Eric Deggans

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Let's be honest: Euphoria is a parent's worst nightmare.

Centered on a group of high school-age friends — each with their own problems handling an excess of drugs, drink and sex – HBO's drama has drawn some fans for its unbridled party scenes and horrified some grownups with its lineup of young characters who always seem to make the worst choices.

In 2021, movies tentatively returned to theaters. Television production stopped, and started, and sometimes stopped again. Movies and TV seasons that had been delayed were finally seen, and projects that would once have shown up only on big screens appeared on small ones.

With all that in mind, NPR's critics have rolled our movie and television picks into one big — and grateful — list of the things we most enjoyed watching this year, whether we were in or out of the house, with others or on our own.

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Updated December 6, 2021 at 4:47 PM ET

(Fair warning: This review will dig up some spoilers from HBO's Landscapers.)

As HBO's inventive limited series Landscapers begins, we meet mild-mannered couple Christopher and Susan Edwards – a pair cute enough to seem imported directly from a genteel British drama on PBS.

Police haven't even issued a final report about the shooting accident that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set on the Western film Rust. But star Alec Baldwin — who held the gun that fired the deadly bullet – went on national TV on Thursday to answer probing questions about a tragedy that has attracted loads of national attention.

Editor's note: This story contains quotes and information originally discussed during a Twitter Spaces event hosted by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and featuring NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann, Dopesick book author Beth Macy, Dopesick series creator/showrunner Danny Strong and more. Follow us on Twitter, and read more of NPR's addiction coverage here.

Editor's note: This story contains quotes and information originally discussed during a Twitter Spaces event hosted by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and featuring NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann, Dopesick book author Beth Macy, Dopesick series creator/showrunner Danny Strong and more.

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In Hulu's Dopesick, Michael Keaton plays Sam Finnix as the kind of family doctor anyone would want taking care of them.

Folksy and smart, he cares enough to stop by an elderly patient's home after work to make sure she's taken her medication. He's still treating adults he delivered as babies in a small Virginia mining town.

(Warning: a few plot details may emerge, shaken but not stirred, about the new James Bond film No Time to Die. So be prepared for potential spoilers.)

I remember the moment when I first fell in love with British secret agent James Bond.

My uncle had sneaked me into a showing of 1971's Diamonds Are Forever in the theater (yes, I know how much that dates me). A bit into the story, Sean Connery's intrepid Bond unzipped a woman's dress, letting it fall to the floor — to make sure she had no weapons on her, I'm sure.

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And finally today, we remember that most people experienced the 9/11 attacks through television, especially TV news. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says, in the 20 years since, it's also shaped television.

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