by Joel Coen, the film fuses black-and-white cinematography with a clean, minimalist production design that underscores the story's theatrical roots. It's now streaming on Apple TV+.
14/01/2225m 26s

The Weeknd's Dawn FM

The Weeknd's album After Hours was one of the biggest hits of 2020, and now the elusive artist is back. He's had a decade of massive highlights from "Blinding Lights" to last year's Super Bowl Halftime Show. His new album is Dawn FM, and it's a set of sleek synth-pop songs with assists from Oneohtrix Point Never and comedian Jim Carrey.
13/01/2215m 32s

Station Eleven

The HBO Max miniseries Station Eleven begins with a highly contagious and deadly virus wiping out 99 percent of humanity. That might not sound like comfort viewing, but hear us out. The show follows many characters as their individual stories intersect — both in the 100 days after the virus hits, and 20 years later, as civilization attempts to rebuild. Based on Emily St. John Mandel's novel, the series stars Himesh Patel, Mackenzie Davis, Gael García Bernal, Danielle Deadwyler, and Lori Petty.
12/01/2219m 0s

C'mon C'mon

In the movie C'mon C'mon, Joaquin Phoenix plays an audio journalist who, after visiting his sister (played by Gaby Hoffmann), takes his young nephew (played by Woody Norman) on the road as he interviews kids about the world. Along the way, the two learn a lot about each other. Directed by Mike Mills, it's a film about family, loss, and joy — and it's about radio.
11/01/2217m 2s

Remembering Sidney Poitier

Hollywood legend Sidney Poitier died last week at age of 94. He was a man of many firsts, including the first Black performer to win the best actor Oscar for the 1963 film Lilies of the Field. He was also a humanitarian who was active during the civil rights movement, and also someone who was quite obviously dedicated to his craft. And today we remember Poitier's work, including In The Heat Of The Night and To Sir With Love.
10/01/2221m 7s

Great 2021 Movies You May Have Missed And What's Making Us Happy

We cover a lot of movies here on Pop Culture Happy Hour, but we can't come close to hitting every great film. Today, we're inviting some of our favorite film critics to share the movies they loved from 2021 — the ones that got past us the first time, but should definitely get added to your queue.
07/01/2212m 53s


The Showtime drama Yellowjackets is a series in two halves: In the first part, a plane crashes in 1996, and a high school girls' soccer team is stranded in the Canadian wilderness. The other part follows some of the girls more than 20 years later, as they realize the full ramifications of what they did during the time before they were rescued. Part horror and part suspense, Yellowjackets boasts a killer cast and a tangle of dark mysteries at its heart.
06/01/2223m 48s

The Lost Daughter

In the Netflix film The Lost Daughter, Olivia Coleman plays Leda, a professor on a working holiday in Greece who becomes fascinated by a young mother played by Dakota Johnson. This leads Leda to think about her own past, and to flashbacks in which the young Leda is played by Jessie Buckley. Adapted from the 2006 Elena Ferrante novel of the same name, The Lost Daughter marks the directorial debut of Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris, and Paul Mescal.
05/01/2213m 50s

Three Favorite Video Game Recommendations

This winter, we've been at home, playing games. And we've been exploring games for the Nintendo Switch. We've been trying adventure games and puzzle games, beautiful games and silly games. And in this encore episode, we have a few to recommend.
04/01/2213m 49s

Remembering Betty White

Actress and icon Betty White died Friday at the age of 99. Her career as a comic actress – on TV, on radio, in movies, and more – lasted more than 80 years. She was probably best known for her work on The Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But White was a trailblazer, a record-setter, and one of the most venerated figures in the history of television.
03/01/2214m 59s

Our 2022 Pop Culture Resolutions And What's Making Us Happy

It's the end of 2021, and the cusp of a new year — which means we're looking back, and we're looking ahead. It's time to see how we did sticking to our pop culture resolutions we made a year ago. And it's time to make some new ones for 2022.
30/12/2125m 22s

Our 2022 Pop Culture Predictions

If there's one thing we can tell you about 2021, it's that we didn't see it coming. And we might not see 2022 coming either, but we're going to try — by making some pop culture predictions for next year. And on top of that, we'll look at last year's predictions and see how things turned out.
29/12/2121m 53s

Don't Look Up

The new Netflix film Don't Look Up has a crazy Academy Awards pedigree. Writer-director Adam McKay won an Oscar for The Big Short and the Oscar-studded cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as scientists who discover that a massive comet is hurtling toward Earth. The only problem: They can't get the media's attention (represented here by Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry) or get the president (played by Meryl Streep) to care. But with all these stars in the mix, did Don't Look Up miss the mark?
28/12/2115m 3s


When Insecure premiered on HBO in 2016, Issa Dee (played by the show's co-creator Issa Rae), her bestie Molly (played by Yvonne Orji) and the rest of their cohort were a bunch of millennials who were stuck in unhappy relationships and jobs, and didn't have a clue how to make better choices for themselves. After five seasons, we're bidding farewell to Insecure — only now, these characters have finally seen some growth.
27/12/2121m 14s

Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza is a freewheeling slice of life story about an odd friendship/flirtation set in the San Fernando Valley. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film stars Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim (who play 15- and 25-year-olds, respectively) as they deliver waterbeds and embark on meandering adventures during the gas crisis of the 1970s.
23/12/2116m 32s

The Matrix Resurrections And What's Making Us Happy

When The Matrix opened in 1999, it thrilled audiences with its strangely cerebral mix of stylized violence, existential crisis, and tight, black leather. The new movie The Matrix: Resurrections continues the story. Directed by Lana Wachowski, the film takes us back inside the simulation that the machines are using to keep humanity docile as they harvest our energy. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss return as Neo and Trinity, who, alongside an array of new characters, attempt to, once again, lead an uprising to let us all live authentic lives.
22/12/2126m 14s

Being the Ricardos

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were the TV power couple. In the new film Being the Ricardos, we spend an eventful week with Lucy (played by Nicole Kidman) and Desi (played by Javier Bardem) as they try to get a show on the air. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, the film showcases the complicated relationship and creative process of America's favorite couple.
21/12/2115m 38s

Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley is a stylish neo-noir that's as seedy as its title sounds. The film is directed by Guillermo del Toro and is inspired by the book and 1947 movie adaptation of the same name. It stars Bradley Cooper as Stan, an ambitious 1940s drifter who joins a traveling carnival and learns to develop his own mentalist act. An encounter with a mysterious psychologist, played by Cate Blanchett, leads to a fateful and destructive turn of events.
20/12/2116m 32s

Spider-Man: No Way Home And What's Making Us Happy

In Spider-Man: No Way Home, we spend time with some familiar characters. The film stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Zendaya as MJ, and, this time, also brings in Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), plus an array of villains who'll already be familiar to fans of the franchise. But the film is more complicated than that, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe delves deeper into the mysteries of the Multiverse.
17/12/2123m 58s

2021 Pop Culture Favorites

It's tradition here at Pop Culture Happy Hour to look back on some of our favorite things from the last 12 months of television, movies and music. Today, we're revisiting the pop culture that thrilled us, moved us and kept us company in our best and worst moments.
16/12/2131m 46s

Spotify Wrapped

Spotify Wrapped has become both an annual end-of-year event, and a viral sensation. In 2019 the service starting pairing its year-end listening data with eye-catching and extremely shareable graphics. But, when the algorithm curates so much of our listening experience... are we just creating a perpetual feedback loop?
15/12/2122m 37s


Marvel's latest TV entry is the series Hawkeye. Jeremy Renner reprises his role as the arrow-slinging Avenger, and the show gives us a glimpse of what the guy gets up to when he's not busy saving the universe. Here, he's just trying to enjoy New York at Christmastime with his kids, but he's forced to team up with Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop — a young, wealthy and headstrong Hawkeye superfan who runs afoul of some Russian gangsters.
14/12/2117m 29s

It's A Wonderful Life

For many, It's A Wonderful Life is the quintessential Christmas movie. George Bailey's story is filled with life lessons, the importance of community, and a little kid playing carols on the piano. While it wasn't a box office hit when it first debuted 75 years ago, It's A Wonderful Life has somehow persisted and become a staple of holiday viewing.
13/12/2121m 29s

West Side Story And What's Making Us Happy

The classic musical West Side Story has now been remounted and rethought in a new film directed by Steven Spielberg with a screenplay from Tony Kushner. The new film stars Rachel Zegler as Maria, Ansel Elgort as Tony, and Ariana DeBose as Anita. Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 film, returns in a new role.
10/12/2129m 43s

The Beatles: Get Back

The Beatles: Get Back captures the tumultuous process of writing and recording some of their best-known songs. Directed by Peter Jackson, the mammoth three-part docuseries shows the day-to-day boredom and grind and thrill of life in the studio — plus, lots of goofing around and never-before-seen footage of The Beatles. If you didn't have opinions about Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, you surely will after watching The Beatles: Get Back, which is now streaming on Disney Plus.
09/12/2127m 16s


Season 3 of HBO's Succession had us all — yet again — asking ourselves that perennial question: Why do we love watching this show about terrible, horrible, no-good, and very bad people? We may still not know the answer, but it's been a wild ride with the Roy dynasty nonetheless. The empire has been threatened and is sputtering, while these megalomaniacs continue to do what they do best: look out for themselves.
08/12/2120m 4s

The Wheel of Time

Amazon Prime's The Wheel of Time series is an adaptation of Robert Jordan's best-selling 14-volume fantasy epic of the same name. It's set in a high-fantasy world of magic and mystery, and it stars Rosamund Pike as Moiraine, a member of the Aes Sedai an elite organization of female mages who are seeking someone called the Dragon Reborn. The twist? There are several possible candidates for the Dragon Reborn title.
07/12/2115m 17s

2021 Best Books

NPR's Books We Love is back! Previously known as the Book Concierge, we have a whole new crop of great reads and today, we're highlighting a few NPR staff picks. Whether you want sci-fi or romances, books about politics or literary fiction, you can find exactly what you're looking for, just in time for a chilly winter night.
06/12/2111m 44s

The Power Of The Dog And What's Making Us Happy

The new Netflix film The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons as a pair of brothers who run a cattle ranch in Montana in the 1920s. When one brother marries, and brings his new bride (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) back to live with him at the ranch, the other brother gets jealous and sets out to destroy their happiness. The film is the latest from writer and director Jane Campion, and it's bound to be a big contender come Oscar time.
03/12/2124m 41s

Tick Tick Boom

The Netflix movie tick, tick...BOOM! is the story of composer Jonathan Larson and the musical he wrote a few years before he wrote Rent. The film marks the directorial debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda, and stars Andrew Garfield as Jonathan. It's set in 1990 and takes place over a few days leading up to Jonathan's 30th birthday.
02/12/2119m 23s

Adele's 30

Adele is one of the most successful artists of her generation. Her last two records combined sold more than 25 million copies and both won Album Of The Year at the Grammys. Now, the U.K. pop star has put out her fourth studio album 30, which finds Adele reflecting on her divorce with songs that don't shy away from emotional vulnerability or deep melancholy.
01/12/2118m 19s


Encanto is the latest animated Disney musical that tells the story of the Madrigal family, whose members are tucked away in the mountains of Colombia. The film is stuffed with characters who wield magical powers and perform lavish musical numbers written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But for all its magical realism, it's also a fairly simple story about a family whose bonds need healing.
30/11/2118m 6s

Remembering Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim, the most influential composer in modern Broadway history, died on Friday at the age of 91. He wrote music and lyrics for Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods, Sunday In The Park With George, Company, and more. Sondheim won eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And along the way, he made work so beloved that it's been produced again and again around the world, and influenced other Broadway composers like Lin Manuel-Miranda and Jonathan Larson.
29/11/2120m 58s

Introducing NPR's Book of the Day

In this episode of NPR's Book of the Day podcast, we're spotlighting two thrillers. First, astronaut Chris Hadfield talked with former NPR host Lulu Garcia-Navarro about his novel The Apollo Murders, which is set in the 70's around, you guessed it, the Apollo missions. Then, a 2015 interview with NPR's Robert Siegel and author Anthony Horowitz about his James Bond novel Trigger Mortis, and what it's like giving a classic a 21st century twist.
26/11/2117m 49s

House Of Gucci And What's Making Us Happy

Ridley Scott's House of Gucci is a whole lot of movie. Adam Driver plays the wealthy Mauritzio Gucci, and Lady Gaga plays his wife Patrizia. Al Pacino and Jared Leto play Mauritzio's uncle and cousin, who eventually battle Mauritzio for control of the Gucci empire. It's got fashion, it's got tragedy, and it's got terrible accents.
24/11/2125m 45s

King Richard

King Richard is a sports movie about the early days of superstar tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams. But, as its title suggests, the film focuses on their demanding and ambitious father, Richard Williams. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, the movie stars Will Smith as a man who'll do anything to get his daughters from Compton to Wimbledon.
23/11/2121m 15s

Cowboy Bebop

The new Netflix series Cowboy Bebop is a live-action remake of the wildly popular Japanese anime about bounty hunters in a neo-noir future. Stylish and satirical, violent and cynical, the show is a bold mashup of genres – western, crime, science-fiction, buddy comedy, melodrama, thriller, and martial arts. It stars John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda as bounty hunters with dark pasts. But does the series hold up to the original?
22/11/2120m 25s

Ghostbusters: Afterlife And What's Making Us Happy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife reconnects with the original timeline of the Ghostbusters films from the 80s while introducing a bunch of new characters. Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, and Finn Wolfhard play a family who teams up with Paul Rudd to fight a new supernatural threat. The movie is directed by Jason Reitman — son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two Ghostbuster films.
19/11/2125m 23s

Remembering Petra Mayer

There's no good way to share terrible news. Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist and NPR Books editor Petra Mayer died suddenly on Saturday of what is believed to be a pulmonary embolism. We take some time to remember our friend and colleague, and revisit some of our favorite episodes featuring Petra.
17/11/2126m 40s

Silk Sonic

Silk Sonic is a new musical showcase for two familiar faces: Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. Their soulful collaborations started trickling out this past March, when the duo released the single "Leave The Door Open." Now they've dropped the album An Evening With Silk Sonic, which features classic funk and soul updated for the present day.
17/11/2118m 29s

Below Deck

If you've always wondered what it would be like to see the world while making espresso martinis for the super-rich, you might already be watching the Below Deck franchise. For the past eight years, the Bravo reality series and its many spinoffs have been showing viewers the world of deckhands and chefs, housekeeping and party planning, as young hot people work on luxury yachts chartered by people who have too much money.
16/11/2126m 13s


Earlier this month, ABBA released a new album called Voyage. It's the Swedish pop sensation's first set of new material in 40 years. Voyage gives us a perfect excuse to talk about all things ABBA: the massive sales, the jukebox musical Mamma Mia!, the endless hiatus, and — of course — those classic songs.
15/11/2119m 58s

Red Notice And What's Making Us Happy

What has a wisecracking Ryan Reynolds, a glamorous Gal Gadot, a muscled Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and a very convoluted story about priceless eggs? It's the new Netflix action comedy Red Notice, which combines cars, boats and secret safes with ballroom dancing and a jailbreak — all in the same frame as three big-budget action leads.
12/11/2123m 40s

Project Runway

When Project Runway launched in 2004, competitive reality shows were in their infancy. Now, they're in their mature pantsuit years, as Project Runway airs its 19th season. Longtime mentor Tim Gunn has been replaced by former winner Christian Siriano, but the sewing machines continue to buzz, and it's still hard to make a dress in a day. In this encore episode we're revisiting our conversation about Project Runway.
11/11/2115m 28s


In the Netflix melodrama Passing, Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga play childhood friends who are reunited years later in 1920s Harlem. Both women are Black and fair-skinned, but only one of them has chosen to "pass" — to completely abandon their ties to the Black community and identify as white. The movie premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and marks the directorial debut of actress Rebecca Hall. And it's already gaining some awards season heat.
10/11/2124m 0s

The Harder They Fall

Netflix's The Harder They Fall is the latest modern take on the movie western, with nods to real-life Black cowboys and cowgirls. In it, an outlaw and his gang seek revenge for a horrific crime committed many years ago. Gunfights and showdowns ensue, of course. The film boasts an impressive cast, including Jonathan Majors, Regina King, Idris Elba, and LaKeith Stanfield. Does this revisionist tale live up to the incredible talent involved?
09/11/2123m 14s


What if the story of Princess Diana wasn't a fairy tale, but instead a psychological horror movie? That's the premise of Pablo Larraín's intriguing new film Spencer, in which Kristen Stewart plays Diana. Here, Diana is trapped, frightened and sometimes uncertain of reality. It's a different perspective on the figure, but unlike other art about the royals, it has a clear point of view and a reason to revisit this tale.
08/11/2118m 54s

Eternals And What's Making Us Happy

Eternals, the latest film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a sweeping saga about ten immortal aliens with super-powers. The cast includes Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Brian Tyree Henry, and Richard Madden. The film is directed by Chloé Zhao, the indie director behind small, intimate films like the Oscar-winning Nomadland. Eternals is unlike anything she's done before, but it's also unlike anything Marvel's done before.
05/11/2127m 13s

Army Of Thieves

So do you have a slow Saturday afternoon, and need something to watch while folding laundry? Perhaps check out Netflix's heist movie Army of Thieves. It's also a prequel to Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead, and it stars that film's squirrelly German safecracker, Ludwig Dieter, played by Matthias Schweighöfer, who also directed the film. Dieter joins a rag-tag crew of bank robbers that includes Game of Thrones' Nathalie Emmanuel.
04/11/2115m 17s

Colin in Black & White

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick has been a prominent activist and a Rorschach test in the culture wars — and he's been widely reconsidered in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests. But he hasn't really gotten to tell his own story until now. He stars in the Netflix series Colin In Black & White, which he co-created with director Ava DuVernay. It's a dramatization of his life as the biracial son of white adoptive parents.
03/11/2117m 34s

