Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop-culture blog, Monkey See. She has several elaborate theories involving pop culture and monkeys, all of which are available on request.

Holmes 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. Since 2003, she has been a contributor to MSNBC.com, where she has written about books, movies, television and pop-culture miscellany.

Holmes' work has also appeared on Vulture (New York magazine's entertainment blog), in TV Guide and in many, many legal documents.

What if you were trapped in the middle of a traditional addiction narrative forever?

In a traditional fictional addiction narrative, the addict begins the story able to coexist with the addiction, if indeed it even has emerged. The addiction deepens, loved ones discover it and there is a single lowest point. Then there is a surrender by the addict and a willingness to get help. Or, sometimes, there is not, or there is another fall and then there is death.

"You're bouncing off the atmosphere."

Early in director Damien Chazelle's First Man, this is one of the cautions given to Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) during his pilot training, years before he walked on the moon. That idea of the barrier between Earth and space, the violence of making the journey through it and the almost mystical experience of being on the other side of it forms the spine of the film.

It's hard to make a show about high school football in 2018, even seven-plus years after the end of Friday Night Lights. FNL was so revered, so satisfying, so good, that a show that asks us to care about 17-year-old running backs faces a steep climb.

Fall is often the most intense movie season of all. Awards contenders begin to come into focus after the Toronto International Film Festival, while comedies and thrillers continue to hit screens. We got to see a lot of upcoming films at TIFF — below you'll find write-ups of 15 movies we really enjoyed and a heads-up about nearly 40 notable releases.

A Star Is Born begins with Bradley Cooper, as successful country-rock singer Jackson Maine, doing his uninspired but high-octane brand of guitar work in front of a screaming audience of fans. When he's done, drunk and exhausted, he pours himself into a big black SUV, now alone with his nearly empty bottle, his flushed face, and his lungs that sound like they're filled with ash. He is in rough shape.

On Sunday's CBS Sunday Morning, Ted Koppel reminisced about the many profiles of media giant Ted Turner that have aired on the network, beginning all the way back in the 1970s, when he hadn't started CNN but had bought Atlanta's baseball and basketball teams. Now, about to turn 80, Turner told Koppel about his diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.

Goodness feels so freaking quaint sometimes.

But goodness is indeed what The Good Place, which returned for its third season Thursday night on NBC, is about. It is about people trying to be good — and it's also one of the silliest, cleverest, smartest comedies on TV.

[This is where I tell you that "spoilers," so to speak, abound, in that we're going to talk here about the things that have already happened on this show up to and including the third-season premiere.]

When Murphy Brown premiered in 1988, Murphy's personality, full as it was of stubbornness, ego, brilliance, defiance, independence and a lack of concern with being liked, was a revelation. Her existence, her very presence on television as a recovering alcoholic who had stopped drinking but had no desire to stop being what other people considered "difficult," was inspiring. She was confident, and she was loved. She was impolite, and she was great at her job. She was loud, and she was the hero.

Television and film set in dreams and hallucinations struggle with the fundamental limitations of the rational mind. Too often, what people experience as visions in TV and movies aren't strange enough. They're slightly bent, but not as off-balance as real dreams and hallucinations tend to be.

Rarely has the opening of an awards show felt as inauspicious as the first 10 minutes or so of Monday night's Emmy Awards. An opening number called "We Solved It," making light of the idea that Hollywood's meager progress toward greater diversity constitutes a meaningful resolution to the issue, featured a number of appealing TV personalities: Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon, Tituss Burgess of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kristen Bell of The Good Place, RuPaul, Sterling K. Brown of This Is Us, and Ricky Martin.

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