The Injustice Of America’s Misdemeanor System

Former federal public defender Alexandra Natapoff says 13 million misdemeanors are filed each year in the U.S., trapping the innocent, punishing the poor and making society more unequal. Her book is ‘Punishment Without Crime.’

Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a recording of Stravinsky’s ‘The Soldier’s Tale’ by Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.

Best Of 2018: Actor Rami Malek On Becoming Freddie Mercury

Malek sang at the top of his lungs while playing Queen’s iconic lead singer in the new biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Still, he says, “No one can sing like Freddie Mercury.” Malek spoke with Terry Gross about recreating the 1985 Live Aid concert, learning to move like Mercury, and wearing prosthetic teeth. He also talks about playing a withdrawn and socially anxious hacker in the thriller series ‘Mr.Robot,’ and how he got started in acting. Malek is nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG award for his performance as Mercury.

Best Of 2018: ‘BoJack Horseman’ Creator

Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s animated comedy series for Netflix satirizes Hollywood using a mix of human and animal characters. “Part of the original pitch was like, ‘What’s Mr. Ed like behind the scenes?'” BoJack (a horse) is a depressed, alcoholic, sexist former sitcom star in the #MeToo era.

Also, rock critic Ken Tucker and film critic Justin Chang share their favorite music and movies of the year.

Best Of 2018: Tracey Thorn

British singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn (Everything But the Girl) uses music to explore feminist themes. She sings about the different stages of women’s lives on her recent solo album, ‘Record.’

Best Of 2018: Comic Bo Burnham On ‘Eighth Grade’

The former YouTube star explores coming of age online in his film ‘Eighth Grade.’ “This awful D-list celebrity pressure I had experienced onstage has now been democratized,” Burnham says. He talks about living with anxiety, being embarrassed by some of his early material, and why he wrote a film about a 13-year-old girl. Elsie Fisher, who plays Kayla in the film, is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

Also, Kevin Whitehead remembers jazz musicians we lost this year.

Best Of 2018: Michael Pollan On The ‘New Science’ Of Psychedelics

Pollan, author of ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ and ‘The Botany of Desire,’ talks about his most recent book, ‘How to Change Your Mind.’ It covers the history of psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms, and how they’re now being used experimentally in therapeutic settings to treat depression, addiction, and fear of death. Pollan also talks about experimenting with psychedelics. “I had an experience that was by turns frightening and ecstatic and weird,” he says.

Best Of: Emily Blunt / Lucas Hedges

Emily Blunt stars as the practical and fantastical nanny in ‘Mary Poppins Returns.’ She spoke with Terry Gross about floating in the sky as Poppins, playing the baker’s wife in the 2014 screen adaptation of Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods,’ and overcoming a debilitating stutter when she was young.

Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews two Christmas albums — one by The Monkees and one by Rodney Crowell.

Actor Lucas Hedges is best known for his roles in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and ‘Lady Bird,’ and now stars in the movie ‘Ben is Back’ as a teenager in rehab for opioid addiction. He’s also nominated for a Golden Globe for ‘Boy Erased,’ about a teenager subjected to gay conversion therapy by his conservative Baptist parents.