Judge Judy

Judy Sheindlin has been one of the highest-paid people in TV for years, churning out episode after episode of Judge Judy. But after years of syndication, Sheindlin has shut down the CBS show and moved over to streaming service IMDB TV to make the almost identical new show, Judy Justice. Despite the new platform, the cases still revolve around dog bites, landlord-tenant conflicts, and people who fail to learn the most important lesson: never put anybody else on your cell phone plan.
02/11/2117m 52s

Film Noir: A Guide

Your calendar might say it's November, but among movie buffs, this month is also known as Noirvember. It's a time to settle in and enjoy an old movie that features a washed up detective, a sultry femme fatale, or hardened criminals. And whether you're familiar with the genre or looking for great places to start, we're here to help by recommending a few great noirs.
01/11/2117m 12s

Last Night In Soho And What's Making Us Happy

Last Night in Soho is a psychological horror film about a young, naïve fashion student in London named Eloise, played by Thomasin McKenzie. Eloise is so obsessed with the Swinging London of the 1960s that she begins dream of and (sort of) inhabit the body of a glamorous aspiring singer played by Anya Taylor-Joy. The more this happens, the more the wall separating her dreams and her waking life begins to crumble. The film is directed and co-written by Edgar Wright and features the late Diana Rigg in her final film role.
29/10/2121m 30s

The Morning Show

If you like secret relationships, morning television melodrama, men singing Neil Diamond unexpectedly and a rom-com set against the backdrop of COVID, you're going to love the kooky, uneven and profoundly strange second season of the Apple TV+ series The Morning Show. Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup still lead the show, whose first season examined the aftermath of a sexual harassment scandal. Now, it's another wild ride, where hair color, allegiances and the year 2020 can all change in the blink of an eye.
28/10/2122m 59s


Foundation is set in the far future, when humanity has expanded into a vast galactic empire. A mathematician comes forward to announce that he's crunched the numbers — and found that the empire is on the verge of collapse, and humanity is about to enter a 30,000 year dark age. The Apple TV+ series is based on a series of books by Isaac Asimov that was once awarded a Hugo Award for best science-fiction series of all time.
27/10/2113m 56s

The French Dispatch

Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch is a love letter to classic French cinema and The New Yorker magazine. Like all of his films, it's highly stylized — this one adopts the format of a magazine. It's an anthology of sorts, featuring three different main stories. The film's actors Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Benicio del Toro, Timothée Chalamet, and Jeffrey Wright.
26/10/2115m 55s

The Things That Scared Us As Kids

A lot of us are about to have the experience of opening our front doors to find witches, goblins, ghosts, and those guards from Squid Game standing on our porches. Why? Because it's almost Halloween. We decided this would be a good time to talk about what kinds of entertainment scared us when we were kids, and maybe even whether they still scare us now.
25/10/2121m 57s

Dune And What's Making Us Happy

Dune is a sweeping epic set way into the future, where various groups are vying for control of a planet's highly coveted substance. Timothée Chalamet plays a duke's son who comes of age and exhibits messianic tendencies. The cast also includes Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and Jason Momoa. Sci-fi fans have been waiting years for director Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel to arrive, and it's finally arrived in theaters and on HBO Max. But was it worth the wait?
22/10/2125m 59s

Three Songs For Cleaning Your Bathroom

NPR Music has song recommendations for every occasion, from major life events to tidying up the house. As we enter the fall season, it doesn't hurt to spruce up and start afresh with a new playlist. Today, we're recommending three songs to play while dance-cleaning the bathroom.
21/10/216m 15s

Auteurs And Film Franchises

This fall, a number of auteurs are directing major blockbusters: Cary Joji Fukunaga took on the James Bond movie No Time To Die; Chloe Zhao joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Eternals; and Denis Villeneuve hopes to launch a film franchise with Dune. So we thought it would be a good time to revisit our conversation about how auteur directors shape genre films. In this encore episode recorded on stage in Los Angeles, we're talking about auteurs and film franchises — and dream up some great artists taking on unexpected genres.
20/10/2123m 1s

Impeachment: American Crime Story

FX's Impeachment: American Crime Story is less about President Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment and more about three women who played central roles in the saga, including Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky was a consultant on the series, which examines how a young intern not only began a sexual relationship with the president, but also became the subject of ridicule and even the threat of prosecution. The series stars Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp, and Clive Owen as President Clinton.
19/10/2124m 35s


When the Netflix thriller series You premiered three years ago, it started a lot of conversations. The show was told largely from the point of view of a charismatic serial killer named Joe, played by Penn Badgley, and it followed his obsession with and stalking of a young woman. Now in its third season, Joe hasn't changed much as a person, even though his circumstances have. He has a wife now, and a baby, although he's hardly living the typical suburban dad life.
18/10/2122m 5s

The Last Duel And What's Making Us Happy

It's been more than 20 years since Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote their Oscar-winning screenplay Good Will Hunting, but that changes with Ridley Scott's bloody epic The Last Duel. Co-written by Oscar nominee Nicole Holofcener, the film features performances by Damon, Affleck, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. Together, they play out a tale of anger, vengeance and the fine points of 14th century property ownership.
15/10/2126m 12s

Squid Game

The Korean drama Squid Game is a worldwide sensation. According to Netflix, it's topped their rankings in more than 90 countries. Written and directed by the filmmaker Hwang Dong-Hyuk, it's a violent and artful horror miniseries, a survival drama, and a commentary on debt and capitalism. With a plot that's both simple and ambitious, the series is fast-paced but character-driven, and unbelievably addictive to watch.
14/10/2130m 26s


Based on Stephanie Land's memoir, the Netflix series Maid stars Margaret Qualley as a single mom who must learn to survive on public assistance. While the series takes a hard look at the logistics of poverty, it's also a riveting personal story that will keep you guessing until the very end of its tenth episode.
13/10/2118m 39s

Y: The Last Man

The FX on Hulu drama Y: The Last Man is the latest in a long line of post-apocalyptic narratives of TV, but this one comes with a novel twist: A mysterious event wipes out every mammal on Earth with a Y chromosome, except for two: an aimless would-be escape artist named Yorick, and his companion monkey, Ampersand. In a world overrun by militias and fueled by paranoid conspiracy theories, a beleaguered government attempts to rebuild — and keep certain secrets from getting out.
12/10/2121m 34s

Soul Train

When Soul Train was first nationally syndicated in October of 1971, there was nothing else like it on TV. It became an iconic Black music and dance show — a party every weekend that anyone could join from their living room. In this episode of It's Been A Minute With Sam Sanders, we break down the lasting influence of Soul Train on our culture, with Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America.
11/10/2134m 15s

No Time To Die And What's Making Us Happy

No Time To Die is Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond. This time, he's dealing with the skeletons of his past while trying to build himself a future. That future may or may not include Léa Seydoux, who returns as Madeleine Swann — she's nursing a secret involving Rami Malek's Safin, who's a kind of classic Bond villain, factory-installed with a master plan, a secret headquarters and access to a terrible bioweapon. The film is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, and add newcomers Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas to join in on the action.
08/10/2123m 58s

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is not your standard superhero action flick. With more human-on-goo romance and symbiote-on-symbiote violence, the sequel to 2018's Venom already posted the biggest box-office opening weekend of the pandemic. Tom Hardy returns as reporter Eddie Brock and voices Venom, and he's joined by Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, Naomie Harris and Reid Scott in a film that makes up for lack of plot with plenty of action, passion and utter chaos.
07/10/2114m 15s

The Guilty

Director Antoine Fuqua is no stranger to compromised cops — he famously put Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke through their paces in Training Day. Now, he's back with The Guilty, a Netflix thriller that stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a suspended police officer temporarily assigned to 911 dispatch. A call comes in from a woman in terrible trouble, and for the rest of the film, we follow his efforts to rescue her without leaving his desk.
06/10/2114m 11s

Beyoncé's Homecoming

Two years ago, Beyoncé unleashed two major projects called Homecoming. On Netflix, a documentary captured the process of putting on headlining appearances at the Coachella Music Festival. She also surprise-released a double-length live album containing just some of the highlights from Beyoncé's Coachella performances. In this encore episode we're revisiting our conversation about Beyoncé's Homecoming.
05/10/2121m 53s

Star Wars: Visions

Star Wars: Visions is a new animated anthology series on Disney+ that brings together seven anime studios to tell nine stand-alone Star Wars stories. There's some recurring elements — Padawans and Masters, Lightsaber duels — but the choice to view the Star Wars universe through an anime lens isn't merely cosmetic. There's a wholly different sensibility at work in the animation, the imagery, and especially, the storytelling.
04/10/2117m 24s

The Many Saints Of Newark And What's Making Us Happy

If you've been waiting for more of Tony Sopranos's universe, you're in luck. The Many Saints Of Newark isn't a sequel but a prequel to the influential HBO series The Sopranos. Co-written by Sopranos creator David Chase, the film examines how the man we knew on television as mafia boss Tony Soprano was made from the kid and then the teenager we see here, portrayed by the late James Gandolfini's son, Michael.
01/10/2125m 13s

The Sopranos

The Sopranos changed television. The HBO series was centered on mobster Tony Soprano — a deeply flawed male antihero played by James Gandolfini. But the thing that really set The Sopranos apart was the fact that Tony was in therapy, a genius touch that granted viewers special access to his inner conflicts. Today, we're taking your questions about the influential series — and delving into how it ended.
30/09/2125m 46s

Scenes From A Marriage

The original Scenes From A Marriage was an influential 1973 Swedish miniseries written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Updated for a modern audience, HBO's remake is written and directed by Hagai Levi, who takes many elements from the original, while making some important shifts. In this version, the five-part limited series stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in an intimate story about a dissolving relationship with a constantly shifting dynamic.
29/09/2118m 7s

2021 Tony Awards Recap

The Tony Awards came back last night, after being gone for over two years. It was an unusual ceremony — a mix of performances and award presentations that aired on two different platforms. It was all a coordinated, tuneful effort to lure audiences back to Broadway. And, it was a big night for Moulin Rouge! and The Inheritance.
27/09/2118m 44s

Isabel Allende and Sandra Cisneros

Isabel Allende and Sandra Cisneros loom large over the literary landscape. In fact, their respective careers have a lot of parallels. They both published their first novels around the same time: Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits was published in 1982, and Sandra Cisneros published The House on Mango Street in 1983. Today, we're teaming up with our pals at the fantastic Alt.Latino podcast to bring you interviews with both writers.
27/09/2128m 46s

Dear Evan Hansen And What's Making Us Happy

The stage musical Dear Evan Hansen debuted on Broadway five years ago. It won six Tony Awards, including one for its star, Ben Platt. It's now a movie, and Platt, who's now 27, is back to play Evan, a deeply troubled high school student who tangles himself in a lie. There's still singing, there's still dancing, and there are still a lot of questions to struggle with in this story. Plus, we remember the work of filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles.
24/09/2126m 47s

Lil Nas X's Montero

In just two short years, Lil Nas X has proven he's much more than "Old Town Road." He's taken a successful novelty song and parlayed it into a budding and influential music career. He's come out as gay and arguably become pop's biggest out star. He's a master of performance art and marketing, and his eponymous debut studio album Montero easily became one of the year's most anticipated projects.
23/09/2126m 4s

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a coming-out story with some familiar contours, but it doesn't have your typical splashy musical pedigree. Adapted from a successful West End production, the Amazon Prime film follows Jamie, a teenage boy in England, who's determined to become a drag queen. Max Harwood stars as Jamie, and he's met with barriers and supporters along the way, including Sharon Horgan to the great Richard E. Grant.
22/09/2114m 20s

Three Great Fiction Audiobooks

Curling up with a good book is a pleasure with which we're all familiar. But when you find just the right narrator to bring characters to life, a novel can be even better. The right voice, or the right cast of voices, has pleasures all its own, beyond the printed page. Today, we're bringing you three favorite fiction audiobook recommendations worth a listen.
21/09/218m 11s

2021 Emmys Recap

It was a really good night for three very popular TV shows, and a groundbreaking night for Netflix. Yes, it was time again for the Emmys, which saw Ted Lasso, Mare of Easttown, and The Crown win big. There were also a few real surprises, genuinely touching moments, and memorable speeches — some memorable for perhaps all the wrong reasons.
20/09/2117m 51s

TIFF Film Guide And What's Making Us Happy

The Toronto International Film Festival traditionally helps launch awards season. This year has been a little different, with pandemic restrictions leading to a hybrid remote and in-person festival. After watching a batch of entries from home, we've seen some things you'll want to know about — some of which you might be hearing about for the first time.
17/09/2119m 35s

What We Do In The Shadows

The comedy series What We Do In The Shadows imagines what a slacker reality show might look like if all the roommates were vampires. The show is based on a 2014 film of the same name, which was co-directed and co-written Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. A new cast of vampires inhabits the FX series, which is now in its third season. On this encore episode we revisit our conversation about the series' first season.
16/09/2115m 6s

Kacey Musgraves' Star-Crossed

Kacey Musgraves's 2018 album Golden Hour was a huge breakthrough. It's a soft but spangly celebration full of love songs that helped cement Musgraves as both a country star and a pop star. Now, she's released her follow-up. Star-Crossed is a breakup record, written in the aftermath of the singer's divorce. Plus we remember the work of comedian Norm Macdonald, who died at 61.
15/09/2122m 13s

Ted Lasso

A strong first season and a huge haul of Emmy nominations gave Ted Lasso all kinds of momentum going into its second run this summer. It's the story of American football coach, Ted Lasso, who gets a job coaching AFC Richmond, an English soccer team. Or, you know, football team. And today we're going all the way to London to catch up with some fresh perspectives on the series.
14/09/2118m 33s

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This week, the police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine will end its eight-season run. Starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, among many other gifted comic actors, the show has enjoyed a devoted following and strong reviews. It's also survived shaky ratings and a change in networks, and its last season is airing against a backdrop of more intense conversations around real-life police violence that can't be laughed off or swept aside.
13/09/2119m 13s

Fall Guide And What's Making Us Happy

We're here to bring you some of the things we're most interested to check out and talk about this fall. Whether you read it, watch it, or listen to it, we want to make sure you know about it.
10/09/2126m 13s


In the Netflix animated action-comedy series Q-Force, a rag-tag team of queer spies who've been relegated to working out of a West Hollywood garage finally get their shot at the big leagues. Starring Sean Hayes, Wanda Sykes, Patti Harrison, Laurie Metcalf and many more, Q-Force tackles international terrorism, smuggling, brainwashing and homophobia. There's action, intrigue, suspense, sex, plenty of queer inside jokes and pop-culture references and, yes, stereotypes.
09/09/2117m 29s

Only Murders In The Building

Hulu's fun mystery-comedy series Only Murders in the Building stars Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez as a trio of true-crime podcast fans who live in the same ritzy building on New York's Upper West Side. When a mysterious death occurs in their building, they band together to make a true-crime podcast about it. And as their amateur murder investigation goes on, long-buried secrets come to light, the plot gets twistier and and the stakes get higher. Plus, we remember the many iconic roles of actor Michael K. Williams.
08/09/2120m 6s

Drake's Certified Lover Boy

On Friday, Drake dropped his long-awaited sixth album: Certified Lover Boy. The album contains 21 songs in 86 minutes, and it's generated conversation around everything from its many guest stars (including Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Future, and Lil Wayne) to its cover art, which features a diverse array of... emoji pregnancies.
07/09/2116m 3s

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings And What's Making Us Happy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe opens a new chapter with the release of Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the movie is ambitiously packed with dizzyingly choreographed battle scenes and complex family dynamics. It's also a compelling origin story for a hero, who is played by Simu Liu. He must battle his superpowered father, played by Tony Leung, to prevent the release of an apocalyptic evil force.
03/09/2126m 7s

High School Required Reading

Heading back to school is always a stressful but exciting time of year, whether you're doing it at home or in a classroom full of people. And we are always up to talk about books. Summer reading lists, class syllabi, there's no shortage of pages turned in the average school career. We're here to talk about them in this encore episode all about high school required reading.
02/09/2115m 7s


In the film Pig, Nicolas Cage plays a once-famous Portland chef who's now a recluse, living in a cabin in the woods with his beloved truffle-hunting pig. When some nefarious types kidnap said pig, Cage comes out of seclusion to hunt down those who did it. It's at once a critique of bougie food culture, a melancholy character study, and a showcase for what Nicolas Cage can do when he's not dialed up to 11.
01/09/2115m 47s

What If...?

