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.

The 17th season of Project Runway concluded Thursday night, handing the win to Sebastian Grey.

It was the show's first run without Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, who reigned while Runway ran on Bravo and then on Lifetime. Back on Bravo now, it features model Karlie Kloss in the host role and designer (and former Project Runway winner) Christian Siriano in the mentor role.

When Mindy Kaling, then a writer on The Office, first started appearing on camera as Kelly Kapoor, Kelly was a quiet, unassuming, frumpily dressed office drone like everybody else — another person for Michael Scott (Steve Carell) to mistreat. It was later that they realized what she should be: She should be awful. Kelly should be vain and insufferable and demanding, needy and greedy and self-obsessed. It made Kaling a star.

Broadway has changed a lot in the last few years, and in an important way: We've cleared the period of time when everything seemed to be about Hamilton, and then about post-Hamilton, and then about whether there could ever be another Hamilton. (There won't.) Broadway had another big year for box office, it's learning how to use social media to connect with younger audiences — whatever the next phase is, it seems that it's started.

Oh, hello, it's a romantic comedy!

Is it weird to keep asserting that Summer Movie Season starts Memorial Day weekend, when Avengers: Endgame, the ultimate summer movie, and also the year's (the decade's! the century's!) biggest blockbuster, opened last month?

Maybe. Sure. Who cares?

"Summer movie" is a term, after all, that has taken on a negative connotation, as it tends to be deployed by those looking to sniffily dismiss the whole crop of films that come out in the months without an R. See also: "popcorn movies," "comic-book movies."

If Hulu had announced an original dramatic miniseries that follows a World War II soldier awakening to the horrors of war, executive produced and partly directed (two episodes out of six) by George Clooney, and if the result had been Catch-22, it would have seemed largely successful. But the series, available in full now, is, of course, an adaptation of Joseph Heller's much-chewed-over 1961 novel, a book very unusual in both its tone and its structure. And as an adaptation, it struggles to meet the inevitable expectations.

The new Netflix show Dead To Me is very good. Beyond that, it's a hard show to review. It's hard to even discuss what kind of show it is without spoiling things that you should get to discover for yourself. But let's try, because it's an enormously interesting and rewarding watch.

Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of a hugely profitable series of films that began with Iron Man in 2008. It makes sense that the opening weekend of the concluding chapter — which also happens to be a very good movie with a 96 percent critics' rating on Rotten Tomatoes — would make a lot of money. But if there's a place in box office coverage for "whoa, Nellie" anymore, it is perhaps here. And so let us say: Whoa, Nellie.

One crazy night.

It's the foundation of movies both silly and not so silly, including After Hours, Superbad, American Graffiti, Adventures in Babysitting, Go, Can't Hardly Wait ... there are a lot to choose from. A new one coming to Netflix this week that's of the "female friendship forever" variety is Someone Great. Written and directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, it's a comedy about three New York women who just want — of course — to get into one big event and to get a little crazy.

Who would want to date someone named "Brooks Rattigan"?

It sounds like a jerk who makes furniture. It sounds like a corrupt law firm. It sounds like a preppy mobster. It sounds like an announcement of the two competitors who will face off in the final match of a wrestling tournament in a town whose population was built only by reproduction between and among people who rowed crew in college.

Marsai Martin is a star.

If you could bottle the keen curiosity the new FX series Fosse/Verdon has about the details of both Bob Fosse's genius and his destructive, dishonest, sexually harassing, emotionally abusive behavior, you would perhaps have a little bit of curiosity to spare to make up for the project's limited interest in what it all meant for Gwen Verdon and countless other women he treated like hot garbage.

"Bringing a unicorn here is not an easy or inexpensive endeavor. You have to be the right sort of girl."

The right sort of girl.

Old stuff spoiler alert: This piece discusses the plot of Jordan Peele's Get Out and the plots of a handful of old Twilight Zone episodes, but doesn't spoil episodes from the new run that debuts Monday.

What is the scariest thing you can imagine?

