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Eric Deggans

Be warned: The review below contains plenty of spoilers about past and present episodes of Billions.

Showtime's Billions is attempting one of the most difficult maneuvers in scripted television: A major star transplant.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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Let's be honest: Euphoria is a parent's worst nightmare.

Centered on a group of high school-age friends — each with their own problems handling an excess of drugs, drink and sex – HBO's drama has drawn some fans for its unbridled party scenes and horrified some grownups with its lineup of young characters who always seem to make the worst choices.

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* 2021 was, of course, the year of "Squid Game"...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SQUID GAME")

REAGAN TO: (As character, singing in Korean).

KELLY: ...And also of "Beatlemania" on television...

In 2021, movies tentatively returned to theaters. Television production stopped, and started, and sometimes stopped again. Movies and TV seasons that had been delayed were finally seen, and projects that would once have shown up only on big screens appeared on small ones.

With all that in mind, NPR's critics have rolled our movie and television picks into one big — and grateful — list of the things we most enjoyed watching this year, whether we were in or out of the house, with others or on our own.

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First, an admission: I've never been a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel's Live In Front of a Studio Audience specials.

The late night host's idea – redoing classic Norman Lear sitcom episodes live with modern stars – is wonderful. But in practice, past outings featuring Woody Harrelson as All in the Family's Archie Bunker, Jamie Foxx as George Jefferson from The Jeffersons and Jay Pharoah as J.J. in Good Times never felt right to me.

Updated December 6, 2021 at 4:47 PM ET

(Fair warning: This review will dig up some spoilers from HBO's Landscapers.)

As HBO's inventive limited series Landscapers begins, we meet mild-mannered couple Christopher and Susan Edwards – a pair cute enough to seem imported directly from a genteel British drama on PBS.

Police haven't even issued a final report about the shooting accident that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set on the Western film Rust. But star Alec Baldwin — who held the gun that fired the deadly bullet – went on national TV on Thursday to answer probing questions about a tragedy that has attracted loads of national attention.

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It may be one of the saddest truisms of modern media: Attractive white women get news coverage when they go missing.

But missing women of color often get media coverage only when people notice how much attention everyone is paying to the white women.

(Breaking news: This analysis contains spoilers from the season finale of Apple TV+'s The Morning Show.)

The initial announcement sent ripples through the pop culture universe: The New York Times is developing a documentary on Janet Jackson's Super Bowl incident.

Editor's note: This story contains quotes and information originally discussed during a Twitter Spaces event hosted by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and featuring NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann, Dopesick book author Beth Macy, Dopesick series creator/showrunner Danny Strong and more. Follow us on Twitter, and read more of NPR's addiction coverage here.

Every so often, a piece of television comes along that – despite a great pedigree and lots of stars – feels more like an acting exercise than a touching, emotional story.

Unfortunately, even with the best efforts from big names like Will Ferrell, Kathryn Hahn and recently crowned Sexiest Man Alive Paul Rudd, Apple TV+'s The Shrink Next Door falls in that category.

Editor's note: This story contains quotes and information originally discussed during a Twitter Spaces event hosted by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and featuring NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann, Dopesick book author Beth Macy, Dopesick series creator/showrunner Danny Strong and more.

If Netflix could be canceled, it seems the last few weeks would have done the trick.

In the avalanche of controversy following the release of comic Dave Chappelle's tone-deaf Netflix standup special, The Closer, no entity took it on the chin harder than the sprawling streaming company.

If you had any questions about where Colin Kaepernick's activist spirit originated, a look at Netflix's new limited series, Colin in Black and White, removes all doubt.

(Be warned: A few mild spoilers emerge below regarding Insecure's fifth season.)

Five years ago, I sat in a Los Angeles hotel meeting room with Insecure's creator/star Issa Rae, talking about how her new series was going to feel like a TV revolution because it focused on "basic" – her words – Black people, especially Black women, trying to make their way in life.

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In Hulu's Dopesick, Michael Keaton plays Sam Finnix as the kind of family doctor anyone would want taking care of them.

Folksy and smart, he cares enough to stop by an elderly patient's home after work to make sure she's taken her medication. He's still treating adults he delivered as babies in a small Virginia mining town.

(Warning: a few plot details may emerge, shaken but not stirred, about the new James Bond film No Time to Die. So be prepared for potential spoilers.)

I remember the moment when I first fell in love with British secret agent James Bond.

My uncle had sneaked me into a showing of 1971's Diamonds Are Forever in the theater (yes, I know how much that dates me). A bit into the story, Sean Connery's intrepid Bond unzipped a woman's dress, letting it fall to the floor — to make sure she had no weapons on her, I'm sure.

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