#SetTheVCR: December 27- January 2, 2022

Congratulations: you survived Christmas and Boxing Day. All that’s left is New Year’s Eve. And to keep you entertained here’s some excellent #SetTheVCR recommendations.

Monday, December 27

Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie & Tupac (Anytime / Starz)

The story of Suge Knight, the former CEO of legendary rap music label Death Row Records, recently sentenced to 28 years imprisonment for manslaughter.
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Sammy Suggestion: Vigil: Limited Series (Anytime / Peacock)

The mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine bring the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services.
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Vigil and Line of Duty are BBC’s highest-rated crime dramas this year. Vigil no doubt for offering a unique premise: the 6-part series is a police procedural of a homicide on a British nuclear submarine. Oh. Fresh. That’s not your everyday mystery. The death on the HMS Vigil was “classified” as an accidental overdose but of course…nothing is what it seems. The investigation runs on parallel tracks…one cop is embedded in the nuclear submarine still on active duty and the other is on land following up leads. Because this investigation involves Britain’s national security, I can only hope the conspiracy goes “right to the top!” If you’ve enjoyed shows like Bodyguard these are the terrific tension types of shows BBC excels at. All 6 episodes were released at once.

Tuesday, December 28

Tha God’s Honest Truth With Charlamagne tha God: Season 1 (Anytime / Crave)

Charlamagne’s Tha God’s Honest Truth debuted September 17 on Comedy Central. Today the entire first season has been added to Crave. Rooted in truth, coated in comedy and unapologetically Black, Charlamagne Tha God takes on social issues and topics permeating politics and culture.
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Sammy Suggestion: Day of the Dead: Season 1 (Anytime / Crave)

Six strangers try to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion.
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Did you enjoy PG: Psycho Goreman on Shudder? It’s a fantastic I dunno what that is…sci-fi horror comedy thriller? Something…excellent. Steven Kostanski directed that bizarre movie and here he’s directing the first 4 of the season’s 10 episodes. Day of the Dead is a 1985 zombie movie; the third in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series. In the movie the zombie apocalypse has ravaged the entire world, with zombies outnumbering humans 400,000 to 1. That sucks. The TV show takes a more local approach where the dead begin to rise in Manihawken, Pennsylvania. Now six strangers must try to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion. The entire 10-episodes covers only that first 24 hours so that’s an intriguing premise. Steven Kostanski is more than just a director; he’s also got a makeup/special effects background so enjoy some GQ good looking zombies. Snyder’s zombies ran; Michael Jackson’s zombies danced; while Day Of The Dead is a joyful reminder that Romero’s zombies shuffle. If you failed to watch Day Of The Dead as it aired Crave has the brainsssss…to share the entire first season.

Wednesday, December 29

2021 and Done With Snoop Dogg & Kevin Hart (Anytime / Peacock)

Snoop Dogg and Kevin Hart take an unfiltered, irreverent look back at the biggest moments from 2021 in pop culture, social media, politics and sports by hilariously dissecting trending videos and interviewing a wide range of celebrity guests.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Book of Boba Fett: Season 1 (Anytime / Disney+)

No longer just a hired gun, Boba Fett reinvents himself on Tatooine alongside Fennec Shand.
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The enigmatic bounty hunter gets an opportunity to shine! Like W-T-Fett is going on… “Boba Fett and Fennec Shand attempt to make a name for themselves in the galaxy’s underworld by taking over the territory once controlled by Jabba the Hutt.” Basically the sci-fi Dog the Bounty Hunter provides “unFETTered access: a day in the life of a guy named Boba. While the Star Wars movies have struggled to connect with audiences The Mandalorian has been a hit; an authentic Stars Wars story that is part sci-fi and part Wild Wild Western. Disney+ has done a great job wit their MCU TV offerings; now they turn their attention to crafting a stable of Star Wars TV shows.

Thursday, December 30

The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (10 p.m. / Crave)

Episode 7 of the Star Trek docuseries is added to Crave to today for Canadians. (Americans can check out the series on History Vault.)
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Sammy Suggestion: The Silent Sea (Anytime / Netflix)

During a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon, space explorers try to retrieve samples from an abandoned research facility steeped in classified secrets.
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Netflix’s Korean offerings have been a mixed bag (remember Space Sweepers?) but I’ll dip my toes into The Silent Sea. An adaptation from the 2014 short film The Sea of Tranquility the TV series follows a soldier for the space agency. (What a great line! A space agency soldier…). “During a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon, space explorers try to retrieve samples from an abandoned research facility steeped in classified secrets.” The trailer is reminiscent of old school late 80s/early 90s “in space no one can hear you scream…” kinda movies. And those are fun.

Friday, December 31

Death to 2021 (Anytime / Netflix)

This darkly comedic retrospective mixes real news footage and scripted talking-head interviews as it sends up the year that tried to one-up 2020.
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Sammy Suggestion: Cobra Kai: Season 4 (Anytime / Netflix)

Decades after the tournament that changed their lives, the rivalry between Johnny and Daniel reignites in this sequel to the “Karate Kid” films.
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I’ve been repeatedly Crane Kicked in the nuts for failing to watch Cobra Kai. I know; I know. There’s no pressure to watch; Netflix has renewed the show for a fifth season. Still for now? Cobra Kai “takes place over 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament with the continuation of the inescapable conflict between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Season 4 finds the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang dojos joining forces to take down Cobra Kai at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament… and whoever loses must hang up their gi.” I better hurry up and watch this before fans continue to wax on and wax off philosophically about the show’s qualities.

