Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
LIMITED TIME ONLY: Discounted Pint Glass/Tote Bag Combo at $10 sustaining member level.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'The Bridge' And The Doctor's Many Faces


For one more week, our host and pal Linda Holmes has been roaming the desolate plains of Los Angeles at the Television Critics Association press tour, with only catered lunches and lavishly appointed meet-and-greets to provide sustenance.

So the rest of the Pop Culture Happy Hour gang must soldier on in her absence, with the aid of a scrappy young newcomer who'd been waiting for her big break in front of a microphone: All Things Considered co-host Audie Cornish. We predict big things for Audie at NPR!

The newly reconstituted gang kicks off the week's festivities by discussing a show that otherwise doesn't inspire many uses of the word "festivities": the serial-killer/immigration drama The Bridge, which is about a month into its initial 13-episode run on FX. We talk about its setting (the border towns of El Paso and Juarez, and the titular bridge that connects them), its central conflict (a serial killer is on the loose, and he's got a political agenda), and the mismatched cops (Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir) who must work to solve the case amid countless obstacles.

Then it's on to the recent announcement of Doctor Who's new leading man, Peter Capaldi, and the many variations between actors who've played this and other iconic roles. The discussion takes us through not only Doctor Who, but also Star Trek, Spider-Man, James Bond, Hamlet, soap operas, race in casting, joy and joylessness, and more.

And, as always, we close with What's Making Us Happy. Glen is keen on this documentary about people who specialize in an especially fancy pursuit. Trey praises this video and this video and a joke-friendly recent news event. Audie, like all NPR hosts, is psyched about the return of this venerated television franchise. And I sing the praises of a marvelous meet-and-greet in Brooklyn, as well as video footage of a nerd-themed pep talk.

Find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: me, Audie, Glen, Trey, producer Lauren Migaki, absent Linda, and our esteemed producer emeritus and music director, Mike Katzif.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.