Eric Deggans

TV Review: 'P-Valley'

Jul 12, 2020

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Ramona Gray Amaro has a spot in reality TV history. She is the first Black woman to compete on CBS's unscripted hit series Survivor, which took 16 people and isolated them on an island in Malaysia, vying for a million-dollar prize, on the show's first season in 2000, Survivor: Borneo.

But when she saw how she was depicted in the show, which takes footage filmed on the island and edits it into episodes aired months later on network TV, Amaro also felt she was also one of the first Black people stereotyped by Survivor.

America's reckoning on race has come to TV animation, as stars Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell, who are white, have agreed to stop voicing characters who are biracial.

And while some fans may be disappointed to see their favorite performers leaving TV shows they enjoy, the moves also end a subtle way in which actors of color have been marginalized. It's an attention-getting moment when performers have recognized their white privilege and moved to end it.

Since 1989, Cops has made riveting television from verité footage of arrests and emergency calls — often capturing scenes of police interacting with clueless suspects — filmed by riding along with police officers.

But the long-running unscripted show has been canceled after 32 seasons. The Paramount Network dropped it amid widespread protests nationwide about policing.

The show's 33rd season was scheduled to debut next Monday.

I nearly lost it when the number dropped from 50 to 10.

My mother's church pastor tried to be steady and consoling, but I could hear the emotion at the edges of his voice. His news: Instead of the 50 mourners we hoped to host, just 10 people would be allowed to attend her funeral on March 28, courtesy of the latest social distancing requirements laid down by state and local officials. Including church staff.

After more than a month of stay-at-home orders triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, it may feel as if you have watched every bit of new and classic TV that your subscriptions allow. But there's actually more to be found, thanks to special free packages and events organized by media companies eager to earn your loyalty. This includes plenty of educational content to inspire children.

We've pulled together a list of interesting TV events and free stuff, mostly on streaming.

Apple TV+

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Sports fans starved for content rejoice. ESPN, on Sunday, debuts "The Last Dance," a docuseries on basketball superstar Michael Jordan's last championship with the Chicago Bulls. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has this review.

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There weren't many laugh-out-loud moments during a historic Saturday Night Live At Home episode – 90 minutes of comedy and music produced via remote video by writers, producer

Can you make a habit of killing really evil people — say, unrepentant Nazis hiding in America — and still hold onto your soul?

That's one of the biggest questions at the heart of Amazon Prime Video's electric new series Hunters. It's a splashy story about a scrappy band of investigators tracking down a secret cabal of Nazis in the 1970s that occasionally is a lot more fun than it should be, given the subject at hand.

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This year's Super Bowl commercials were packed with superstar cameos and in-your-face messages — from Ellen DeGeneres

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The man behind some of the landmark television shows of the '70s and '80s has died. Fred Silverman was the network executive who gave the green light to...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOVIN' ON UP")

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Ricky Gervais promised to skewer Hollywood's hypocrisy as host of last night's Golden Globes. He followed through with this warning to winners about preachy acceptance speeches.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The "Newer Services" section of this story was updated at 2:55 p.m. on March 18, 2020.

What's your strategy for watching TV?

That might sound like an obvious question. ("Turn it on?") But there will soon exist so many high-profile streaming services that the concept of watching TV — and how to do it without breaking your bank account — will be redefined.

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ABC is so supportive of its new spinoff of "Black-ish," called "Mixed-ish," the network got Mariah Carey to sing the sitcom's theme song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN THE MIX")

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It's an old tradition that endures, even amid the year-round deluge of programming brought to us by the age of streaming. It is the fall TV preview.

Turns out fall is the perfect time to refocus on television after a summer filled with vacations and outdoor distractions. So our pop culture team collected the coolest TV shows coming your way over the next few months as a guide through the madness. We haven't seen all of these programs yet, but we've learned enough to know they're worth checking out.

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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.

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And winter is coming to the Emmy Awards one last time.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAMIN DJAWADI'S "GAME OF THRONES THEME")

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This was the toughest TV show for me to watch in a long while.

When They See Us is director/writer/producer Ava DuVernay's searing, four-part drama about five black and Latino boys who were railroaded into falsely confessing to the most notorious gang rape in New York City history. But it wasn't difficult viewing for its violence—in fact, the Netflix series is very careful in how it presents many instances of assault, with the most grisly details left to viewers' imagination.

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Fans of HBO's profanity-filled western "Deadwood" will be treated to a two-hour movie tomorrow night. The show was abruptly canceled in 2006. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the movie is a fitting conclusion.

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Tim Conway built a career playing goofballs who rarely took center stage — but he often helped turn good television shows into TV classics. The comic actor, who appeared on shows ranging from The Carol Burnett Show to SpongeBob SquarePants, died Tuesday morning, May 14. The cause was complications from a long illness, according to his representative, Howard Bragman. He was 85.

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HBO's Leaving Neverland is ultimately a tribute to the power of personal testimony.

Over four hours, the film slowly excavates the stories of James Safechuck and Wade Robson. The two men each met Michael Jackson as children in the 1980s and allege the pop star sexually abused them for years while showering their families with attention and gifts.

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