The Disney+ animated series What If...? mixes and matches major and minor characters and events from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to explore what might have happened if things shook out differently than they did in the films. Many of those films' actors return to voice their animated, alternate universe selves, and there's cameos, Easter eggs and sly references galore. But who's this series for?
31/08/2116m 50s

Happy Endings

The early-2010s sitcom Happy Endings was a show about six best friends in Chicago. Created by David Caspe, the series was sharp, hijinks-filled and altogether fun. The show aired on ABC for three seasons before its cancellation, but it's now available to stream on Hulu, Netflix and HBO Max. Today, we're taking your questions and talking about the glory days of Happy Endings.
30/08/2128m 10s

Candyman And What's Making Us Happy

Legend has it that if you say "Candyman" in front of a mirror five times, you'll summon the spirit of a terrifying killer with a hook for a hand, who's constantly surrounded by a swarm of bees. That's the premise of the 1992 horror movie Candyman, about a white Chicago grad student who becomes obsessed with an urban myth haunting Black residents of the notorious Cabrini-Green housing projects. Now there's a sequel, directed by Nia DaCosta and co-written with Jordan Peele, that brings back the villain for a modern audience, and it stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris as a couple living in a now-gentrified Cabrini-Green.
27/08/2126m 19s

Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books: A Guide

The worlds of science fiction and fantasy can be almost anything — a distant planet, an alternate timeline, a land of magic and mystery, or our own familiar world, just tweaked a bit. Whether you're a longtime science fiction/fantasy reader, just getting your feet wet — or maybe you've stepped away, only to realize how much these genres are changing, in recent years — we've got you covered with some basic background, some things to look for, and some solid recommendations from experts.
26/08/2119m 26s

Aaliyah: Essentials

It's been 20 years since the untimely passing of Aaliyah in a plane crash when she was just 22. In that time, her influence has been felt everywhere in music and pop culture, even though the bulk of her catalog has been notably inaccessible to fans — until now. Aaliyah's second studio album One In A Million finally became available on Spotify for the first time, and more of her discography will be released in the coming weeks. And today, we're looking back at some of Aaliyah's essential tracks.
25/08/2120m 26s

The Chair

In the Netflix show The Chair, Ji-Yoon Kim (played by Sandra Oh) has just become the first woman to chair the English department at the fictional Pembroke University. Ji-Yoon is determined to usher in a new era, but is immediately saddled with unexpected challenges, most notably the tensions between an older, whiter faculty and a younger, multicultural student body.
24/08/2123m 14s

Reservation Dogs

The new series Reservation Dogs follows four Indigenous teenagers who live in Oklahoma, but are scheming and saving to get to California. It's a loose and dry-witted comedy that has notes of countless teenager hangout stories. And it's made by an entirely Indigenous group of writers, directors, and actors, who bring a level of detail and specificity to these kids and their experience that American television has practically never had.
23/08/2123m 5s

Lorde And What's Making Us Happy

Lorde became a pop superstar at 16 with her hit single "Royals" — winning two Grammy Awards and following up with her second album, Melodrama. The New Zealand singer's third album Solar Power finds the artist reflecting on stardom, boredom and the aftermath of a youth filled with debauchery. Reunited with Melodrama producer Jack Antonoff, Lorde brings a more subdued sound, positioning her as a worldly 24-year-old who's found peace with herself, while wondering what's next.
20/08/2122m 30s

Brand New Cherry Flavor

The new Netflix series Brand New Cherry Flavor is weird. It starts off pretty straightforward: A student filmmaker played by Rosa Salazar heads to Hollywood, hoping to direct her first feature, and gets screwed over by a sleazy producer. But when she enlists a witch played by the fabulous Catherine Keener to place a curse on that producer, things get creepy. And slimy. And bloody. And trippy. And kinda funny. It's not for everyone — but is it for you?
19/08/2115m 14s


In the Netflix film Beckett, John David Washington plays an American tourist who gets in way over his head in an action thriller that skips over the mountains and through the streets of Greece.
18/08/2114m 53s

Cover Songs

Great songs often come around more than once. They're re-interpreted, reimagined, reconsidered. In fact, sometimes cover versions bring out new qualities even in songs we think we know well. Today we bring you an encore episode all about cover songs.
17/08/2116m 45s


The family film CODA tells the story of Ruby, a high school senior who wants to leave home to study music, but doesn't know how to separate herself from her family. Her parents and her brother are deaf, and she's spent years as their interpreter and a key employee on the family fishing boat. CODA cleaned up at the Sundance Film Festival in January, winning the Grand Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award, and it was bought by Apple in a record-breaking deal.
16/08/2117m 41s

Respect And What's Making Us Happy

There has never been anybody like Aretha Franklin. A legendary singer, an activist, a pianist, Franklin is the subject of the new film Respect. She's played by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Directed by Liesl Tommy, Respect is focused on Franklin's childhood and the first 10 years or so of her career. It spends much of its energy on her relationships with men, especially her father, played by Forest Whitaker, and her first husband, played by Marlon Wayans.
13/08/2126m 17s


The Apple TV+ musical comedy series Schmigadoon! stars Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong as a couple that stumbles on a small village. But it's not just any village — it's a village out of 1940s musicals. The people sing and dance, and the original music sounds very reminiscent of everything from Oklahoma to The Music Man to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. And how can this couple escape? By finding true love, of course.
12/08/2118m 46s

Three Great Nonfiction Audiobooks

Sometimes you want someone to tell you a story. Sometimes, you want it to be a true story. Today, we're bringing you three nonfiction audiobook recommendations, from memoirs to deep histories of special places.
11/08/2110m 14s


When the ambitious musical Annette opened the Cannes Film Festival earlier this summer, all anyone seemed to be talking about was a certain scene involving its stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, singing a ballad during an intimate moment. But there's a whole lot more than that going on in Annette, which is directed by Leos Carax. It's a contemporary rock opera! About a famous comedian and his famous opera singer wife! And their daughter is played by a puppet!
10/08/2115m 26s

The White Lotus

A resort should be relaxing. But the HBO series The White Lotus, which takes place at a resort of the same name, is instead uncomfortable, even painful. Boasting a cast that includes Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, and Natasha Rothwell, the show is about the way self-involved rich guests interact with a staff that has no choice but to tolerate them.
09/08/2121m 40s

The Suicide Squad And What's Making Us Happy

The Suicide Squad is about a team of super-villains do black-ops missions for the government in exchange for lighter sentences. It brings back several characters, including Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn and Viola Davis' Amanda Waller, and adds a slew more, played by people like John Cena and Idris Elba. The tone is a lot jokier, the violence more visceral — literally — and the stakes are higher, thanks to a giant alien starfish bent on world domination.
06/08/2126m 52s

The Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are taking place in a swirl of controversies, some chronic and some acute. COVID, mental health, support for athletes with disabilities, racism, doping, and sexual violence have all become intertwined with this year's games. At the same time, the competition has, as always, provided moments to be excited for athletes, impressed by the skills they've spent so much time building, and thrilled for their successes.
05/08/2120m 42s

Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever

Billie Eilish's first album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was a sensation in 2019 — it swept the major categories at the Grammys and established the singer as a huge pop star. Eilish is back with a follow-up called Happier Than Ever. It's a quieter, subtler collection that examines the singer's relationships, reputation, and place in the world.
04/08/2121m 13s

What's Making Us Happy: 1971 Edition

Back in 1971, Richard Nixon was president, the Beatles were newly broken up. But also, a new network called National Public Radio broadcast for the first time. In honor of the anniversary of NPR's first broadcast, this special edition of What's Making Us Happy This Week offers recommendations from 50 years ago.
03/08/2123m 8s

The Green Knight

The Green Knight is a lushly epic fantasy film full of striking visuals and strangely moody adventures. Directed and written by David Lowery, the film stars Dev Patel as King Arthur's nephew Gawain, who sets off on a quest to earn a knighthood. Along the way, he attempts to resist giving into various temptations, including the temptation to turn back and live out a comfortable life.
02/08/2114m 21s

Jungle Cruise And What's Making Us Happy

What do you get when you take one part The African Queen, one part Raiders of the Lost Ark, two parts Pirates of the Caribbean, a pinch of the Fast and Furious series, and every Disney movie trope ever? You've got Jungle Cruise. Emily Blunt and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson team up to play a researcher and a riverboat skipper on a quest to track down a highly coveted object in the Amazon. But of course, they must face some adversaries along the way, including a scenery-chewing villain played by Jesse Plemons.
30/07/2123m 46s


Shrek is many things: a pop culture canvas, an Academy Award winner and a recent entry into the National Film Registry. And it all started with the story of a crabby green ogre who just wants a bunch of fairy tale characters to stay out of his swamp. Today, Shrek has spawned a multibillion-dollar franchise, become a cultural milestone and above all, remained relevant — even 20 years later.
29/07/2120m 54s

Young Adult Books: A Guide

The young adult genre features protagonists who are often still figuring things out about the world and themselves. Today, we're teaming up with Life Kit to bring you recommendations and criteria to look for as you wade into the inviting, but turbulent waters of young adult fiction.
28/07/2124m 23s

Wellington Paranormal

The very funny mockumentary series Wellington Paranormal follows a pair of New Zealand police officers as they investigate strange occurrences in and around that nation's capital city. It's technically a spinoff of the 2014 film What We Do In The Shadows from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. It shares the film's bone-dry, deadpan mix of horror and humor. But what sets Wellington Paranormal apart is how seamlessly it channels that sensibility into the very familiar format of the TV show COPS.
27/07/2113m 12s

Our Summer Stories

We're having a summer of carefully and safely going out into the world again. And what happens when you go out into the world is that more things tend to happen to you. The good and the bad, the amazing and the mortifying. In this encore episode, we share some of our favorite — and most embarrassing — summer stories.
26/07/2118m 39s

Old And What's Making Us Happy

The psychological horror thriller Old comes with the kind of twist we've come to expect from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan. That twist is right there in the title: A bunch of tourists find themselves trapped on a secluded beach where they all age at an alarming rate.
23/07/2121m 19s

Sexy Beasts

On Netflix's new dating competition show Sexy Beasts, contestants go on blind dates where everyone involved is wearing Oscar-worthy prosthetic makeup. It begs the question: are people so desperate to find a mate that they would do so on TV, and without knowing whether their date is hot or not? According to Sexy Beasts, the answer is a resounding yes.
22/07/2115m 15s

Kevin Can F**k Himself

What would life as a sitcom wife really be like? That's the premise of the AMC series Kevin Can F**k Himself. Annie Murphy plays a woman who exists in a sitcom when she's with her husband, but lives in a moody drama whenever he's not around.
21/07/2115m 32s

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is one of the best tennis players in the world. She's a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, and she's about to represent Japan in the Olympics. And in a new Netflix documentary series, directed by Garrett Bradley, it's clear that these pressures and others have taken a toll on the 23-year-old. What you see in these three episodes also sheds light on her recent decision to withdraw from Wimbledon to prioritize her mental health.
20/07/2121m 19s

Boy Bands: A Guide

Boy bands have been a staple of pop music for generations. They've won over millions of fans and provided gateways to fandom and pop-cultural obsession. From New Edition and New Kids On The Block in the '80s to BTS today — with a whole lot of acts like *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys in the middle — there've been countless boy bands to choose from. Today we're offering up a brief modern history of boy bands.
19/07/2123m 27s

Space Jam: A New Legacy And What's Making Us Happy

Twenty-five years ago, the movie Space Jam paired Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan. Now, Space Jam: A New Legacy brings together Bugs Bunny and LeBron James. It's now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
16/07/2123m 28s


In 2018, Blindspotting was one of the buzziest movies to come out of the Sundance Film Festival. Now, it's has been spun off into a series on Starz, offering a fresh and more expansive take on the movie's themes around incarceration and race. Jasmine Cephas Jones plays Ashely. She had a supporting role in the film, but now she is story's central focus. And there's a colorful cast of new characters and musical set-pieces to boot.
15/07/2122m 3s

Britney Spears' Conservatorship: What We Know, And What's Next

For more than 13 years, Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship. Her assets and career have been kept under the control of her father, Jamie Spears, as well as an attorney. A movement called #FreeBritney has pushed for that conservatorship to be lifted — and Spears herself recently gave a speech in court asking for autonomy over her own life. Today, another court hearing will help determine where she stands. So we're breaking down everything you need to know about Britney Spears' conservatorship.
14/07/2120m 3s

The Emmy Nominations

Today's episode will arrive a little late: This morning, the Television Academy will announce this year's Primetime Emmy nominations. Later today, we'll break down the major nominations and snubs.

2021 Emmy Nominations

This year's Emmy Award nominations brought some expected triumphs (Ted Lasso, The Queen's Gambit) and welcomed surprises (WandaVision, Pose). The Crown and The Mandalorian tied for the most nominations for a drama, and Saturday Night Live earned the most nominations for a comedy. HBO and HBO Max came away with the most nominations for a network. We recap this year's nominations: the highlights, the shockers, the snubs and the headscratchers.
13/07/2124m 24s

I Think You Should Leave

Two years ago, the first season of the Netflix sketch comedy series I Think You Should Leave introduced viewers to Tim Robinson's distinctive comic voice: It's male, it's often loud, and it varies in tone from belligerent to outraged to defensive to performatively wounded. But because Robinson and his fellow comedians are so good at exposing the deep wells of insecurity and vulnerability beneath that bluff, masculine, angry-doofus surface, the show is also hilarious. Now it's back for a second season.
12/07/2112m 15s

Black Widow and What's Making Us Happy

When Scarlett Johansson started playing Natasha Romanoff, she was the only female Avenger. And despite multiple appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow never got her own movie. That changes with the release of Black Widow, which looks back on a previously unexplored part of the character's history.
09/07/2122m 47s

2021 Songs Of Summer

Every summer gets its own unique soundtrack — a fresh batch of hit songs, all vying for an unofficial title: Song Of The Summer. Often these songs are on the wind, everywhere, dominating not just the airwaves, but also the cultural conversation. And sometimes, a song of the summer is just a great new music discovery. So we gathered together a bunch of NPR Music contributors and asked them to name their Song Of The Summer.
08/07/2115m 5s


It might sound like fun to date a glamorous movie star, but in reality, it would probably get very messy. That's the premise of HBO Max's Starstruck, created by and starring New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo. Over six episodes, the romantic comedy series is complicated, funny and charming — treating fame as the isolating pain in the neck it often can be.
07/07/2113m 58s


The immersive HBO series Betty follows an eclectic bunch of young women skateboarders navigating adulthood while fostering community within a bro-dominated environment. Based on Crystal Moselle's 2018 film Skate Kitchen, the show returned for a second season, and we think it's worth a look if you haven't checked it out.
06/07/2115m 20s

A Dose Of Great New Music

The Pop Culture Happy Hour team is off today, so we thought you might like to check out the latest episode of New Music Friday from the All Songs Considered podcast. It highlights the biggest album releases of the week, across many genres, and it's full of music by big stars and new discoveries. Hosted by Robin Hilton, it's a great way to get caught up on the week in music — and maybe even find your new favorite band.
05/07/2124m 34s

Summer Of Soul And What's Making Us Happy

In the summer of 1969, hundreds of thousands of fans flooded Harlem's Mount Morris Park to attend the Harlem Cultural Festival, which hosted the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, and Sly And The Family Stone. Now, some of that footage is unearthed in a new documentary, directed by Questlove from The Roots, titled Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).
02/07/2125m 55s

Our Amusement Park Memories

It's summer time after a long stretch indoors, and many of us are returning to the world outside, including amusement parks. We thought it was a good time to bring you an encore episode about our favorite amusement park experiences: the rides, the attractions, the deep-fried snacks and the rigged games of chance.
01/07/2117m 24s


Over the years, Hollywood has built movie narratives out of unusual source material, but the dark comedy Zola is one of the first to originate via Twitter. The Sundance hit was inspired by A'Ziah 'Zola' King's series of viral tweets in 2015, detailing her first-person account of a truly bizarre road trip involving exotic dancers, a pimp and a hapless boyfriend. Director Janicza Bravo and her co-writer Jeremy O. Harris have inventively translated much of that thread onto the screen, and it features crackling performances from Taylour Paige, Riley Keough and Colman Domingo.
30/06/2121m 40s


In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Hiddleston's Loki has faced off against Thor and the other Avengers. And now in the new series Loki on Disney+, he gets roped into working with the MCU's time cops, the Time Variance Authority. Alongside TVA agent Mobius, played by Owen Wilson, Loki hunts down another Loki variant (played by Sophia di Martino) seeking to overthrow the TVA. Along the way, it's developing into something the superhero genre usually doesn't have time for — an honest-to-the-gods character study.
29/06/2116m 57s

The Fast & Furious Franchise

In 2001, The Fast and the Furious debuted as a scruffy car-culture movie, and it was a hit. it was followed by two sequels that didn't quite satisfy, so they regrouped. Since then, it's become the blockbuster machine some love, some hate, some love to hate, and some hate to love. When you do this much business for this many years, it's hard not to have an impact.
28/06/2121m 55s

F9: The Fast Saga And What's Making Us Happy

What better way to kick off a summer of movies than with F9, the ninth installment of the main Fast & Furious franchise. Directed by Justin Lin, and starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and the rest of the beloved Fast family, the movie's got cars, it's got bad guys, and it's even got John Cena. And in case you're wondering whether there's anywhere to boldly go where no one has gone before, there sure is. Join our very own Glen Weldon for a virtual launch party to discuss the new book NPR's Podcast Startup Guide on Tuesday, June 29th at 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT. RSVP now at podstartup.nprpresents.org.
25/06/2123m 14s


In the new Apple TV+ series Physical, Rose Byrne plays a woman whose early '80s journey from miserable wife to powerhouse businesswoman goes directly through the fitness industry. Created by Annie Weisman, who used to write for Desperate Housewives, the show centers around Sheila Rubin, who despite being very beautiful, has a profoundly miserable relationship with her body, from bulimic behavior to an unrelentingly abusive interior monologue.
24/06/2114m 31s

Romance Books: A Starter Guide

You have to love a love story: the meeting, the flirting, the falling, the struggling, and ultimately, the happily ever after. Maybe you're an experienced romance reader, or maybe you're just getting your feet wet. Either way, it's always good to get some recommendations, some basic background, and a few things to look for when you choose love stories for yourself.
23/06/2123m 45s

We Are Lady Parts

The Peacock series We Are Lady Parts is a bold, bracing and very funny comedy series about an up-and-coming London punk band called Lady Parts, and the young, awkward and extremely anxious microbiology PhD student who reluctantly becomes their lead guitarist. The members of Lady Parts, and its manager, are all young Muslim women, from various racial and ethnic backgrounds.
22/06/2113m 34s

Tuca and Bertie

The animated series Tuca & Bertie stars two best friends in the classic odd couple tradition: Tiffany Haddish voices free-spirited Tuca and Ali Wong plays anxious Bertie. That setup may sound familiar, but the setting isn't: Tuca and Bertie are birds, and they live in a surreal world pulsing with color, drugs and plant-people. When it debuted back in 2019, Tuca & Bertie developed a rabid fanbase, but Netflix canceled it after one season. Now, it's found a new home on Adult Swim.
21/06/2121m 31s

Luca And What's Making Us Happy

Luca, the latest movie from Disney and Pixar, whisks us across the globe and into a fictional coastal Italian town in the 1950s. There, the titular young hero and his new friend Alberto get into adventures and dream of buying their very own Vespa. But, there's a catch: In a quite literal take on the fish-out-of-water story, Luca and Alberto are humans on land and — unbeknownst to the rest of the townspeople — sea monsters when wet. Hijinks ensue as they attempt to keep their identities a secret from their new friends and foes.
18/06/2122m 46s

