'TV's Top 5': Inside the Fact and Fiction of Apple's 'Dickinson'

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Welcome to episode 103 of TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

Every week, hosts Lesley Goldberg (West Coast TV editor) and Daniel Fienberg (chief TV critic) break down the latest TV news with context from the business and critical sides, welcome showrunners, executive and other guests and provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

This week's five topics are:

1. Pilot Season insanity.
After last pilot season was wiped out by the pandemic, the broadcast networks are now contending with all sorts of new factors as they ramp up to decide the next wave of comedies and dramas for the 2021-22 season. This segment looks at the burning questions each of the five networks are now confronted with as the new wave of pilot pickups and series orders begin.

2. Sex and the City is back… but why?
This segment explores why HBO Max revived the iconic comedy series and why it's airing on the streamer and not the premium cable network.

3. Quibi lives on… sorta.
Roku has officially given Quibi's roster of originals a new life. This segment explores what the infusion of content will mean for Roku as the digital media powerhouse becomes more of a player in the originals space.

4. Showrunner Spotlight.
Alena Smith, the creator and showrunner of Apple's Dickinson, joins the show this week to preview season two of her Emily Dickinson comedy. Among the topics we discuss are how much research she puts into every episode as she looks to more than 2,000 of the famed poet's works. Season two, she says, is focused largely on Dickinson's relationship with fame. Smith also notes that she has an endgame already in mind for the series, which has already been renewed for a third season. "[We'll] end with the Civil War and we do get to that in season three," she teases. "I'm thinking if that was the final season, I'd be able to walk away proudly from it."

5. Critic's Corner.
As usual, every episode ends with Dan's guide to what to watch (or skip) in the week ahead. This week, he weighs in on Marvel's first Disney+ offering, WandaVision, The CW's Walker and the new season of HBO Max's Search Party, among other new launches.

And speaking of WandaVision, we'll have head writer Jac Schaeffer on the show next week.

Hear it all now on TV's Top 5. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. (Reviews welcome!) You can also email us with any topics or Mailbag questions you'd like to be addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.