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.

We spend a lot of time on Pop Culture Happy Hour talking about interesting cable television, because interesting cable television gives us a lot to talk about. But this week, we look at two strong fall shows that showed up on broadcast networks. NBC's This Is Us is a breakout hit, and falls into the long-established tradition of family dramas that follow many threads at once and bring the crying relatively frequently. (Just ask Ari Shapiro of All Things Considered, our guest for this segment....

While Pop Culture Happy Hour was out in San Francisco recently, we dropped by KQED and caught up with Emmanuel Hapsis, the editor of KQED Pop , the station's pop culture blog, and the host of its podcast, The Cooler. Along with our affinity for writing and podcasting about many of the same things, Emmanuel and I share an affection for Younger , which recently closed its third season (not all of which we'd seen when we taped in late October, of course). In this Small Batch edition of the...

We're lucky enough to be joined this week by Daisy Rosario and Margaret Willison for looks at two new girl-themed stories. First, non- Gilmore Girls person Stephen Thompson sits out of our usual rotation as we cover the return of the people of Stars Hollow in four new movies available on Netflix. Did we get what we were hoping for from this reunion? Did we get too much of Logan's goofy friends, or not enough? And what of Jess and his duffel bag? Then, because — no big deal — an old pal of...

At an exceptionally strong Toronto International Film Festival this year, Moonlight was the film I kept hearing that people couldn't get into. One critic told me he'd tried at three different screenings; all were full. That's not a terribly common Toronto tale, particularly with a film where the director/screenwriter and the lead actors are not especially famous. What was driving people to the film was word of mouth. What was driving them to it was that people kept telling them how good it...

Most television shows arrive accompanied by the question, "Is it good?" Revivals of old shows, however, often arrive with the question, "Is it necessary?" The four new 90-minute installments of Gilmore Girls that arrived Friday on Netflix under the title Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life fare better by that adjusted standard than most. Gilmore Girls , which ran from 2000 to 2007, was a good show, and because creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left before the seventh and final season following a...

Almost a year ago, via a seemingly innocuous tweet , the very funny comedian and very funny actor Kumail Nanjiani and I discovered a shared enthusiasm for, and very deep feelings about , the romantic comedies of the 1990s. At our recent tour stop in Los Angeles at the Regent Theater, Kumail was in our fourth chair, and the topic was ... romantic comedies. We had Stephen and Glen catch up a bit on this genre so that we could bring both casual and committed perspectives to the table, and it's...

After a few weeks of vacation and touring, I'm very glad to be back on the show this week, particularly because we're talking about Arrival , a movie so intriguing and layered I managed to write an entire essay about it, expanding on some of the ideas in this episode. On hand is our friend Chris Klimek in the fourth chair, which is just right given his deep body of knowledge about perplexing space movies. (And other things.) We talk about the visuals, the film's commitment to language, the...

The setup of the film Arrival is familiar to anyone who's watched first-contact science fiction about aliens before: ships hover. Little is known. The military assumes the worst, and scientists thrum with curiosity. Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguist, and Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), a theoretical physicist, are summoned to try to figure out the answer to a question that seems to be about aliens but hides in plain sight as a nod to philosophy: What is your purpose on Earth? The tool...

As you read this, we at Pop Culture Happy Hour are preparing for our final west coast stop at the Now Hear This podcast festival in Anaheim on Saturday, October 29, after the four shows we recently did in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. We had an enormous amount of fun with our fourth chairs: Audie Cornish in Seattle and Portland, Mallory Ortberg in San Francisco, and Kumail Nanjiani in L.A. And this week, we're bringing you a mix of two segments from those shows. First up,...

The regular Pop Culture Happy Hour team is gearing up for our west coast tour, which kicks off Monday, October 17 in Seattle, continues on October 19 in Portland (the only date with tickets still available), October 21 in San Francisco with Mallory Ortberg, and October 23 in Los Angeles with Kumail Nanjiani. Then on Saturday, October 29, we're part of a dauntingly great lineup at the Now Hear This podcast festival in Anaheim, where the long-awaited meeting between our show and Pop Rocket will...

Hooray! I'm so happy to be back this week after some time spent either traveling or under the weather kept me away from the show for a couple of weeks. Fortunately, we were able to get Bob Mondello, All Things Considered film critic, around the table with us to talk about the films he and I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival and to participate in our fall television pool. Bob and I talk about a whole bunch of movies we saw: you can read more coverage from me here , and hear Bob...

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months. Strange Weather Holly Hunter is a national treasure; let's get that out of the way now. She is incredibly skilled, but she's also just fun to watch. In Strange Weather , Hunter plays Darcy, a woman who's been grieving her grown son's suicide for seven years when she discovers that one of his old buddies ripped off a business idea he'd once had. Accompanied...

Sure, we live in a world of increasingly seamless integration of sophisticated computer animation and live action. And sure, we've seen amazing technical achievements and advances on television. But wouldn't it be funny to just draw a cartoon on top of a sitcom? That's the conceit behind Fox's Son Of Zorn , which you can basically think of as a family sitcom where the dad is He-Man. Everything in the show is live-action, except that the noncustodial parent of the sweet but sullen teenager is...

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months. The Promise The war movie — the war atrocity movie, in particular — is a complicated thing to react to. Invoking real historical agony bestows an inherent respectability of intent; simply to tell a story that needs telling represents a higher purpose than that with which many films grapple. But still, a good film has to be a good film; it cannot only be...

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months. Lion There is a kind of festival movie — global in its scope, broad in its lessons, stamped with the logo of The Weinstein Company — that announces its awards hunger with such zeal that skepticism comes easily. And Lion , directed by Garth Davis from a screenplay by Luke Davies, is such a film. It's an adaptation of Saroo Brierly's memoir about finding his...

