Eric Deggans

[It should be obvious, but there are loads of spoilers below from the first four episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return.]

In a year that has brought us some pretty trippy TV so far, Showtime's Twin Peaks revival has managed to uncork the weirdest, wildest, most unfathomable four hours of television I have seen this year on a major media outlet.

And for David Lynch fans, that's probably going to sound like heaven.

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Twenty-five years ago, television audiences watching the final episodes of "Twin Peaks" heard this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TWIN PEAKS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As Laura Palmer, unintelligible).

It's a question the broadcast TV industry asks itself around this time every year: How long can we keep this going?

The occasion is TV's upfront season, when all the big programmers announce their plans for the next season in glitzy presentations for big advertisers in New York, selling commercial space in the new schedules early.

These days, the moneymaking heart of the TV business — broadcast television — is fighting harder than ever to stay competitive with the innovation at streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

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It seems like it was only yesterday that my friends here on the show said goodbye to "American Idol."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Fifteen years of bad tryouts.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AMERICAN IDOL")

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Don't be distracted by the title of Netflix's latest, button-pushing TV series, Dear White People.

Because, one look at this insightful, irreverent examination of race and society at an Ivy League college reveals it really doesn't focus much on white folks at all.

Indeed, the title Dear White People is a bit of a head fake. This slyly assembled series is really about how a wide range of black and brown students at the fictional, predominantly white Winchester University deal with race, sexual orientation and other identity stuff in the modern age.

Be warned: This story talks about characters who are forced into sexual slavery.

Hulu's excellent adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, is a horror show unveiled in slow motion.

As the first episode begins, Mad Men alumna Elisabeth Moss is running, fleeing security forces with her daughter, minutes before they are both captured.

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The third season of the hit TV drama "Fargo" begins tonight. And with it comes a challenge - maintaining high quality with new stories and new characters. Based on the first two episodes, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says "Fargo" delivers.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

HBO's Girls ended as it began — as a fitful, contradictory, occasionally irritating, often brilliant little story about a stupendously self-involved Millennial girl who just might be on her way to figuring out what it means to be a woman.

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YouTube is launching a streaming TV service Wednesday. It's one of many — Sling, PlayStation Vue and local cable companies among them. But Google-owned YouTube TV offers several features the others don't.

They include a cloud-based DVR with no storage limits, allowing users to record as many shows as they want for later playback. Membership also gives access to original series and movies featured on its other subscription streaming service, YouTube Red. And customers can create up to six accounts on one membership, with up to three streams running at once.

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I'll be honest; at first, I feared the whole series was a bit of a dodge.

Watching the first episode of Shots Fired — Fox's highly anticipated limited series about a federal investigation into a police shooting in a small North Carolina town — one thing became clear rather quickly.

The shooting, which draws two hotshot investigators from the Department of Justice, involves the town's only black police officer, who kills an unarmed, white 19-year-old.

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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.

When Ryan Murphy explains what he does as a TV showrunner, he admits it can sound kind of lofty. "The greatest thing that you have when you're a showrunner is this opportunity to create worlds," he says, laughing a bit. "And it always sounds so insane when somebody says, 'Well, what do you do?' And you say, 'I create worlds.'"

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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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

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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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Did you watch the Super Bowl?

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Yeah, come on. You know my need for sleep far outweighed my desire to cheer against the Patriots.

GREENE: I like that.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

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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.

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Lee Daniels is known as a fiercely creative producer with a taste for controversy. He regularly tackles gay issues, race and class in the hit TV drama he co-created for Fox, Empire, and his new series for the network, Star.

But when I caught up to him after a press conference and asked how he felt about the election of Donald Trump, Daniels got unexpectedly emotional.

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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.

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