Eric Deggans

The best thing about seeing previously marginalized groups claim their own space in pop culture is it often ends up showing — in the most compelling ways — how alike we all really are.

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Now that ABC's Roseanne reboot has wrapped up its unexpectedly successful nine-episode run, it's worth asking a simple question:

What just happened?

What didn't happen was what some pundits feared when the show debuted: ABC positioning a hit TV show to embrace and normalize what they believe are the worst aspects of Donald Trump's ideology. Instead, star Roseanne Barr used her personal support for the president and the character's admission she voted for Trump to pull off the TV season's most masterful head fake.

Finally, we no longer have to use the word "allegedly."

A court of law has delivered a verdict that the court of public opinion seemed to have already reached: Bill Cosby, 80, has been found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, resulting from allegations first made by Andrea Constand back in 2005.

The public eventually saw more than 60 women accuse "America's dad" of sexual misconduct and assault, with many alleging he surreptitiously drugged them first. This is the first of those stories to get a verdict.

Here's the good news about Westworld 2.0: It's a little easier to follow than the first cycle.

That's a welcome development, because the debut season of HBO's sci-fi-infused drama about artificial people in the world's trippiest theme park seemed to twist itself in knots to keep viewers guessing. Worst of all, the effort didn't work: Many fans guessed the show's biggest plot twists weeks before they were revealed onscreen.

The first season ended more than a year ago, so here's a refresher before we get into Sunday's episode. (Yes, there are spoilers below.)

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Olivia Pope is about to handle her final crisis. She's the fictional political fixer at ABC drama "Scandal," which airs its final episode tonight. Here's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans.

One of my greatest lessons in the power of representation on TV came from watching an episode of Scandal.

In fall 2013, I spent an evening with a group of black and brown women watching an installment from the show's third season. We were gathered in a comfortable, tastefully decorated town house in Washington, D.C. Spirits were high — everyone was ready to watch political fixer supreme Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) tackle the latest bizarro crisis invented by series creator Shonda Rhimes.

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Science fiction TV fans might remember this catchphrase.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LOST IN SPACE (1965)")

DICK TUFELD: (As The Robot) Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

TV Review: 'Legion'

Apr 1, 2018

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It's a superhero show without capes, masks or flying. The FX cable channel show "Legion" returns for a second season Tuesday, trying to extend its reputation as one of its TV's most ambitious comic book adaptations. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans tells us how they pulled it off.

Be warned: The review below contains plenty of spoilers about past and present episodes of Billions.

The biggest problem Showtime's Billions has: It's a show that is way too easy to underestimate.

At a time when income inequality and the struggles of the middle class are front-page news, it's tough to lionize a show about a millionaire U.S. attorney in an all-consuming personal and professional grudge match with a billionaire hedge fund owner.

It seems like another example of television's gender pay gap: executive producers of Netflix's drama The Crown have admitted that star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth, was paid less than Matt Smith, the supporting actor who played her husband, Prince Philip.

But a look at the details of this deal also shows how well stardom pays off in show business, especially when an actor in a supporting role is more famous than the star of their new television series.

After watching ABC's two-hour premiere of its American Idol reboot, I'm still not sure they answered the most important question: Why bring this faded music competition back now?

The easy answer is money.

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Last night, for the first time, TV viewers saw a 2006 interview where O.J. Simpson talked about the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "O.J. SIMPSON: THE LOST CONFESSION?")

Marvel's Jessica Jones follows an alcoholic private eye who has superstrength and serious anger issues.

In a scene from the show's second season, due Thursday on Netflix, Jessica gets a little carried away in anger management class. She bounces a rubber ball against a wall while talking about what makes her emotional: "My whole family was killed in a car accident. Someone did horrific experiments on me. I was abducted, raped and forced to kill someone." Eventually, the wall gives way.

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Critics tend to judge Olympics coverage by a few key metrics: How many mistakes did the commentators make, and how many people are actually watching the games in prime time?

When it comes to NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, the first category has a couple of doozies, such as the network declaring a winner of the women's super-G Alpine skiing event before all the competitors had skied, including the actual winner.

It's the biggest smorgasbord on TV. NBC and its related platforms are serving up more than 2,400 hours of Olympics coverage through the closing ceremony on Feb. 25 — a record for a Winter Olympics. It's all there in front of you, but figuring out what you want and when you want it is a challenge. Here are a few ideas on sorting through it all:

How To Watch On TV

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Super Bowl LII was a terrific football game, especially if you're an Eagles fan. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans was watching for the halftime show and the commercials between the plays on the field.

(SOUNDBITE OF SUPER BOWL LII)

TV Review: 'Waco'

Jan 24, 2018

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Television viewers have a chance to relive a notorious chapter in American history. It was a 1993 standoff between the FBI and the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. A six-part drama called "Waco" begins tonight on the Paramount Network. Here's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans.

Review: 'The Alienist'

Jan 22, 2018

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And a new series is debuting tonight on TNT. "The Alienist" is the story of a group of sleuths in the 19th century on the hunt for a serial killer. It's based on the best-selling novel. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show is really an attempt by TNT to redefine its brand.

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As a child of Gary, Ind., I've waited years for a TV show or movie to intimately explore Chicago's poor, mostly black South Side neighborhoods — like The Wire did for West Baltimore and Boyz N The Hood did for South Central Los Angeles. I so wanted Showtime's The Chi, which debuts Sunday, to be that show in this moment, but the first four episodes I saw didn't quite hit the mark.

The snow and severe cold of the "bomb cyclone" currently hitting the East Coast is no joke.

But for a TV nerd, a storm that shuts down work and school means more time for binge-watching!

It may be only a day or two, so viewing choices are crucial. Can't waste time with dramas that go nowhere or marginally funny sitcoms (yes, Twin Peaks and Curb Your Enthusiasm, I'm talking about you). I'm here to give you some suggestions tailored to your tastes. Hopefully, these shows will act like a hot bowl of chicken soup and a thick, warm blanket.

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It's time to say goodbye — and then hello again — to a TV legend. The BBC's long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who bid farewell to lead actor Peter Capaldi in the show's traditional Christmas episode, introducing a new star in the process and ushering in one of the biggest changes in the show's 54-year history.

In a year filled with paradoxes, this might be one of the saddest: 2017 has been a great year for women in TV. But current circumstances sometimes make it difficult to celebrate.

That's because we're in the early stages of a reckoning over sexual harassment in Hollywood that is reshaping the industry in ways that are painful, necessary and tough to predict.

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