Our pop culture picks for this fall : Pop Culture Happy Hour Today, we're telling you what new shows, movies and albums we're excited about this fall.

Our pop culture picks for this fall

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Fall is a time when new shows bow, hotly anticipated movies arrive and new music hopes to get us dancing.


And while we can't cover everything, we have our own hopes for the season and things we're eager for both us and you to check out. I'm Stephen Thompson.

HOLMES: And I'm Linda Holmes. And today on NPR's POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR, we're talking about some of the movies, TV shows and music we are most looking forward to this fall.

Here with me and Stephen today from his home studio is Glen Weldon of NPR's Culture Desk. Hi, Glen.


HOLMES: And rounding out this reunion of our four hosts is Aisha Harris. Hey, Aisha.


HOLMES: All right, we are going to dive right in, basically covering the time between now and the end of 2022. Aisha, I want to start with you. What is your first pick?

HARRIS: Well, "Wendell & Wild" is an upcoming animated feature that will be streaming on Netflix on October 28. And I'm just going to throw out some names here. Key and Peele - Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele - reunited finally. Yes, I'm so happy.

WELDON: Feels so good.

HARRIS: Yes. You've got Henry Selick, best known for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Coraline." This is his first feature that he's directed since "Coraline." So we've had a long wait for that. And you have Angela Bassett doing another voice here. Key and Peele are playing Wendell and Wild, these two, like, demon brothers who are trying to get to the land of the living through the help of a young kid named Kat Elliott, who's played by Lyric Ross. I'm just kind of curious to see how this goes. I love all of these performers, and I think it's just going to be a fun, funny, spooky tale for Halloween time. So that's "Wendell & Wild." It's going to be in select theaters on October 21 and then streaming on Netflix on October 28.

HOLMES: Love it. All right, Stephen, I'm going to go to you for your first pick. I am shocked, I tell you, shocked.

THOMPSON: (Laughter).

HOLMES: I cannot believe this is your first pick. But tell me what you chose.

THOMPSON: Let me first take you back to August 1, 1989...

HOLMES: Oh, brother.

HARRIS: (Laughter).

THOMPSON: ...The day I turned 17 years old.

WELDON: Picture it - Sicily.

HARRIS: Settle in, folks. Settle into your rocking chairs.


THOMPSON: Gather round grandpappy's knees, where he will tell you a tale of my 17th birthday, when I had my mom drive me to the nearest movie theater to see "UHF," the not terribly box office successful Weird Al Yankovic cinematic debut. Finally, Weird Al is getting another movie, but this time it is a biopic of sorts. The movie is called "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story." It stars Daniel Radcliffe, continuing his truly wonderfully bizarre post-"Harry Potter" acting life by playing Weird Al Yankovic in a spoof, naturally, of biopics.

The four of us have had to watch a lot of music biopics. I very, very much look forward to seeing their tropes applied to the great and good Weird Al Yankovic, who has brought me nothing but joy for roughly 40 years. It's going to be streaming on the Roku Channel, so it will be prompting millions of nerds to figure out what the Roku Channel is and how to get it. I will be one of those nerds. It's coming out November 4, and I am extraordinarily excited. It can't possibly live up to my expectations or the expectations of Weird Al Yankovic's many fans. But I expect to be - I mean, it's got Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna. It's got Rainn Wilson kind of perfectly cast as Dr. Demento.

HARRIS: Quinta Brunson as Oprah.


HARRIS: What? Yes.

HOLMES: And he co-wrote it. He - so it's his own work, in part.

THOMPSON: Yeah. Eric Appel directed it and co-wrote the script with Weird Al Yankovic himself. This is just going to be such a goofy labor of love. I mean, this is not going to be a flawless film. Will I love it? I will.

WELDON: Yeah. This is going to join the ranks of "Walk Hard" and "Popstar."

HOLMES: Yes, yes.

THOMPSON: "Popstar," for sure.

HOLMES: All right. Weird Al will never stop never stopping. OK, Glen...


HOLMES: ...We are going to go to you for your first pick. This was a new one to me. Tell me about it.

WELDON: Well, first off, I just - there were so many to choose from. Obviously, I'm looking forward to a lot. I mean, the film I wanted to highlight here is "Triangle Of Sadness," which is in theaters on October 7. This is the first English-language film from Swedish director Ruben Ostlund. He's known for "Force Majeure" in 2014 - that's about a family at a ski resort - and then "The Square" in 2017, which is about the arts community. Both of those films - very sharply satirical, unsparing, very funny, very dark.