Top 10 'Friends' Supporting Characters, Ranked

It's good to be a star. In the world of the comedy Friends, that meant being Rachel or Ross, Monica or Chandler, Phoebe or Joey. But it takes more than just stars to make a hit.
17/06/2124m 48s

'Friends' Main Characters, Ranked

The recent Friends reunion on HBO Max set off a new wave of nostalgia. So we put the most important question to you: Who's the best friend? Who's the worst friend? Thousands of you voted, and the results are in.
16/06/2116m 46s

Three Great Songs For Your Next Road Trip

If you're thinking about taking a road trip, you're gonna need road-trip music. You might need a pick-me-up, or a distraction, or something for when you need a break from podcasts. So if you're headed out on the road soon, we're here to help.
15/06/218m 29s

Sweet Tooth

The Netflix series Sweet Tooth is a strange mix. It's a dystopian tale of societal collapse in the wake of a deadly virus and the rise of human-animal hybrids. It's also a warm, humane, lushly shot fable of hope and humanity. Which is to say, it is itself a kind of strange hybrid — think The Road meets Paddington 2; The Walking Dead meets Pushing Daisies.
14/06/2116m 1s

In The Heights And What's Making Us Happy

Before Hamilton made him a household name, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for the musical In The Heights. The Broadway production won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The film adaptation, directed by Jon M. Chu, stars Anthony Ramos as Usnavi. He hopes to return to the Dominican Republic, where he can live out the dream of his late parents. In fact, just about everyone in this story has big dreams and mountains to climb.
11/06/2122m 42s

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

The 2013 horror film The Conjuring made more than $300 million and spawned a blockbuster cinematic universe. The main Conjuring movies center on the heavily fictionalized accounts of two real-life demon-hunters, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who solve paranormal mysteries. In the new, third film in the series, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, our heroes try to figure out what compelled a young man to brutally kill his landlord.
10/06/2115m 14s

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

After 20 seasons, multiple marriages, babies and scandals, Keeping Up With the Kardashians is finally coming to a close. The E! reality series is leaving behind quite a legacy (or wreckage) in its wake. It's the end of a reality-TV era, but whatever your tolerance for the brand, the Kardashians won't be disappearing from American culture any time soon.
09/06/2136m 6s

Plan B

The new Hulu movie Plan B is about best friends Sunny and Lupe (played by Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles), who go on an emergency road trip. They're not on the run from criminals or some terrible misunderstanding. They're trying to get to a Planned Parenthood office to get a morning-after pill for Sunny. The girls have a long night of crazy adventures and heartfelt conversations. Directed by Natalie Morales, the film is a really good mix of silly and honest and unexpected.
08/06/2114m 37s

Bo Burnham: Inside

Bo Burnham's new Netflix special Inside is not stand-up comedy. It's one-man isolation theater, shot in one enclosed space and bursting with musical performances and video sendups of genres from sad-dude acoustic guitar songs to '80s synth pop. Filmed over more than a year of pandemic disruption, it's whimsical, biting, empathetic and full of earworms.
07/06/2115m 11s

Summer Guide And What's Making Us Happy

Movie theaters are opening, and new TV shows and music are on the horizon. We've got you covered on what's coming this summer to entertain you.
04/06/2125m 50s


On the HBO Max series Hacks, the great Jean Smart plays a legendary stand-up comic whose longtime Las Vegas residency is threatened by a casino owner looking for some fresh blood. Hannah Einbinder plays a promising young comedy writer who's fallen on hard times. Grudgingly, the two women start working together, arguing incessantly. But somewhere in among the barbs they're always trading, something like mutual respect begins to emerge.
03/06/2115m 28s


When Pose burst onto the scene in 2018, there had never been anything quite like it before: Here was a scripted TV series on a major network centering trans and queer black and brown people, and the New York City ballroom culture they cultivated in the 1980s and '90s. Now, after three seasons, it's time to say goodbye to the beloved Pose family.
02/06/2125m 21s

A Quiet Place Part II

A Quiet Place told the story of a world overrun by monsters who kill anything that makes a sound. Starring Emily Blunt and the film's director John Krasinski, it was a blockbuster in 2018. Now, after a long delay, A Quiet Place Part II is finally hitting theaters, and picking up where the last movie left off.
01/06/2113m 56s

Comedian Patti Harrison

Patti Harrison is known for bringing her absurd, caustic, yet charming comedy to supporting roles on shows like Search Party, Broad City and Shrill. But now she's in a starring role in the romantic comedy Together Together. In it, Harrison plays a young single woman who agrees to be a gestational surrogate for a single man in his 40s, played by Ed Helms. It's Been A Minute host Sam Sanders talks to Patti about what it was like to play a role different from everything she's done before, why Together Together is even billed as a rom-com, and the quandary of representation as a trans woman.
31/05/2128m 37s

Cruella And What's Making Us Happy

One of the biggest, baddest and certainly most stylish of Disney villains is getting an origin story. In the new film Cruella, Emma Stone plays young Estella, an orphan on the streets of London in the 1970s. She's a thief with an eye for fashion, whose life fatefully intertwines with imperious fashion designer the Baroness, played with icy hauteur by Emma Thompson.
28/05/2122m 10s

BTS And More: A Guide To K-Pop

Last year, the South Korean pop group BTS topped the U.S. charts with the blockbuster earworm "Dynamite." Now, they've got a new hit, called "Butter." But the story of K-pop extends well beyond BTS. And it goes back decades with a huge array of styles and sounds.
27/05/2122m 44s

SNL Musical Performances: Best And Worst

For the last four years over at NPR Music, Stephen Thompson has compiled a ranking of the best and worst musical guests from the latest season of Saturday Night Live. Season 46 just wrapped up with Lil Nas X, who joins the ranks of this season's best performances, which includes Megan Thee Stallion, Justin Bieber, Bruce Springsteen, Miley Cyrus and many others.
26/05/2113m 11s

Master Of None

The Netflix show Master Of None has finally returned following a four-year hiatus. This time around the focus is on Lena Waithe's character Denise and her partner (played by Naomi Ackie) as they wrestle with their relationship and trying to conceive. Noticeably absent on screen for most of the season is Aziz Ansari's Dev, the central character of the first two seasons. The result is an installment that feels less like a narrative continuation of the series and more like a spin-off. But is this standalone season worth your time?
25/05/2115m 42s

Olivia Rodrigo

When this year began, Olivia Rodrigo hadn't even released a single as a recording artist. But by mid-January, she was setting streaming records and sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100. "Drivers License" was an instant sensation and one of this year's biggest songs. And now, Olivia Rodrigo has her first full-length album, called Sour.
24/05/2117m 42s

Army Of The Dead And What's Making Us Happy

Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead is a zombie heist film that follows a team of mercenaries led by Dave Bautista. This rag-tag bunch faces wave after wave of zombies in an abandoned, cordoned-off Las Vegas as they attempt to steal millions of dollars from a casino swarming with the undead.
21/05/2123m 51s

Mare Of Easttown

In the HBO series Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet plays a detective in a small town just outside of Philadelphia. Her character Mare is conducting a murder investigation, and there's a missing girl who may or may not be connected to that case. Meanwhile, Mare's family is falling apart on the heels of a recent tragedy. Plus, there's the accents — we'll talk about the accents.
20/05/2118m 6s

Top Chef

Eighteen seasons of Top Chef, and we still get a thrill every time we hear "hands up, utensils down." The show has traveled to classic food cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, but this season, Top Chef filmed within a COVID-19 bubble in Portland, Oregon. Controversial winners, heartbreaking losses, food that looks good enough to eat and the foolishness of even attempting risotto — they've all been backbones of the Top Chef franchise over its many, many years.
19/05/2121m 14s

The Woman In The Window

In Netflix's adaptation of The Woman In The Window, Amy Adams plays a psychologist named Anna, who is agoraphobic and entirely confined to her house. A family moves in across the street and she meets a couple of them, but then she sees something potentially dreadful. The police are skeptical, and even Anna isn't confident of her grasp on reality. Originally scheduled to be released in 2019, the long-awaited, claustrophobic film has remnants of past female-led thrillers such as Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train.
18/05/2114m 7s

The Underground Railroad

The new Amazon series The Underground Railroad is the latest project from Barry Jenkins, who directed Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk. It's the story of Cora, a runaway slave in the antebellum South, who escapes a vicious Georgia plantation and sets off on a journey toward freedom aboard the mysterious and entirely literal underground railroad. It's many contradictory things at once: lyrical yet brutal, luminous yet horrifying.
17/05/2119m 13s

Those Who Wish Me Dead And What's Making Us Happy

The new movie Those Who Wish Me Dead is a lot of things at once. It's the story of a smokejumper, played by Angelina Jolie, who battles terrifying forest fires. It's the story of a young kid chased by killers. And it's the story of a pregnant woman forced to defend herself. The film is directed by Taylor Sheridan, who wrote 2016's Hell Or High Water, and is now streaming on HBO Max.
14/05/2121m 24s


In the grand tradition of movies like This is Spinal Tap and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, the new Peacock series Girls5eva is a silly parody of the music industry. In it, four down-on-their-luck members of a fictional late-90s girl group reunite to stage a comeback 20 years later, and find that the music industry has changed a lot since then. The show features a stacked cast of musical and comedic talent, including Sara Bareilles, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Busy Philipps, and Paula Pell. And the music's pretty catchy, too. Take our survey at NPR.org/SpringSurvey
13/05/2116m 27s

Three Favorite Nintendo Switch Games

Sometimes, we dive deep into a new piece of pop culture to grapple with its themes, its relevance and its meaning. But sometimes, you just want us to recommend stuff to watch, read or play. Today, we're recommending three great video games you can pick up and play on the Nintendo Switch and other consoles.
12/05/219m 24s

The Nanny

Fran Fine was working at a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens, and now she's on HBO Max. The Nanny, starring Fran Drescher as Fran Fine, nanny to the wealthy Sheffield family, originally ran from 1993 to 1999. More than 20 years after it ended, the show has made it to a major streaming service: HBO Max. And what that means is that a comedy that spent years a little under the radar has roared back into the public conversation.
11/05/2121m 52s

Selena: The Series

Selena Quintanilla was known as the "Queen Of Tejano Music," a major Latin star who was crossing over into the mainstream U.S. pop world when she was shot and killed in 1995. She was 23 years old. Her story spawned a 1997 movie starring Jennifer Lopez, as well as an 18-episode series streaming now on Netflix called Selena: The Series. Maria Garcia, the host and creator of the Anything For Selena podcast, joins us to talk about the legacy of Selena, who would have turned 50 years old this year.
10/05/2121m 40s

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines And What's Making Us Happy

In the new animated film The Mitchells Vs. The Machines, a family road trip turns into a wild adventure and a battle against an actual robot uprising. And while some of the themes are familiar, the inventive execution and the high energy make it one of the summer's first real crowd-pleasers.
07/05/2126m 24s

Rutherford Falls

The Peacock sitcom Rutherford Falls, which follows a conflict over a historical statue in a small town, is notable for a few reasons, besides its timely topic. It's the latest project from Mike Schur and it marks Ed Helms' return to TV. But it also centers several Native American characters (played by Jana Schmieding and Michael Greyeyes), boasts what NBCUniversal claims is "one of the largest Indigenous writer's rooms on television," and is led by co-creator Sierra Teller Ornelas, who is the first Native American showrunner of a television comedy.
06/05/2124m 59s

TCM On HBO Max Guide

The 2021 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival is taking place in your local living room. Beginning this Thursday, a special lineup of curated programming will be airing on TCM and streaming on HBO Max. Today, we highlight some of the films and extras you should be sure to check out.
05/05/2118m 12s

Star Wars And Other Merchandise

Today is May the 4th, also known as Star Wars Day. The first Star Wars film spawned many sequels, TV series, videogames and a multi-billion dollar merchandise industry. So we thought it would be a good time to revisit our conversation about movie merchandise. In this encore episode, we talk about everything from Jar Jar Binks lollipops and E.T. dolls to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cereal, and more.
04/05/2118m 33s

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone is the latest Netflix fantasy series based on a successful set of novels. There's a lot to take in — at least six main characters, people who can wield wind and shadow and light, a Chosen One who is prophesied to defeat a great wall of darkness, and charming rogues who are out for themselves. That may sound familiar, but there's enough here that's novel to make this series worth your consideration.
03/05/2117m 54s

Without Remorse, Michael B. Jordan, And What's Making Us Happy

Michael B. Jordan has played a range of characters, from sympathetic figures like Wallace on The Wire, to an underdog in Creed and a swaggering antagonist in Black Panther. But Without Remorse marks a new era for Jordan as an action star. Based on Tom Clancy's best-selling 1993 novel of the same name, Without Remorse serves as the origin story for John Clark, an ex-Navy SEAL turned CIA operative.
30/04/2124m 52s

Law And Order: Organized Crime

If you want an example of the TV cop whose supposed integrity is maintained in spite of procedural, ethical, and moral lapses, consider Elliot Stabler. For 12 seasons of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Elliot raged and threatened and caught bad guys, and he still got to be drawn as the good guy. In Law & Order: Organized Crime, Stabler is battling a wealthy shadowy criminal, and also recovering from a personal tragedy that's left him more angry than ever.
29/04/2117m 55s


Netflix's Stowaway stars Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim and Anna Kendrick as a three-person crew on a mission to Mars. When they discover a fourth person aboard, played by Shamier Anderson, his unexpected presence places them all in jeopardy. Absent of sinister aliens, there's plenty of calculus (both mathematical and moral) as the crew tries to puzzle their way out of their rapidly worsening situation.
28/04/2110m 46s

Mortal Kombat

The Mortal Kombat franchise began in 1992 with an arcade fighting game featuring grisly pixelated deaths. It spawned many sequels and spinoffs, comics, television shows and films. The latest entry, a film called Mortal Kombat, introduces Cole Young, played by Lewis Tan, who is tapped to save the Earthrealm with classic character like Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Jax.
27/04/2111m 44s

2021 Oscars Recap

We are wrapping up this year's Oscars. It was a big night for Nomadland, which took best picture, best actress for Frances McDormand, and a historic best director win for Chloé Zhao. But there were also huge upsets, most notably in best actor, where Anthony Hopkins won over Chadwick Boseman. And the telecast took some big risks that didn't always pay off.
26/04/2119m 14s

2021 Oscars Preview And What's Making Us Happy

There are always two big questions as we approach the Oscars: Who will win, and who should win. We're diving into both, so you can win your Oscar pool and see some fine movies at the same time.
23/04/2143m 57s

2021 Oscars Guide: Original Songs

What do Will Ferrell and Leslie Odom, Jr. have in common? They both play a part in the Academy Awards' Best Original Song category. This year's five nominated songs are stacked with star power and grand themes of fighting for justice, as well as a sweeping power ballad about mountains singing "through the screams of seagulls."
22/04/2118m 59s

2021 Oscars Guide: Animated Features

Wolves, aliens and the afterlife all show up in this year's Oscar-nominated animated features. From stop-motion to hand-drawn art, these five films exhibit and celebrate different styles of animation and storytelling. Disney and Pixar appear, but the category also showcases films a little farther off the beaten path, proving that animated features are a lot more than cute cartoons.
21/04/2117m 5s

2021 Oscars Guide: Documentary Features

Corruption, loneliness, family, activism, and the adventures that take place in the ocean. The Oscar-nominated documentary features are about all these things, but not just these things. These films are shot in black and white and vivid underwater colors. Some trace long histories and some closely examine particular inflection points in time. And you can stream all the films on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.
20/04/2120m 59s

2021 Oscars Guide: Documentary Features

Corruption, loneliness, family, activism, and the adventures that take place in the ocean. The Oscar-nominated documentary features are about all these things, but not just these things. These films are shot in black and white and vivid underwater colors. Some trace long histories and some closely examine particular inflection points in time. And you can stream all the films on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.
20/04/2120m 59s

2021 Oscars Guide: International Features

This year's Oscar nominees for best international feature film tackle a variety of issues, from school bullying to mass slaughter, from government corruption to alcohol abuse — one nominee even grapples with the nature and purpose of art itself. But even though these films reveal some darker truths about the human condition, they each manage to do so with a vivid sense of style and a deep sense of empathy that's as enlivening as it is enlightening.
19/04/2115m 18s

Legally Blonde And What's Making Us Happy

Twenty years ago, Legally Blonde opened in theaters, and now it's available on Netflix. Reese Witherspoon plays a first-year law student named Elle Woods. She heads to Harvard Law School to win back Warner, who broke up with her for not being serious enough. But she learned that she was cut out for the courtroom, and she changed what it means to be a "serious" woman.
16/04/2124m 31s

Made For Love

The HBO Max series Made For Love follows Hazel (played by Cristin Milioti), whose husband wants to get inside her head — literally. He's a tech genius who's already made both of them recluses, but he's now working on a chip that, once implanted in her brain, will allow him to know and see everything she does.
15/04/2112m 36s

Three Songs For Staring Out The Window

NPR Music has song recommendations for every occasion, from major life events to moments when all you want to do is stare blankly into the middle distance. Right now, so many of us feel stuck in a holding pattern, as we wait for our lives to resume. Maybe we're passing time until our vaccinations kick in, or maybe we're daydreaming about the possibility of safe summer travel. Today, we're recommending three songs to help cope with pent-up, restless boredom.
14/04/217m 51s

Queen Sugar

Queen Sugar is a sprawling melodrama following the Bordelons, a tight-knit, multi-generational black family in rural Louisiana. Created by Ava DuVernay, the series has been politically topical from the beginning, and its fifth season is timelier than ever, dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd.
13/04/2114m 52s

Viola Davis: Essentials

Viola Davis' name is rarely far from awards season chatter, and this year is no different — the highly decorated performer received her fourth Oscar nomination for her role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and could become the first Black woman to nab two acting Oscars. As awards season kicks off, Pop Culture Happy Hour revisits great performers and a few of their essential performances. Today, we're spotlighting Viola Davis, from her first Oscar-nominated role in Doubt to her standing as a powerful force of nature in Hollywood.
12/04/2119m 45s