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months. Mascots Christopher Guest's history with mock documentaries about strivers and dreamers goes back more than 30 years to This Is Spinal Tap in 1984, but he started to establish his repertory company and his style with Waiting For Guffman in 1996, the first feature he directed. Since then, some of the films in this series have been great ( Best In Show ) and...

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months. Nocturnal Animals Tom Ford (the fashion designer) surprised a fair number of folks with his very good first feature as a director, A Single Man , in 2009. It was gorgeous to look at, as one might expect, but it was also deeply felt, thanks in part to a strong central performance from Colin Firth. Fast forward to 2016. Ford's second directorial effort,...

Linda Holmes is filing dispatches from the Toronto International Film Festival. These movies will see wider release in the coming months. Loving It's a challenge to make a compelling drama about a civil rights case that produced a result now taken for granted: Loving v. Virginia established that it was a violation of the U.S. Constitution for a state to prohibit interracial marriage. Such a film can seem like one big nod of agreement over how terrible a thing was that we don't do anymore, and...

It would be easy to think abstractly about the state of TV comedy in 2016 and visualize a clear divide between Cool and Uncool, between safe, saccharine broadcast comedies and knife-sharp cable projects that take no prisoners and feel no feelings. But as with so many things, in the move from generality to specificity, divides get more complex. And fortunately, both the more traditionally conceived comedies and the more daring ones have their strengths, and scratch their itches when they're...

There are television shows — warm and tidy comedies, generic action shows, underbaked procedurals — that feel as if they are made by no one at all. They seem to have simply arisen naturally as a result of the environment in which they exist, like mushrooms growing on a wet log. You look up and they are simply there , being bad, being nothing, and then you look up again and they are gone and no one misses them. But thankfully, TV has gotten more specific as it's gotten more spread out. That's...

If you doubt that Ryan Lochte is going on Dancing With The Stars to try to change the subject away from what he himself has called his "immature, intoxicated behavior" during the Rio Olympics, where he admits he lied about at least some of his story about being robbed at gunpoint, just ask him. It's not a secret. He told USA Today , "It's just an amazing show and hopefully when I'm on it, people will watch and enjoy the show and talk about the show ... Hopefully, it changes everyone's mindset...

This week, we took ourselves to the Disney live-action film Pete's Dragon , currently riding high with (most) critics and answering the question, "Can you really put a line in a movie about capturing a dragon where a guy says, 'Follow that dragon!'?" We talk about how well the film's very sweet and optimistic tone worked on the various members of the panel, including NPR Music's Daoud Tyler-Ameen in the fourth chair. Can Glen make peace with this much earnest sweetness? Oh, he'll tell you. In...

Who knew the most traditional-feeling romantic comedy this fall might show up on YouTube? It's not that YouTube hasn't been making strides in original content; they've been pushing forward in that area for some time. But now that they've established YouTube Red, their premium streaming service, they seem to be getting a little bit more serious and direct about competing for a broader range of viewers with straight-up television, both on broadcast and cable and on services like Netflix and...

The only thing more delightful than being back with my PCHH team this week is that while Glen Weldon takes a week off, we're joined by our former sometimes-producer Kiana Fitzgerald, who's also a DJ and writer and wonderful Twitter follow, as well as Brittany Luse, who hosts Sampler over at Gimlet Media and hosts the fabulous For Colored Nerds podcast with Eric Eddings. (Note that if you enjoy Kiana and Brittany, you should know they also did an episode of Sampler together.) We got together...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: This is the part of the summer when NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and pop culture correspondent Linda Holmes pack their bags, head to LA and watch a lot of video teasers of new TV shows. They also bring on the tough questions for network executives, producers and actors, and this has been going on since the end of last month. It's finally the last day of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. There's...

When we first learned that Great Performances would have a film about Hamilton , there were those who hoped it would be a full performance by the original Broadway cast that's gradually been departing in recent weeks and months. It's not; it's a film called Hamilton's America , and PBS presented it at the Television Critics' Association press tour on Thursday, where its director, Alex Horwitz, was joined by Daveed Diggs, who just wrapped up his run as both Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson on...

Baz Luhrmann seems aware that as an Australian writer-director who first became known for Strictly Ballroom , he isn't the most obvious choice to produce a drama series about the origins of hip-hop in the South Bronx in the late 1970s. "It's not my story," he told critics on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour. "I feel like I curated that story." The six-part Netflix series The Get Down is the result of his collaboration with people he knew were closer to this history...

From the moment Netflix announced that it would be bringing back Gilmore Girls for four 90-minute episodes making up a sort of mini-season called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life , fans have wondered how long they'd have to wait and in what shape they'd find Lorelai and Rory Gilmore after years away. On Wednesday, Netflix announced an arrival date of Nov. 25 and showed critics the first two minutes of the first episode, "Winter." To the surprise of no one, the opening scene of "Winter" finds...

The Television Critics Association is ... okay, that's the easy part. It's an association of people who write about television, mostly as critics, although many function, either instead or in addition, as reporters. I'm in it, as is NPR's full-time TV critic Eric Deggans, as are a couple hundred other people. And twice a year — once in the summer and once in the winter — we gather in the L.A. area for what's referred to as either "press tour" or "TCA," so that we can hear about what's coming...

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the world; how are you doing? We had the rare opportunity to pull the extremely busy Ari Shapiro into our fourth chair this week, just in time to join us for a chat about Ghostbusters , the latest summer action comedy to bust its way into theaters. We talked about its PG-13-ness, its lineup of very funny women, its place in the impressive Feig/McCarthy canon, and lots more. Then we turned our attention to the kickoff of the second season of Mr. Robot , the...

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