Eric Deggans

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Twenty-five years ago, television audiences watching the final episodes of "Twin Peaks" heard this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TWIN PEAKS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As Laura Palmer, unintelligible).

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Don't be distracted by the title of Netflix's latest, button-pushing TV series, Dear White People.

Because, one look at this insightful, irreverent examination of race and society at an Ivy League college reveals it really doesn't focus much on white folks at all.

Indeed, the title Dear White People is a bit of a head fake. This slyly assembled series is really about how a wide range of black and brown students at the fictional, predominantly white Winchester University deal with race, sexual orientation and other identity stuff in the modern age.

Be warned: This story talks about characters who are forced into sexual slavery.

Hulu's excellent adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, is a horror show unveiled in slow motion.

As the first episode begins, Mad Men alumna Elisabeth Moss is running, fleeing security forces with her daughter, minutes before they are both captured.

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YouTube is launching a streaming TV service Wednesday. It's one of many — Sling, PlayStation Vue and local cable companies among them. But Google-owned YouTube TV offers several features the others don't.

They include a cloud-based DVR with no storage limits, allowing users to record as many shows as they want for later playback. Membership also gives access to original series and movies featured on its other subscription streaming service, YouTube Red. And customers can create up to six accounts on one membership, with up to three streams running at once.

I'll be honest; at first, I feared the whole series was a bit of a dodge.

Watching the first episode of Shots Fired — Fox's highly anticipated limited series about a federal investigation into a police shooting in a small North Carolina town — one thing became clear rather quickly.

The shooting, which draws two hotshot investigators from the Department of Justice, involves the town's only black police officer, who kills an unarmed, white 19-year-old.

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When a TV show really connects with viewers, it's often a lightning-in-a-bottle experience; a collision of talent, material and public mood that is difficult to define. But that hasn't stopped people from asking Dan Fogelman, the creator of NBC's supersuccessful family drama This Is Us, this question: How did you pull this off?

Fogelman's answer: tone, timing and cast.

When Ryan Murphy explains what he does as a TV showrunner, he admits it can sound kind of lofty. "The greatest thing that you have when you're a showrunner is this opportunity to create worlds," he says, laughing a bit. "And it always sounds so insane when somebody says, 'Well, what do you do?' And you say, 'I create worlds.'"

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The last time I was talking with our TV critic Eric Deggans about late night television and the trouble with satirizing Donald Trump, he said it was a struggle.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

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FX's Legion is a superhero TV show that resists admitting it is one.

Which is both the most satisfying and frustrating thing about it.

Here's the setup: David Haller is a well-meaning guy who hears voices in his head. It's driven him to drugs, occasionally criminal behavior and a suicide attempt. (Alert TV fans will recognize the actor playing David as Dan Stevens, who was blue-eyed hunk Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey).

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The centerpiece of the Black History Month programming on the cable channel BET is a miniseries called "Madiba." "Madiba" is a three-night special on the life of Nelson Mandela. It debuts tonight. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has this review.

Lee Daniels is known as a fiercely creative producer with a taste for controversy. He regularly tackles gay issues, race and class in the hit TV drama he co-created for Fox, Empire, and his new series for the network, Star.

But when I caught up to him after a press conference and asked how he felt about the election of Donald Trump, Daniels got unexpectedly emotional.

Buzzed-about projects like the musical film La La Land and FX's TV comedy Atlanta won big at Sunday's Golden Globe awards. But the most powerful moment of the night belonged to Meryl Streep, who used her acceptance speech for the honorary Cecil B. deMille Award of the 2017 Golden Globes, to deliver a harsh rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump and to advocate for press freedom.

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2016 was a perplexing and wonderful year for those of us who love great television.

Despite what was going on in politics and news, entertainment television surpassed itself this year with the sheer number of new TV shows that were good or better. But, in an odd way, that has become a different problem.

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When new CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller faced TV critics in August to talk about the network's new fall shows, the first question he got was straight to the point.

"Why is it so difficult to get more inclusion for people of color in the top level of casting at CBS?" asked Maureen Ryan, chief TV critic for the trade magazine Variety. "And what message does it send that the leads of your shows are all heterosexual white men?"

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You know it from the first few notes of Thurl Ravenscroft's barrel-chested performance — singing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" with the same flair he brought to playing Tony the Tiger in Kellogg's cereal commercials — Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a holiday classic.

The animated film turns 50 this year, airing on NBC about three weeks before its actual birthday. And it is, admittedly, a little weird to call a 26-minute cartoon about a green guy who learns not to steal Christmas presents an enduring masterpiece.

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(It should almost go without saying; there are going to be some serious spoilers in this piece about Sunday's pivotal, bruising episode of The Walking Dead.)

They finally did it.

I'm not talking about the decision by producers of The Walking Dead to kill two important characters in Sunday's gut-wrenching episode. Fans knew since the cliffhanger ending of season six back in April that super-psycho bad guy Negan was going to beat someone they cared about to death with his barbed wire-covered bat, Lucille.

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