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Updated: 16 min 9 sec ago

Matt LeBlanc Has Quietly Made 'Episodes' A Must-See Comedy

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:19pm

The show, in its fourth season, was created by David Crane, who worked with LeBlanc on Friends. TV critic David Bianculli says its brand of satire is particularly timely and laugh-out-loud funny.

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'Empire': A World Of Unbuttoned Shirts And Dishy Music Stories

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 10:59am

Fox's new drama about the family behind a music megacompany is pretty standard soapy television with some nice performances and a limited understanding of music.

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Confident Tales Of 'Small Mammals,' Funny Videos, And Childhood Ghosts

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 6:03am

Thomas Pierce's debut story collection, 'Hall of Small Mammals,' focuses on finding the surreal within the mundane. Reviewer Michael Schaub calls Pierce "an endlessly incisive and engaging writer."

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Fox's 'Empire' Sets 'Dynasty'-Style Soap Opera To A Hip-Hop Beat

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 4:07am

The drama Empire features Terrence Howard as a ruthless music mogul building a worldwide company. But NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show works best when focused on the black family at its core.

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Art Installation Opens Passage To A Different World

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 4:07am

In New York and Tehran, visitors in both cities are invited to enter a portal for 10 minutes or longer to communicate with a stranger, as though they're standing in the same room.

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Book Review: 'Descent' By Tim Johnson

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 3:37pm

Alan Cheuse reviews Descent by Tim Johnson.

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Rewatching 'The Wire': Classic Crime Drama Seems Written For Today

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 2:02pm

As HBO releases the high-definition version of The Wire, NPR's Eric Deggans says that binge-watching the show feels more like reading today's headlines — especially on issues of race and class.

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Small Batch: 'The Bachelor' Farms Iowa For Fresh Meat

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:48pm

A short edition of Pop Culture Happy Hour takes a look — somehow both rueful and gleeful — at the opening episode of a new season of the silliest dating show we can't believe we watch.

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D.C. Author George Pelecanos Writes What He Knows In 'The Martini Shot'

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:36pm

In his new collection of short stories and a novella, Pelecanos explores crime, adoption and writing from an African-American point of view. He says he's "aware of the responsibility" to get it right.

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'Descent' Is A Twisty Thriller-Plus

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 6:03am

Tim Johnston's suspenseful novel follows a family that begins to come apart after their teenage daughter is abducted during a mountain vacation. Critic Alan Cheuse says his heart is still pounding.

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In Spain, A Kingly Ring With A Hidden Surprise Wraps Up The Holidays

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 3:40pm

The roscón is a ring-shaped, citrus-infused brioche ubiquitous on Spanish tables on Three Kings Day, Jan. 6. It comes with an ancient pedigree and a trinket inside that will bring luck to the finder.

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A Place That Can't Exist Again: Blondie's New York

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 2:46pm

Chris Stein's photos in Me, Blondie And The Advent Of Punk Rock document a city that is barely recognizable today.

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Sandwich Monday: The Pretzel Dog

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 1:56pm

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try the Pretzel Dog from Auntie Anne's. It's a hot dog, wrapped in soft pretzel and meditations on life and death.

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'America's Bitter Pill' Makes Case For Why Health Care Law 'Won't Work'

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 1:04pm

Journalist Steven Brill's latest book critiques the Affordable Care Act, which he calls "unsustainable." In the next few years, "something is going to snap," he says. "We cannot pay for this."

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From Patton Oswalt, A Movie Memoir That's Best Outside The Theater

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 9:02am

Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt recounts his movie addiction in the memoir Silver Screen Fiend, which finds its best stories away from the theater.

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Craft Brewers Are Running Out Of Names, And Into Legal Spats

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 8:08am

One consequence of the thousands of breweries that have sprung up? Just about all the beer names you can imagine have been snapped up. That's making it harder for newcomers to name that brew.

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How 'Star Wars' Helped Patton Oswalt Beat His Movie Addiction

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 5:25pm

The actor and comedian reveals in his new memoir, Silver Screen Fiend, that he used to have a film addiction. Watching the first Star Wars prequel led to a realization that helped him kick the habit.

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TV in 2015: Late-Night Shuffles, Big Goodbyes And More

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 1:00pm

The most important TV events coming in 2015 include new voices in late-night, big goodbyes, online platforms picking up old shows and, NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says, more of everything.

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A Winter Puzzle To Brrring In The New Year

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 8:04am

Given a clue, each response is a two-word answer with the first word starting with B-R and the second word starting with R.

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What's A Pirate's Favorite Radio Station? N-P-Arrr

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 7:03am

Every answer is a word starting with the letters A-R, which you need to identify from its anagram.

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