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What's making us happy: A guide for your weekend reading and viewing

Alan Ritchson stars in <em>Reacher.</em>
Courtesy of Prime Video
Alan Ritchson stars in Reacher.

This week, we recapped the Super Bowl, Disney announced it'll make its second foray into the housing market, and our colleagues on NPR's science desk shared a quiz to help us determine what kinds of immune cells we are, based on our personalities. (NPR culture desk intern Fi, who works on this story each week, is a resourceful, reliable, and creative Memory B Cell. Seems about right!)

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

Reacher

The Amazon Prime show Reacher is just so good.

Alan Ritchson, who plays Jack Reacher, is gargantuan, and the series has got that great Jack Reacher dry sense of humor that Tom Cruise did so well for the films. The show has a good mystery: It's got good crime-solving, it's got good action and it's got good beat downs. It's also been renewed for season two, and I cannot wait to hang out with my friend Jack Reacher when the show comes back. I cannot recommend it enough. —Jordan Crucchiola

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
/ Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
/
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Every winter, I like to revisit some of my favorite books. This year, I've been diving into The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and it's an incredible book. Even though it came out in 1992, I see how relevant it is when looking at the worlds of influencers, academia, or arts and literature - any of the worlds that we sometimes despise for their pretension.

The Secret History follows Richard Papen, a transfer student who goes to a college in the Northeast and gets involved with a murder. The novel very immediately tells you that there is a murder and who was murdered, so it's a kind of reverse murder mystery as you try to figure out why. If you don't accept the story and eliteness that Tartt creates, the book won't work for you - but I also don't know many people that can't because Tartt's writing is so good. I think this is my third time reading it, and it's definitely one that I recommend. —Shea Vassar

KIMI

I think that at this stage in his career Steven Soderbergh has just become morally opposed to making bad movies. He's had a really good run, and even then, his latest movie KIMI is one of his better recent movies.

KIMI came out on HBO Max over the weekend and stars Zoë Kravitz as Angela Childs, an agoraphobic tech worker. It takes the kind of conspiracy thriller vibe of movies like The Parallax Viewor The Conversation and updates it for the time of COVID and Big Tech. Soderbergh finds a great way to externalize the physical and emotional world that Angela is inhabiting and the pandemic mood of things compounds the sense of paranoia and isolation she experiences. I think that twenty years from now if we want to be miserable and think back on this time, we might go back to KIMI, just to get a little bit of that taste. —Marc Rivers

Futurama

Hulu announced last week that it was bringing back Futurama, one of my all-time favorite animated series, for 20 new episodes. My daughter and I have just wrapped up yet another rewatch of this wonderful, weird, witty, crazy show, and I'm psyched to have more of it, even if it might not be as good as the ones before it.

I've got some concern with this iteration - they still don't have John DiMaggio, who plays Bender, under contract. And I would love to hear a report on who's coming back to write it, because I think the writing on that show is arguably even more important than the voice cast. But I love Futurama so much and I'm very excited to have more of it. —Stephen Thompson


NPR intern Fi O'Reilly adapted this Pop Culture Happy Hour segment into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider subscribing to our newsletter to get recommendations on what's making us happy every week.

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

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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.)
Marc Rivers
Shea Vassar
Jordan Crucchiola
Fi O'Reilly