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As Summer Winds Down, It's Time To Look Ahead To The Fall TV Season


Fall means back to school - also, the end of lazy days of summer. But it also means fall television. Despite COVID and all the delays and the challenges, both new shows and returning shows will arrive over the next month or two and vie for your attention.

Linda Holmes is one of the hosts of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and she's here to guide us through the new offerings. Hey, Linda.


MARTIN: So first off, how close are we to having a normal fall season? I mean, normal - what does that even mean anymore? But is television as messy as the movie calendar is?

HOLMES: You know, television is not quite as messy as the movie calendar because, you know, movies, in addition to production, are dealing with, you know, whether you can actually get people into theaters safely. Television, of course, does not have that problem.

MARTIN: Right.

HOLMES: So although it has definitely been messy in terms of production, we're closer to having normal television than we are normal movies right now just because of the difference in distribution. And so yeah, you know, there's a big fall season coming.

MARTIN: All right. So the first thing you want to talk about is a big returning show. I'm pretty excited about this. Let's talk about "Succession."

HOLMES: Yeah. So "Succession" is HBO's big show about this family called the Roys. And it's about to start its third season. This is one of the shows that kind of took a whole year - a whole kind of season away. And so it's been quite a long (laughter) time since we last saw this family. We ended on a big cliffhanger, with potentially...

MARTIN: Although, let's just say, I think we all needed the break. I mean, they're so (laughter)...


MARTIN: ...Horrible that maybe we all needed to just take a breath...

HOLMES: It's true.

MARTIN: ...Before we find out what happened to them (laughter).

HOLMES: It's true. And they're in the middle of this big power struggle. HBO is really kind of ramping up this tension of the idea that this family is going to be in this much more kind of formalized internal war, where they've just been a very internal war. They're a big media family. And that's coming back on October 17 on HBO. And there's going to be lots of chatter. That's kind of HBO's kind of big show - big drama right now.

MARTIN: Right.

HOLMES: So I'm very excited to see that one - very excited.

MARTIN: OK. So that's on one end - extreme end of the socioeconomic range. Let's go to the other end. Talk about Netflix's "Maid."

HOLMES: Yeah. So "Maid" is a show that is based on a memoir by a woman named Stephanie Land. And she was a single mother who got away from an abusive relationship and wound up becoming a maid and wrote about that experience. This is a show that's not literally, like, her experience. The character is not Stephanie Land. But it's kind of based on that experience.

It stars Margaret Qualley, who, you know, has starred in a variety of things. She's kind of an up-and-coming actress. And she goes out and kind of has all these different experiences. But a lot of it is about the mechanics of poverty. It's about filling out the paperwork and getting government benefits and how difficult that can be. And it's a show that I think people are going to find really interesting as an exploration of the mechanics of being poor.

MARTIN: OK. So those are two big things to look out for. Let's do a little lightning round. What else you got?

HOLMES: We've got a bunch coming out. There's a "Wonder Years" reboot with a Black family that - the narrator is Don Cheadle. I'm excited to see that. There's a comedy called "The Shrink Next Door," with Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd, that's based on a kind of a true crime podcast about a doctor who kind of became exploitive of his patients. There's a Ken Burns series on PBS about Muhammad Ali.

It's going be a really active month or two. There is a lot going on. And you'll have plenty to see.

MARTIN: Good. I need it. I need some more.

Linda Holmes, host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour - Linda, thanks as always.

HOLMES: Thank you, Rachel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ONI AYHUN'S "OAR003-A") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.