Show cover of Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Get obsessed with us. Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Join arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris - plus a rotating cast of guest pop culture aficionados. The Happy Hour team leaves room at the table for exploring a range of reactions and opinions on every bit of the pop universe. From lowbrow to highbrow to the stuff in between, they take it all with a shot of cheer.Make your happy hour even happier with Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus! Your subscription supports the podcast and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at


Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves And What's Making Us Happy
In Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Chris Pine stars as a wise-cracking and charismatic thief who leads a band of misfits with different reasons to hate a malevolent ruler played by Hugh Grant. It's a fantasy epic meets heist movie, complete with some dragons, talking corpses, relics and spells, an epic quest, and LOTS of jokes.
24:29 3/31/23
Top 10 Muppets
When we asked our listeners to tell us which Muppets were their favorites, we knew you'd all come through. More than 6,000 of you cast more than 18,000 votes — and we have the results.
17:49 3/30/23
Our Favorite Muppets
Today we are tackling two of the most important questions of our time: who are our favorite Muppets? And which Muppets do we most identify with? As they always say, the Muppets are the window to the soul.
22:34 3/29/23
The Night Agent
An FBI agent working in a lonely, secret office in the White House basement gets a phone call. A woman needs help, right away. That's the beginning of The Night Agent, a Netflix spy thriller series full of action and intrigue. Created by The Shield's Shawn Ryan, the series follows Peter and Rose — the agent and the tech expert he's protecting — as they try to uncover a conspiracy that goes right to the heart of the government.Subscribe to Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus at
14:51 3/28/23
Books We Love: No Biz Like Show Biz
NPR's Books We Love is full of stories. The feature rounds up fiction and nonfiction of many different kinds, and it gives you lots of ways to find what you might love, too. Today we're recommending great books for people who love show business, including a fictional take on a popular gossip Instagram account, a love story, and a memoir.
09:24 3/27/23
John Wick: Chapter 4 And What's Making Us Happy
In previous John Wick films, Keanu Reeves played a retired hitman out of revenge. In the latest entry, John Wick: Chapter 4, his reasons are a little more simple — he just wants to be left alone. Wick's quest for freedom takes him all across the world, as encounters would-be assassins, busy traffic, and a sadistic French aristocrat.
25:58 3/24/23
Jonathan Majors
Actor Jonathan Majors is having a moment right now: he recently starred in Creed III and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Friend of the show and host of NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday Ayesha Rascoe recently sat down with Majors for a fun and wide-ranging conversation about his path to acting, how he picks his roles, and how he defines masculinity.
28:36 3/23/23
In the new Amazon Prime series Swarm, Dominique Fishback plays Dre, a socially awkward young woman who is obsessed with the mega pop star Ni'Jah, a thinly veiled analog for Beyoncé. When a life-changing event occurs, Dre's obsession with Ni'Jah takes on a more sinister tone. Donald Glover co-created the show with Janine Nabers, and it definitely shares an off-kilter vibe with his previous hit Atlanta.Subscribe to Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus at
25:54 3/22/23
Grand Crew
The very funny, bingeable NBC sitcom Grand Crew has a dependable sitcom setup: Six friends hang out together to decompress and commiserate about their careers and their love lives. They're Black, their hangout is a Silver Lake wine bar, and the show – like the vino they're always guzzling – has gotten better with age.
24:25 3/21/23
Shadow And Bone
Shadow and Bone is a fantasy series based on a successful set of novels. There's a lot to take in — at least six main characters, people who can wield wind and shadow and light, and a Chosen One. That all sounds familiar, but there's enough here to make this series worth your consideration. Shadow and Bone recently returned for a second season, so we thought it would be a good time to revisit our conversation recorded back in 2021 about its first season, featuring panelists Mallory Yu and Petra Mayer. Petra died unexpectedly later that year, and we always loved having her on the show. Even though we will always miss her terribly, we hope you'll agree how great it is to hear her voice, and her passion, in your podcast feed once again.
15:05 3/20/23
Shazam! Fury Of The Gods And What's Making Us Happy
Four years ago, Shazam! was a surprise hit and a lighthearted entry in the DC Extended Universe. It follows teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who's bestowed with magical powers and turns in an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi. In the new sequel Shazam! Fury Of The Gods, Levi returns with a big cast that includes newcomers Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler.
15:16 3/17/23
Scream 6
The Ghostface killer is taking yet another stab at the box office as Scream 6 has arrived in theatres. It's a sequel to last year's reboot – or requel – of everyone's favorite deeply meta slasher franchise. Starring Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barerra, Scream 6 takes the characters who managed to survive the last Scream movie out of bucolic Woodsboro and into the urban jungle of New York City.
20:42 3/16/23
When the thriller series You premiered five years ago, it started a lot of conversations. The show was told largely from the point of view of a charismatic serial killer named Joe (Penn Badgley), and he hasn't changed much as a person, even though his circumstances have. The Netflix series recently returned for a fourth season, so we thought it would be a good time to revisit our conversation about the third season.
21:44 3/15/23
Marvel's Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur
Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is an all-ages animated series that's got style and energy – and original songs – for days. It's the story Black girl genius Lunella (voiced by Diamond White) who accidentally transports a T-Rex with the personality of a golden retriever from the prehistoric past to present day. She then launches into a side hustle fighting crime. The show is now streaming on Disney+.
15:29 3/14/23
2023 Oscars Recap
At this year's Oscars, Everything Everywhere All At Once won seven awards, including best picture and best director. The film's actors Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, and Michelle Yeoh also won Oscars. Yeoh's win was historic — she's the first Asian woman to win a lead actress Oscar. Brendan Fraser and All Quiet On The Western Front also won awards.
