Bill Radke speaks with Melanie McFarland, TV critic for Salon, about how MTV's Real World franchise has changed since 1997, the last time the cameras came to Seattle. Her report: things have not improved. Real World Seattle: Bad Blood premieres October 12.

Issa Rae knows she is committing a revolutionary act by simply creating a TV show centered on an average black woman's life.

And she can't believe it.

"Isn't it sad that it's revolutionary?" says Rae, whose new comedy Insecure, debuts on HBO Sunday night. "It's so basic ... but we don't get to do that. We don't get to just have a show about regular black people being basic."

When we finally get close enough to see the "Luke's" sign on the side of the building, a group behind me erupts into song. "Where you lead, I will follow," they belt out. The words to Carole King's 1971 single became an anthem for a whole new generation as the theme song to the Gilmore Girls.

In the TV comedy version of Portland, Ore., the bookstore is called Women and Women First. In real life, it's In Other Words — and the shop is using frank terms to say the Portlandia show is no longer welcome to film there. The feminist store and community center faults the show's depiction of men dressing as women, its treatment of store staff, and its role in gentrification and race relations.

Sesame Street has been a constant presence in children's entertainment for nearly 50 years. In addition to Big Bird and Elmo and Oscar the Grouch, the program also has human characters who ground the show, teaching the muppets big life lessons and helping them on their zany adventures. But over the past few weeks, there have been some issues with the grown-ups of Sesame Street.

In 2015, after winning an Emmy for her work on Inside Amy Schumer, comedy writer Jessi Klein made one important stop before heading to the award show after-party — to pump breast milk in a backstage dressing room. Klein's son was 3 months old at the time, and she says that while winning the Emmy was "genuinely awesome and exciting," she also knew it wasn't going to change her life.

The mask and costume of the 'Gorn,' a fictionalized species featured on 'Star Trek: The Original Series.'
Courtesy of Brady Harvey/EMP Museum

Fifty years ago, a new television series took us to space to touch on topics that were perhaps too challenging to discuss frankly back on Earth. 

Star Trek: The Original Series premiered in 1966, and since then it's spun off into countless other television series, movies and more. 

Lashauwn Beyond, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a finalist in RuPaul's Drag Race and the face of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau LGBT campaign, marches in the New York Gay Pride Parade in 2014.
Invision for Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau via AP/Diane Bondareff

Seven years ago, Seattle TV writer Melanie McFarland was depressed.

“It was like being under water,” McFarland said. “Or having an alien be inside my skull and pilot the meat suit.”

Will Vancouver continue to be a stand-in for Seattle in film and television.
Flickr Photo/Alex Costin (CC BY ND 2.0)/

Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about the decision in British Columbia to reduce film and TV tax breaks. 

A scene from 'Ready, Jet, Go!'

Bill Radke speaks with Washington native Craig Bartlett about how his childhood around Puget Sound influenced the creation of his new PBS Kids show, Ready, Jet, Go!

Over the past few years, pop songs have come to play so consistently in advertising that there are smartphone apps designed to listen and help you name that tune, and the word "sellout" has lost a lot of its bite.

During its original run from 1999 to 2006, The West Wing was critically acclaimed, racking up 26 Emmy wins. The drama created by Aaron Sorkin frequently appears on lists of the best television shows of all time.

On a recent episode of The Bachelor, the ABC dating reality show that ends its 20th season Monday night, contestant Caila Quinn brings Ben Higgins home to meet her interracial family.

"Have you ever met Filipinos before?" Quinn's mother asks, leading Higgins into a dining room where the table is filled with traditional Filipino food.

"I don't know," he replies. "No. I don't think so."

His is not just a gentle voice; for many people, it's a very familiar one, too. For 25 years, Francois Clemmons played a role on the beloved children's program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Clemmons joined the cast of the show in 1968, becoming the first African-American to have a recurring role on a kids TV series.

And, as it happens, it was Clemmons' voice that Fred Rogers noticed, too, when he heard Clemmons singing in church.

Bill Radke speaks with television critic Melanie McFarland about new show The Real O'Neals, which is loosely based on the life of Seattle-based sex columnist and Stranger editor Dan Savage.