Now, with "Triangle Of Sadness," he's taking aim at the super rich. It's about a couple of hot models/influencers played by Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean, who get invited aboard a superyacht to rub elbows with some terrible people - arms dealers, et cetera. A storm comes, the boat starts sinking, and at the same time, foodborne illness hits guests and crew alike. Did I mention that the captain of the yacht is played by Woody Harrelson? Did I mention that he's a Marxist? Because that seems significant. None of that makes it seem like this is going to be a subtle film. And certainly the trailer would underscore that.

And as satirical targets go, you know, these are the broad sides of a succession of barns. But I do feel like he's going after the right targets, at least. And now, I should also mention that very recently the actress Charlbi Dean died very suddenly, very unexpectedly at the age of 32. Who knows how the awfulness of that, the realness of that is going to intercede between the audience and this film's kind of glib, angry, ironic tone? I don't know the answer to that. But I'll be there to see for myself. That is "Triangle Of Sadness," in theaters on Oct. 7.

HOLMES: All right. Thank you, Glen Weldon. So my first pick is an obscure little movie.


HOLMES: I was quite in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a time. After "Endgame," I sort of fell out of love with the MCU a little bit. The TV stuff hasn't really landed for me. I haven't really connected with it, with the exception of "WandaVision," which I really liked. But I've been wandering away a little bit. And I think there is no better property to bring me back in than "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which, of course, is coming Nov. 11.

The really devastating death of Chadwick Boseman made people feel like, well, you know, this movie was so incredibly huge. It was obviously destined to have sequels and follows and things like that. And I think there was a sense of like, can you do one? Can you - whatever? But I mean, I think it's very interesting and laudable that they are pushing this story forward - still with Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole writing, and with Coogler directing. And they are focusing, it seems - although Winston Duke is also back, which is hurray, hurray, hurray...


HOLMES: ...They are focusing, I think, in large part on the women in this story, who were a huge part of the success of "Black Panther" and pointed out as such at the time - Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong'o and, of course, Angela Bassett. So I am very excited to see what it looks like to try to make that shift without this kind of incredibly dynamic performance that Boseman gave in the first movie. I still think this is probably the one to kind of bring me back into being into the MCU. I really hope that that happens. I want to be excited about this universe again 'cause I was once.

HARRIS: I mean, that trailer - I can't lie. I actually almost started crying. Everything goes down in that trailer. And you start hearing "No Woman No Cry." And then, it goes into Kendrick, and I'm just like, ah - chills, chills.

HOLMES: The use of music in the trailer is absolutely brilliant. So I'm very, very excited about that. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in theaters, obviously, on Nov. 11.

Aisha, we are back to you for your second pick.

HARRIS: Well, I mentioned Jordan Peele already. And there was before "Get Out," and then, there's a time after "Get Out." And this is not to say that Black horror and Black film directors did not exist before Jordan Peele, but there's definitely been a long spate of some not-great movies that are kind of playing off of the "Get Out" fandom and the "Get Out" popularity. Then, there have been some that were really great.

And this next pick is actually a film. It's sort of cheating. I've already seen it. But I really just want people to go and see it and get excited about it. It's called "Nanny." I saw it at Sundance earlier this year. It's one of my favorite films to come out of that festival. And it's directed by Nikyatu Jusu. And it's about this woman named Aisha, who is an undocumented nanny who's working for this wealthy couple in New York City. One half of the couple is played by Michelle Monaghan. And it is both a horror movie, but also a very pointed critique of what it means to be a person of color who is caretaking for a white family, the class dynamics of being undocumented and having to sort of be bent to the will in extreme ways of the people you are employed by. She has trouble getting paid by them. There's a lot of things that are going on there.

And at the same time, she is also trying to bring her son, her young son, over from Senegal. There's all these layers there. And on top of it, there are some horrific things going on. And the cinematography is beautiful and gorgeous. The just overall mood of it is very dark and scary and chilling. And I really think it's a really interesting movie that I really want to talk to people about it. So that's "Nanny." It is getting released - limited release in theaters on Nov. 23rd, but then, it'll be streaming Dec. 16th on Amazon Prime.

HOLMES: Thank you very much, Aisha. And we should mention, Amazon is among NPR's financial supporters and also distributes certain NPR content. All right, Glen, we are going to you for your second pick. Give it to me.

