#SetTheVCR: March 29-April 04, 2021

How did we get to April? Time is so strange lately. What have you enjoyed on TV from the past 3 months? And what are you looking forward to this in April? Shall we get into a new month with new #SetTheVCR picks.

Monday, March 29

Audrey (Anytime / Netflix)

An intimate portrait of legendary Hollywood actress, fashion icon and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn, who stood for love above all else.

Sammy Suggestion: Independent Lens: Til Kingdom Come (10/9c PM / PBS)

A rare look at the unlikely alliance between America’s Evangelical Christians and the State of Israel, ‘TILL KINGDOM COME by filmmaker Maya Zinshtein (Forever Pure) exposes the controversial bond between Evangelicals and Jews in a story of faith, power, and money.

The latest Independent Lens documentary is Til Kingdom Come which explores the alliance between America’s evangelical Christians and the Israeli government and of course: that whole End-Times apocalyptic countdown (can prophecy be wielded as a political tool?). Oh yes right? I wanna know the history of the bond between Evangelicals and Jews rather than modern experience “Trump moved the Jerusalem embassy” kinda thing. We’ll see: faith, power and money is one of America’s taglines.

Tuesday, March 30

Supergirl: Season 6 (9/8c PM / The CW)

The sixth and final season of the American television series SUPERGIRL, which is based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El / Supergirl.


Sammy Suggestion: Manifest: Season 1-2 Rewatch (Anytime / Peacock)

When Flight 828 lands in New York, all 191 souls on board are astonished to discover they’ve been missing for five years and their loved ones moved on without them.

Later this week on April 1st the third season of Manifest premieres; still focusing on the mysterious return of Flight 828’s doomed passengers. 3 seasons later that’s one season longer than Resurrection and 2 seasons longer than The Returned. These presumed dead yet mysteriously returned TV shows are popular though they rarely last long to fully reveal all their secrets. With Manifest the premise is simple even if the mystery remains complicated: “After being presumed dead, passengers onboard Flight 828 return and discover the world has aged five years. As they reintegrate into society, they begin to experience guiding voices and visions, and soon a deeper mystery unfolds.” Think of Quantum Leap “putting things right that once went wrong” with a backdrop of a government conspiracy just nobody is silently smoking. If you haven’t watched any of it or merely want a recap since Season 2 wrapped on April 6, 2020 both seasons are on Peacock for Americans and for Canadians it’s on Crave under the TV tab. Sometimes ya gotta Manifest the past before flying to your next destination.

Wednesday, March 31

Haunted: Latin America (Anytime / Netflix)

Real people’s terrifying tales of the chilling, unexplained and paranormal come to life with dramatic reenactments in this reality series.

Sammy Suggestion: Resident Alien: Season 1 (10/9c PM / Syfy)

An alien crashes on Earth and hides in a remote Colorado mountain town; after assuming the identity of the town doctor, his nefarious mission is threatened when he realizes one of the townspeople, a 9-year-old boy, can see his true alien form.

The 10th Resident Alien episode concludes Season 1 tonight. Thankfully it’s been renewed for a second season in March. In comics the debate is often do you read/buy the monthlies or wait for the trade? What about with TV shows? Do you wait for the whole season or do you watch weekly? It’s been strange to watch the Disney+ MCU TV shows weekly; like even though that’s how I grew up to go back to that is strange. Not that I binge either: it’s just nice to know you have all the episodes and you can watch em at your leisure; you dictate the pace. That’s typically my strategy. (The Stand was added to Prime Video on March 19: 9 episodes and I finished it on March 27. It’s all there and not going anywhere: it’s a comforting feeling.)

Thursday, April 01

Manifest: Season 3 (8 p.m. / NBC)

When Flight 828 lands in New York, all 191 souls on board are astonished to discover they’ve been missing for five years and their loved ones moved on without them.

Sammy Suggestion: Creepshow: Season 2 (Anytime / Shudder)

The Creep shows audience members darkly grim horror stories from the pages of the CREEPSHOW comic book.

One of Shudder’s popular TV shows returns…from the dead! (Not really it returns from the off-season.) In February Shudder announced Creepshow was renewed for a third season however let’s focus on this six-episode second season. We know details about four of this season’s segments, which will be directed by Greg Nicotero. “Anna Camp and Adam Pally will star in “Shapeshifters Anonymous” Parts 1 and 2, written by Greg Nicotero, based on a short story by J.A. Konrath about an unlucky soul who finds himself in need of a werewolf support group; Keith David (YES!), Ashley Laurence and Josh McDermitt will star in “Pesticide”, written by Frank Dietz, in which an exterminator makes an infernal bargain; and “Model Kid” written by returning Creepshow writer John Esposito (season one’s “Night of the Paw”), is about a 12-year-old monster fan who turns to hand-built model kits to escape his unhappy reality.” I’ve seen this one already it’s “creepy” good fun. You can understand why the show’s tagline is The Most Fun You’ll Have Being Scared.

