Eric Deggans

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.

Deggans came to NPR in 2013 from the Tampa Bay Times, where he served a TV/Media Critic and in other roles for nearly 20 years. A journalist for more than 20 years, he is also the author of Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, a look at how prejudice, racism and sexism fuels some elements of modern media, published in October 2012, by Palgrave Macmillan.

Deggans is also currently a media analyst/contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. In August 2013, he guest hosted CNN's media analysis show Reliable Sources, joining a select group of journalists and media critics filling in for departed host Howard Kurtz. The same month, Deggans was awarded the Florida Press Club's first-ever Diversity award, honoring his coverage of issues involving race and media. He received the Legacy award from the National Association of Black Journalists' A&E Task Force, an honor bestowed to "seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers." And in 2019, he was named winner of the American Sociological Association's Excellence in the Reporting of Social Justice Issues Award.

In 2019, Deggans served as the first African American chairman of the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.

He also has joined a prestigious group of contributors to the first ethics book created in conjunction with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies for journalism's digital age: The New Ethics of Journalism, published in August 2013, by Sage/CQ Press.

From 2004 to 2005, Deggans sat on the then-St. Petersburg Times editorial board and wrote bylined opinion columns. From 1997 to 2004, he worked as TV critic for the Times, crafting reviews, news stories and long-range trend pieces on the state of the media industry both locally and nationally. He originally joined the paper as its pop music critic in November 1995. He has worked at the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey and both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press newspapers in Pennsylvania.

Now serving as chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, he has also served on the board of directors for the national Television Critics Association and on the board of the Mid-Florida Society of Professional Journalists.

Additionally, he worked as a professional drummer in the 1980s, touring and performing with Motown recording artists The Voyage Band throughout the Midwest and in Osaka, Japan. He continues to perform with area bands and recording artists as a drummer, bassist and vocalist.

Deggans earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and journalism from Indiana University.

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OK, be honest. When I say craft beer, what comes to mind? A hoppy IPA? Sure. But maybe also, as James Bennett II writes in the digital magazine Eater, a, quote, "white guy swilling beer in specialty stemware in an authentic bar riddled with fugazi bullets in a gentrified neighborhood," unquote. And maybe we'll throw in some plaid shirts and beards along with that.

For comic book fans like me, Superman is the ultimate superhero — able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and stop a nuclear reactor from exploding by dumping a huge, melting block of ice on top of it.

But on The CW's new series Superman & Lois, our hero's alter ego Clark Kent is no match for his mopey teenage son, Jordan, struggling with social anxiety disorder and angry that his dad always seems to be elsewhere, chasing a story for The Daily Planet.

My first thought, when I heard about HBO's docuseries Allen v. Farrow, was that this moment was inevitable.

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When it came time to pick the best TV shows of 2020 late last year, I and my fellow critics at NPR were all over the map. But there was one we could all agree on: Michaela Coel's HBO drama I May Destroy You. A masterpiece, it was the only show that landed on everyone's best-of list.

So it was a surprise to look at the roster of nominees for the Golden Globe awards in television on Wednesday and not see her name or the show listed anywhere.

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Rap duo Salt-N-Pepa were hit machines in the 1980s and '90s with huge songs like "Let's Talk About Sex," their collaboration with En Vogue, "Whatta Man," and "Push It."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUSH IT")

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Something significant shifted in media this year — and it's not just about the pandemic keeping us inside, glued to screens. It's all due to a simple idea: cater to the will of the consumer.

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Pixar's newest movie, "Soul," was originally intended for theaters. But due to the pandemic, Disney released the animated film on Disney+ on Christmas. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says that's good news for families looking for an uplifting holiday diversion.

It has been a momentous year for everything we consider TV.

A pandemic, civil rights reckoning, streaming war and presidential election shook up the industry in a dozen different ways. It blurred lines between genres, platforms and story forms, while also encouraging us to develop our own, deep rabbit holes of favorite media. So when our team of four critics sat down to figure out what we liked most onscreen this year, we each had a lot of stuff on our lists no one else did.

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If you have the sense you're seeing fewer women on TV than you encounter in everyday life, a new study by the Nielsen company may offer an explanation.

The study is titled "Being Seen On Screen: Diverse Representation and Inclusion on TV."

Researchers at Nielsen, the company which also provides TV viewership ratings, looked at the top 100 TV shows each in broadcast, cable and streaming, excluding sports, movies and animated shows.

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HBO is out with its adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates' best-selling book "Between The World And Me." NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says it's a story of Black survival within white supremacy.

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When it comes to pulling together a convincing, funny Joe Biden impression, there are a lot of pitfalls for comics.

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The new season of Netflix's drama about England's royal family, "The Crown," drops today. In it, Gillian Anderson plays Margaret Thatcher and Emma Corrin is Princess Diana. Here's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans.

Finally, after weeks of new episodes that felt like awkward dress rehearsals for a funnier show we never got to see, Saturday Night Live delivered a performance that met the moment.

But it didn't come from the place you might expect.

True enough, news that media organizations officially projected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as America's next president and vice president lent a giddy energy to a show that, this season, often seemed unsure of what to say about all the real-life absurdity at hand.

The secret weapon of Disney+'s The Mandalorian, is discovery.

It's pretty much in the DNA of the series — which became a streaming TV phenomenon last year — on the strength of a new character the series calls "The Child" but most of us fans call Baby Yoda.

The goal: to explore all the nooks and crannies of the Star Wars universe that the big movies ignored and build compelling stories around them.

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Updated at 7:52 p.m. ET

Quibi, the mobile-first streaming service to specialize in original shows with short five to 10-minute-long episodes, is shutting down its business operations and selling its assets little more than 6 months after launching, according to a statement released by the company.

It was an abrupt ending for a company founded by big names in entertainment and business worlds and seemed poised, at one point, to reinvent the streaming TV game.

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When the real world is as crazy as five Saturday Night Live skits, the bar raises to an absurd height for the quality of satire you need to make sense of it all.

Which explains, in part, why SNL's 46th season opener last night felt so flat and uninspired. After the kind of week President Trump had in real life – contracting the coronavirus and getting airlifted to a hospital days after making fun of opponent Joe Biden for wearing a mask – there wasn't much Alec Baldwin could do to top that.

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Does it even matter that it's fall? We're stuck inside much of the time, anyway, and new TV shows come at us all year round. Well, yes, there's reason to celebrate precisely because of how the pandemic disrupted things. Broadcasters couldn't develop new material, thanks to production being halted. So, viewers watched more streaming services. Even HBO, FX and Showtime were forced to push back some of their best material to ensure they could get through the long summer.

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