Eric Deggans | KUOW News and Information

Eric Deggans

(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.

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(SOUNDBITE OF TV THEME, "GAME OF THRONES")

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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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(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN LUNN SONG, "DID I MAKE THE MOST OF LOVING YOU")

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Viceland is the new cable channel from Vice Media. NPR producer Andrew Limbong and our TV critic, Eric Deggans, watched three of their offerings, including "Gaycation," a travel documentary show focused on LGBT issues. It's co-hosted by actress Ellen Page. Here she is in Japan.

Host Chris Rock made sure Sunday's Oscars were about as black as they could be, given that no black people had been nominated in any high-profile categories.

Of course, Rock brought the pain, as he always does, in a razor-sharp monologue skewering sensibilities on all sides of the #OscarsSoWhite debate. And his comedy bits throughout the show kept up a steady drumbeat, reminding audiences in the hall and at home just who had been left behind.

A newly released study suggests diversity in TV and film is so bad, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite should probably be changed to #HollywoodSoWhite.

That's because of an "epidemic of invisibility" cited by researchers at the University of Southern California, who analyzed more than 21,000 characters and behind-the-scenes workers on more than 400 films and TV shows released from September 2014 through August 2015. They tabulated representations of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual status.

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HBO's music industry drama Vinyl comes at you like a classic rock song you can't get out of your head.

Powerful. Emotional. But also kind of predictable.

It's obvious from one of the earliest moments in the first episode, when Bobby Cannavale's out-of-control record company owner Richie Finestra stumbles into a smoky club circa 1971 and finds the New York Dolls.

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Comedian Larry David has emerged this political season as a highlight of "Saturday Night Live" for his impersonation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

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As the pilot episode for ABC's counter terrorism drama Quantico begins, one of the biggest stars in Bollywood is lying in the ruins of a bomb blast.

It's Priyanka Chopra, and she's playing Alex Parrish, an FBI trainee falsely accused of setting off the explosion. She's also making history as the first South Asian woman to play the lead in a network TV drama.

"The bomber knew exactly what they were doing," Chopra says as Parrish in a later episode. "They framed the brown girl."

They won't actually get to host Saturday Night Live, but four GOP candidates have completed agreements with NBC allowing them to broadcast campaign messages on affiliate stations in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over Thanksgiving weekend.

These deals resulted from "equal time" requests made after leading GOP candidate Donald Trump guest-hosted Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7.

SPOILER ALERT: Be warned that this post discusses details from Thursday's winter finale of ABC's drama Scandal.

ABC's buzzed-about drama Scandal dropped a bombshell episode Thursday, seeming to show lead character Olivia Pope secretly ending a pregnancy she may have had with her lover, President Fitzgerald Grant.

Earlier in the episode another character, former First Lady Mellie Grant – now divorced and the junior Senator from Virginia – filibustered a spending bill which might have helped Congress curb funding to Planned Parenthood.

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First there was "Chicago Fire," then "Chicago P.D." Last night came "Chicago Med." Chicago is taking over your TV.

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Ari, look up in the sky.

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What? It's a bird.

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