Friday, April 02

The Iron Giant (Anytime / Crave)

Something humongous is among us! A young boy rescues a huge robot which has rocketed to earth from space and tries to protect the genial giant from a nosey government agent and military.

Sammy Suggestion: WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (Anytime / Hulu)

This documentary takes a look at the community-centric ideal that sent the little co-working venture sky-rocketing and then investigates what was really going on behind the scenes.

So I saw this WeWork documentary at SXSW in early March. It’s frustrating because it fails to fully articulate what prompted the overwrought and hysterical WeWork reactions. Articles, reams of tweets, podcasts, books and now a documentary…why? It’s just another tech company. Or is it? For McDonald’s their value comes from real estate not selling Big Macs. So we’ve seen that before. And what’s the difference between Adam Neumann, Steve Jobs or Charles Manson?! Just con men selling snake oil with the promise of a better life: it’s branded magic for 3 easy payments. My life will never improve as much as their$. Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop is the latest example. So we’ve seen that before. There’s a lot to unpack here; if you’ve a chance check out this doc to understand this latest corporate flameout. (And this hasn’t been added to Crave…yet? However Canadian viewers can join the “work-party” during Hot Docs 2021 documentary film festival (tickets go on sale on March 30 that “works” right: everybody gets to see the unicorn.)

Saturday, April 03

Sammy Suggestion: 2021 NCAA March Madness (2/1c PM & 5/4c PM / CBS)

Live coverage of the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis The Final Four hit the floor in the semifinals of the 2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament. One Shall Stand; One Shall Fall.

Sunday, April 04

Sammy Suggestion: The Snyder Make The Cut (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN vs his 300: Which is Zack Snyder’s masterpiece?

Is Zack Snyder’s Justice League the director’s masterpiece? (Right now my vote is Dawn of the Dead!). Netflix Canada has added 2 of his classics: Watchmen and 300 if you want to revisit those in light of his recent Justice League work. Watchmen is pitch perfect; highly respectful of the original fantastic comic book if soulless while 300 is so much fun. (Speaking of fun on May 21, 2021 Netflix will release Army of the Dead. I’m in for that: like Hurricane Heist but with zombies not a hurricane.) Or! Or is the best yet to come and Zack Snyder hasn’t made his masterpiece yet?


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Deep Blue Ignorance

Yo! There’s a Deep Blue Sea…3?! What? How did we get to 3?!

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193 | David Barrett (One Shining Moment: March Madness)

My Summer Lair Chapter #193: What…Or Who Is Your Favourite March Madness Moment?

There are 3 utterly iconic basketball songs that discern the majestic poetry of the game:

“Sometimes I dream. That he is me. You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be. Like Mike If I could Be Like Mike.” The surprisingly infectious Gatorade commercial produced a nostalgic anthem.

John Tesh’s Roundball Rock which hyped and scored the NBA on NBC which ran for 12 glorious seasons (1990–2002). Shoutout to Marv Albert.: I believe he still has his original hair back then.

And finally: the March Madness closer One Shining Moment written by David Barrett. Which has been used for the NCAA tournament since 1987 (the same year they introduced the 3 point shot.).

As the final game of March Madness 2021 draws near: Baylor Bears vs Gonzaga Bulldogs we have a rare moment of reflection before tip-off.

It’s been a strange tournament, though after cancelling last year’s games I’m just grateful it’s back in some form…and as close to normal.

And normal includes tonight’s stirring One Shining Moment montage recap.

In this conversation David shares this fantastic observation:

“These kids are in the moment uniquely and when they see themselves in the one shining moment vignette, they’ll have a painting of themselves at age 19, 20 in the full flower of their talent and youth. This is their moment and I’m glad to be part of it.”

Here now is my conversation with Michigan songwriter and composer David Barrett revealing the origins of that special basketball song. Shout out to Larry Bird for the inspiration. That dude was amazing.

(Cue The More You Know Star: Alanna Campbell, feature producer and associate director at CBS Sports, is in charge of the highlights and syncing up One Shining Moment for the postgame package this year. The clips are filled as the tournament progresses. Campbell and her crew have about 10 minutes to finalize the piece after the final buzzer.)

David Barrett @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Thursday April 1, 2021 at 2:30pm EST

#SetTheVCR: March 22-28, 2021

Dreams and Documentaries oh this is a fun #SetTheVCR week!

Monday, March 22

Debris (10/9c PM / NBC)

Two agents from two different continents, and two different mindsets, must work together to investigate when wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft has mysterious effects on humankind.

