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Make It So-So: Fox's 'The Orville'

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 5:00am

Unable to fix on a tone, the series "is trying so hard not to be so many things, it isn't fully any one thing," says critic Eric Deggans, who calls it "the strangest misfire of the fall TV season."

(Image credit: FOX)

'OMG' Turns 100

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 4:36pm

"OMG" might be used by younger people, but the story behind the abbreviation has a long, rich history. NPR's Michel Martin speaks with linguist Ben Zimmer about the abbreviation turning 100 years old.

Not My Job: We Quiz Arcade Fire's Win Butler On Odd Arcade Games

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 1:03pm

The band's fifth album, Everything Now, was released in July. We'll ask Butler about a game from the 1980s, a rather surprising game from Japan, and The Last Barfighter — a game with a twist.

(Image credit: Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

Take A Dip Into The Glittering Past Of 'The Riviera Set'

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 9:00am

The fabulously louche social scene of the mid-century French Riviera — where socialites and stars mixed with the likes of Winston Churchill — comes alive again in Mary S. Lovell's The Riviera Set.

(Image credit: Christina Ascani/NPR)

Virtual Reality Project Captures Experience Of Crossing The Border

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 7:06am

Oscar-winning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu tackles a new medium with "Carne Y Arena," a virtual reality project that explores what it's like to cross the U.S./Mexico border.

In 'Frankenstein Dreams,' Everything Is Possible — And Also Terrifying

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 6:00am

Michael Sims' anthology of Victorian science fiction explores the way Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein fit the nervous energy of the 19th century, and shaped the genre that came after it.

(Image credit: Christina Ascani/NPR)

In 'The Deuce,' Sex Isn't Titillating — It's Business

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 4:13pm

David Simon's gritty new drama follows pornography's transition from back-alley pursuit to billion-dollar industry. The sex scenes are transactional, but also explicit, with equal opportunity nudity.

(Image credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

As Boy Peers Curiously Over Border Wall, His Artist Asks: 'What Is He Thinking?'

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 3:17pm

JR, a French street artist, hasn't answered that question — and that's the point. His massive artwork on the border, which coincided with the decision to rescind DACA, is the "start of a discussion."

(Image credit: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images)

In 'Crash Override,' Zoe Quinn Shares Her Boss Battle Against Online Harassment

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 12:00pm

Having watched many colleagues attacked for speaking up, gamer Latoya Peterson offers a deeply personal review "I applaud Quinn for ... accepting that she is messy, imperfect, and, well: Human."

(Image credit: Christina Ascani/NPR)

Using Black Celebrities To Push Pop, Pudding And Politics

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 12:00pm

In the 1960s, Tom Burrell helped change advertising by convincing agencies to tailor their pitches to black consumers, but he also saw his marketing work as part of a larger social project.

(Image credit: Richard Drew/Associated Press)

A Young Doctor Turns Detective In 'The Unknown Girl'

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 9:59am

A woman turns up dead the day after a doctor, Jenny, ignores the woman's after-hour visit to her clinic. Jenny's sense of guilt pushes her to conduct her own investigation.

'Top Of The Lake: China Girl' Takes You Places Cop Shows Usually Ignore

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 9:59am

The TV series' second season takes place four years after its first, and begins with an unknown Asian woman's body washing up (in a suitcase) on a beach near Sydney.

Actress Pamela Adlon Says 'Better Things' Is Dedicated To Her Daughters

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 9:59am

Adlon's FX series is based on her own experience raising three girls as a single mom. Her daughters are very much a part of the show, she says. Originally broadcast Sept. 6, 2016.

New Season Of 'Outlander' Is So Much More Than A Hunky Face (And Rock-Hard Abs)

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 5:00am

On the eve of Outlander's third season, Pop Culture Happy Hour has thoughts on the Starz drama and its depictions of sex, intimacy and time travel.

(Image credit: Aimee Spinks/Starz Entertainment, LLC)

'Young People Who Do Extraordinary Things' Are The Norm In Marie Lu's YA World

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 4:15am

The bestselling young adult author specializes in dystopian fiction. Her latest, Warcross, is set in the not-too-distant future, and draws on Lu's time working in the video game industry.

(Image credit: Primo Gallanosa/Penguin Random House)

'Spettacolo' Lovingly Chronicles A Tuscan Theatrical Tradition In Decline

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:00pm

Once a year, for 51 years, residents of the Tuscan hamlet Monticchielo have staged a play about their lives. A new documentary finds the town's younger generation is losing interest in the practice.

(Image credit: Mark Jenkins /Grasshopper Film)

You Can't Go 'Home Again' — Or At Least, You Shouldn't

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:00pm

The writing/directing debut of Hallie Meyers-Shyer (daughter of Nancy Meyers) features tired tropes, stiff acting and lots of hand-wringing about how tough it is to break into Hollywood.

(Image credit: Karen Ballard/Open Road)

A Knock Unanswered, A Body Unmourned: 'The Unknown Girl'

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:00pm

Sorry, Wrong Nombre: Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, known for stripped-down social realist dramas, bring their spare aesthetic to a surprisingly pulpy murder mystery.

(Image credit: Sundance Selects)

'It' Happens, Again And Again And Again

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:00pm

Stephen King's tale of a shape-shifting clown who haunts a small Maine town gets an adaptation that features fine performances, but relies on a barrage of repetitive jump-scares.

(Image credit: Brooke Palmer/New Line)

Biologist Jonathan Losos Explores 'Convergent Evolution' In 'Improbable Destinies'

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 3:28pm

NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with Jonathan Losos, author of the new book, Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution, which explores the growing understanding of "convergent evolution."




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