Pop Culture

Helen Sloan / HBO

After 8 seasons of epic storytelling, Game of Thrones, the HBO television show based on author George R.R. Martin’s series, A Song of Ice and Fire, has come to an end. 19.3 million US viewers tuned in to see who would capture the Iron Throne and offered mixed reviews. 

This week on the Pop Life podcast, Joe Lee is joined by fellow Game of Throne geeks Kevin Kloss and Frank D’Agostino.  The trio discuss the reactions of a divided fan base, the high and low points of the series finale, and offer some reflection on the best moments of the epic series.

Helen Sloan / HBO


While the action might have settled down after the Long Night episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the plotting and scheming did not.  Season 8, Episode 4 The Last of the Starks focuses on the reaction and revelation that Jon Stark is really Aegon Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne.  

Joe Lee is joined by super-fans Adam Alter and WAER’s Kevin Kloss on this episode of Pop Life.  The three discuss Sansa Stark and Daenerys Targaryen’s tug-of-war for Jon’s loyalty, Jaime and Brienne’s “friends with benefits” relationship, and the latest fan theories for how it will all end.


It’s taken 7 and a half seasons of Wight Walker threats of invading Westeros to get to this point.  HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3 chronicles the Battle of Winterfell in epic fashion.  The battle scene was the longest battle sequence in film or TV history. 

Joe Lee breaks down all of the action and dives into fan theories with fellow Game of Thrones geek Matt Lincoln, host of CBS12 This Morning out of West Palm Beach, FL.  This episode contains spoilers.


Game of Thrones continues it's historic 8th season with additional plot twists, startling revelations and immense intrigue. As Pop Life continues to follow along with the final season, Joe Lee is joined by Leslie Gray Streeter of The Palm Beach Post to look back at episode two. 

Flickr: Miss-Cynical

HBO’s Game of Thrones is finally back.  Sansa and Daenerys square up, Samwell Tarly gets devastating news, and Jon Snow finds his truth.  There is lots to get caught up on as the series finale gets underway and Joe Lee recaps the episode with the help of super fan Dan Cohen, reporter and anchor for WREX TV in Rockford, IL. 

This episode contains spoilers.

With the recent positive representation of black actors, producers, and filmmakers at the 2019 Academy Awards, there were several headlines questioning whether #OscarsSoWhite movement is still relevant.  On this episode of Pop Life, Joe Lee discusses why the movement is still necessary despite the appearance of positive gains.  Is it a movement or just a moment?  Is Hollywood ready to take more risks with black creatives? 

Joe is joined by studio executive Dana Gills, Director of Production and Development for Lions Gate, and Dr. Charisse L’Pree, Assistant Professor of Communications at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

  Bruce Wayne is looking pretty darn good for an 80 year old.  Batman has been Gotham's protector for decades, having made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 back in May, 1939.  Today, Batman has been featured in comics, television series, video games, and blockbuster movies and has been portrayed by a number of actors.  Why has this tights-wearing caped crusader endured for so long in American popular culture? 

Joe Lee explores this and more with Seth Everett, broadcast journalist and host of the wildly popular podcast, Hall of Justice, on this episode of Pop Life.

The documentary Leaving Neverland debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January and premiered on HBO in March.  The 4 hour 2 part film, produced and directed by British film maker Dan Reed, details the stories of Wade Robson and James Safechuck who allege that they were sexually abused by pop icon Michael Jackson when they were 7 and 10 year old boys.

Joining Joe on this episode of Pop Life is Dr. Charisse L’Pree, Assistant Professor of Communications at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.  Her work focuses on how media affects the way we think about ourselves and our perceptions of others.  She is also a self-proclaimed Michael Jackson “fangirl”.  The two discuss the documentary, unpack how it impacts our culture, and what it all means for Michael Jackson’s legacy.

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On January 29th, actor Jussie Smollett, known for his role on the FOX show Empire, reported that he was assaulted by two masked men who beat him while using racial and homophobic slurs in Chicago.  After weeks of investigation, the Chicago Police Department has now issued Smollett a felony disorderly conduct charge. 

Joining Joe on this episode of Pop Life is Bob Thompson, Director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, and Leslie Streeter, entertainment writer for the Palm Beach Post out of West Palm Beach, FL to help make sense of it all.

Not too long ago The Oscars was frowned upon for it's lack of diversity. With that in mind this years nominees look to reflect the response from Hollywood. WAER's Joe Lee is joined by  graduate student Alazia Williams and Lisa Respers France from CNN to discuss some of the "firsts" represented at this years award show.

"Black Panther", Spike Lee, and more, they'll discuss it all on this special Oscars preview episode of Pop Life.