Sammy Suggestion: Independent Lens: Coded Bias(10/9c PM / PBS)

In an increasingly data-driven, automated world, the question of how to protect individuals’ civil liberties in the face of artificial intelligence looms larger by the day. CODED BIAS follows M.I.T. Media Lab computer scientist Joy Buolamwini, along with data scientists, mathematicians, and watchdog groups from all over the world, as they fight to expose the discrimination within algorithms now prevalent across all spheres of daily life.

We’ve reached the point where it’s not enough to have strong opinions on many critical concerns; they have to be deeply informed opinions. Otherwise how are we going to arrive at effective solutions? The problem is that we’re not smart enough or educated enough to address the issues facing us: “Coded Bias follows M.I.T. Media Lab computer scientist Joy Buolamwini, along with data scientists, mathematicians, and watchdog groups from all over the world, as they fight to expose the discrimination within algorithms now prevalent across all spheres of daily life.” Whew: You know when M.I.T. eggheads are getting involved that’s above our pay grade. Yet A.I. and algorithms and our messy digital lives are of significant value and we must address these topics in a timely and well thought out method. This documentary is a start.

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Tuesday, March 23

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil: Miniseries (Anytime / YouTube Premium)

Demi Lovato holds nothing back in this powerful four part documentary series exploring every aspect that led to her nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath.

Sammy Suggestion: Another Earth (Anytime / Disney+Star)

Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), a bright young woman accepted into MIT’s astrophysics program, aspires to explore the cosmos.

Back in February Prime Video added Mike Cahill’s latest feature: Bliss. However I’m highly recommending one of his previous movies which is also one of my favourite all time sci-fi movies: Another Earth. One wild night a high school student is celebrating her graduation and that she got into M.I.T. That celebration horrifically ends when she car crashes into a composer: killing his pregnant wife and his baby son. Though her personal tragedy is overshadowed by the discovery of a new Earth?! As she grapples with the fallout from her accident the scientists discover that Earth 2 is a mirror of Earth and the synchronicity between the planets was interrupted when the Earths connected. Is it possible on that other Earth she didn’t have the car accident that killed a family? What if she went to that new Earth what would she find? Who had she become on Another Earth? Yes.

Wednesday, March 24

Sammy Suggestion: The Day Sports Stood Still (Anytime / HBO & Crave)

THE DAY SPORTS STOOD STILL is a feature-length documentary that tells the story of the unprecedented sports shutdown in March of 2020 and the remarkable turn of events that followed.

Less a documentary and more like a living document because these events are barely a year old. On March 10, 2020 “a moment that will live in infamy” Rudy Gobert jokingly touched all the reporter microphones by March 12 all professional sports were shut down. (We’d experienced this before when the September 11 terrorist attacks pushed the end of the MLB regular-season from September 30 to October 7 which meant a lost week. During that same week the NFL rescheduled Super Bowl XXXVI because the attacks postponed all Week 2 games (September 16 and 17). That was only a week of no sports yet it was a strange precursor to what we’d experience by March 11, 2020.) One of the darkest chapters in professional sports especially since many fans were still reeling from Kobe’s passing. 2020 was a hard dark year for sports. This is supposed to be fun!

The documentary features NBA players like Donovan Mitchell, Karl-Anthony Towns, Mavs team owner Mark Cuban, NBA commissioner Adam Silver; MLB’s Mookie Betts; the NHL’s Ryan Reaves; NFL’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif; Natasha Cloud of the WNBA and many more. What happened to the simple pleasure of going to the game getting a hotdog and yelling at millionaire players about having graphic relations with their mom?!

Thursday, March 25

Sammy Suggestion: John Wayne Gacy: Devil In Disguise: Docuseries (Anytime / Peacock)

The chilling story of one of the world’s most notorious serial killers told through the words of Gacy himself, those who were forever changed by his unspeakable deeds and those who believe that the full truth about the case remains concealed to this day.

HBO broadcast I’ll Be Gone in the Dark about the Golden State Killer, Netflix offered The Hunt for a Serial Killer focusing on the Night Stalker, EPIX profiled Charles Manson and well there’s a many more recent examples: some have been listed here for #SetTheVCR. It’s now Peacock’s turn with the six part John Wayne Gacy: Devil In Disguise. Yes the clown dressing serial killer who operated during the 70s. So who is left? And does this trend on true crime TV generate any significant commentary?!

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Friday, March 26

The Irregulars (Anytime / Netflix)

A crew of misfits investigates a series of supernatural crimes in Victorian London for Dr. Watson and his shadowy associate, Sherlock Holmes.

Welcome to Sudden Death (Anytime / Crave)

A security guard battles a group of tech-savvy terrorists after they take hostages inside a basketball arena.

Possessor (Anytime / Crave)

POSSESSOR follows an agent who works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies – ultimately driving them to commit assassinations for high-paying clients.