The Great Pottery Throw Down, What's Making Us Happy, And Remembering DMX

The Great Pottery Throw Down is one of the gentlest, kindest and warmest competitive reality shows you will ever see (even when things literally explode). The UK series is now streaming on HBO Max. The dishes, the bowls, the handles, the crying — it's all right there to help you relax at the end of even the longest day. Plus, we take a moment to remember rapper DMX, who died today at 50.
09/04/2121m 31s

Bad Trip

In the Netflix movie Bad Trip, Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery play best friends who take a road trip from Florida to New York City. The twist in Bad Trip is that each scene is also an elaborate prank, blending fiction and reality - with the mayhem taking place as real unsuspecting strangers look on.
08/04/2112m 9s

Frances McDormand: Essentials

Over the course of her long, varied and distinguished career, actor Frances McDormand has won two Oscars - and her performance in Nomadland this year could win her a third. Pop Culture Happy Hour explores some of the great work she's done.
07/04/2116m 55s

Chadwick Boseman: Essentials

Chadwick Boseman is nominated for an Oscar this year for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. It's his final onscreen role — he died of colon cancer in August. Before that, Boseman played historical figures including Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and James Brown. And of course, he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther. And today we're talking about some of those essential performances.
06/04/2119m 27s

The Father

In The Father, Anthony Hopkins plays a character whose fierce independence is complicated by his worsening dementia. Olivia Colman plays his daughter Anne, who keeps trying to hire carers to help look after him. But the structure of the film is more complicated than that, as director Florian Zeller finds ways to keep viewers guessing. The Father is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.
05/04/2117m 18s

Top 10 Muppets And What's Making Us Happy

When we asked our listeners to tell us which Muppets were their favorites, we knew you'd all come through. More than 6,000 people cast over 18,000 votes, and those votes have been tallied. This is the PCHH audience's definitive ranking of the best Muppets.
02/04/2125m 19s

Our Favorite Muppets

When The Muppet Show arrived on Disney Plus in February, it got us talking: who are our favorite Muppets? And which Muppet do we most identify with? Today, we're discussing all things Muppets and finding out where we fit in Jim Henson's felt universe.
01/04/2123m 24s

Godzilla Vs. Kong

Godzilla Vs. Kong is a collision of two classic film franchises. As the sequel to 2017's Kong: Skull Island and 2019's Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, the film's excessive plot largely serves as window dressing for a heightened epic battle. However, its action-packed story also neglects to properly acknowledge the complicated layers of these two cinematic monsters.
31/03/2115m 25s

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues its march across Disney Plus, it needs a buddy show, specifically The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Both old allies of Captain America, the two find themselves up against villains, a therapist and sometimes each other.
30/03/2113m 40s

Die Hard

There's no wrong time to talk about an influential Hollywood classic. So that's why we are talking about Die Hard. We will never get tired of Hans Gruber versus John McClane — Alan Rickman versus Bruce Willis — the real clash of the titans. So that's why we are bringing you this encore episode.
29/03/2121m 13s

Beverly Cleary: Essentials

Legendary children's author Beverly Cleary died last week at the age of 104. Cleary wrote more than 40 books over about 50 years. Her characters, like Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, entertained kids for decades. So we decided to talk about some of Cleary's essential books.
27/03/2114m 48s

Sound of Metal and What's Making Us Happy

Sound Of Metal tells the story of a heavy-metal drummer, played by Riz Ahmed, who experiences sudden hearing loss that changes every facet of his life. The film is nominated for six Academy Awards - including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.
26/03/2127m 5s

King Of The Hill

If you're looking for the next show to binge, we've got a great suggestion for you. The animated sitcom King Of The Hill ran on FOX from 1997 to 2010, and all 13 seasons are now streaming on Hulu. The show, created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels pokes gentle fun at its characters without mocking them.
25/03/2117m 8s

Audience Questions: What Should I Watch?

For a year, many of us have found ourselves planted at home, with a lot more time on our hands for movies and television. Maybe you've already finished the umpteenth binge-watch of your favorite show, or you're just in a very different headspace than you were a few months ago. Today, we're teaming up with the hosts of the Movie Therapy podcast to help a few listeners out with some personal recommendations.
24/03/2122m 58s

2020 Best Books: Book Club Ideas

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books of the year in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. Today, All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro gives us his recommendations for your next book club.
23/03/2111m 43s

Favorite Concert Films

It's been more than a year since live concerts were a safe way to experience music. We miss the roar of a blissed-out crowd and experiencing art at the moment of its creation. Therefore, it feels like a good time to talk about some of our favorite concert films from Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, and Aretha Franklin.
22/03/2121m 27s

Justice League And What's Making Us Happy

The 2017 film Justice League had a famously rocky road to the big screen and premiered to polarized reactions. Following an extended online campaign by Zack Snyder's hardcore fanbase, the director has gone back and recreated his original vision for the film, now called Zack Snyder's Justice League.
19/03/2122m 5s

Raya And The Last Dragon

Raya And The Last Dragon is an animated Disney movie without musical numbers, without romantic intrigue and with a largely Asian cast. It's about the pursuit of peace, the need for trust and a young warrior who assembles a ragtag team of misfit heroes to save the world.
18/03/2112m 30s

Steven Yeun: Essentials

Steven Yeun's filmography reveals a remarkably varied career. From his breakout role as Glenn Rhee in The Walking Dead to his work with directors like Bong Joon-ho and Boots Riley, Yeun can easily jump between playing enigmatic cosmopolitan characters and endearing supportive boyfriend characters. As awards season kicks off, Pop Culture Happy Hour revisits great performers and a few of their essential performances. Today, we're spotlighting Yeun, whose role in Minari makes him the first Asian-American nominee for a lead actor Oscar.
17/03/2119m 45s

Oscar Nominations 2021

The Oscar nominations are out, and in the lead is Mank. The David Fincher-directed film about the writing of Citizen Kane picked up the most nominations with 10, while other films including Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Minari, and Judas and the Black Messiah performed well, too. We'll get into what surprised us and what disappointed us. And this year, more than ever, you can check out the eligible movies from the comfort of your own home.
15/03/2114m 43s

2021 Grammys Recap

After a six week delay due to COVID-19, we did finally have a Grammys ceremony, hosted by Trevor Noah, with loads of socially distanced performances and big wins for Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion, and Billie Eilish.
15/03/2119m 54s

RuPaul's Drag Race And What's Making Us Happy

RuPaul's Drag Race began in 2009 as a raggedy spoof of reality competition shows, with hilariously low-rent production values on Logo. After 13 seasons and a move to VH1, it has transformed and distilled the once-underground and defiantly transgressive culture of drag into a formula perfectly suited to mainstream viewing.
12/03/2125m 26s

Antiques Roadshow

For over twenty years, PBS has ensured that one of the hottest places in American television is your attic. And if you want to know what all that old stuff is worth, you can take yourself right to the people at Antiques Roadshow. Sometimes, you'll find that you're sitting on buried treasure--and sometimes, you won't. In this encore episode, we revisit our discussion of Antiques Roadshow.
11/03/2120m 3s

Ginny And Georgia

Netflix's Ginny & Georgia follows a young single mom, her teenage daughter, and their efforts to create a life for themselves in the suburbs of Massachusetts. It's got high school standbys like new friendships and first sexual experiences, but it's also got adult soap standbys like secret pasts and shady figures. To say it has a lot going on is a wild understatement.
10/03/2116m 36s

Delroy Lindo: Essentials

Delroy Lindo is one of those performers you probably recognize as "that dude." Even if he's only on screen for a few scenes, he tends to stand out. He gave one of last year's most critically acclaimed onscreen performances as a troubled Vietnam war vet in Spike Lee's Da Five Bloods. As awards season ramps up, we revisit some of Delroy Lindo's essential performances.
09/03/2116m 14s

The WandaVision Finale

After nine episodes, several battles, big reveals and a lot of different hairstyles, WandaVision has come to an end on Disney Plus. What happened to Wanda, what happened to Vision, and is it really safe to say it was Agatha all along? We've got a lot to talk about. (Warning: this episode contains spoilers.)
08/03/2113m 5s

Coming 2 America And What's Making Us Happy

Coming To America was a huge hit when it was released in 1988, eventually grossing well over $100 million at the box office. It captured Eddie Murphy at the peak of his career, helped catapult Arsenio Hall into a new level of stardom, and has since inspired countless homages. Now, 33 years later, the sequel Coming 2 America has arrived on Amazon Prime, reuniting most of the original cast and adding some new faces. Can Prince Akeem and friends recapture the magic of the original?
05/03/2124m 17s

Regina King: Essentials

Very few actors will ever put together a run like Regina King. Among other things, she's won four Emmys in the last 10 years - all for different roles. She won an Oscar for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk, and this year, she might win an Oscar nomination for her directorial debut, One Night In Miami. As awards season kicks off, Pop Culture Happy Hour revisits great performers and a few of their essential performances, and there isn't a better place to start than with Regina King.
04/03/2115m 19s

Three Great Documentaries

If you dig into the archives of any streaming service, you're gonna find loads of documentaries — tales of true crime, plucky dreamers, obsessive eccentrics, or just about any other subject you could name. We figured this would be a good time to recommend a few of our favorites from the last few years that we think you'll love.
03/03/2111m 10s

The United States v. Billie Holiday

The United States v. Billie Holiday is the latest dramatization of the singer's tumultuous personal life. Directed by Lee Daniels and starring Andra Day, it focuses on the government surveillance Billie Holiday endured for her drug addiction and her song "Strange Fruit."
02/03/2116m 28s

2021 Golden Globes Recap

This year's Golden Globes ceremony took place under a cloud, following fresh reporting on accusations that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is too small, too secretive, and not remotely diverse enough. Still, even during the pandemic, a hybrid part-live, part-remote telecast went on. It honored actors like Chadwick Boseman, Jason Sudeikis and Catherine O'Hara, films including Nomadland and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and television projects like The Crown and The Queen's Gambit. And it even managed a couple of genuinely memorable moments.
01/03/2119m 7s

Minari And What's Making Us Happy

Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Minari follows a Korean-American family who moves to Arkansas in the 1980s to follow their father's dream of becoming a farmer. The grind of trying to make the farm a success strains the parents' marriage and often confounds the kids, but it's a story about the choices families make and the ways they stay together.
26/02/2121m 21s


There are many versions of Cinderella, but few are as beloved as Disney's production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, starring Brandy as the titular character and Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother.
25/02/2117m 27s

I Care A Lot

In the new Netflix comedy-thriller I Care A Lot, Rosamund Pike plays a slick grifter named Marla who tricks her way into becoming the legal guardian of elderly people, then drains their bank accounts. It's a well-oiled scheme, until she chooses a woman with a dangerous background as her new target.
24/02/2115m 39s

2020 Best Books: Nonfiction

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books of the year in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. Today, we're talking about some of the best nonfiction picks that show up in this year's guide.
23/02/2111m 57s

It's A Sin

It's A Sin chronicles the AIDS epidemic as experienced by a group of friends in London in the early 1980s. They come from different backgrounds, and deal with the dawning realization that a virus is ravaging their community in different ways. None of them will get through it unchanged, and some of them won't get through it at all.
22/02/2118m 2s

Nomadland and What's Making Us Happy

The new film Nomadland is about a woman named Fern who's lost her husband, her home and her entire community: a company town that collapsed when the company did. She's played by Frances McDormand, and in Chloé Zhao's film, she falls into a new community of people who live on the road, out of vans and RVs.
19/02/2122m 48s

To All The Boys: Always And Forever

In 2018, To All The Boys I've Loved Before was a breakout hit for Netflix. Based on Jenny Han's novel, it followed Lara Jean Covey through the adventure of falling in love with one Peter Kavinsky. A sequel followed in 2020 and now, it's time for the finale, which finds Lara Jean and Peter dealing with the complication of graduating and heading off to college.
18/02/2113m 49s

Shark Tank

On Shark Tank, a group of wealthy investors like Mark Cuban and "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner listen to pitches from people who have invented something. Might be an app, might be a toy, might be a belt that can hold a beer can. Then the investors decide whether to invest in the business, and they negotiate with the entrepreneur — sometimes competing with each other to get the deal. In this encore episode, we revisit our conversation about the hit ABC show.
17/02/2122m 52s


In Supernova, Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play a gay couple coming to terms with the fact that Tucci's character is experiencing early onset dementia. They take one last trip together around the British Lake District and try to enjoy these moments together, even though their shared knowledge of what's to come exposes their fears and secrets.
16/02/2112m 1s

Desus And Mero On Politics, Fame And Life In The Pandemic

A special bonus episode from NPR's It's Been A Minute With Sam Sanders. Desus Nice and The Kid Mero went from calling up "anyone in their phone book" in the early days of their podcast Bodega Boys, to booking big names in politics like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Barack Obama on Desus & Mero, their late-night show airing on Showtime.
15/02/2129m 46s

Judas And The Black Messiah And What's Making Us Happy

Fred Hampton, the charismatic chairman of the Black Panther Party's Illinois chapter, was just 21 years old when he was killed during a police raid in 1969. In Judas And The Black Messiah, he's given the cinematic treatment via a stirring performance by Daniel Kaluuya. The new film directed by Shaka King focuses on Hampton's activism and how it made him the target of the federal government. The Judas in this story is the FBI informant who played a crucial role in Hampton's death: William O'Neal, portrayed deftly by LaKeith Stanfield.
12/02/2127m 1s

2020 Best Books: For Music Lovers

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. It can help you find exactly the read you're looking for. Today we're talking about some of the best books for music lovers that show up in this year's guide.
11/02/2112m 32s


For six seasons, the NBC comedy Superstore has told the story of a fictional big-box store in St. Louis. Until the last handful of episodes, the show starred America Ferrera, and found humor in serious topics like income inequality, health insurance, unionization, and corporate greed. Its final season is airing now, with storylines about COVID-19 and racial justice. Superstore is also a big, broad, goodhearted workplace comedy in the spirit of The Office, full of wacky oddballs and slow-burning romantic intrigue.
10/02/2117m 8s

Desus & Mero Writer Josh Gondelman On Making A Late Night Talk Show During COVID-19

Television production changed practically overnight when COVID-19 began to spread in the United States in March 2020. One corner of TV that's carried on is the late-night talk show. There have been no live audiences — and in some cases, no studios in use — but projects like Showtime's Desus & Mero have carried on nonetheless. Comedian and writer/producer Josh Gondelman sits down to talk about creating a talk show remotely during a pandemic.
09/02/2116m 34s

2021 Super Bowl

It has been a truly bizarre NFL season, as the pandemic threatened players' health and compelled teams to play in empty or near-empty stadiums all season long. But it all ended in familiar fashion: with Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl championship, this time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs. We couldn't have a Super Bowl party this year, but we did gather around our TVs to watch the game, the halftime show with The Weeknd, and lots of commercials. Plus, we take a moment to remember actor Christopher Plummer.
08/02/2117m 52s

Malcolm & Marie And What's Making Us Happy

After production of HBO's Euphoria was shut down in March 2020, creator Sam Levinson turned to the show's star Zendaya and filmed Malcolm & Marie. The sleek Netflix feature follows a couple who spends a turbulent evening dissecting every contour of their fraught relationship. John David Washington and Zendaya play the troubled pair who spiral into madness as this intense, dialogue-heavy film goes on.
05/02/2128m 33s

2021 Sundance: Best Movies

One of the most anticipated moments of any year in movies is the Sundance Film Festival. This is not a year for gathering in crowds, so the Sundance Film Festival in 2021 went virtual. More than 70 feature films, including both narrative films and documentaries, were at Sundance this year. Today we round up some highlights, including two big winners, CODA and Summer Of Soul.
04/02/2118m 47s

Bling Empire

Reality television has long had a fascination with some factions of the extremely rich. Bling Empire shifts the focus a little bit, to a group of Asian-Americans in and around Los Angeles. Executive produced by Jeff Jenkins, who also worked on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Bling Empire definitely shares a lot of that DNA while asking where the show falls on the scale of Asian-American representation.
03/02/2122m 2s

Our Favorite Cicely Tyson Performances

The actress Cicely Tyson died last week at the age of 96. Over a career that spanned seven decades, she brought grace, grit and gravitas to any role she played. She'd just released a memoir, Just As I Am, and had been making the rounds, doing a slew of interviews in which her intelligence, wisdom and dignity shone through. Today we're looking back at a few favorite performances by Cicely Tyson and what set them apart.
02/02/2111m 29s

Derek DelGaudio's In & Of Itself

The off-Broadway show In & Of Itself, performed by Derek DelGaudio, was a one-man show, a magic act and a piece of interactive theater. The show is now available on Hulu and it showcases a series of storytelling vignettes that are punctuated by different illusions. One has card magic, a couple have interactions with the audience, but the focus is really on identity.
01/02/2115m 44s

Lupin And What's Making Us Happy

Lupin is a smart and twisty French series that's new to Netflix. It's about a young Parisian man named Assane, played by Omar Sy, who molds his life on classic French tales about a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise named Arsène Lupin.
29/01/2125m 30s

All Creatures Great And Small

The writer and veterinarian James Herriot wrote a series of beloved books about his adventures as a vet in Yorkshire beginning in the 1930s. They were adapted with great success into a series called All Creatures Great And Small, which ran on the BBC and PBS. Now, there's a new take airing on PBS with a whole new cast.
28/01/2118m 35s

Almost Famous

The film Almost Famous recently turned 20. Writer and director Cameron Crowe looks at the ecosystem surrounding a rising rock band in the early '70s. Starring Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, and so many more, it's a coming-of-age story that touches on journalism, sex, rock and roll, parenthood, and the perils of trying to be cool.
27/01/2121m 10s

Search Party

In the dark comedy Search Party, four narcissistic millennials become amateur sleuths following the disappearance of a former classmate. Alia Shawkat plays Dory, the ringleader whose growing obsession with solving the mystery eventually entwines them all in a murder investigation. The fourth season has found new ways to dial up the absurdity while bringing in new guest stars like Busy Phillips and Susan Sarandon.
26/01/2119m 16s

