Although there's no rigid dividing line, fans of the crime genre generally fall into two camps. There are those who prefer stories which, after titillating us with dark transgressions, end by restoring order — the show Law & Order is an aptly named example. And then there are those who prefer stories which, even after the mystery is solved, leave you swimming in the murk — think Chinatown. This is the male-dominated realm of noir.
This is FRESH AIR. The FX cable network premieres a new drama series tonight. It's called "Fargo" and has the same title as the 1996 Coen brothers movie. Our TV critic David Bianculli says it's a wonderful show in that same wacky spirit, but he says it's just as important to note what this new "Fargo" is not. It's not a remake, and it's not a sequel.
Carlotta Gall's new book opens in 2006, when undercover Pakistani intelligence agents punched her in the face, after breaking into her hotel room and confiscating her phone and computer.
It's just one example of how risky her job — covering Afghanistan for The New York Times — has been. Gall writes that over 12 years, she lost friends and acquaintances in suicide bombings and shootings and saw others close to her savagely maimed.
There are lots of theories about why food allergies, asthma, celiac disease and intestinal disorders like Crohn's disease have been on the rise. Dr. Martin Blaser speculates that it may be connected to the overuse of antibiotics, which has resulted in killing off strains of bacteria that typically live in the gut.
Blaser is an expert on the human microbiome, which is the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live in and on the body. In fact, up to 90 percent of all the cells in the human body aren't human at all — they're micro-organisms.
Fresh Air Weekendhighlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Edie Falco On Sobriety, The Sopranos, And Nurse Jackie's Self-Medication: Falco plays ER nurse Jackie Peyton, who is competent at her high-stress job but struggles with addiction. The sixth season of Nurse Jackie begins Sunday on Showtime.
This review discusses the plotline of Mad Men, up through the end of Season 6.
Matthew Weiner's Mad Men begins its seventh season Sunday on AMC. Every season, as this outstanding period drama has made its way through the 1960s, Weiner has been increasingly insistent about the things he doesn't want critics to reveal in advance. This year, that confidentiality wish list is almost laughably long, and includes not only the year in which the story resumes, but also specifics about certain relationships — both professional and personal.
Filmmaker David O. Russell first talked with Fresh Air's Terry Gross back in 1994, and two decades later, he tells her: "It's taken me 20 years since I first spoke to you to really make the films that I think I was meant to make, and to be at the level of filmmaking and storytelling and writing that I think I had ever aspired to."
If you have young children, you may know by heart the songs from the Disney animated musical Frozen, including its massively ubiquitous "Let It Go." The songwriting team behind the Oscar-winning hit is Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, a married couple with two children who each sing on the soundtrack.
This interview discusses the plotline of Nurse Jackie through the end of season five and beginning of season six.
In Nurse Jackie, Edie Falco plays an ER nurse who does a lot of self-medicating. Addicted to pills, she finally got sober last season and started going to 12-step meetings. But she saved one pill, and right before going to the party celebrating one year of sobriety, she took it. In the sixth season, which starts Sunday on Showtime, Jackie is back on pills and back to hiding her addiction.
Barbara Ehrenreich is known for her books and essays about politics, social welfare, class, women's health and other women's issues. Her best-seller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, explored the difficulties faced by low-wage workers. So fans of Ehrenreich's writing may be surprised at the subject of her new memoir — the mystical visions she had as a teenager.
During a recent Fresh Air review of the CBS series The Good Wife, I referred to it as one of my "go-to" shows whenever anyone asks me to name a drama series on broadcast TV that's as good as the ones on cable these days. Ever since, I've wanted to give equal time to my other go-to choice. That show, now winding up its fifth season, is NBC's Parenthood.
This is FRESH AIR. The publication of Peter Matthiessen's final novel "In Paradise" is coinciding with his obituary. He died Saturday at the age of 86. We're going to listen back to an excerpt of my interview with him. Matthiessen was a naturalist, as well as writer, and his fiction and nonfiction books were often inspired by his travels to remote regions, including mountains and rainforests. His books include "The Snow Leopard," "Men's Lives," "At Play in the Field of the Lords" and "Far Tortuga."