Sammy Suggestion: Invincible: Season 1 (Anytime / Prime Video)

INVINCIBLE is an adult animated superhero series that revolves around 17-year-old Mark Grayson, who’s just like every other guy his age — except his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, Omni-Man. But as Mark develops powers of his own, he discovers his father’s legacy may not be as heroic as it seems.

Invincible works as animated TV show; Season 1 will be 8 episodes (the first 3 episodes will be up today then the rest will be released weekly.). (Is the real life movie necessary? It’s not like Bloodshot tore up the scene.)The Robert Kirkman comics are wonderfully violent and a bloody good time: think early Stan Lee Spider-Men meets Geoff Johns Green Lantern. It’s an astonishing run with some impressive mustaches along the way: highly recommended reading. So yes: if the cartoon gets the tone right it should be a decent hit. Though I’m curious how much cross-over appeal it’ll have: will civilians conditioned after years of cute Pixar watch a violent adult cartoon about a superhero and aliens?! Only one way to find out.

Saturday, March 27

Tina: Documentary (8 p.m. / HBO & Crave)

With a wealth of never-before-seen footage, audio tapes, personal photos, and new interviews, including with the singer herself, TINA presents an unvarnished and dynamic account of the life and career of music icon Tina Turner.

Sammy Suggestion: The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World (Anytime / Hulu)

THE STAND: HOW ONE GESTURE SHOOK THE WORLD explores the motives behind Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s gesture of defiance during the 1968 Olympics and the consequences.

We now divide professional athletes into two groups: those that stand and those that kneel. It’s a weird response because we put the focus and energy on the athlete rather than on the issues. Yes firemen are hunky and should be celebrated in Tiger Beat style calendars but while those calendars are all about heat they don’t exactly promote fire safety right? So I appreciate that this documentary The Stand recognizes what two African-American medal winners (Tommie Smith and John Carlos) at the 1968 Olympics did is misunderstood just as much as it inspires.

Sunday, March 28

Sammy Suggestion: Bill & Ted Face The Music (Anytime / Netflix)

Once told they’d save the universe during a time-traveling adventure, 2 would-be rockers from San Dimas, California find themselves as middle-aged dads still trying to crank out a hit song and fulfill their destiny.

While parts of Bill & Ted 3 that are well: heinous…and bogus it is comforting to return to these 2 excellent dudes. It’s been years since “strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.” Turns out fulfilling their destiny wasn’t was easy or as smooth as they (or us!) expected. Woah.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

In League With Fireworks

Every so often the universe aligns with perfect timing. Yesterday I’d started the day firing up Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Only I had no intention of sitting there for 4 hours.

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192 | Andrew Farriss (Self-Titled Album & INXS)

My Summer Lair Chapter #192: Do You Enjoy Country Music?

You first met Andrew Farriss on October 13 1980 with INXS’ self-titled debut album.

By 1987’s freshtastic album Kick Andrew Farriss was the principal songwriter along with magnetic frontman Michael Hutchence. I can’t even put it into words: INXS has been a wild ride: a truly great band with truly great songs.

Unfortunately no matter how fun the roller coaster is…it comes to an end. Thankfully Andrew Farriss has returned with a new ride and it’s a country EP and LP.

Country? Oh yes country: Trains are a coming, arrows flying through the air, horses, outlaws…this is country like Wild West movies not like jukebox country songs about pickup trucks and cheating wives. Oh outlaws: I can do that. This is amazing.

The EP is Love Makes The World released on October 2nd, 2020 while the self-titled LP is out March 19, 2021.

In the media release for the album Andrew says:

“I have always seen myself as a songwriter more than anything. Being the main songwriter in a band as talented as INXS, with a superhuman front man such as Michael, it was a songwriter’s dream. The lessons that I took for writing for INXS into my own career, is that maybe I can do things a little bit differently. I don’t mind not being pigeonholed. I am not interested in that; I appreciate all genres. I don’t think you have to necessarily stay in your little box and behave yourself. I think working with people outside your comfort zone is great for the future of music, that is what makes great change in music.” 

Launching from track 7 the sublime song Apache Pass finds Andrew singing about Geronimo.

And I dunno why but Geronimo is something we yell out when taking a large leap. Based on that I tease him are you ready to yell Geronimo as you take the leap to being a frontman and principle songwriter?

When you look back at those early INXS videos he’s hidden in the corner there; mostly behind keyboards…now there’s no more Michael Hutchence with his simmering heat: Andrew is front and center in the recently released videos and the upcoming shows. Geronimoooo for true!

Welcome Andrew Farris to My Summer Lair.

Andrew Farriss @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Monday March 15, 2021 at 6pm (EST)

#CouchWorthy: Abla Fahita: Drama Queen – Miniseries

Abla Fahita: Drama Queen (Anytime / Netflix) Does anybody out there know/watch Abla Fahita?

