Linda Holmes | WYPR

Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

Holmes was a writer and editor at Television Without Pity, where she recapped several hundred hours of programming — including both High School Musical movies, for which she did not receive hazard pay. Her first novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over, will be published in the summer of 2019.

Tim Gunn is the best reason to watch Project Runway, always. Gentle and supportive, dismayed and concerned, he's the uncle, stylist, and influential teacher you never had.

And so, with nothing but love, as the season comes to an end Thursday night, we present a parade of our favorite Tim Gunn faces, together with our magic mind-reading technology that has discerned exactly what he was thinking. It's foolproof, you see.

We can wonder how BBC America's Burton And Taylor might have been received in the absence of Lifetime's Liz And Dick, which, almost a year ago, did not quite rehabilitate Lindsay Lohan's career in the way she was hoping. Perhaps we'd have been able to see this biopic, with Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, purely as its own project.

In the last couple of years, there's been a surge of what you might call "cool PBS," by which I just mean social-media-friendly stuff like Sherlock and Downton Abbey that sort of expands people's ideas of what public television is and especially what its relationship to pop culture is.

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a documentary in three hour-long segments that will premiere back to back (to back) tonight on many PBS stations, begins with a curious image: Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Comics explains that a recent copy of Action Comics #1, which contained the first appearance of Superman, recently sold for over $2 million. He shows us Action Comics #1, and then ... he locks it in a safe.

If you're not in the habit of watching MTV's Catfish, which ends its second season Tuesday night with a new episode and a reunion special, you might be surprised by how many interesting questions it raises.

Of course, you might be even more surprised by how blithely it ignores them.

What is James Franco doing?

'Glee' Says Goodbye

Oct 11, 2013

When Cory Monteith died in July, the fact that it put Glee in a terrible position was certainly the least of the rotten outcomes.

I cannot lie: I love this week's podcast very much, and only partly because I got to include a song I probably haven't heard in over 20 years and got our special guest Gene Demby to reveal one of those little things that makes him apoplectic.

This piece contains information about Wednesday night's episode.

Not long ago, when I got a PlayStation 3, the recommendations started rolling in: play this, play that, play my favorite game.

But a bunch of people said, with a sort of excited urgency — particularly people who know me — "Play Journey."

First things first: FEAR NOT. This is a non-spoilery Breaking Bad discussion. If you don't believe me, consider that even two of the people in the room haven't seen the whole run of the series, so if there were spoilers, we'd know (and get punched). Instead, we try to put the themes of the series in the context of a bigger discussion about what kinds of protagonists we can and cannot root for, what kinds of television are growing and shrinking, and what kinds of conversations we want to have about the shows we love.

Scandal returns Thursday night on ABC after two seasons of delicious, ridiculous, addictive total nonsense that made it a pop-culture preoccupation. (OK, obsession. But hey, we can quit any time we want.)

I have a confession.

I cannot resist House Hunters. And, of course, House Hunters International. They're not good. But I can't resist them.

[Hopefully, we don't have to point out that a piece about the Breaking Bad finale contains information about the Breaking Bad finale. But here we are.]

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan signaled in interviews leading up to Sunday night's series finale that those who craved some redemption for Walter White were the ones most likely to leave happy.

"We feel it's a satisfying ending," Gilligan told Entertainment Weekly. "Walt ends things more or less on his own terms."

On this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour, we start by breaking down last weekend's very somber Emmy ceremony, from the repeated death announcements to the perplexing dance routines to a couple of welcome victories that put a more positive spin on the whole thing. Did the host impress? What about poor Shemar Moore? And who will defend interpretive dance?

It's been a while since we just started off by making our morning with some assorted Jimmy Fallon greatness (and I just got my cable hooked up at my new place yesterday, meaning my ability to watch late-night shows over my morning coffee is much enhanced).

So here's some good stuff from Tuesday night's show.

First, Fallon gave the follow-up to his "touchdown dance" bit with Justin Timberlake.

Awards shows aren't easy. That's partly because they're fundamentally unsympathetic affairs in which rich pretty people give each other trophies, and partly because there are only a few real things on which they can be judged: the opening by the host, the montages and features, the speeches, the assorted intangibles and — oh, right — who wins.

By almost any of these measures, Sunday night's Emmy Awards were not only merely bad but really most sincerely bad, or at best (particularly in the case of winners) a bag that's very much mixed.

It might seem like the only TV serious viewers are paying attention to right now is Breaking Bad, but on Sunday night, just as Walter White's penultimate episode is unfolding on AMC, we'll be finding out over on CBS whether his show, his portrayer Bryan Cranston, or other personnel will be taking home Primetime Emmy Awards.

This week's show finds me, Stephen, Trey and Glen together again in the studio, but due to a scheduling tweak, finds us in Historic Studio 45 instead of Historic Studio 44, so we hope you can all still follow the conversation.

I cannot understand how I missed the news that Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones are about to open as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, but this charming list of past pairings makes me want to watch the play ... a lot. (David Tennant and Catherine Tate!

Tastiest Scenery To Chew: August: Osage County, the John Wells-directed adaptation of the Tracy Letts stage play, stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a generally very impressive cast. But Streep is cranked up to 11 as the miserable, pill-popping matriarch. I expect her to win an Oscar for this role, simply because it's so over-the-top and because she is compelling in it.

Bob Mondello and I took a break from our time at the Toronto International Film Festival today for a chat withAll Things Consideredand host Audie Cornish. We filled her in on just how many movies we've both seen, the surplus of stories about doppelgangers, the adventures of Daniel Radcliffe, and what we think are the early awards contenders.

The weekend brings some higher-profile screenings, and my schedule on Saturday and Sunday reflects that. If some of the Thursday/Friday films were an opportunity to see what you may never hear about again, some of the Saturday/Sunday films are a chance to get a jump on the next four or five months of chatter.

Two days into the Toronto International Film Festival, I'm 10 films in. We'll talk more about all of these later, but it seemed only fair to share some basic impressions, since I'm certainly logging the seat time to earn them. So here are the 10 I've seen so far.

On this week's roundtable podcast, we open with Lake Bell's movie In A World, which takes place in the world of voiceovers. We chat about the movie itself, and about Bell, but also about where voiceovers stand right now. Are they still important? As important as they used to be?

Then, we take a reader suggestion and talk about reconstituted bands — replaced singers, replaced drummers, and sometimes entire new versions of bands you thought you knew. This takes us into the story of Journey, the matter of The Beach Boys, and much more.

Okay, background information first.

As an apartment-dweller, I have lived for 20 years in a series of white-walled boxes with neutral carpets. I have assembled and eventually ripped apart the kind of furniture that comes with an Allen wrench. And I have had my adventures. When leaving an apartment in Brooklyn, I tore a sofa bed apart with my bare hands and feet — broke it and destroyed it — because it was old and I knew I'd never get it through the door again.

I am very happy to be back this week after being gone for two episodes (thank you to Audie Cornish, Gene Demby and Kat Chow for being great while I was gone).

Look, Miss Utah USA, Marissa Powell, gave a pretty unimpressive answer to a question about income inequality at the Miss USA pageant. Let's all agree on that.

But what, exactly, did the circumstances call for?

There was considerable mouth-dropping from publications such as The New York Times at initial reports this week that NSA programs are gathering both telephone records and information gleaned from large tech companies like Google and Microsoft. But as those reports have settled in, reactions have gotten more complex.

Pages