2020 Best Books About Families

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books of the year in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. Today, we're highlighting three great 2020 books about families from year's guide.
25/01/2110m 48s

WandaVision and What's Making Us Happy

Disney Plus has big plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the first show to arrive from its slate of Phase Four projects is WandaVision. Wanda's got magic powers, Vision's a synthetic android and together, they're trapped in a series of simulations of comedies from decades past. However, slowly but surely, the superhero world you know and love begins to creep back in.
22/01/2123m 47s

Locked Down

In Locked Down — a movie to be filmed and released during the pandemic — Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne Hathaway play a couple sheltering in London together. The film takes them on an adventure that might not have been possible in normal circumstances, answering the question: What do bored and frustrated people do during a pandemic?
21/01/219m 45s

Cobra Kai

When The Karate Kid ended with a crane kick in 1984, it seemed like it was all over. But then came sequels. Then came a remake. And now we have Cobra Kai, a surprisingly good series that catches up with the film's hero Daniel and villain Johnny many years later. In this encore episode, we revisit our conversation about Cobra Kai from back in 2018 when it premiered on YouTube Red. The show just dropped its third season earlier this month Netflix.
20/01/2117m 28s

Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman is a revenge thriller, and a dark comedy, and a few other things, too. It stars Carey Mulligan as a woman who spends her evenings in bars being picked up by men who misunderstand who they're dealing with. Directed by Emerald Fennell, the film has been billed as a #MeToo tale, but its perspective feels timeless, and there are surprises each step of the way.
19/01/2124m 15s

One Night In Miami And What's Making Us Happy

Regina King has won an Oscar and a collection of Emmys as an actor. Now, she's making her debut as a feature film director with One Night In Miami. The film imagines what might have happened in a real night in 1964 when Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown hung out with Cassius Clay. The men talk about success, celebrity, responsibility and history.
15/01/2124m 15s

2020 Best Books About America

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books of the year in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. Today, we're highlighting books about the United States from this year's guide.
14/01/2114m 16s


Despite its preponderance of bustles and bonnets, the Apple TV+ series Dickinson is not some fusty old biopic. It casts Hailee Steinfeld as a young Emily Dickinson: a feminist free-thinker and iconoclast, chafing against the rigid social and sexual mores of her time.
13/01/2115m 55s

Bring It On

The cheerleading film Bring It On recently turned 20. It spawned direct-to-video sequels and a Broadway musical. And with an all-star cast of Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, and Gabrielle Union, the movie remains a quotable classic. But a lot has happened in the past 20 years that might make it feel very timely, or very dated.
12/01/2119m 29s

Sylvie's Love

Sylvie's Love follows a relationship that blossoms in the late 1950s between a spirited young woman who loves television and a gifted saxophone player. Written and directed by Eugene Ashe, Sylvie's Love has all the swoon and the style of old Hollywood but this time, it places a Black couple at its center.
11/01/2114m 32s

Great 2020 Movies You May Have Missed And What's Making Us Happy

We spent a lot of time watching movies in 2020. Plenty of our favorites ended up on this show, but with release schedules scrambled and publicity scattered, there are still things that manage to slip through the cracks. Today we are recommending a few of the films we really think you should see.
08/01/2125m 34s


In 1995, critics howled and self-appointed guardians of good taste were horrified at the release of Showgirls. Directed by Paul Verhoeven with a screenplay by Joe Eszterhas, the NC-17 film was a notorious flop at the time but is now considered a camp classic and a window into a moment of moral panic.
07/01/2119m 19s


What if you took Gossip Girl and set it in Regency-era London, where members of the aristocracy plot to find love, sex and spouses? You'd have Bridgerton. Created by Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton is the first project to emerge from Shonda Rhimes' production company under a lucrative Netflix deal.
06/01/2118m 18s

Card Sharks

The game show Card Sharks has lived many lives: It's been on NBC, on CBS, in syndication, and now it's on ABC, in prime time, hosted by Joel McHale. The game seems simple — you're guessing whether a card will be higher or lower than the one before it. But it's also complicated. And now, in its latest iteration, there's big money involved.
05/01/2115m 51s

2020 Best Books: Love Stories

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books of the year in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. Today we're talking about some of the love stories that show up in this year's guide.
04/01/218m 26s

Our 2021 Pop Culture Resolutions And What's Making Us Happy

It's the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, as much as it seemed like we might never get here. That means we're looking back, and we're looking ahead. What did we resolve to do in 2020, did we accomplish them and what do we want to do in the year ahead? We've still got goals, plans and the willingness to look back at our ambitious plans and wonder what in the world happened to all of them.
31/12/2030m 46s

Our 2021 Pop Culture Predictions

To say we could not have predicted the course of 2020 is a ridiculous understatement. But nevertheless, we press on. We'll check in on last year's predictions, while turning our eyes to the future to try and figure out what the next year will bring, even when that seems nearly impossible.
30/12/2021m 26s


The 2017 movie Coco is about a Mexican boy named Miguel who has an adventure on Día de los Muertos, a holiday dedicated to remembering the dead. He finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where he learns about the importance of memory and how we tell the stories of our families. In this encore episode, we revisit our conversation about the excellent Disney-Pixar film.
29/12/2016m 42s


In Disney and Pixar's Soul, a jazz musician voiced by Jamie Foxx falls down a manhole and finds himself teetering between life and the afterlife. He winds up on a New York adventure with a wandering soul, voiced by Tina Fey, who needs help getting ready to be reborn on Earth.
28/12/2016m 20s

Wonder Woman 1984 And What's Making Us Happy

Wonder Woman 1984 arrives as one of the biggest films yet to stream at home at the same time it hits theaters. Like its successful predecessor, 2017's Wonder Woman, it's directed by Patty Jenkins and stars Gal Gadot as our heroine. Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor, and new cast members include Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal.
24/12/2022m 54s

The Midnight Sky

The new George Clooney movie The Midnight Sky takes place in two very lonely, post-apocalyptic settings: the Arctic, and outer space. Clooney plays a scientist at an Arctic research station who tries to tell the crew of a NASA mission that Earth is no longer any kind of a place to return to.
23/12/2012m 14s


Director Christopher Nolan's latest film, Tenet, is a riff on spy movies — featuring globe-trotting CIA agents, Russian arms dealers and big set pieces — but with a decidedly Nolan-esque time-travel twist. Is it brilliant blockbuster filmmaking or an emotionally empty miss?
22/12/2013m 26s

2020 Pop Culture Favorites

At the end of the year, we like to look back on some of our favorite things from the last 12 months of pop culture. We revisit some of the TV, film and music that helped us make it through.
21/12/2033m 59s

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom And What's Making Us Happy

The excellent new film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a story about art. It's a story about anger, and it's a story about respect. Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted from August Wilson's play, the film is inspired by the life of real blues singer Ma Rainey, and includes performances from Viola Davis, Glynn Turman, and the late Chadwick Boseman.
18/12/2026m 38s

Small Axe

A tense courtroom, an intimate house party, a stifling police academy. These are just a few of the environments depicted in Small Axe, the ambitious anthology film series from director Steve McQueen. The result is a collection of poignant stories buoyed by excellent performances from stars like John Boyega and Letitia Wright; as well as searing imagery, and a scene that could arguably be called the best movie moment of the year.
17/12/2024m 6s

The Flight Attendant

A woman wakes up after a night of partying and realizes something is very, very wrong. That's the premise of the HBO Max series The Flight Attendant. It's a taut, darkly funny thriller starring Kaley Cuoco as a woman in search of some answers about the present that also might shed light on the past.
16/12/2017m 7s

Taylor Swift's Evermore

On Friday, Dec. 11, just four and a half months after she released the heavily Grammy-nominated Folklore, Taylor Swift released her ninth album, Evermore. Swift describes Evermore as a "sister" album to Folklore, and once again, she's crafting moody and autumnal folk songs with Aaron Dessner of The National, Jack Antonoff and Bon Iver.
15/12/2017m 3s

2020 Best Books: Realistic Fiction

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. It can help you find exactly the read you're looking for. Today we're talking about some of the best realistic fiction picks that show up in this year's guide.
14/12/208m 40s

The Prom and What's Making Us Happy

Based on a sudsy, splashy 2018 Broadway musical, The Prom has been adapted for Netflix with big stars like Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Keegan Michael-Key and James Corden. But will the theater-people in-jokes land in your living room the way they did on Broadway?
11/12/2029m 18s

Bad Bunny

Singer and rapper Bad Bunny started releasing songs on SoundCloud in 2016. He has released three albums in 2020 and his latest, El Último Tour Del Mundo, is the first entirely Spanish-language record ever to hit No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart. On Spotify, Bad Bunny is the most-streamed artist of 2020.
10/12/2014m 53s

Saved By The Bell

Peacock has made a reboot of Saved By The Bell, which aired Saturday mornings from 1989 to 1993. With a mix of the old cast — including Mario Lopez as Slater and Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie — and new students at Bayside High, the show walks a fine line between earnestness and self-parody. You can support NPR by donating to your local member station at donate.npr.org/happy
09/12/2017m 7s

Mariah Carey

In 1990, a young woman with a big voice and equally big hair stepped onto the pop scene with her self-titled debut album, Mariah Carey. Thirty years later, she's as omnipresent as ever, thanks to a perennial holiday hit, a devoted fanbase, and recent memoir The Meaning Of Mariah Carey. What is it about Mimi that's made her one of our most enduring pop stars?
08/12/2025m 25s

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

The 2010 film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World starred Michael Cera as a directionless and not terribly bright 22-year-old in Toronto. Despite an amazing cast and director Edgar Wright's kinetic visual style, the film underperformed. In the ten years since, it's attained cult status. But does it hold up?
07/12/2021m 36s

Mank And What's Making Us Happy

Starring Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, Mank captures the artistic process behind the conception and writing of Orson Welles' first movie, Citizen Kane. Director David Fincher's black-and-white ode to classic film is a story about tycoons, studio heads, addiction, creative credit, and the politics of Old Hollywood during the Great Depression.
04/12/2024m 0s

2020 Christmas Movies and TV: Happiest Season, Hallmark, And More

Everybody from basic cable to streaming services have started to roll out their holiday fare. We're going to survey the tinsel-strewn landscape to bring you the brutal truth about some of this year's holiday offerings, including Happiest Season, Hallmark's A Christmas House, Dash & Lily, and Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square.
03/12/2023m 22s


BE is the latest album from Korean boy band BTS, making it their fifth record to top the U.S. album charts in two and a half years. Along with their earworm Dynamite, BE feels like a milestone in BTS' career, which has yielded billions of dollars and one of the world's most intensely devoted fan bases. You can support NPR by donating to your local member station at donate.npr.org/happy
02/12/2027m 37s

2020 Best Books: Fantasy And Sci-Fi

Every year, NPR brings together some of the best books in a searchable, explorable guide called the Book Concierge. It can help you find exactly the read you're looking for. Today we're talking about some of the science fiction and fantasy books that show up in this year's guide.
01/12/209m 21s

The Mandalorian: Baby Yoda And More

It was a little over a year ago that the first episode of The Mandalorian debuted on Disney Plus. Can you remember a world before Baby Yoda was a thing? Now that season two is underway, we're bringing you an encore episode of our discussion of a show that has since gone on to become a digital phenomenon, while launching a thousand memes.
30/11/2019m 5s

The Conspiracy Against Hip-Hop

A special bonus feed drop from the new NPR podcast Louder Than A Riot. Hosts Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden have been working on a deep-diving exploration of the relationship between hip-hop and mass incarceration. Episodes cover the likes of Nipsey Hussle, Bobby Shmurda, Killer Mike and many more. We're dropping the first episode here.
27/11/2051m 9s

The Emperor's New Groove and What's Making Us Happy

The Emperor's New Groove came out 20 years ago, during a time when Disney's animation department was going through an identity crisis. The plot is simple: David Spade is a bratty emperor. Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton turn him into a llama. And John Goodman is the peasant who helps make things right. It was originally gonna be an epic musical, but then it became a comedy, a box-office disappointment, and now, we would argue, a beloved classic.
25/11/2020m 59s

Hillbilly Elegy

The book Hillbilly Elegy was a phenomenon in 2016. Writer J.D. Vance wrote about growing up in Ohio and Kentucky, and about his family's struggles with addiction, abuse and poverty. He tried to both explain and critique the white Appalachian experience, to profoundly mixed reviews. Now, a film adaptation on Netflix sticks mostly to the dramatic elements of Vance's story, from his mother's battles with addiction to his path to law school. It's directed by Ron Howard and stars Glenn Close and Amy Adams.
24/11/2014m 9s

Megan Thee Stallion

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion has had a massive year. Her song with Cardi B, "WAP," topped the Billboard Hot 100 — as did, of course, her remix of "Savage" with Beyoncé. On Friday, Megan Thee Stallion dropped her first official full-length album, called Good News. It's stuffed with explicit sex and raunchy confidence, with features from fellow stars like SZA, Young Thug, 2 Chainz and Da Baby. But it also opens with "Shots Fired," in which Meg bluntly addresses the July shooting that led to bullet wounds in her feet and the arrest of rapper Tory Lanez.
23/11/2021m 1s

Animaniacs And What's Making Us Happy

Because everything in Hollywood must be revived these days, the Animaniacs are back after being locked in that Warner studio water tower for more than 20 years. Led by the fictional siblings Yakko, Wakko and Dot, the super-meta cartoon featured slapstick humor and cultural references that appealed to both kids and adults alike. Hulu has released a new batch of Animaniacs episodes and much of the original voice cast returns — though this time around you should expect fewer Goodfellas jokes and more cracks about presidential elections.
20/11/2022m 39s

Animaniacs And What's Making Us Happy

Because everything in Hollywood must be revived these days, the Animaniacs are back after being locked in that Warner studio water tower for more than 20 years. Led by the fictional siblings Yakko, Wakko and Dot, the super-meta cartoon featured slapstick humor and cultural references that appealed to both kids and adults alike. Hulu has released a new batch of Animaniacs episodes and much of the original voice cast returns — though this time around you should expect fewer Goodfellas jokes and more cracks about presidential elections.
20/11/2022m 46s

The West Wing

The West Wing chronicles the inner workings of a fictional presidential administration. The president is Democrat Jed Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, and his staff includes heavy hitters played by folks like Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, Bradley Whitford, John Spencer, and Richard Schiff. For the first four seasons, most episodes were written by Aaron Sorkin, who created the show and gave it many of its signature flourishes — the snappy banter, the walking and talking, and, of course, the big speech that solves everything.
19/11/2019m 45s

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special brings back computer animated, extruded-plastic versions of Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose, Lando and the droids. The only actors voicing their original characters are Billy Dee Williams, Kelly Marie Tran, and Anthony Daniels. It's Life Day (a Wookiee holiday of peace and harmony). While the rest of the characters set up for a party on the Millennium Falcon, Rey and BB-8 go off on a journey that brings them in contact with pretty much every major character in the entire Star Wars saga.
18/11/2014m 1s

Supermarket Sweep

The game show Supermarket Sweep has run in the '60s, the '90s and the aughts. This fall, it's been revived for a fourth iteration — this time in primetime on ABC. While the previous two versions of the show were hosted by the affable David Ruprecht, the new Supermarket Sweep is hosted by the delightfully amped-up Leslie Jones. She helps a new generation of shoppers as they run around a fake grocery store and attempt to fill their shopping carts with high-priced hams, fancy olives and anything else that adds up to big money.
17/11/2015m 23s


The fourth season of Fargo stars Chris Rock as Loy Cannon, a ruthless Kansas City crime boss battling an Italian-American gang for power in the 1950s. In order to keep the peace while doing business, Loy and his rival swap their youngest sons as hostages. The series is both an immigrant tale and a migrant tale viewed through the familiar lens of a gritty mobster saga. Though true to the Coen Brother's sensibilities, creator Noah Hawley injects it with darkly oddball humor and characters.
16/11/2016m 5s

Ted Lasso And What's Making Us Happy

Ted Lasso knows football, but not, you know, football. He is an American football coach who finds himself in the U.K. coaching soccer in the Premier League. Jason Sudeikis originated the character in a promotional campaign for NBC's soccer coverage back in 2013. Now, Apple has given Ted his own ten-episode underdog sports series, called Ted Lasso. The show follows Ted's first season of play, which begins as a doomed campaign masterminded by an embittered team owner who's trying to tank her own team. But as the story continues, Ted turns out to have a surprisingly warm heart, and maybe even some valuable insights.
13/11/2022m 52s


When the country went on lockdown earlier this year, Saturday Night Live was forced to end their 45th season earlier than expected. After producing three shows remotely, SNL returned to Studio 8H in October with COVID-related precautions. So far, SNL has brought on a deep bench of A-list hosts like Issa Rae and Dave Chappelle, and they've had plenty of election commentary with a fair share of social distancing jokes.
12/11/2016m 45s

HGTV And Home Makeover Shows

Whether you live in a big house or a tiny apartment, on a beach or in a bustling city, television is full of opportunities for you to ruminate on your living space. And nowhere is that impulse more prevalent than on HGTV. One of basic cable's most basic networks, HGTV has been handing out advice and house-envy for a long time. We're revisiting our discussion of HGTV and home makeover shows.
11/11/2017m 3s


On the vaguely unsettling, but satisfyingly pulpy FOX techno-thriller series Next, John Slattery plays a genius billionaire who blows the whistle on an artificial intelligence he created called "neXt." When people who know too much about the AI start dying in mysterious, tech-adjacent ways, the FBI Cybercrime Unit takes notice, and teams up with Slattery to stop it.
10/11/2011m 50s

Remembering Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek

The game show host Alex Trebek died Sunday following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Trebek hosted Jeopardy! for 36 years — his last episode airs on Christmas Day. Trebek hosted a number of game shows dating back to the early '70s. But he'll be forever known for his work on Jeopardy! — both for his steady demeanor and for moments when he couldn't bring himself to suffer fools gladly.
08/11/2010m 3s