“She’s” a deeply sarcastic basically Egyptian Muppet; a diva who hosts a late night TV talk show. I’ll watch some stuff with my parents here and there on Middle East satellite channels: she mocks a lot of cultural taboos (so it’s that Simpsons humour…mock the culture which works for me.).

Anyways I’d posted the trailer for Paranormal late last year as it was the first product of Netflix’s ongoing investment in Egyptian cinema.

(They’re investing everywhere, have you see Korean sci-fi movie Space Sweepers? The international stuff on Netflix is ridiculously good…I saw a Belgium series last year: Into The Night. Like yo: I had no clue you guys made TV; thought you only made those delicious waffle cookies.)

Anyways the second Egyptian product of Netflix’s investment is Abla Fahita: Drama Queen debuting on Netflix on Monday, March 15.

I’m super excited for this.

Though it’s actually a drama with I guess comedy? The puppet Abla Fahita has to go on the run after being implicated in a crime (lol!) and she has to clear her name and return to her two children, Caro and Boudi.

(She also wears glasses to read…why would a puppet’s eyesight be bad?!) On her tv show she is widowed I believe…though I dunno if her husband is a human or a puppet. I got questions that I hope this answers over the 6 episodes.

(One time watching her talk show show she mentioned her husband I asked my mom…is her husband human or like…felt?! Mom shushed me: that’s a dumb question. Then over dinner she quietly admitted she googled it but didn’t find the correct answer.)

So let’s see how this goes and if this connects with a North American audience.

Netflix | March 15, 2021


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#SetTheVCR: March 15-21, 2021

The return of superheroes and the madness of March: this is one “Blockbuster” of a week. Let’s see what we’ve got!

Monday, March 15

Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep (Anytime / AMC+)

The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria find themselves on the east coast of England where a gas refinery is experiencing problems and a sinister heartbeat is throbbing through the pipes.

Sammy Suggestion: The Last Blockbuster (Anytime / Netflix)

This nostalgic documentary reveals the real story of Blockbuster’s demise, and how one last location in Oregon keeps the spirit of a bygone era alive.

While I still enjoy visiting the record shop I don’t miss renting movies all that much. I’m grateful for streaming even if it isn’t perfect. Renting was an event. Going to the movies was an experience while renting was an event. There was a lot of pressure to get it right. You might only end up with one maybe two movies so you had to do your best to avoid a lemon. The new releases were all about timing; get there too late on a Friday and Jurassic Park might be fully rented out. You had to be deeply snobby to protect your financial investment though sometimes there was a rare opportunity to lean into low brow blood guts violence whatever adults would not let you typically watch. All these poignant moments and more are celebrated in The Last Blockbuster as told through the lens of the last remaining Blockbuster Video in Bend, Oregon. (It actually became a Airbnb right before the whole world went on lockdown. So. Yeah.) Join Kevin Smith, Ione Skye, Jamie Kennedy and many others as they reflect on an old timey ritual while we understand how the ironically named Blockbuster chain became an endangered species.

Tuesday, March 16

Staged: Season 2 (Anytime / Hulu)

David Tennant and Michael Sheen star as two actors whose West End play has been put on hold due to Covid-19, but whose director has persuaded them to carry on rehearsing online.

Sammy Suggestion: The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway (Anytime / Crave)

Subversive humor and childlike wonder based on both Reubens’ original stage show, THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW.

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse ran from 1986 to 1990 a wonderfully absurd cult TV show. Though I guess it scored mainstream attention with the successful Tim Burton movie Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. And Netflix recently released Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday in 2016. In between the Tim Burton movie and the Netflix movie there was The Pee-Wee Herman Show revival a Broadway show recorded for HBO. While we wait for Broadway to reopen, unusual specials such as this and David Byrne’s American Utopia (also on Crave & HBO) help fill in that jazz hands gap. Please Note: this will be removed from Crave on March 18 so act fast.

Wednesday, March 17

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (Anytime / Netflix)

Reenactments drive this documentary investigating the mastermind behind a scam to get the kids of rich and famous families into top US universities.

Sammy Suggestion: Abla Fahita: Drama Queen (Anytime / Netflix)

Falsely incriminated, Abla Fahita is separated from her kids, but the self-indulgent diva will stop at nothing to redeem herself and reunite her family.

Does anybody out there know/watch Abla Fahita? “She” is a deeply sarcastic basically Egyptian Muppet; a diva who hosts a late night TV talk show. I’ll watch some bits with my parents here and there on Middle East satellite channels: she mocks a lot of cultural taboos (so it’s that Simpsons humour…mock the culture which works for me.). Netflix has committed to cultural investments (the international stuff on Netflix is ridiculously good.) and this is the second Egyptian product following the horror TV show Paranormal. Though Drama Queen is actually a drama with I guess comedy? The puppet Abla Fahita has to go on the run after being implicated in a crime (lol!) and she has to clear her name and return to her two children, Caro and Boudi. So this is a departure from her talk show and I’m curious to see if American audiences will accept this. This will be interesting.

