Eric Deggans

When a TV show really connects with viewers, it's often a lightning-in-a-bottle experience; a collision of talent, material and public mood that is difficult to define. But that hasn't stopped people from asking Dan Fogelman, the creator of NBC's supersuccessful family drama This Is Us, this question: How did you pull this off?

Fogelman's answer: tone, timing and cast.

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The last time I was talking with our TV critic Eric Deggans about late night television and the trouble with satirizing Donald Trump, he said it was a struggle.

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FX's Legion is a superhero TV show that resists admitting it is one.

Which is both the most satisfying and frustrating thing about it.

Here's the setup: David Haller is a well-meaning guy who hears voices in his head. It's driven him to drugs, occasionally criminal behavior and a suicide attempt. (Alert TV fans will recognize the actor playing David as Dan Stevens, who was blue-eyed hunk Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey).

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The centerpiece of the Black History Month programming on the cable channel BET is a miniseries called "Madiba." "Madiba" is a three-night special on the life of Nelson Mandela. It debuts tonight. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has this review.

Buzzed-about projects like the musical film La La Land and FX's TV comedy Atlanta won big at Sunday's Golden Globe awards. But the most powerful moment of the night belonged to Meryl Streep, who used her acceptance speech for the honorary Cecil B. deMille Award of the 2017 Golden Globes, to deliver a harsh rebuke of President-elect Donald Trump and to advocate for press freedom.

Here's the biggest understatement of the year: 2016 was the most disruptive moment the mainstream American news media have faced in a very long time.

That's not because so many media outlets misread the presidential election, although that is part of it. And it's not just because so-called "fake news" has become a genuine issue, prompting Facebook and other social media outlets to address fraudulent items formatted to look like legitimate news reports — a long-needed change.

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When new CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller faced TV critics in August to talk about the network's new fall shows, the first question he got was straight to the point.

"Why is it so difficult to get more inclusion for people of color in the top level of casting at CBS?" asked Maureen Ryan, chief TV critic for the trade magazine Variety. "And what message does it send that the leads of your shows are all heterosexual white men?"

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Here to talk more about the struggle over ratings is NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Hey there, Eric.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hi.

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Thursday Night Football has never been the NFL's biggest stage. But last night, it was, in a way. For the first time ever, an NFL game streamed live on Twitter, on its website and apps, commentators and all.

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For Star Trek's George Takei, it was one of the worst predictions he ever made, and one of the best strokes of luck in his life: Takei, known to fans worldwide as helmsman Hikaru Sulu, originally thought the show would last only one season.

"When we were shooting the pilot, Jimmy Doohan [who played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott] said to me, 'Well, George, what do you think about this? What kind of run do you think we'll have?'" says Takei. "And I said, 'I smell quality. And that means we're in trouble.' "

Constance Zimmer has built a long career playing tough, unsentimental women, including a shady operative on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a hard-nosed journalist on Netflix's House of Cards.

And the role which earned Zimmer her first Emmy nomination this year — reality TV producer Quinn King on Lifetime's UnREAL — could be TV's most caustic villain.

So it's a little surprising that when you ask the actress how she feels about the meaning of her nomination, she almost cries.

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(Be warned, intrepid reader: This story contains loads of spoilers regarding every episode from this season's run of Game of Thrones, including Sunday's season finale.)

This was the season that Game of Thrones seriously changed its game.

Nowhere was that more evident than in Sunday's season finale, the last of 10 episodes that pulled together far-flung storylines and characters spread across the show's mythical seven kingdoms — and beyond.

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