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What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend reading, listening and viewing

Eve Hewson, Sharon Horgan, Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle and Sarah Greene in <em>Bad Sisters</em> on Apple TV+.
Apple TV+
Eve Hewson, Sharon Horgan, Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle and Sarah Greene in Bad Sisters on Apple TV+.

This week, Merriam-Webster added "sus" and "cringe" to its dictionary, and Brendan Fraser makes a Hollywood comeback. And we remember the Queen.

Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

The Fifth Season

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I finally figured out how to get into audiobooks. For a person who listens to probably 40 hours of podcasts a week, it was shocking that I could not crack the audiobook code. I just couldn't quite get there.

But the one that brought me in, that I was really having a great time with, is N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season audio book. Incredible stuff. I had a blast reliving in that universe. It was really good to revisit, and it's just a lovely little thing to have humming in the background as I'm doing whatever elderly lady tasks I'm doing in my home. — Christina Tucker

Bad Sisters

Bad Sisters on Apple TV+ is a new series that is based off a Flemish series called Clan, and this time it's set in Ireland. Basically, there are five tight-knit sisters, and one of them is married to the worst guy who ever lived, who is played by Claes Bang.

Throughout the series, they plot how to kill him because he has ruined their lives in so many ways. But they run into quite a few setbacks. It's sort of a dark comedy, Hitchcockian vibe that I really love. — Aisha Harris

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

There's this movie that's been kind of bubbling in the back of my life for a long time, and I finally decided that I'd try it. I clicked on it and it opened up with, "April 1805. Napoleon is master of Europe; only the British fleet stands before him. Oceans are now battlefields."

And I was like, Oh, I'm in. This is Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, a 2003 film drawn from three novels by Patrick O'Brian. It's a period piece, as you might expect, directed by Peter Weir, set aboard the HMS Surprise during the Napoleonic Wars.

Russell Crowe plays Captain Jack Aubrey. Paul Bettany plays the ship's surgeon. The whole thing is that we have to hunt down this French frigate, the Acheron, before it can round Cape Horn and attack the British whaling interests in and around the Galapagos Islands.

To be clear, this is a dad movie. This is the ultimate dad movie. Every time you click to watch this movie, you're going to get shipped a pair of Target khakis, a polo shirt, and a Home Depot gift card. That's just what happens.

There is a bit of anthropology going on, but I really enjoyed it. The word for it I landed on is "sincere." And at one point, Russell Crowe wonders if the enemy is coming so hard after him, because he killed someone who loves his son? God forbid, come on. But that's the vibe.

There is no archness or cynicism. There is no extra layer. It's mostly practical effects, and the battles at sea are just so rough and grimy and real. And I didn't always understand this movie, but I did enjoy the hell out of it. — Glen Weldon

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

If you've been following tennis over the last few weeks, maybe you want to reach back to one of the guys who never, never felt welcome at Wimbledon. If so, you can check out the Showtime documentary McEnroe, which examines the man's career, his famous meltdowns, and his rivalry with Jimmy Connors.

I'm a little hesitant to recommend the comedy-action-drama series Wedding Season on Hulu, because I haven't seen how it ends. But the story of a man who goes on the run with a woman suspected of poisoning a bunch of her in-laws at her wedding has some flair and some nice performances.

If you're awaiting the return of The Great British Baking Show to Netflix (like I am), two pieces of news: First, the new series starts on Friday, Sept. 16. Second, get thee to the streamer and check out Junior Baking Show, 15 episodes of which await you. The kids are great and sweet, and their creations actually seem like things that kids that age might plausibly turn out, which is not true of every similar program.

Rosa Salazar as Katie in <em>Wedding Season</em> on Hulu.
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Hulu
Rosa Salazar as Katie in Wedding Season on Hulu.


NPR's Maison Tran adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
Christina Tucker
Aisha Harris is a host of Pop Culture Happy Hour.
Maison Tran