Thursday, March 18

2021 NCAA March Madness (4/3c PM / truTV & TBS)

The tournament tips off with the first four matchups. Let the madness begin.

Sammy Suggestion: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Anytime / Crave & HBO Max)

Determined to ensure Superman’s sacrifice was not in vain, Batman and Wonder Woman recruit Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash to form an unprecedented league of heroes to save the planet from the catastrophic threat of Darkseid, Steppenwolf & DeSaad.

After a year of witnessing unintelligent politicians fail whose blind bumbling closed our cinemas…the Snyder Cut is the blockbuster we deserve but not the one we need right now. So we take it. I could rehash all the various Joss Whedon issues with the previous Justice League cut, Superman’s Mission Impossible “mustache,” point out JL was a box office bomb when it was released in 2017 etc. etc. Ultimately you’re in or you’re out: it’s Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. This new cut is 4 hours long. Pop Culture is loud, explosive, rude and raw. So yes Justice League’s timing is ideal: welcome to The Age of Heroes.

Friday, March 19

The Stand: Season 1 (Anytime / Prime Video)

THE STAND is Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.

Blumhouse’s The Craft: Legacy (Anytime / Prime Video (Canada))

In Blumhouse’s continuation of the cult hit THE CRAFT, an eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

Sammy Suggestion: Falcon & Winter Soldier: Season 1 (Anytime / Disney+)

Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER stars Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. The pair, who came together in the final moments of “Avengers: Endgame,” team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience.

The latest Disney+ MCU series begins today; broadcast weekly for six episodes until April 23, 2021. Following Avengers: Endgame Sam Wilson aka The Falcon mentioned in the title has been burdened with Captain America’s shield so yeah that’s why he’s grumpy. The other half of the title is the Winter Soldier aka Bucky Barnes who is coping with his murderous past and adjusting to 21st century life without Captain America’s assistance since he had a similar adjustment so that’s why he’s grumpy. Together Statler and Waldorf team up to take on the anti-patriotism group the Flag-Smashers because politics makes them grump and Zemo the mastermind villain from Captain America: Civil War. His plot failed in that movie so that’s why he’s grumpy. Even John F. Walker appears in the show and he’s grumpy because he believes he’s a better embodiment of American values than Captain America. So lots of grumpy emotions here (some understandably justified): let’s see who is the first to turn their frown upside down.

Saturday, March 20

The Burnt Orange Heresy (Anytime / Crave)

Hired to steal a rare painting from one of the most enigmatic painters of all time, an ambitious art dealer becomes consumed by his own greed and insecurity as the operation spins out of control.

Sammy Suggestion: Dude Perfect: Backstage Pass (WATCH Below!!)

Best known for trick shots, stereotypes, battles, bottle flips, ping pong shots and all-around competitive fun, Dude Perfect prides ourselves in making the absolute best family-friendly entertainment possible! Welcome to the crew!

Like Jackass but family fun. Best known for trick shots, stereotypes, battles, bottle flips, ping pong shots and all-around competitive fun, Dude Perfect are responsible for many viral videos. However I don’t know much about these Dudes and I’d so enjoying seeing lots of footage of trick shots that failed. Jackie Chan movies showed the stunts that went wrong during the credits so even though it looked amazing in the movie you leave knowing it was a lie. That’s all I ever ask. Their YouTube documentary is free to watch on well YouTube. Here’s the whole thing rather than the typical trailer.

Sunday, March 21

The Gloaming: Miniseries (9 p.m. / Starz)

When a woman is found brutally killed, the clues surrounding her death connect to murders both past and present. At the center of this web are two detectives who share a tragic past.

Q: Into the Storm (Anytime / HBO Max)

This follow-up to ‘The Gathering Storm’ follows Winston Churchill from 1940 to 1945 as he led his beleaguered nation through World War II.

Sammy Suggestion: Genius: Aretha (9/8c PM / Nat Geo)

Anthology series focusing on the untold stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. This season of GENIUS will explore Aretha Franklin’s musical genius, her incomparable career, and the immeasurable impact she has had on music and culture.

On April 25, 2017 National Geographic premiered its first scripted event: Genius: Season 1 a 10 part miniseries on the inspiring and troubling life of Albert Einstein. (You can currently watch it on Disney+Star.) They followed up with Season 2 on April 24, 2018 focusing on Picasso. 3 years later Genius has returned with Aretha Franklin. Which is an odd choice. Aretha is of course a phenomenal talent however Genius is a word we tend to associate with…well Einstein and Picasso. The season follows Aretha as she struggles with motherhood while establishing her music career. This is a 4 night stand so #SetTheVCR accordingly: 2 episodes every night starting on March 21 running to March 24. (All 8 episodes will be available to stream on Hulu on what would have been her 79th birthday: March 25.) And in December 2020 Genius was renewed for a fourth season, which is set to be released on Disney+ and that follows the life of Martin Luther King Jr.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

191 | Simon King (As Good As Or Better Than)

My Summer Lair Chapter #191: Did You Hear The One About Racism?