2020 Comedy Special Recommendations And What's Making Us Happy

Comedy specials come in many forms. Stand-up, sketch, improv — and there are times when they really come in handy. But there are also so many of them circulating right now that it can be tough to find the ones that are worth your time. We're here to help. We want to share a few specials that have managed to make us laugh in 2020, despite 2020, so that when you have a moment when you can really use one, you'll have one on hand.
06/11/2021m 45s

The Vow And Seduced: Two NXIVM Docuseries

NXIVM gained mainstream attention when several high-ranking members were charged with crimes, including racketeering, forced labor conspiracy and sex trafficking. The group called itself a self-help organization while a lot of other people called it a cult. HBO and Starz both have documentary series about the organization, and they're a little different, but pretty shocking nonetheless.
05/11/2015m 53s

The Queen's Gambit

The new Netflix series The Queen's Gambit finds its story in the equally intense if less obviously bruising world of competitive chess. Based on a 1983 novel, it stars Anya Taylor-Joy as a young woman whose brilliance at chess is threatened by trauma and addiction as she goes from child prodigy to international star. We're joined by this year's Tiny Desk Contest winner Linda Diaz, who also happens to be a chess expert.
04/11/2018m 30s

2020 Election Day Distractions

Election Day is stressful. It's full of news that might or might not mean anything. The stakes are high, and the consequences are serious. And whatever you do from that point forward, first, you have to get through today. So we want to offer you some ideas for things you can use purely to manage Election Day itself. To stay away from the incremental updates and the high anxiety until you actually know what's happened. Which might take a while.
03/11/2014m 37s

Remembering Sean Connery

Sir Sean Connery has died. He was 90 years old. Though he became a star by creating the role of James Bond onscreen, over the course of his career he played many characters — all with his distinctive, much-imitated, Scottish brogue. We're remembering the life and work of Sean Connery by spotlighting three of his iconic performances.
02/11/2010m 28s

Ariana Grande's Album Positions

Ariana Grande is one of the world's biggest pop stars, and on Friday, she released her sixth album, Positions. The singer's follow-up to Thank U, Next finds her celebrating hard-won happiness in a string of poppy, sexually frank R&B songs.
02/11/2016m 58s

Great British Baking Show And What's Making Us Happy

Whether you like an éclair or a bagel, a biscuit or a Bakewell tart, The Great British Baking Show will bring all your feelings about baked goods to the surface. The hosts have changed, and the challenges have evolved, but it's still about getting that perfect bake. The current season is airing on Netflix, and was filmed in a so-called bubble to protect everyone from the pandemic. It also comes at a time when a lot of viewers at home have been taking out their sourdough starters and their cake pans.
30/10/2024m 8s

Borat 2

In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen's movie Borat was an unlikely blockbuster. It starred Cohen as a fictional reporter from Kazakhstan who journeys across the U.S. and interacts with Americans who don't know they're part of a comedy. Borat made hundreds of millions of dollars. It spawned catchphrases, and became a pop-culture phenomenon. Now, 14 years later, that unlikely blockbuster has an equally unlikely sequel. The new movie Borat Subsequent Moviefilm grabbed headlines last week because of a controversial scene involving President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. But is the film itself any good?
29/10/2020m 21s

The Witches

The Witches, starring Octavia Spencer and Anne Hathaway, is streaming on HBO Max. It's an adaptation of the 1983 Roald Dahl book about a kid and his grandmother who get caught up in the dastardly plans of a group of child-hating witches at a seaside hotel. The book's action takes place in Britain, but director and co-writer Robert Zemekis has changed the setting to 1960s Alabama, and made the kid and his grandmother Black.
28/10/2017m 18s

3 Great Horror Movies For Scaredy Cats

We are deep into the Halloween season, and many of us are cooped up at home with our streaming services, scrolling through movie after movie full of monsters, murderers, jump scares, and rivers of blood. But what about those of us who are scaredy cats? Maybe we're into the idea of horror movies, but aren't looking to be grossed out by gore or freaked out by jump scares? Well, this is the discussion for you.
27/10/2010m 48s

Bad Hair

In the horror satire Bad Hair, a meek young woman named Anna becomes emboldened after getting her very first weave. At first, the new 'do brings her professional and personal success, but soon enough, it begins to take on a mysterious life of its own. Written and directed by Dear White People creator Justin Simien, Bad Hair is heavy on social commentary and cheeky pastiche, served with a star-studded cast that includes Vanessa Williams, Lena Waithe and more.
26/10/2016m 4s

Rebecca And What's Making Us Happy

You may know Rebecca as a 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier. You might know it as a 1940 adaptation directed by Alfred Hitchcock that won Best Picture. But if you've always wanted a version with Armie Hammer playing the role once occupied by Laurence Olivier, Netflix is on it. The new Rebecca stars Lily James as a woman who becomes the second wife of Maxim de Winter, played by Hammer. When she gets to his massive estate, she finds it occupied by his housekeeper, played here by Kristin Scott Thomas. It's also haunted by the memory of his first wife. Her name was Rebecca.
23/10/2025m 52s

David Byrne's American Utopia

David Byrne and Spike Lee. Two artists with very defined, very distinct, and yet very different, sensibilities — but when you put them together, it works. The theatrical concert film David Byrne's American Utopia, now streaming on HBO Max, is a career-spanning celebration of Byrne's music, both with Talking Heads and his solo work. Director Spike Lee shoots the stage of Broadway's Hudson Theater from a host of angles to capture the exuberant, rollicking — yet rigorously choreographed energy — of Byrne and his fellow barefoot, silver-gray-suited performers.
21/10/2017m 12s

Pop Culture Happy Hour Goes Daily

Like many of you, the Pop Culture Happy Hour team is socially distancing at home. And we are watching more TV shows and movies than ever before. So that's one of the reasons we are going to start coming to you five days a week. We'll talk about great movies, television, books, music and videogames. So make sure to join us starting Monday, October 26th when Pop Culture Happy Hour goes daily.
19/10/201m 23s

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 And What's Making Us Happy

Writer-director Aaron Sorkin knows his way around a courtroom drama: He wrote the screenplay for A Few Good Men nearly 30 years ago. Now, he's written and directed The Trial of the Chicago 7. The new movie dramatizes the trial of a far-flung group of anti-Vietnam War activists, including Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale, who were each charged with inciting violence at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
16/10/2023m 0s

Is 'The Good Lord Bird' A White Savior Story, or Something Different?

Ethan Hawke plays the abolitionist John Brown in the new series The Good Lord Bird, which traces the events leading up to the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry. Told from the point of view of a fictional Black teenager nicknamed "Onion," the series has plenty of drama. But it's also a dark comedy about following a leader who's extremely passionate and wildly unpredictable.
14/10/2019m 50s

The Forty-Year-Old Version And What's Making Us Happy

In the wonderful new film The Forty-Year-Old Version, playwright Radha Blank plays a variation on herself. In it, the fictional Radha, frustrated by a stall in her theater career, finds a new passion: she becomes a rapper. The Forty-Year-Old Version won the dramatic directing award at Sundance, and now it's on Netflix. It's about getting older, getting honest, and, yes, finding yourself.
09/10/2023m 9s

Latinx Songs That Helped Shape The Decade

Latinx music has experienced a huge boom in the last 10 years. We've seen the rise of global superstars like Bad Bunny and J Balvin. We've seen Shakira and Jennifer Lopez take over this year's Super Bowl halftime show. And, of course, we've seen the chart domination of "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. The decade has also produced countless musical discoveries across the Latin world. And the whole time, our pals at NPR Music's Alt.Latino have been there to guide us through it all.
07/10/2018m 17s

The Boys In The Band And What's Making Us Happy

Fifty two years ago, Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band debuted off-Broadway. The structure was simple, and not unfamiliar to anyone who'd seen a play before: Over the course of an evening, characters gather, get drunk and turn on one another. The groundbreaking difference was that it was a group of gay men doing all that gathering and drinking and lashing out. Now, a new Netflix film adapts the recent Tony-winning revival of the play.
02/10/2026m 45s

The Legend Of Korra

The Legend of Korra is a sequel to the hugely popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. It takes place 70 years later, in a darker, more industrialized world where bending the elements is commonplace. Korra is now the Avatar, and she's everything her predecessor Aang wasn't. She's a confident, headstrong teenage girl much more comfortable with combat than with the spiritual aspect of her role.
30/09/2022m 14s

Enola Holmes And What's Making Us Happy

The new, bright and breezy Netflix movie Enola Holmes stars Millie Bobby Brown as the 16-year-old sister of Sherlock Holmes. She sets out on an adventure when her eccentric mother (Helena Bonham Carter) goes missing. It also features Sam Claflin as her stuffy brother Mycroft, Louis Partridge as a romantic interest, and Henry Cavill as Sherlock.
25/09/2021m 14s

2020 Emmys Recap

It was not your usual Emmy Awards ceremony. Because of the pandemic, there was no crowd, and host Jimmy Kimmel worked mostly alone. People accepted their awards from home. But surprisingly enough, it turned out pretty well. Schitt's Creek, Watchmen, and Succession all had big nights. And it was kind of fun to watch people dressed up in their own living rooms.
21/09/2017m 45s

Antebellum And What's Making Us Happy

In the new horror film Antebellum, Janelle Monáe plays an enslaved woman on a plantation run by Confederate soldiers. She's desperate to escape. But Monáe also plays a successful contemporary author and speaker with a beautiful family, living a life of success and wealth. But does the film successfully tie the story together? Note: This conversation discusses specific spoiler-y plot points to explore how those roles fit together, break down what's really going on, and whether or not the movie is successful.
18/09/2022m 48s

Predictions Of How COVID-19 Will Impact Pop Culture

It's hard to predict how the current pandemic will affect the work of artists in television and film and theater, but that doesn't mean we can't try. What will change? What won't change? How might creators react? Today, we're stepping back to make some guesses about the future of pop culture and think about what's to come.
16/09/2013m 22s

Billy Porter On Pose, Kinky Boots And More

A special bonus feed drop from the NPR podcast It's Been A Minute With Sam Sanders. Billy Porter is a force to be reckoned with. A Tony Award-winning Broadway performer. A fashion icon with unforgettable red carpet looks. An Emmy Award-winning actor (with another nomination under his belt this year). Currently, Porter stars in the acclaimed FX show Pose, all about New York's underground ball culture in the 80s and 90s. It's also takes place during the height of the HIV-AIDS crisis. Sam talks to Porter about the parallels between that crisis and the one we're living in today, about growing up in the church, and why — despite everything that's happened this year — love will always win.
14/09/2028m 31s

I'm Thinking Of Ending Things And What's Making Us Happy

In the Netflix film, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, the plot is easy to follow. A young couple played by Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons drives through a snowstorm to the farmhouse where Plemons' character grew up. They have dinner with his parents, played by Toni Collette and David Thewlis, then they drive home. That's it. That's the movie. Simple, right? Wrong! This is a Charlie Kaufman movie, and that means things are trippy and dreamlike and just plain weird from the jump. Note: This conversation delves into spoilers that discuss specific plot points and theories to try to unpack just what this movie is actually about!
11/09/2022m 29s

Avatar: The Last Airbender

The fantasy adventure Avatar: The Last Airbender aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. But this year, as the pandemic struck, the animated series became one of the biggest streaming hits on Netflix. In the world of Avatar, some people are essentially equipped with superpowers: They can bend fire, water, earth, or air. Only the Avatar — in this case a 12-year-old boy named Aang — can develop the power to bend all four elements and keep the world in balance.
09/09/2021m 56s

Mulan And What's Making Us Happy

The biggest movie so far to be bumped from theaters to home viewing during the pandemic is Disney's Mulan. The live-action reimagining of the 1998 animated musical doesn't have songs or a cartoon dragon. But the story still finds young Mulan disguising herself as a man so she can fight in her father's place.
04/09/2023m 38s

2020 MTV VMAs

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards took place Sunday night. The telecast was in the shadow of a pandemic, in the midst of major civil unrest, and in the aftermath of actor Chadwick Boseman's death. The VMAs couldn't have live audiences, so we got a lot of pre-taped performances in front of green screens from artists like BTS. Plus, it was a big night for masked Lady Gaga.
31/08/2015m 44s

Bill And Ted Face The Music And What's Making Us Happy

Back in 1989, we met Bill S. Preston and Ted "Theodore" Logan in the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. They returned in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in 1991. And now, almost 30 years later, they're back. In Bill and Ted Face the Music, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves return as... well, Bill and Ted, respectively. And this time, they'll need not just their triumphant band to save the world, but also their daughters.
28/08/2024m 11s

Some Exciting News

In October, Pop Culture Happy Hour will publish episodes five days a week. Also, Aisha Harris will join us as a fourth permanent host.
27/08/204m 31s

Lovecraft Country

The best horror is the horror that feels true. That's one of the reasons the new HBO series Lovecraft Country works. Set in the 1950s, it follows a young Black man who sets off with his childhood friend and his uncle to search for his missing father. A series of connected stories follows these characters around and through the very real dangers of being Black in America, and not just in the Jim Crow South. But it also throws in some beasts and ghosts and bloody battles because after all, it's still horror.
26/08/2020m 16s

Boys State And What's Making Us Happy

The world of politics is not pretty, even in high school. That's one of the takeaways from the new documentary Boys State, about a week-long program sponsored by the American Legion. In it, a thousand Texas high-school boys form political parties, nominate candidates, and hold elections to form a government. The film shows how a few of these students think about politics and running for office. And it considers how they've been influenced by the last few years of American political discourse.
21/08/2025m 55s

Star Trek: Lower Decks

The mega-franchise Star Trek has produced a slew of movies and ten different TV series — the latest of which is a brand-new animated comedy called Star Trek: Lower Decks. The show was created by Mike McMahan, who worked on Rick And Morty, and it tells the story of some of the least powerful officers on Starfleet's least important starship, the U.S.S. Cerritos. And, because it's animated, we also get epic battles, space zombies, and spectacular mass destruction.
19/08/2014m 44s

10th Birthday Quiz With Kumail Nanjiani And What's Making Us Happy

Ten years ago, we started Pop Culture Happy Hour. And ten years later, it's time to celebrate. Recently, we invited one of our great pals, actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, to join us for a quiz looking back at 2010. And this time, Linda wrote the questions, but she didn't come up with the right answers--our listeners did.
14/08/2021m 20s

Why You Should Stream Watchmen

The HBO miniseries Watchmen recently earned 26 well-deserved Emmy nominations. And if you haven't seen the series, now is a good time to catch up. It stars Regina King as an ex-cop in Tulsa Oklahoma who's not-so-secretly the masked vigilante Sister Night. Showrunner Damon Lindelof has set the show within a big, weird world that keeps getting bigger and weirder, even as it seeks to comment on some very contemporary, real-world issues. (This episode originally aired on November 6, 2019.)
12/08/2019m 23s

P-Valley And What's Making Us Happy

The Starz drama P-Valley is set in a Black strip club in the Mississippi delta. The dancers are acrobatic, artistic and independent. The show is about their labor, but also about a wide variety of stories about power, money, and a community's identity. It's really good, and it's really different from anything else on TV right now.
07/08/2021m 51s

Beyonce's Black Is King

Last summer, Beyoncé released an album called The Lion King: The Gift. It was based around Disney's remake of The Lion King — a film that included voice acting from Beyoncé herself, among many others. Last Friday on Disney+, Beyoncé released a movie-length video that's meant to serve as a companion to the album. It's called Black Is King, it's visually grand and sumptuous, and it's got a huge cast — you'll see Lupita Nyong'o, Pharrell Williams, Kelly Rowland, and many looks at Beyoncé's children, her mother, and her husband Jay-Z.
05/08/2018m 2s

Indian Matchmaking And What's Making Us Happy

There's marriage, and then there's love marriage. That's the philosophy of Sima, the matchmaker at the center of the new Netflix reality series Indian Matchmaking. And her focus is not helping you find love. It's arranging marriages for young people and their families based on everything from economic and social status to height. The show has gotten a lot of attention, but also some critiques.
31/07/2023m 5s

Taylor Swift's Folklore

Taylor Swift was supposed to spend this summer touring with songs from Lover, an album she'd put out last August. Instead, she wound up cooped up at home. The isolation sparked her creativity, leading her to write and record an entire new record in collaboration with producers Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner of The National. It's called Folklore, and it's a massive left turn in terms of style and subject matter. And it's already earned Taylor Swift some of the best reviews of her career.
29/07/2020m 34s

First Cow And What's Making Us Happy

Sometimes, all it takes to change your life is a cow. In the new film First Cow, director Kelly Reichardt follows two men who meet by chance and come up with a plan to get rich. All they need is a couple of ingredients. First Cow is a western, a friendship story, a caper movie, and even a meditation on nature.
24/07/2023m 0s

The Baby-Sitters Club

Kristy, Claudia, Mary-Anne and Stacey are back. Netflix has adapted the book series The Baby-Sitters Club, and hopes to reintroduce it to young viewers, nostalgic millennials, and anyone else who longs for days spent with friends when worries aren't too worrisome. Starring a cast of fresh young actors, and a few familiar faces among the adults, the show is getting solid reviews and might be just the thing for summer viewing.
22/07/2016m 43s

The Old Guard And What's Making Us Happy

The big summer action movie is one of the things we've been missing this year, and now, we've got one. And it's a good one, too. The Old Guard stars Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne as members of a squad of fighters who have been in the battle game for much, much too long. The Netflix film is based on a series of comics by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández, and Rucka wrote the screenplay. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood is much loved for films including Love and Basketball.
17/07/2022m 52s

Floor Is Lava

There's a new game show so silly, so stupid, so low-stakes that we can't stop watching it. Teams of three try to cross a course made of furniture and obstacles without touching the ground. It's called Floor Is Lava, it's based on a game played by children, and let's be honest — it couldn't be played by anyone else. You won't want to miss a minute of the craziest, the wackiest, the goofiest game show on Netflix, because the Floor! Is! Lavaaaaa!
15/07/2016m 46s

