KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Eric Deggans

Nearly 140 documentary filmmakers have signed onto a letter given to PBS executives, suggesting the service may provide an unfair level of support to white creators, facing a "systemic failure to fulfill (its) mandate for a diversity of voices."

Updated March 28, 2021 at 5:01 PM ET

Near the end of HBO's new documentary, Tina, the movie implies the legendary singer has made a decision: after this film rolls out, Tina Turner just might be done appearing in public and talking about her life. It's an odd message, coming from a woman whose life story and experiences have inspired at least four books, an Oscar-nominated biopic, a Broadway musical and, now, this new film.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Soul legend Aretha Franklin received the television-miniseries treatment with Genius: Aretha, a project that works best when it lets her music do the talking.

Let's get this out of the way first. Yes, Zack Snyder's Justice League is just over four hours long.

Four. Hours. Long.

Yet, somehow, it feels like the right length for a film that has moved mountains — and reportedly spent around $70 million beyond its original, blockbuster budget — to reinvent one of the biggest superhero movie bombs in recent memory.

And here's the thing: It actually succeeds. In more ways than I ever expected.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It's a safe bet this wasn't the conversation that producers of The Bachelor expected would cap Matt James' season when they named him as the unscripted dating show's first Black star.

But the tense, emotional exchange Monday night between James and former girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell — where he revealed why he broke off their relationship after photos of her at an antebellum South-themed party surfaced on social media — is the kind of conversation about race and white cluelessness that The Bachelor has been avoiding for far too long.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

As the finale episode from the first season of Disney+'s fantabulous Marvel series WandaVision drops, one thing is clear:

This show is a comic nerd's dream.

Not just for the way it centers an ambitious, revelatory story on two characters beloved by comic book fans — heroes full of promise, who have not really gotten their due in big budget blockbusters like the last two Avengers movies.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

OK, be honest. When I say craft beer, what comes to mind? A hoppy IPA? Sure. But maybe also, as James Bennett II writes in the digital magazine Eater, a, quote, "white guy swilling beer in specialty stemware in an authentic bar riddled with fugazi bullets in a gentrified neighborhood," unquote. And maybe we'll throw in some plaid shirts and beards along with that.

For comic book fans like me, Superman is the ultimate superhero — able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and stop a nuclear reactor from exploding by dumping a huge, melting block of ice on top of it.

But on The CW's new series Superman & Lois, our hero's alter ego Clark Kent is no match for his mopey teenage son, Jordan, struggling with social anxiety disorder and angry that his dad always seems to be elsewhere, chasing a story for The Daily Planet.

My first thought, when I heard about HBO's docuseries Allen v. Farrow, was that this moment was inevitable.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When it came time to pick the best TV shows of 2020 late last year, I and my fellow critics at NPR were all over the map. But there was one we could all agree on: Michaela Coel's HBO drama I May Destroy You. A masterpiece, it was the only show that landed on everyone's best-of list.

So it was a surprise to look at the roster of nominees for the Golden Globe awards in television on Wednesday and not see her name or the show listed anywhere.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Rap duo Salt-N-Pepa were hit machines in the 1980s and '90s with huge songs like "Let's Talk About Sex," their collaboration with En Vogue, "Whatta Man," and "Push It."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUSH IT")

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Something significant shifted in media this year — and it's not just about the pandemic keeping us inside, glued to screens. It's all due to a simple idea: cater to the will of the consumer.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Pixar's newest movie, "Soul," was originally intended for theaters. But due to the pandemic, Disney released the animated film on Disney+ on Christmas. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says that's good news for families looking for an uplifting holiday diversion.

It has been a momentous year for everything we consider TV.

A pandemic, civil rights reckoning, streaming war and presidential election shook up the industry in a dozen different ways. It blurred lines between genres, platforms and story forms, while also encouraging us to develop our own, deep rabbit holes of favorite media. So when our team of four critics sat down to figure out what we liked most onscreen this year, we each had a lot of stuff on our lists no one else did.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you have the sense you're seeing fewer women on TV than you encounter in everyday life, a new study by the Nielsen company may offer an explanation.

The study is titled "Being Seen On Screen: Diverse Representation and Inclusion on TV."

Researchers at Nielsen, the company which also provides TV viewership ratings, looked at the top 100 TV shows each in broadcast, cable and streaming, excluding sports, movies and animated shows.

Pages