We have oversold the values and virtues of political correctness which most often has the ugly habit of turning Debate Club into Fight Club.That’s just one way to sum up my conversation with stand up comic Simon King. I relish these My Summer Lair conversations…actually not even exclusively on my podcast…anywhere they happen from NPR’s Fresh Air to CBC’s Q to Larry King. (Wait I think Larry King is dead…eh; I ain’t hitting the delete button…so be it.)

Those dynamic conversations where the speakers fluctuate between the silly and the serious. As prompted by the material in Simon’s excellent stand up special As Good As Or Better Than we stagger like happy drunks between the debilitating effects of racism to the humorous aspects of well…racism.

Sometimes racism is funny. It’s weird to say but it makes sense because anything naturally rooted in ignorance is going to be funny. Ignorance is humorous.

Comedian Simon King tweeted: “Stupid people’s super power is that they’re too stupid to know they aren’t smart. Which is pretty impressive. I’m just smart enough to know I’m not smart and it’s a fresh hell daily. I’m jealous of their dumb privilege.”

So good! The comedy special As Good As Or Better Than totally lives up to its title; see for yourself for free on Youtube. But first to give you a flavour of what you can expect here’s my conversation with comic Simon King about his comedy special As Good As Or Better Than.

Simon King @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Friday February 25, 2022 at 11:30am EST

Stress free pop culture tastefully harvested for your divine delight. Once a week a carefully curated edition of My Pal Sammy goes directly to your inbox. Sign up for my newsletter because the F in FOMO doesn’t stand for Fun.

#SetTheVCR: March 08-14, 2021

Hold onto your butts this is gonna be a strange yet fun #SetTheVCR!

Monday, March 8

Debris (10/9c PM / NBC)

Two agents from two different continents, and two different mindsets, must work together to investigate when wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft has mysterious effects on humankind.

Sammy Suggestion: Night Watch (2004) & Day Watch (2006) (Anytime / Disney+ Star)

NIGHT WATCH: Hundreds of years ago there was a battle between the Warriors of Light and the evil Warriors of Darkness. Realizing that they were evenly matched, the two sides agreed to a truce.

DAY WATCH: A member of a group of supernatural guardians who monitor the forces of the Dark, discovers that his own son is responsible for a series of murders.

You ever try to explain Lord of the Rings movies to strangers? This will be like this; there’s a lot going on. Night Watch is a 2004 Russian fantasy movie: it’s like Underworld meets Resident Evil. From IMDB: “Among normal humans live the “Others” possessing various supernatural powers. They are divided up into the forces of light and the forces of the dark, who signed a truce several centuries ago to end a devastating battle. Ever since, the forces of light govern the day while the night belongs to their dark opponents. In modern day Moscow the dark Others actually roam the night as vampires while a “Night Watch” of light forces, among them Anton, the movie’s protagonist, try to control them and limit their outrage.” Surprisingly Night Watch and it’s 2006 sequel Day Watch have been added to Disney+ Star the beaded curtain section where the adult movies are. There’s a but!! The director of both is Timur Bekmambetov and before he made the third movie Dusk Watch he went off and made Wanted (a comic book adaptation!). So a third movie is planned but never materialized. These dark movies are lots of fun plus you get to visit Russia which is great considering how we rarely travel now.

Tuesday, March 9

Underplayed (Anytime / Crave)

Filmed over the summer festival season, UNDERPLAYED presents a portrait of the current status of the gender, ethnic, and sexuality equality issues in dance music.

Sammy Suggestion: Dark Side of the Ring: Confidential (9/8c PM / VICE TV)

Finding truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality in the veiled world of professional wrestling.

There’s still no word on when Dark Side of the Ring: Season 3 will premiere so! this will hafta do. According to the description: “Each 90-minute episode of Confidential will feature series creators Evan Husney and Jason Eisener sitting down with Conrad Thompson for roundtable discussions on various topics from the first two seasons of the hit series. Guests will include names like former WWE referee Mike Chioda, Savio Vega, The Blue Meanie, and Tommy Dreamer.” Look…I know I am not a wrestling guy however I am a documentary guy and Dark Side of the Ring is really good. As a fan of ESPN’s 30 for 30s I dig it. Not every story in wrestling is fake fun. If this roundtable format doesn’t work for you you got 2 seasons to check out: some super dark stories.

Wednesday, March 10

South ParQ: The Vaccination Special (8/7c PM / Comedy Central)

The citizens of SouthParQ are clamoring for the vaccine.

