Eric Deggans

(Be warned: A few mild spoilers emerge below regarding Insecure's fifth season.)

Five years ago, I sat in a Los Angeles hotel meeting room with Insecure's creator/star Issa Rae, talking about how her new series was going to feel like a TV revolution because it focused on "basic" – her words – Black people, especially Black women, trying to make their way in life.

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In Hulu's Dopesick, Michael Keaton plays Sam Finnix as the kind of family doctor anyone would want taking care of them.

Folksy and smart, he cares enough to stop by an elderly patient's home after work to make sure she's taken her medication. He's still treating adults he delivered as babies in a small Virginia mining town.

(Warning: a few plot details may emerge, shaken but not stirred, about the new James Bond film No Time to Die. So be prepared for potential spoilers.)

I remember the moment when I first fell in love with British secret agent James Bond.

My uncle had sneaked me into a showing of 1971's Diamonds Are Forever in the theater (yes, I know how much that dates me). A bit into the story, Sean Connery's intrepid Bond unzipped a woman's dress, letting it fall to the floor — to make sure she had no weapons on her, I'm sure.

Dave Chappelle does not make it easy.

He is one of the most brilliant stand-up comics in the business. But he also makes a sport of challenging his audience — putting ideas in front of them that he knows are uncomfortable and unpalatable to those invested in modern notions of how to talk about feminism, gender, sexual orientation and race.

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A new talk show with a familiar host drops on Apple TV Plus today. It's called "The Problem With Jon Stewart," and one of the first things he does is crack a joke about how old he looks.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE PROBLEM WITH JON STEWART")

If you've been following the efforts by Britney Spears to get out of the conservatorship that has dominated her life for the past 13 years, then the broad outlines of Netflix's new film Britney vs Spears will not surprise you.

But for those who snap up every morsel of information in the case, director Erin Lee Carr has assembled a 90-minute feast filled with stories, details and sources sure to feed your hunger for new nuggets of information.

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Beck Bennett, known for playing former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday Night Live, will be leaving the show in a cast reorganization announced Monday. The announcement also includes another departure, two promotions and three new hires at NBC's Emmy-winning sketch comedy series.

Experienced critics know: sometimes it pays to be skeptical of TV show revivals that try to make an old series feel fresh by changing the race of the main characters.

But ABC's Black-centered reimagining of TV's classic exercise in nostalgia, The Wonder Years, avoids that pitfall for a simple reason. The year in which it is set, 1968, was one of the most pivotal times for Black America in recent history.

It's time to find something good to watch.

Maybe you didn't have exactly the hot vaccinated summer we were all hoping for. While we can't fix the big stuff, our critics do have good news about staying entertained — and challenged, and invigorated, and curious.

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And finally today, we remember that most people experienced the 9/11 attacks through television, especially TV news. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says, in the 20 years since, it's also shaped television.

There is a long list of ways America was transformed by the terrorist attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. But the question of how TV itself was changed – particularly in ways still relevant today – is more complicated.

CNBC anchor Shepard Smith, who covered the attack and its aftermath when he worked at Fox News Channel, points to a small but impactful TV innovation: the constant presence of an onscreen news ticker, scrolling through headlines, on cable news channels.

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Emmy-nominated actor Michael K. Williams has died at the age of 54. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says Williams, featured in series like "Lovecraft Country" and "Boardwalk Empire," was a consummate character actor. He's here to remember him with us.

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Here's what I found most impressive about FX's Impeachment: American Crime Story — though Monica Lewinsky is a producer on the show, even she doesn't get out of this tale unscathed.

This is tough to admit now, but any good appreciation is grounded in honesty, so here goes:

I used to be one of those drummers who thought the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts was overrated.

Proof of my horrendous mistake in such thinking flooded social media Tuesday, as superstar musicians such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D paid tribute to Watts, who died Tuesday in London of an undisclosed illness. He was 80.

As the trial of disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly unfolds, it's tough to imagine reaching this moment without the 2019 Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.

That's because the six-part project seemed to transform public opinion about the singer in an instant, with detailed, harrowing accounts from women who said Kelly spent decades pursuing underage girls for sex and maintaining abusive relationships. Kelly has denied the allegations.

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As the creator of popular documentaries for public television like Baseball and The Civil War, Ken Burns often seems like the face of documentary filmmaking at PBS.

Like so many things connected to this year's often-troubled Tokyo Olympic Games, NBCUniversal's final viewership figures for its TV and streaming coverage have a definite good news/bad news quality.

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Updated July 23, 2021 at 1:09 PM ET

As expected, viewers who woke up early in America to watch NBC's first live morning telecast of an Olympics opening ceremony Friday were greeted with a subdued presentation, kicked off by an explosion of fireworks erupting around a nearly empty Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Right about now is when many people would start to hate Ted Lasso.

The show's first season was a come-from-nowhere hit on Apple TV+ last year — an amusing ode to the power of niceness which got a serious viewership boost thank to pandemic lockdowns.

One thing is obvious after watching Naomi Osaka, Netflix's three-episode docuseries tracking the life of the increasingly press-shy tennis champion.

Naomi Osaka worries. A lot.

This year's Emmy nominations cover a time when the coronavirus pandemic turned the TV industry upside down. So it makes sense that the shows and performances announced Tuesday might include some choices that are a bit ... unconventional.

From the funky, opening groove of the film's first song, Stevie Wonder's slinky jam on the Isley's Brothers' "It's Your Thing," it is obvious the new documentary Summer of Soul (...or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) will be packed with little-seen, landmark live performances.

But watch a little longer, as Wonder sits behind a drumkit to whip off a crackling drum solo. As he works the kit, clips of news reports and pundits surface talking about the crucial political and social issues facing Black people in 1969. And you realize you're seeing something more.

As a critic who loves glitzy awards shows and celebrations of great work, I find the Emmy season feels a bit like Christmas and the Super Bowl rolled into one, glorious package. But it can be ruined if the folks handing out the big awards make the wrong picks.

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