Linda Holmes

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Diana, The Musical, which tells the story of Princess Diana from the time she began her courtship with Charles when she was 19 all the way until her death at 36, is scheduled to begin performances on Broadway later this year after a long COVID delay. Meanwhile, Netflix has premiered a version of the staged show filmed without an audience, which is allowing a much bigger audience to know what it would look like if, say, School Of Rock were about Chernobyl.

I don't know how I got to be as old as I am without knowing that dressage horses danced to music. Don't get me wrong: I knew dressage was fancy horses. I just didn't know it was fancy horses who danced to an orchestral arrangement of Queen's "Radio Ga-Ga."

1. Sometimes, there's a reason things are done the way they are. Traditionally, Oscar night has ended with the announcement of the winner for best picture. This year, as the producers — including experienced risk-taker Steven Soderbergh — tried to mix it up a little in their train-station ceremony, they decided to change the order. They presented best picture to Nomadland, then best actress to Frances McDormand, then best actor to Anthony Hopkins for The Father.

When Britain's Prince Harry got married in May 2018 to American actress Meghan Markle — who had found success as a regular on the basic-cable series Suits — they became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. For a short time, they lived their lives as royals. They did events, they were affiliated with charities and they were — she was, in particular — unceasingly, often brutally, covered by the British press. Her clothes, the way she sat, the personality she supposedly had and her general suitability were under constant scrutiny.

When young veterinarian James Herriot first opened his eyes and saw the richly green hills around Darrowby in the new adaptation of All Creatures Great And Small, I felt my shoulders drop. When he saw the village tucked — it must be said — adorably into the valley between them, I felt my breathing slow.

I've been making annual lists of 50 Wonderful Things since 2010. And I have to admit, I was not sure I was up to it this year. It's been a hard one and a lonely one, even though I had the blessings of dear friends, a job I could do remotely and a dog who apparently never gets tired of me. As I point out every year, this is not the actual best things of the year, or it would be full of doctors and nurses and activists and delivery drivers and so forth.

The Netflix series The Queen's Gambit follows a chess prodigy named Beth, played Anya Taylor-Joy, from her childhood in an orphanage through her spectacular career in chess. She learns in a basement from a custodian and grows into a champion.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

In the pandemic era, the Emmy Awards are not the first major event that can't be a traditional shindig, but they're perhaps the most high-profile awards show so far to attempt quite this kind of socially distanced, mask-wearing, virtual ceremony. Host Jimmy Kimmel and everyone producing the broadcast had a pretty tough hill to climb in making it watchable.

And surprisingly enough, it was. It wasn't just watchable; it was ... pretty good.

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