Sammy Suggestion: Love, Gilda (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Diaries, audiotapes, videotapes and testimonies from friends and colleagues offer insight into the life and career of Gilda Radner — the beloved comic and actress who became an icon on SNL.

Gilda Susan Radner died on May 20, 1989 a date that feels recent yet ancient at the same time. As always with every celebrity death it’s hard to put it into context who they were and what their work was. Hence this documentary: “In her own words, comedienne Gilda Radner reflects on her life and career. Love Gilda weaves together her recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with friends (Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer and Martin Short), rare home movies and diaries read by modern-day comedians inspired by Gilda (Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Cecily Strong).” Just that list of special talents: man you hope they eventually get a special documentary that puts their live and work into context. For now we start with Gilda.

Thursday, March 11

Stay Out of the Fucking Attic (Anytime / Shudder)

A diverse group of ex-cons who work as movers are convinced by their creepy client, Vern Muller, to stay the whole night to finish the job for a generous pay bump.

Sammy Suggestion: My Beautiful Stutter (Anytime / Discovery+)

MY BEAUTIFUL STUTTER follows five kids who stutter, ages 9 to 18, from all over the United States and all walks of life, and who, after experiencing a lifetime of bullying and stigmatization, meet other children who stutter at an interactive arts-based program, The Stuttering Association for the Young, based in New York City.

In 2012 Paul Rudd said this in a Vanity Fair interview: “I started thinking how hard it is to be a kid anyway, how hard it is to kind of talk with anybody, regardless of how old you are, but then to have a stutter, and have to contend with bullies, and, you know, just general confidence and security, that is also shaky when you’re growing up. I just really was blown away by these kids and was awed by them, really. So much so that I’m now on the board, and the play ended, but I’m still involved with the group.” He was in a play where his character stuttered though as the real life actor he deepened his involvement with those stuttering kids which has resulted in executive producing this documentary: My Beautiful Stutter. “The documentary follows five kids who stutter ages 9 to 18 who after experiencing a lifetime of bullying and stigmatization, meet other children who stutter at an interactive arts-based program, The Stuttering Association for the Young, based in New York City.” I dig documentaries like this where you get a window into a unique world and an unusual experience.

Friday, March 12

Assembled: The Making of WandaVision (Anytime / Disney+)

ASSEMBLED will take us behind the scenes of Marvel Disney Plus shows like WandaVision, Loki, and more.
Cherry (Anytime / Apple TV+)

CHERRY follows the wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances.

Sammy Suggestion: The Broken Hearts Gallery (Anytime / Crave)

Dumped by her boyfriend, a New York art gallery assistant creates an exhibit for souvenirs from past relationships.

What if you saved a souvenir from every relationship you’ve ever been in? And because this is a rom-com what if you started to collect those post-relationship souvenirs from strangers and like opened up an art gallery displaying all of them so people can heal and be unburdened and free to love again? You know where is going. Decent soundtrack, wildly filthy and sarcastic best friend and look out for a the bright cameo by Toronto’s own Neon Museum.

Saturday, March 13

Sammy Suggestion: Kid 90 (Anytime / Hulu)

From Soleil Moon-Frye, KID 90 presents a true time capsule of a group of friends growing up in Hollywood and New York City in the ‘90s, balancing childhood and fame pre-internet and social media explosion.

The premise is simple: “In the 1990s, Soleil Moon Frye carried a video camera with her everywhere she went. David Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Brian Austin Green, Stephen Dorff, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce, Danny Boy O’Connor, Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Brandis appear in the film.” I suppose it helps it is executive produced by the kid on Growing Pains: Leonardo DiCaprio. That this documentary follows Framing Britney Spears should add to that conversation. Though with this I can see the nostalgia taking over. That was a strange TV era.

Sunday, March 14

Sammy Suggestion: The Simpsons (8/7c pm / Fox)

The longest running animated TV show in history, Homer and Marge Simpson raise Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie in Springfield, where eccentric residents make everyday life interesting.

It’s Homer Simpson vs J.J. Abrams (who yes voices himself) in tonight’s Simpsons. Did you see The Simpsons got renewed for season 33 AND season 34 on March 3, 2021. If all goes well it’ll be 757 episodes with the landmark 700th episode Manger Things airing on March 21 next week. I’ve said this for a couple of years it’s too unwieldy to properly criticize; this is no longer a traditional TV shows. Yo man if you wanna do that for like Next Gen or other tv shows great. Have at it. But like 34 seasons…757 episodes? That’s generational: what I see is totally different than what your kids are seeing. It’s the NBA. My era was Jordan, some kids have Kobe, some kids have Curry. Nobody posts the 96-97 NBA season was better than last year’s. Or the NBA peaked in 2010! You just accept the season for what it is: doesn’t matter if it’s Simpsons or NBA…there will be some fun, some surprises, some oh I saw that coming then there’s an off-season then you get up and do it all again. It’s an institution.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

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