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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.

Rarely will you see a film that spends as much time looking at the back of its lead's head as Children Of Sarajevo, which won a special award from the jury at Cannes earlier this year.

It's perhaps a testament to my resistance to this material that I've never felt moved to read Jack Kerouac's On The Road, but I have to suspect it's better than this disappointing adaptation, or at least more interesting.

The story of the Arkansas murder trials of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley — the men known as the "West Memphis Three" — has already been the topic of the three well-known documentaries in the Paradise Lost series made for HBO by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. Those films, in fact, helped the case come to the attention of many of the people whose work ultimately resulted in the three defendants' release from prison in 2011.

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

When you can't beat the slowness of late summer as an entertainment season, you can at least embrace it, and that's what we did this week. Dog days of summer winding down, you say? We say it's time to talk about pop culture dogs. Not dogs in the "lousy product" sense, but dogs in the sense of literal, actual dogs. Faithful, friendly, silly, whether the size of an ottoman or the size of a wallet.

Among the little treasures, Stephen is fond of this slightly obscure dog — at least these eight minutes of him.

This is a model walking during a Maria Sofia Bahlner fashion show from what I am told is the "Swedish School Of Textiles," during Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week.

This is undoubtedly an example of avant-garde design, fashion as art, exploration of textile possibilities ... I have no doubt, it is artistically driven.

Okay, so Bic has been taking a lot of flack for selling this pen "for her." (As it says on its web site, it is "a ball pen essentially for women," although that seems to invite a caveat, such as, "although there may be certain men to whom it appeals and we don't judge.")

Nothing panics the fans of a show quite like the departure of the creator. That's just what's happening at True Blood, where creator Alan Ball is leaving after five seasons, but the show goes on. As he tells Laura Sullivan on weekends on All Things Considered, he feels some nostalgia, but he's ready.

[Contains information about last night's episode.]

On this week's show, it's time to talk about the supporting characters who are getting their own stories — just like Judd Apatow is doing for Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters in This Is 40. If you can't get behind Glen's spin-off idea from the world's most studly franchise, then I just don't know what to say to you, because frankly, it's brilliant.

Twitter wasn't built to give voice to Curiosity, the rover currently exploring Mars, but it's awfully well-suited for the purpose.

NBC is in need of a stroke of luck. They need something to work. The Olympics are over; it hasn't appreciably changed anything yet, and there's certainly no swell of excitement about Animal Practice and Go On that leads me to believe previewing them during the Olympics will make them hits any more than that strategy usually does.

Josh Radnor has been playing the much-maligned — and I would perhaps say overly maligned — Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother since 2005. We've known for a while that he's ultimately interested in being a filmmaker — his 2010 film Happythankyoumoreplease got mixed reviews, but won an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

What's that you say? You wanted more Barrie Hardymon? Well, this week, Stephen is in Wisconsin probably eating some cheese or something, so we have Barrie back for a second consecutive week (hooray!).

I'm sure you've already noticed — from the parades, the fact that your mail hasn't been arriving, and the way everyone gets the week off of work — but this is Shark Week, when the Discovery Channel generates a week of shark-themed programming. (Tonight: Sharkzilla, which is, surprisingly enough, not a SyFy movie, and the Mythbusters shark special.) (Trivia: Did you know the decorative shark that is traditionally displayed on or near Discovery's Silver Spring, Md. headquarters to celebrate this special week is named "Chompy"?

The fact that NBC's new reality show Stars Earn Stripes is kind of an offensive concept should not distract you from the fact that it's stultifyingly boring as television and badly designed as a reality-competition show.

This week, I managed to return from press tour, but we are still without Trey Graham. Fortunately, that means that the lovely Barrie Hardymon joined us for this episode, which kicks off with me fully (and exhaustively — sorry!) debriefing the team about fall television as I experienced it out in Los Angeles.

Tonight, after NBC wraps up its Olympic coverage — at a time currently listed as 11:04 p.m. — they'll be previewing Matthew Perry's new sitcom, Go On, which will then go away until its regular premiere on September 10.

The following exchange has played out over and over in the last ten days:

Point: "NBC's coverage of the Olympics stinks, because everything is tape-delayed and cut to shreds, and also the announcers are awful and they only care about American athletes, and by the time I get to watch anything, I already know what happened."

Counterpoint: "People are watching in huge numbers."

Point: "But quality."

Counterpoint: "But business."

We're in the final stretch — kind of — at the Television Critics Association press tour. We've now heard from all the major broadcast networks, and we've got a day of set visits and three days of cable to close things out after today's CW and Showtime presentations.

We're about a week into the Television Critics Association press tour for this summer, and so far we've heard from PBS, NBC and Fox. Still to come: ABC (today and tomorrow), CBS/Showtime/The CW (Sunday and Monday), and the rest of cable, including HBO, Discovery, BBC America, ESPN, and so on (Wednesday through Friday of next week).

So how is it looking?

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