WELDON: All right. "Reboot" is a new Hulu sitcom debuting on Sept. 20th. And let me tell you, the only thing I don't like about this show is its title. Because if you are searching for any information online about it, you will end up at a certain '90s Saturday morning cartoon set inside a computer network. But no, the premise here is that today a network decides to take a cheesy family sitcom from the aughts called "Step Right Up," which is the perfect name for a cheesy family sitcom from the aughts, and give it a gritty reboot. And they bring back the original cast who do not get along. And that premise makes it sound like a recipe for some really broad jokes about all reboots are terrible and avocado toast and yada yada yada.

But it's really sharply written. The jokes are super specific. They're about the industry. They come at you fast, but the cast is the reason for the season here - just people you want the best things for. Keegan-Michael Key making his second appearance on this list; Judy Greer - how many times have we talked about Judy Greer on this show? Rachel Bloom - patron saint of the pod. Johnny Knoxville is also present. Paul Reiser shows up a bit later. And the clashes between his character and the Rachel Bloom character - because they're basically acting as co-showrunners of this fake show - that clash becomes about something in a very sly way. That is "Reboot" on Hulu, the first three episodes of which will drop on September 20.

HOLMES: All right. Thank you very much, Glen Weldon. My own second pick is called "Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet Of Curiosities." My relationship with horror is an interesting one. A lot of horror films are too much for me. I do not always enjoy some of the styles of horror that have gotten made a lot in recent years. I am one of those people who loves to read Wikipedia summaries of horror movies, but I also grew up reading a ton of Stephen King. There is a part of me that really gravitates toward horror and scary stories.

So this is an anthology that Guillermo del Toro put together for Netflix. There are eight episodes. They are all completely freestanding. They have eight different directors. He didn't direct any of these, but he wrote the stories for two of them. There are a bunch of different directors involved, including Jennifer Kent, who made "The Babadook." The - I do want to read to you from the list of the cast that is involved, and this is just from the press release. These are just some of the people who appear across these eight episodes - Peter Weller, Eric Andre, Martin Starr, Andrew Lincoln, Glynn Turman, F. Murray Abraham, Crispin Glover, Tim Blake Nelson. Those are just the dudes, you know what I mean? Those are just some of the dudes. There is a really interesting mix of people.

And my thing is I don't always love horror, but I tend to really like anthologies. And I want television to make more anthologies because I do think sometimes, you know, good stories are at an awkward length. It's one of the things I like about "Black Mirror." Particularly with horror, I like the payoff of a slightly shorter or a more-contained bite. I just think there's a lot here that makes me excited about it. If you watch the trailer for it, it looks extremely scary and creepy. It's going to start to drop on October 25. They're going to do two a day until all eight are out. And as they put it in their own materials, by Halloween, you will be able to scare the heck out of yourself with a big binge of some very scary material. So that is "Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet Of Curiosities" - a very innocuous name for what I suspect is a deeply creepy anthology series coming to Netflix. All right, Stephen Thompson, tell me about your second pick.

THOMPSON: Well, if you had told me back in the summer of 2012 that I would get to still sing the praises of Carly Rae Jepsen in the second decade of her career, I would be very delighted. Carly Rae Jepsen has continued to put out great songs and great albums, and I am extraordinarily excited about her new album, "The Loneliest Time," which comes out October 21. The first single from this record was a song called "Western Wind," which was, like, a little too rosewave for my tastes, a little too kind of autumnal California, like, not necessarily my vibe. The second single is called "Beach House." The second I heard it, I was like, that's more like it. Let's hear a little bit of it.


CARLY RAE JEPSEN: (Singing) Boys around the world, I want to believe that when you chase a girl, it's not just hunting season. I can see the future, say it like you mean it. I've got a beach house in Malibu and I'm probably gonna hurt your feelings.

THOMPSON: So I very, very highly recommend getting thee to YouTube to watch the very funny and very silly video. She is so gifted at just pop songwriting craft, and I am very, very excited to see what she does over the course of the whole album because those two singles are very, very, very different. This thing promises to be all over the place. It does come out the same day as Taylor Swift's "Midnights." So we're going to be getting a lot of pop ruminations on loneliness just in time for the late fall.

HOLMES: All right. Thank you very much, Stephen Thompson (laughter). Well, tell us what you are looking forward to watching or listening to this fall. Find us at facebook.com/pchh and on Twitter @pchh. That brings us to the end of our show. Aisha Harris, Stephen Thompson, Glen Weldon, thanks so much for being here.

HARRIS: Thank you.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

WELDON: Thank you.

HOLMES: This episode was produced by Candice Lim and Mike Katzif and edited by Jessica Reedy. Hello Come In provides our theme music, which Glen is raking the leaves to right now. Thanks for listening to POP CULTURE HAPPY HOUR from NPR. I'm Linda Holmes, and we'll see you all tomorrow.

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