Here’s what NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Ncuti Gatwa is the new Doctor on Doctor Who
The showrunners of Doctor Who announced that we have a new Doctor: Ncuti Gatwa, the actor who plays Eric on Sex Education, will be the latest actor to take on the role. They announced it via tweet, which was a little weird and random because it’s usually a little more extravagant. When they announced Peter Capaldi was taking over the role, they had this elaborately cheesy live event, and for Jodie Whittaker, they put together a beautiful short video.
Still, I’m really looking forward to Gatwa – he’s young, he’s Black, he’s Scottish, he was born in Rwanda and he is great on Sex Education, where he grounded a character that on paper is the queer best friend and made him a rounded, very complete person with an inner life.
I will also note that his assumption of this role coincides with the return of queer showrunner Russell T Davies, which I’m very excited about. This announcement also upset some of the worst people out there, which is another bonus. In any case, I’ll be there to welcome Doctor number 14, Ncuti Gatwa. –Glen Weldon
Florence + the Machine’s new album (and videos)
Florence + the Machine has just released their new album, Dance Fever, and in the run-up to this, released some music videos that I am high key obsessed with.
The music videos for “King,” “My Love” and “Free” all tell this large, expressionistic story about Florence’s relationship to her own creativity in very weird, creepy ways. The videos are all gorgeous, but, for me, the thing that makes them so exciting to watch over and over (and over) again is that, while Florence Welch, the lead singer, is going through all of this high drama, in the background there is always this silent, stone-faced redheaded guy watching her, and I cannot stop thinking about him. He’s terrifying, and I’m just so excited that someone has injected this bit of chaos into their album release cycle. —Mark Blankenship
I rewatched Turning Red for the first time since it was released, and I was struck by how much I still loved the film. It is such a perfect and specific encapsulation of what it was like to be a tween in 2002.
There’s a scene where Mei is coming home and takes off her sticker star earrings, and I burst into tears because I hadn’t thought about that in like a decade. And it was wonderful to see not just her experience on screen, but also recognize how she relates to her family, the obligations she feels to them, and her inner conflicts as she balances becoming her own person and trying to remain part of her family. I found the film very moving and think it’s easily the best thing Pixar has done in years. —Cate Young
Girls5eva was created by Meredith Scardino and stars Renee Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell, Sara Bareilles and Busy Philipps. They are members of a girl group that was definitely not the Spice Girls and reunite in middle age.
This show comes out of the Tina Fey Robert Carlock collaboration that made 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Great News. Girls5eva, to me, has the joke frequency of those shows, which gets you through the ones that don’t work, but is about 30% less mean, which is a good thing.
It’s such a pleasure to watch. The group’s performances are incredible, I love the musical flourishes that come from Jeff Richmond, the composer, and the first season featured the best and maybe only Simon and Garfunkel pastiche I’ve ever heard. This season the girls are recording an album for Property Records, the Property Brothers record label. This plotline has such a great payoff that – as a longtime viewer of the Property Brothers – I almost could not believe it was happening on the screen. It is so just watchable, and I love it. —Linda Holmes
More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter
- Hacks returns on HBO Max this week for a second season, and while I have my nitpicks about the character of Ava, it’s a really fun show, and Jean Smart is a miracle.
- If you’re still waiting to catch up with the second season of Girls5eva on Peacock, you have a treat ahead. It will be a few weeks before you get to see where they’re going with the Property Brothers joke, but it’s well worth it.
- This Saturday is the Eurovision finals! You can stream the competition on Peacock, and follow along using Glen’s preview.
- It’s about time to catch up with Downton Abbey if you want to be ready for the upcoming movie and the podcast episode we have on the way. —Linda Holmes
NPR’s Fi O’Reilly 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.