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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'The Magnificent Seven' And 'Fleabag'

Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in Antoine Fuqua's remake of <em>The Magnificent Seven</em>.
Sony Pictures
Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in Antoine Fuqua's remake of The Magnificent Seven.

[In case you haven't heard,Pop Culture Happy Houris about to embark on a West Coast tour. San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles are sold out — though we recently added an appearance (withGuy Branum!) at theNow Hear This podcast festivalin Anaheim on Oct. 29 — but we'll also be inPortland on Oct. 19with our dear pal Audie Cornish. Tickets for that one are still available. Oh, and we're fielding requests for pop-culture advice, sofill out this formto send us your questions. We might just answer them onstage.]

Our long, national, Linda Holmes-less nightmare is about to end, but we find a way to make due one more time this week: In this episode, Glen Weldon, Tanya Ballard and Chris Klimek join me to discuss the new remake of The Magnificent Seven (and, by extension, Seven Samurai), as well as a BBC Three comedy called Fleabag (available in the U.S. via Amazon) and What's Making Us Happy this week.

First, the four of us offer up our thoughts on The Magnificent Seven — how it compares to its predecessor(s), how it differs from other modern Westerns, and how it uses its large cast (Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, et al), as well as its diversity, its body count and its genre's many parallels to superhero myths.

Then it's on to Fleabag, which — spoiler alert — is Glen's favorite new TV show of 2016. Based on a one-woman show by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stars in and writes the show, Fleabag gets us talking about its fourth-wall-breaking structure, its impeccable casting, its frank sexuality, and the ways it fits into a TV landscape that also includes You're The Worst and Catastrophe.

Finally, as always, we close with What's Making Us Happy this week. Glen, to make up for lost time, brings a "whistle-stop tour" of recommendations: He loves a film from this past summer, the voice actors in a new animated movie, a recent book of short stories, a forthcoming comic novel and a new mobile game. Tanya is excited about a hotly anticipated Netflix series and the new book by a favorite blogger. Chris praises a high-profile cover band that just played Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club. And I take a break from watching highly innovative television to enjoy a network TV drama that breaks none of the rules.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: the show, me, Glen, Tanya, Chris, producer Jessica, and producer emeritus/music director/pal-for-life Mike.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)