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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Recommending The Best Of Stephen King

Stephen King.
Kenzo Tribouillard
AFP/Getty Images
Stephen King.

We thought this episode was going to be all about The Dark Tower, a new movie adaptation of Stephen King's ambitious series of novels. Then... we saw The Dark Tower, which attempts, at least in part, to condense 4,000-plus pages into a 95-minute movie. We didn't like it — and, more to the point, we didn't think it was interesting enough to warrant a whole segment of Pop Culture Happy Hour.

So Glen Weldon, Barrie Hardymon, Tasha Robinson and I opted instead to discuss the legacy of Stephen King, who turns 70 next month. Our goal was to come up with some King-inspired alternatives to the Dark Tower movie — from standbys like Stand By Me and Misery to books about King's craft, like Danse Macabre and On Writing. Tasha's got thoughts on The Tommyknockers, The Shining, The Long Walk and others; Barrie loves 11/22/63 and The Breathing Method; and all of us pitch in to discuss what does and doesn't work for us about some of King's many projects.

Finally, we close with What's Making Us Happy this week. Glen loves the latest season of a TV favorite — and one recent episode in particular. Barrie recommends a "filthy" new Tru TV sitcom. Tasha recommends a podcast, each episode of which contains a vivid, bite-sized short story. And I signal-boost my recent appearance on Sam Sanders' wonderful new NPR podcast, then recommend an app that allowed me to enjoy a board-game experience I'd spent decades wanting to relive.

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.)