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Eric Deggans

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It's the holiday season, and while others are baking cookies or gathering with family, our TV critic Eric Deggans has been feverishly watching television to create his list of 2018's best tv series. And Eric joins us now. Hi there.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hey.

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You may recognize this as a beloved children's song.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Singing) This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.

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Hundreds and hundreds of series air every year. They are good and they are lousy; they are new and they are old. There's too much television for a comprehensive ranking, so Glen Weldon, Linda Holmes and Eric Deggans round up 16 of their favorite shows from 2018.

The Americans (FX)

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Stan Lee was always a hero of mine; a feeling I share with many comic book fans. But it wasn't until recently – and especially following his death Monday at age 95 – that I began to realize that some of my love for him came specifically from my perspective as a black kid who grew up reading comic books in the 1970s.

Note: Spoilers abound for the upcoming and past seasons of House of Cards.

I wish I could say definitively that the #MeToo-fueled elimination of star Kevin Spacey from Netflix's House of Cards raised the political drama's game for its final season.

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Before the Emmy and Grammy awards, before hosting the Academy Awards and before earning status as one of the best stand-up comics of his generation, Chris Rock had nearly fallen out of big-time show business.

Back in the early 1990s, Rock was known mostly a protege of Eddie Murphy who got fired from Saturday Night Live, worked as a stand-up comic and popped up in movies like New Jack City and CB4. Another brother who almost made it.

Then came Bring the Pain.

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At last night's Emmys, the pool of nominees was so diverse the opening number made fun of it, proclaiming that Hollywood had solved the problem of underrepresentation in the TV business.

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The telecast of last night's Emmy awards included a touching moment that didn't have a lot to do with anyone winning anything.

(SOUNBITE OF 70TH ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS TELECAST)

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The Emmy Awards air tonight on NBC, celebrating the best work in television. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans worries they might not get it right. So he's come up with his own awards - the Deggys (ph).

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The character Jim Carrey plays on his new TV show just might remind you of someone else you've seen on television over the years. This is how he's described in the first episode when he visits Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show.

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This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Ask Freedom Singer Rutha Mae Harris, and she'll tell you plainly: You can't just sing "This Little Light of Mine." You gotta shout it:

"Everywhere I go, Lord, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!"

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Roseanne Barr has just given a master class on how not to apologize for a massive public flameout.

Appearing on Fox News pundit Sean Hannity's show Thursday, Barr claimed the backlash over a widely condemned racist tweet that led to ABC canceling her show was a huge misunderstanding.

The tweet implied that senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and an ape. Barr's defense? She didn't know Jarrett — who was born in Iran to American parents — was an African-American woman.

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The English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen premiered a new show last night on Showtime. It's called "Who Is America?" In the show, Cohen dresses up as different outrageous characters, all of whom go out and explore who is America. Now, this is a shtick he's used before in movies and TV. You probably remember Ali G or Borat. Cohen interviews real people, and he tries to get them to say wild things on camera. In this particular show, his characters include a guy wearing an NPR shirt.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "WHO IS AMERICA?")

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And finally today, we are going to hear more about the creative life of Robin Williams. He is the subject of a new HBO documentary airing tomorrow night called "Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind."

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