Three Long Binges For Your Couch Time

Plus: Star Trek: Lower Decks, Boys State, and What’s Making Us Happy

by Linda Holmes
Welcome! It was the week when a new trailer showed us The Crown‘s Princess Diana. It was the week when some movie theaters prepared to reopen, sort of. And it was the week when CBS faced yet another story about a problematic showrunner. Let’s get to it.

Opening Argument: Three Long Binges For Your Couch Time

One of the things I’ve discovered about being home a lot is that I get very tired of having to come up with things. Things to cook, things to do, things to watch, things to listen to. When you interact with the outside world, it tends to place things in front of you: here’s a person, here’s a movie, here’s a traffic jam. When you do that less, you’re suddenly making up your own schedule to an uncomfortable degree, perhaps especially if you live alone as I do. In fact, one of the reasons I like having a dog right now is that he requires me to respond to him. Obviously, this is not a 100 percent positive thing. 

But it’s also made me appreciate long-binge TV shows, where you can just cruise for a very long time. I am not necessarily suggesting you need to watch all of these long series, just that if you choose, you can let the next episode roll along for quite a while. 

Am I mentioning this because I’ve been watching Melrose Place? Probably. My friends have a podcast called Again With This that recaps it, so that’s how I got started. But I’ve discovered that the old crazypants nighttime soap is something I kind of miss. I think some of that DNA has gotten transferred over into Bravo reality shows; I think I like it better when I don’t have to think about the people having real lives. As with anything of this era (1992-99), it’s hilariously dated in places (enjoy the gay character, Matt, ending his dates by shaking hands), but I’ve been enjoying gobbling it up. (Available on Hulu.)
 

A while ago, I binged a bunch of ER, and I was impressed by how well it holds up. Baby Clooney, sure, but before there was prestige cable drama, there were good network dramas, and this is one. Fifteen seasons! (Also available on Hulu.) 

I’ve said this before, but Frasier is the king of the long binge, I think. You can watch it in a bunch of places (including the new Peacock service!), and every episode is preeeeetty much the same in tone. I can’t tell you how many bad parties you can watch those guys throw. It has this going for it as well: There are so many episodes (11 seasons!) that if you see that you’re heading into a section you don’t like (Fat Daphne, for instance), you can just skip some, and it will still qualify as a long binge. 
 


Newsletter continues after sponsor message


We Recommend:

I had a distracted week, between various plumbing issues in my house and literally everything else going on in the world, but let’s see what we’ve got. 

The work that the writers Tom and Lorenzo did explaining the costumes on Mad Men was hugely helpful in teaching me about wardrobe and how it works. They dropped an essay this week on the first episode of Lovecraft Country, and it’s wonderful. (Our Lovecraft show is coming soon.)

As we’ve mentioned, we have episodes coming up on both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, so it’s a good time to catch up, if you haven’t already. And if you have a question that you’d like to hear chewed over on the show, send a voice memo to pchh@npr.org«>pchh@npr.org, and you might hear yourself!

Do you like ridiculous games? I spent some time this week playing What The Golf?, which you can play on PC/Apple Arcade or on a Switch. I couldn’t even begin to explain how weird it is, but suffice it to say it sort of feels like golf, but it is not golf. It is like a very confused person’s application of golf ideas to … non-golf settings. Just give it a try. 

What We Did This Week:

Ensign Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), Ensign D'Vana Tendi (Noel Wells), Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), and Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) in the new CBS All Access animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks.
CBS All Access
I wrote about simulation video games, from Cities: Skylines to Planet Zoo

Glen wrote about the Lisa Hanawalt book I Want You, which he calls «a clear-eyed, open-hearted and honest» piece of work. 

On our Wednesday show, Petra Mayer and Chris Klimek joined Glen and Stephen to talk about the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks

Our Friday show brought Bilal Qureshi in to talk about the documentary Boys State. Bilal is an alum of the program in Virginia, so he’s got a lot of thoughts. 

What’s Making Us Happy:

Every week on the show, we talk about some other things out in the world that have been giving us joy lately. Here they are:
What do you think of today’s email? We’d love to hear your thoughts, questions and feedback: pchh@npr.org?subject=Newsletter%20Feedback» style=»color:#2C63AE;text-decoration:underline;» title=»pchh@npr.org«>pchh@npr.org
Enjoying this newsletter? Forward to a friend! They can sign up here.
Looking for more great content? Check out all of our newsletter offerings — including Music, Books, Daily News and more!
You received this message because you’re subscribed to Pop Culture Happy Hour emails. This email was sent by National Public Radio, Inc., 1111 North Capitol Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Unsubscribe  |  Privacy Policy