Lindy West's 2016 book Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman is, appropriately, a holler. It's a holler of triumph, of laughter, of hurt, of anger, of joy, of frustration, of defiance ... but it is a holler. West talks about life on the Internet as a feminist and a fat woman, she talks about being loved and being at peace with her body, and she talks about learning to unapologetically occupy space, both literally and figuratively.

When it comes to niche programming, there is everything else, and then there is Documentary Now!

It turns out the Oscars telecast doesn't need a host.

Don't leave!

Are you the person who didn't read past that headline and left the comment saying, "I would never watch the Oscars! Who cares? NPR, I am so disappointed in you!"? I hear you. I have heard you. Welcome.

They should have called it something else.

It's not that the name PEN15, with its allusions to juvenile if not infantile scribble humor, doesn't capture something cheerfully dumb about the setting of this new Hulu series about middle school. But the title suggests a cheap and bawdy laugh — which certainly has a place in the world — when in fact, by the end of ten episodes, the show has offered a portrait of adolescence in girls that is very funny, but also might be as tender as anything since My So-Called Life.

A woman whose curly red hair spills past her shoulders stands in front of a bathroom mirror as a party rages outside. She looks at her reflection. People bang on the door to get in. She turns and leaves, through a door with a handgun for a handle, out of the bathroom where the areas of the walls and door glow with blotches of chilly blue light. As she leaves, two women push their way past her into the bathroom, and she moves into the room where the party is. Friends swarm around her. A woman cooking in the kitchen offers her a joint laced with cocaine. Something is wrong.

Fyre Festival just keeps delivering drama.

As turn-of-the-millennium YA soaps on television go, Roswell was no Buffy or Dawson's Creek, but it had its devotees. Furthermore, it was the big break for both Shiri Appleby and Katherine Heigl, both of whom are still in TV 20 years after Roswell premiered in 1999. Now, the reboot business has found Roswell — now called Roswell, New Mexico in its new form on the CW. (Both are based on the Melinda Metz book series Roswell High.)

You'll find a lot of 2018 films more loved by critics than Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody, but both have found enthusiastic audiences. On Sunday night, they were the big winners in film at the Golden Globes, in a ceremony that dragged 20 minutes past its scheduled time and occasionally felt as if it was rushing through a list of awards and trying desperately to get winners to wrap it up.

If you've always wondered what a sing-off between the Phillie Phanatic and Goofy from Disneyland would look like, The Masked Singer is about as close as you're going to get. It premiered on Fox on Wednesday night, and the network would love to see it burn brightly, even though the high (like, extremely high) concept suggests it might burn rather briefly.

Netflix is hungry, and it's got its eye on a juicy slice of interactivity.

Standard caveats (really standard — same as last year!): I don't watch everything. I am behind on many things. That's just the way the world is. So if something you loved isn't here, it is not a rebuke.

The first rule of Mary Poppins is that you must never explain Mary Poppins.

Perhaps the smartest decision in the sequel Mary Poppins Returns is that it's no more clear than it ever was how, exactly, this nanny floats in. We don't know where Mary came from, how exactly she has relatives given that she seems to have simply materialized from the sky, or whether she was ever a child herself. Mary Poppins simply is.

Penny Marshall was famous as an actress first. She was the Laverne in Laverne & Shirley, one of what felt like so many '80s comedies with a catchy theme song, weird supporting characters, increasingly oddball plots and a messy last couple of seasons as contracts and cast changes interfered. But for years, she "schlemiel, schlimazel"-ed down a Milwaukee street with Cindy Williams, who played Shirley. Just a couple of single girls.

Hundreds and hundreds of series air every year. They are good and they are lousy; they are new and they are old. There's too much television for a comprehensive ranking, so Glen Weldon, Linda Holmes and Eric Deggans round up 16 of their favorite shows from 2018.

The Americans (FX)

At the movies, 2018 was the year of Black Panther, the year of more Incredibles and Avengers, more Star Wars and Mission: Impossible. But it was also the year of intimate stories of youth and love. It was the year of period pieces and fantasies, crushing tragedies and raucous comedies. Bob Mondello, Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon would never agree on a single list of best movies of the year. But here are 15 of the movies we admired and will remember.

Black Panther

Pages