23:06 3/13/23
2023 Oscars Preview And What's Making Us Happy
If you're entering an Oscar pool, or if you're just figuring out which Oscar-nominated movies are worth your time, we're here to help. Today we're offering up a guide to this year's nominations with some predictions about who will win in the major categories.
56:11 3/10/23
2023 Oscars Guide: International Feature
The five films nominated for international feature at this year's Oscars wrangle with some tough ideas and issues. There's the brutality of war, the human cost of fascism, animal cruelty, neglectful parenting and the prison of masculinity. Yet all of these films find room to offer glimmers of hope — some more than others.Subscribe to Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus at
22:04 3/9/23
2023 Oscars Guide: Animated Feature
This year's Oscar nominees for best animated feature don't have a lot in common besides animation. You've got a dark vision of Pinocchio, a red panda from Pixar, a swashbuckling sea adventure, the latest entry in the Shrek franchise, and a tiny shell. Today, we run through what we think will win and what should win.
18:22 3/8/23
2023 Oscars Guide: Documentary Feature
This year's Oscar nominees for documentary feature include films about two brothers who rescue birds, a man who takes on Vladimir Putin, and a couple that chases volcanoes. From Ukraine to India, Russia to New York City, these films will take you places you couldn't go otherwise. And you can stream them from home.
21:48 3/7/23
2023 Oscars Guide: Original Song
The Oscar nominees for best original song can be anything from soaring ballads over the credits to toe-tappers that ground musical numbers. This year, they include entries from big artists like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and frequent Oscar nominee Diane Warren. Today, we get into what we think will win, what should win, and what makes a great original song.
21:32 3/6/23
Creed III And What's Making Us Happy
In Creed III, Michael B. Jordan is back as Adonis "Donnie" Creed, the scrappy underdog-turned-world champion boxer from the Rocky franchise. Adonis has decided to retire on top and focus on family. But his plans are blown up when an old friend, played by Jonathan Majors, suddenly reappears. The film is also Jordan's directorial debut.
30:17 3/3/23
Return To Seoul
In the moving film Return To Seoul, a young woman named Freddie visits South Korea for the first time since her birth, when she was adopted by a French couple. Freddie's attempt to contact her biological parents sets her on an uneasy path toward self-discovery and reconciliation. Written and directed by Davy Chou, the film spans several years and many emotions, and features a vivid lead performance by newcomer Park Ji-Min.
21:01 3/2/23
The Consultant
In the darkly satiric, highly bingeable Amazon Prime series The Consultant, Christoph Waltz plays a mysterious businessman who takes over a videogame company upon the violent death of its founder and CEO. When two of the company's employees attempt to investigate Waltz's shady past, they get drawn into his sinister circle and realize that their jobs (and their lives) are on the line.Subscribe to Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus at
14:12 3/1/23
The Forty-Year-Old Version
In the wonderful film The Forty-Year-Old Version, playwright Radha Blank plays a variation on herself. Frustrated by a stall in her theater career, Radha finds a new passion: she becomes a rapper. The film is so good that we recently added it to the New Black Film Canon – a list of the best films by Black directors that we updated in partnership with Slate. And you can watch it on Netflix.
15:26 2/28/23
The New Black Film Canon
NPR has teamed up with Slate to expand the Black Film Canon, a collection of the best films directed by Black filmmakers. The intent is to challenge both gatekeepers and makers of best of lists to consider the breadth of artistry black creators have demonstrated on screen–despite the odds being historically stacked against them. In this episode, we're picking a few of our favorite additions, and you can check out the full list of 75 movies here.
27:31 2/27/23
Cocaine Bear And What's Making Us Happy
A movie called Cocaine Bear needs two things: a bear, and some cocaine. Both are abundant in the new action comedy about a large quantity of cocaine that accidentally winds up deep in the Georgia forest. And who eats it? That's right: a bear. The movie was directed by Elizabeth Banks, and the cast includes Keri Russell, Ray Liotta, Margo Martindale, and O'Shea Jackson Jr.
18:59 2/24/23
The Last Of Us
The HBO series The Last Of Us is a huge hit and it offers a novel, fungus-based twist on a zombie apocalypse. Civilization is in ruins, and its only hope is a young girl (Bella Ramsey) who's mysteriously immune to the fungal infection – and her gruff, taciturn protector (Pedro Pascal). Together they must travel across a desolate wasteland peppered with outposts of humanity that house violent factions competing for control, or at least, survival.Subscribe to Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus at
26:08 2/23/23
Dear Edward
In the Apple TV+ series Dear Edward, a plane crashes, and there is only one survivor – a 12-year-old boy named Edward, who loses his whole family. He goes to live with relatives, and the web of people grieving loved ones who died in the crash grows and connects. The show was created by Jason Katims, who has a long history making high-octane emotional ensemble shows including Friday Night Lights and Parenthood.
16:37 2/22/23
Books We Love: Nonfiction
NPR's Books We Love is full of stories. The feature rounds up fiction and nonfiction of many different kinds, and it gives you lots of ways to find what you might love, too. Today, we're diving into the category of nonfiction and highlighting some of our favorite picks.
13:07 2/21/23
Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick has earned six Oscar nominations, including best picture, adapted screenplay, and original song. The movie stars Tom Cruise, and you can catch up with it on Paramount+. We really like Top Gun: Maverick, so we thought this would be the perfect moment to revisit our conversation about the movie.
20:03 2/20/23