Eric Deggans

NBC had decidedly mixed results when it comes to ratings for its 17 days of coverage from the Summer Olympics in Rio.

According to figures released Monday, NBC drew an average total audience of 25.4 million viewers on its broadcast network in prime time, or 198 million people overall on TV.

Combine figures from broadcast, cable and online and the tally jumps to 27.5 million; enough to boost viewership for NBC programs like the Today show and NBC Nightly News while also bringing victories over network and cable TV competitors.

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Editor's note: As you'll see right away, this column includes a word that is offensive to many.

Ask star and co-creator Issa Rae about the many times the word "nigga" surfaces in her new HBO comedy Insecure — a wonderfully unassuming comedy about the life of a sometimes-awkward young black woman in Los Angeles — and she's got a simple answer.

This is how she and her friends talk to each other.

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HBO's The Night Of, which premiered on Sunday, is a gripping, complex drama about crime and justice — and its arrival could not be better-timed. The eight-part series looks at how a criminal justice bureaucracy — filled with people who are just doing their jobs — trundles along on such dysfunction that truth and fairness are often the first casualties.

(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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Doug Redler came to the life almost by accident. He took what he thought would be a short break from writing for Billboard magazine to help out a guitarist friend who was touring with Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry.

But in the three decades or so since that first outing, Redler has built a long resume as a roadie – he prefers the term "guitar technician" — working with the Black Crowes, the B-52s, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Slash and The Dixie Chicks.

There is a moment, a little ways into tonight's first episode of the Oprah Winfrey Network's new drama, Greenleaf, which sums up all the things that work — and don't — in this ambitious nighttime soap.

Merle Dandridge plays the show's heroine, Grace Greenleaf. Her father, Bishop James Greenleaf, and mother, Lady Mae Greenleaf, founded a powerful, predominantly black megachurch in Memphis, Tenn., where she preached as a child. After 20 years away from home, she has come back — for the funeral of her sister Faith, who killed herself.

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Summer is always a weird time for the TV industry.

These days, in a #PeakTV world where hundreds of scripted shows air every year, there is no downtime. Which means viewers will see a dizzying number of new and returning TV shows this summer on broadcast, cable and online — close to 100 series, by my count.

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"Top Gear" is more than just a show about fast cars and funny adventures. It is a blockbuster for the BBC. Tonight, the show returns to BBC America revamped with new hosts. Here's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans on its chances for success.

From the moment you hear Laurence Fishburne's mesmerizing opening narration, intoned over sweeping visuals of a lush African forest, it's obvious History's new Roots miniseries has spared no expense to reinvent a TV classic.

But that also begs the question: Why do this at all? Why does the world need a new version of Roots?

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Netflix debuts its very first talk show today, Chelsea Handler's, "Chelsea." The comic tells NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans her new series is an attempt to break every rule of television talk shows.

Now that the long wait is over and fans can finally bask in the super-sized, superhero brawl that is Captain America: Civil War, some may overlook something really special about this movie.

It has three black superheroes on the front lines.

There's Don Cheadle's War Machine. Chadwick Boseman appears as Marvel's first African superhero, the Black Panther. And Anthony Mackie returns to a Captain America movie as the Falcon, asking Cap if he really wants to resist government control of superheroes.

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Let's call this the opposite of a spoiler alert: An acknowledgement that TV critics don't know much about Game of Thrones' sixth season, which starts Sunday.

That's because some knucklehead last year leaked new episodes of the fifth season online before they appeared on HBO. So producers of the show and HBO executives decided this season nobody — except, it seems President Obama — would get an early look at new episodes.

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#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

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