Tracee Ellis Ross On Black-ish And The High Note

On this bonus episode of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we bring you a conversation from our pal Sam Sanders. Sam recently had a wide-ranging conversation with the one and only Tracee Ellis Ross on his podcast It's Been A Minute. They talk about her work on Girlfriends, Black-ish, and the recent film The High Note--plus, what it's like to be a black creative right now.
13/07/2028m 58s

Taste The Nation And What's Making Us Happy

Food media has become one of the many arenas in which debates about inclusivity and justice have taken center stage in recent months. And now, into this troubled world comes Taste The Nation. Hosted by Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi, the marvelous Hulu series visits immigrant and indigenous communities around the United States to explore food. Taste The Nation puts everything from chop suey to pad Thai in cultural, political and culinary contexts, with Lakshmi as your hungry, curious guide.
10/07/2022m 25s

John Wick And What's Making Us Happy

Once upon a time, a man named John Wick retired from his successful career as an assassin. But then he returned to it. And across what's now a three-film series, he's been having a heck of a week ever since. In the third film, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, is on the run from foes and former friends alike. This episode originally aired on May 17, 2019.
08/07/2021m 55s

Hamilton And What's Making Us Happy

Let's cut to the chase: the Hamilton film has arrived, and it's great. Four years after Lin-Manuel Miranda's show won 11 Tony Awards, you can watch an original Broadway cast performance at home. The film is now available on Disney+. It's a chance to see already legendary performances from Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo, among others, and to see how this sweeping historical story was staged.
03/07/2025m 16s

I May Destroy You And Remembering Carl Reiner

Close watchers of smart television know Michaela Coel from Chewing Gum, the acclaimed comedy series she created and starred in. Her new show on HBO is called I May Destroy You. It's just as strong, but finds her going in an entirely new direction. Coel plays Arabella, a writer whose life changes one night while she's sexually assaulted at a nightclub. She is missing pieces of her memory, and as she tries to figure out what happened, the show fans out to consider other questions about sexual ethics and honesty. Plus, we remember comedy legend Carl Reiner, who died this week at 98.
01/07/2019m 57s

Da 5 Bloods And What's Making Us Happy

In Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods, four Black war veterans return to Vietnam. They're there to retrieve the remains of a fellow soldier, who died on the battlefield. They're also after millions of dollars' worth of gold bars they'd hidden during the war. Da 5 Bloods was supposed to roll out in theaters this summer; instead, it dropped on Netflix earlier this month. But it's still a major Oscar contender — a war epic that's grand in scope, with generational scars that run deep.
26/06/2024m 14s

Giancarlo Esposito On 'Breaking Bad', 'Do The Right Thing' And Facing The Police

Giancarlo Esposito has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies — from several of Spike Lee's early films, to his role as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. In this interview from Bullseye, Esposito talks about the complexity of his characters, his time on The Electric Company and his work on Do the Right Thing. Plus, we talk to him about a very difficult time in his life and working through the trauma of racial profiling.
24/06/2042m 50s

In 'On The Record,' Black Women's Voices Get A Needed Spotlight

In 2017, the #MeToo movement brought to light accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct against powerful people in entertainment. Most of the women whose allegations received detailed media consideration were white, and so were most of the men they accused. But late that year, a number of women, several of them black women, alleged sexual assault and other misconduct by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Simmons is the enormously powerful man behind Def Jam. The new HBO Max documentary On The Record tells the stories of some of Russell Simmons' accusers. It includes interviews with a lot of black women about specific worries and conflicted feelings that arise when black women raise allegations against black men.
19/06/2025m 43s

The King Of Staten Island And What's Making Us Happy

In The King Of Staten Island, comedian Pete Davidson plays a wayward stoner whose life isn't going anywhere. He still lives with his mom, he doesn't have a job, and his plans for his life involve a vague — and foolish — plan to open "a tattoo restaurant." The film is directed by Judd Apatow, who also made Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Trainwreck. Apatow's movies often involve a protagonist who faces some sort of need to grow up, and The King Of Staten Island may feature the biggest reclamation project yet: Davidson's character barely functions as an adult, and through much of the film, we see a manchild with a lot of growing up to do.
17/06/2019m 55s

Central Park And What's Making Us Happy

The new Apple TV+ series Central Park is an animated musical with a lot of interesting DNA. It shares creative and performing talent with Bob's Burgers, Frozen, and Hamilton, among other projects. The show follows the manager of New York's Central Park, who tries to keep the park safe from trash overflows, a demanding public, and city politics.
12/06/2020m 42s

The Limitations Of An Anti-Racist Reading List

Sales are surging for books like Ibram X. Kendi's 'How To Be Anti-Racist,' Robin DiAngelo's 'White Fragility,' and Michelle Alexander's 'The New Jim Crow.' That's in part because these titles often appear on so-called "anti-racist reading lists." But what is an anti-racist reading list for? We talk with Lauren Michele Jackson, an Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University, and the author of 'White Negroes,' about the limitations of such lists — which she wrote about in an essay called "What Is an Anti-Racist Reading List For?" for Vulture.
10/06/2014m 11s

Digging Into Slate's Black Film Canon

Right now, many of us are thinking about the ways we can start to address the shortfalls in our own knowledge that have grown out of structural racism in every part of life, entertainment very much included. And if you're looking for one place to start, we want to point you toward Slate's Black Film Canon. Four years ago, Slate published a list of 50 great films by black directors. It was put together by Dan Kois and Aisha Harris in 2016, and Aisha came on Pop Culture Happy Hour to talk about it with us. (This episode originally aired on June 7, 2016.)
07/06/2012m 27s

Ramy And What's Making Us Happy

It surprised a lot of people when Ramy Youssef won a Golden Globe in January. But it shouldn't have. His show, the half-hour comedy-drama Ramy on Hulu, is a smart, fresh take on a young man navigating family and his Muslim faith. Ramy recently released its second season, and it's added Mahershala Ali to its cast. The result is a show that's well deserving of that Globe, and more.
05/06/2021m 59s

A Guide To HBO Max And What's Making Us Happy

You may not have needed another streaming service, but last week, one came along anyway. It's HBO Max, and it's part HBO, part Warner Brothers — and yes, it's where you can now stream all the episodes of Friends. They've put out a modest slate of original programming as well, and it's safe to say some of their new shows are better than others. Is it worth your while? Good question. We run down what's new on HBO Max and what you might find in its deep library.
03/06/2021m 43s

The High Note And What's Making Us Happy

There have been countless movies about real and fictional musicians. And in the new movie The High Note, Tracee Ellis Ross plays the fictional legendary singer Grace Davis. Dakota Johnson plays Maggie, an aspiring record producer and Grace's personal assistant. The two women have to figure out everything from whether Maggie has a future in the music industry to whether Grace should take a residency in Vegas.
29/05/2019m 39s

Why You Should Stream Booksmart, Plus What's Making Us Happy

Last year we talked about the movie Booksmart, and we really, really liked it. It's about two young women about to graduate from high school who spend one last night trying to catch up on everything they missed. Starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, it's the directing debut of actress Olivia Wilde. The comedy came out last summer — and it's currently streaming on Hulu and available to rent on demand. And because so many students are wrapping up their school year and graduating, we thought, what better time to look back at this terrific movie? (This episode originally aired on May 31, 2019.)
27/05/2021m 49s

Great Recent Movies We Missed And What's Making Us Happy

This is not a normal summer movie season. Theaters are closed, big projects are delayed, and we're missing the flood of new films that would usually have already started. But you don't have to go without movies. That's because even if you see a lot, you miss even more. We do too, and that's what we're talking about today: some recent films we missed that are well worth your time. Plus, we remember the lives and work of Fred Willard and Lynn Shelton.
22/05/2022m 11s

The Great And What's Making Us Happy

Hulu's new series The Great bills itself as "An Occasionally True Story." And it's a big story: a sweeping epic about Russia in the 1700s, full of palace intrigue, sex and violence, and the rise of Catherine the Great. Elle Fanning plays Catherine, and Nicholas Hoult also stars as the sociopathic emperor Peter. The show shares a lot of thematic DNA with the 2018 film The Favourite -- it was created by one of the film's screenwriters, Tony McNamara. And it's more than willing to scramble history in the service of a good story.
20/05/2017m 29s

The Movies Of 2000 And What's Making Us Happy

Twenty years ago, before the Harry Potter movies or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie landscape looked really different. Take a look back at some of the movies that came out in 2000 and why we think they're still relevant today.
15/05/2021m 6s

Never Have I Ever And What's Making Us Happy

The new comedy Never Have I Ever is a great binge from Netflix. It might remind you of a lot of warm and funny shows about navigating high school. Its hero is an Indian-American girl named Devi. She is juggling her friends, the boys she's interested in, and plenty of drama at home. One of the creators is Mindy Kaling, who gives the show some of the same energy she put into The Mindy Project. Devi is a little confused, a little selfish, and very consumed by her dreams of romance
13/05/2014m 3s

Normal People And What's Making Us Happy

When a popular book becomes a television series, the stakes are high. Sally Rooney's novel Normal People is no exception, and the very good Hulu adaptation has finally arrived. The new series tells the story of Marianne and Connell, who go to high school together in Ireland. We follow the couple for a few years as they drift toward adulthood, sometimes apart and sometimes together. And while the show features other characters like their mothers and friends, it's mostly a study of Marianne and Connell and how their relationship shifts.
08/05/2022m 37s

Derry Girls And What's Making Us Happy

Derry Girls might remind you of a lot of warm and funny shows about high school. It has the group of loyal friends, the adventures and humiliations, and the slow progress toward adulthood. But these kids are taking on these challenges in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. It's a time when an ordinary day can be interrupted by everything from an encounter with soldiers to breaking news of violence. Still, high school rolls on, and high school students do too.
06/05/2021m 45s

Michael Jordan Documentary The Last Dance And What's Making Us Happy

In the mid-1990s, sports teams didn't get any bigger than the Chicago Bulls. Led by supermegastar Michael Jordan, the Bulls won six NBA championships in eight years. And now, ESPN is presenting a ten-part documentary series all about them. The Last Dance follows the Bulls' final championship season, and it dips back into history to look at how the dynasty was made. Plus, what's making us happy this week.
01/05/2024m 12s

Nintendo Switch Game Recommendations And What's Making Us Happy

We've been playing games. Stuck at home, exhausted from streaming all the good TV we can find, looking for distractions, we've all been exploring games for the Nintendo Switch. And not just Animal Crossing, either. We've been trying adventure games and puzzle games, beautiful games and silly games. And we have a few to recommend.
29/04/2018m 56s

Toddler TV Recommendations And What's Making Us Happy This Week

Staying in can be hard on everybody. But it's a special kind of hard for little kids and the people who love them. So we're here to help, with some TV recommendations for those who are toddling through isolation. We've brought some ideas for things to watch that we hope will delight your littlest quarantine companions, and maybe you as well.
24/04/2023m 2s

HBO's Run And What's Making Us Happy

A woman sitting in her car gets a text message. It says "RUN." She texts back the same thing: "RUN." That's the beginning of a new HBO series, also called Run, that tells you what happens next. Starring Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson, Run is part romantic comedy, part thriller, and part road trip.
22/04/2017m 11s

The Regrettable Television Pop Quiz And What's Making Us Happy

Today, we're excited to be bringing back a classic Pop Culture Happy Hour segment — the Regrettable Television Pop Quiz. We've each brought clips of some of our favorite regrettable shows, and our fellow panelists will have to see if they can guess the source. Plus, what's making us happy this week.
17/04/2020m 4s

Survivor And What's Making Us Happy

Started out eating rats, and now they're here. Forty seasons in, Survivor is midway through a season where former winners are playing against each other. And as you'd imagine, it's a doozy. From which season is best to which winner is best to whether host Jeff Probst is a hero or a villain, we take a look at why Survivor has been a staple of TV conversation for 20 years.
15/04/2020m 43s

Pop Culture Solutions To Quarantine Problems And What's Making Us Happy

Let's talk about solutions. Specifically, solutions to the problems we're running into entertaining ourselves at home. There's a lot to watch and read and hear, but there's also a lot that we're missing--like live sports, concerts, and spending nights out with friends. And we've got some ideas about how to fill those voids.
10/04/2022m 48s

Tiger King and What's Making Us Happy

Almost three weeks ago, as isolation at home tightened its grip on many of us, Netflix released the documentary series Tiger King. It seemed to capture a binge-ready audience at just the right moment, and it's been burning up social media channels ever since. Tiger King tells the story of a man who calls himself Joe Exotic, who bred and exhibited big cats and other animals in a sketchy private zoo. Joe is now in prison, convicted of hiring someone to kill an activist named Carole Baskin. She tried to shut down his business and became his nemesis.
08/04/2019m 3s

Schitt's Creek and What's Making Us Happy

Schitt's Creek is a Canadian comedy from the minds of Eugene Levy and his son Daniel follows a wealthy family that falls on hard times. They have no choice but to retreat to the small town they bought as a joke.
03/04/2026m 5s

Short Bursts Of Joy To Change Your Mood

There are plenty of binge recommendations out there if you find yourself with a lot of free time in isolation. But with work at home, and kids at home, and everything else going on, you might be busier than ever. That's why our focus today is happiness in small bites. Quick jolts of energy to brighten up even the worst days.
01/04/2018m 5s

Book Recommendations To Read While Isolating And What's Making Us Happy

There's no wrong time for a good book. But as we tape this, many people are stuck at home more than usual, which makes it an exceptionally right time. So we're here to pass on some book recommendations we hope will make your isolation feel a little less isolated.
27/03/2021m 56s

Family Friendly Crowd Pleasers: Three Things To Stream Your Whole Family Can Enjoy

When you're staying in, it can be hard to keep everybody happy. But never fear, we're here to help. We've got a few recommendations to keep everybody in the family happy and stave off cabin fever.
25/03/208m 28s

New Music Discoveries And What's Making Us Happy

Every year, the South by Southwest music festival provides a showcase for many hundreds of musicians, who travel to Austin, Texas, from all over the world. But this year's festival was canceled due to concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus. And even though this year's festival isn't happening, NPR Music still found a ton of amazing new artists. To prepare for South by Southwest each year, we listen to countless hours of music in search of discoveries to share, from this year's Austin 100.
20/03/2026m 23s

Three Pop Culture Recommendations To Calm Your Nerves

There's a time for excitement, for the things that make us angry or scare us silly. But then there are all the other times. Sometimes we want something that will calm us down and slow our heart rates. We recommend some calming pieces of pop culture.
17/03/2011m 23s

Emma., Clueless, And What's Making Us Happy

Jane Austen's Emma tells the story of a young woman who knows what's right for everyone else and knows very little about herself. In a new film adaptation directed by Autumn de Wilde, Emma is as foolish and as endearing as ever. Even some who don't know Emma might know Clueless, the 1995 Amy Heckerling film that's now 25 years old. We discuss how both films work as Jane Austen adaptations.
13/03/2025m 42s

The Invisible Man Is Transparently Creepy

Being stalked by a tormentor you can't see is scary enough on its own. But the film The Invisible Man suggests that the worst part might just be the fact that no one would believe you. In writer and director Leigh Whannell's new adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel, Elisabeth Moss plays Cecilia, a woman who finally escapes an abusive partner. But soon, she senses that he's everywhere, following her.
11/03/2015m 58s

Onward And What's Making Us Happy

Tom Holland and Chris Pratt have already worked together as pals of the Avengers. And now they provide the voices of two elves in the latest film from Disney and Pixar, Onward. These two elves are brothers, and they go on a classic quest to find a magic jewel. They just need a van, a map, and their mom.
06/03/2020m 28s

Project Runway

When Project Runway launched in 2004, competitive reality shows were in their infancy. Now, they're in their mature pantsuit years, but the series, now in its 18th season, rolls on. The show moved from Bravo to Lifetime, and last season it returned to Bravo with a new cast. Host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn have been replaced by Karlie Kloss and season 4 winner Christian Siriano. But the sewing machines continue to buzz, and it's still hard to make a dress in a day.
04/03/2017m 11s

Love Is Blind And What's Making Us Happy

The Netflix plan to take over television has extended to dating shows for a while. But perhaps they've never made one so weird, so baffling, so cringe-inducingly embarrassing for everyone involved as Love Is Blind. And you probably know someone who's watching it. In this series they insist on calling an experiment, couples sit in separate cells that they call pods, where they can hear each other but not see each other. And once they've had a conversation or two, if they're getting along, they get engaged. And only then do they meet. Will any of them make it to the altar?
28/02/2022m 17s

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire begins with a woman named Marianne assigned to paint a woman named Heloise. It's the second half of the 18th century, and the portrait is the best way to present Heloise to a man who might marry her. In writer and director Céline Sciamma's film, it's relationships between women that are at the center of the story — a story about art, sex and navigating limited choices.
26/02/2015m 6s

Sonic The Hedgehog, Fan Service, And What's Making Us Happy

The new movie Sonic the Hedgehog is about this hedgehog — who runs fast. Ben Schwartz voices the Hedgehog, Jim Carrey is the evil Dr. Robotnik, and James Marsden is also in there somewhere. When the film's trailer first dropped last fall, Sonic's appearance — the legs! the teeth! — creeped a lot of people out. The studio went back and redesigned the character completely, which got us thinking about the power of fan reaction.
21/02/2021m 50s

Revisiting To All The Boys I've Loved Before

In 2018, Netflix had a big hit with its adaptation of Jenny Han's YA novel To All The Boys I've Loved Before, a high-school rom-com with a big heart. Stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo are now back in the sequel To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. Before you check that one out, we wanted to revisit our conversation about the first film. (This episode originally aired on September 5, 2018.)
19/02/2020m 10s

Birds of Prey and What's Making Us Happy

Margot Robbie played Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad in 2016. Now, she's back in Birds of Prey. It finds Harley crossing paths with characters played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and a very bad villain played by Ewan McGregor. The film provides the backstory for the team that will become the Birds of Prey, and it develops the character of Harley beyond her relationship with the Joker.
14/02/2021m 51s
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