Saturday, January 1

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts (Anytime / HBO Max)

In this retrospective special, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson join filmmaker Chris Columbus and other legendary cast members as they journey back to Hogwarts to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter film.
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Sammy Suggestion: Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks (8 p.m. / CTV Sci-Fi Channel & Crave)

The Doctor and Jamie, shortly after losing the TARDIS, are transported to 1866, where the Daleks force the Doctor to help them implement the human factor into Dalek brains in order to turn themselves into even deadlier living weapons.
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A classic Doctor Who tradition! The 2022 Doctor Who specials will be the final three “episodes” that will conclude the thirteenth series and usher in a new Doctor. The first special is set to air on today with the additional specials airing later this year. These will be the final episodes to feature Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor and Chris Chibnall as showrunner. Russell T Davies returns following Chibnall and that is a #SetTheVCR special. I cannot wait for Davies to return.

Sunday, January 2

Around the World in 80 Days: Season 1 (8 p.m. / PBS)

A thrilling, new adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel starring David Tennant.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Simpsons: Season 33 (9 p.m. / Fox)

A musical comes to life in Springfield as Marge stages a revival of her beloved high school show.
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Season 33 resumes in 2022! The NFL season should be concluding soon with the Super Bowl on February 13th. To get you in the mood for the upcoming playoffs The Simpsons have a football focused episode tonight. “Marge and Mr. Burns fight for the soul of a brash young football prodigy in the all-new “The Longest Marge.” The guest voices are: Beck Bennett as Grayson, Adam Schefter as himself, John Mulaney as Warburton Parker.

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

#SetTheVCR: December 27- January 2, 2022

Congratulations: you survived Christmas and Boxing Day. All that’s left is New Year’s Eve. And to keep you entertained here’s some excellent #SetTheVCR recommendations.

Read the rest of this page »

#SetTheVCR: December 20-26, 2021

Some TV joy for your holidays. A variety of #SetTheVCR recommendations that’ll fill you with cheer. Christmas or otherwise.

Monday, December 20

MacGruber: Season 1 (Anytime / Peacock)

Based on a recurring “Saturday Night Live” sketch that was eventually made into a 2010 movie, Will Forte returns to the small screen as American hero MacGruber. After serving over a decade in a maximum security prison, MacGruber is called upon by General Barrett Fasoose to take on a suicide mission.
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Sammy Suggestion: Power On: The Story of Xbox (Anytime / YouTube)

Xbox almost didn’t happen. Find out why in this behind-the-scenes, six-part series that takes you back to the scrappy beginnings of Microsoft’s video game console. It’s the untold story of the people behind the box, glitches and all.
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The few years have given us a number of notable video documentaries: Console Wars, High Score, From Bedrooms to Billions: The Playstation Revolution and many others. Well now Xbox has earned a Last Dance. (It’s directed by Andrew Stephan who has directed two 30 for 30s so that works well.) First announced on November 15 as part of Microsoft’s 20th-anniversary Xbox celebrations, the documentary was created to mirror a superhero origin story. “This behind-the-scenes, six-part series that takes you back to the scrappy beginnings of Microsoft’s video game console. It’s the untold story of the people behind the box, glitches and all. Here’s Chapter 1: The Renegades.” All 6 chapters are free to enjoy on YouTube.

Tuesday, December 21

Prisoners of the Ghostland (Anytime / Crave)

In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber (Nicolas Cage) is sprung from jail by a wealthy warlord, The Governor (Bill Moseley), whose adopted granddaughter Bernice (Sofia Boutella) has run away. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within five days if he doesn’t find the missing girl, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman — and his own path to redemption.
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Sammy Suggestion: Being The Ricardos (Anytime / Prime Video)

During one production week of “I Love Lucy” — from Monday table read through Friday audience taping — Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) face a series of personal and professional crises that threaten their show, their careers and their marriage, in writer-director Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama.
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Do you love Lucy? Because I Love Lucy. “A revealing glimpse of the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship, the film takes audiences into the writers’ room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy.” Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin Being The Ricardos stars Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz. Often I prefer a documentary to these biopics but that’s not always possible. Still it’s great considering Aaron Sorkin has written and directed yet another classic American story like he did with Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball and The West Wing.

Wednesday, December 22

The 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors (9 p.m. / CBS)

CBS presents THE 44th ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, hosted by Emmy® Award-winning television host, comedian, writer, and producer David Letterman. Operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz; Motown founder, songwriter, producer, and director Berry Gordy; “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels; legendary stage and screen icon Bette Midler; and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell will be honored for their lifetime of artistic achievement at this star-studded ceremony.
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Sammy Suggestion: Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster (Anytime / Netflix)

Comedy icon Jim Gaffigan offers some thoughts on the hot mess that was 2021, as well as his takes on marching bands, billionaires in space and more.
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I recommend the Big & Bold: Chicken Bacon Ranch Hot Pocket for this new Jim Gaffigan comedy special. What do you think? Which Hot Pocket pairs well with new Jim Gaffigan?

Thursday, December 23

The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (10 p.m. / Crave)

Episode 6 of the Star Trek docuseries is added to Crave to today for Canadians. (Americans can check out the series on History Vault.)
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Sammy Suggestion: The Suicide Squad (Anytime / HBO Max)

The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world — Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.
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“Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the country, houses the worst Super-Villains, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin, and Harley Quinn. When the prisoners join Task Force X in exchange for their freedom, they are heavily armed and dropped on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese to destroy evidence of the giant alien starfish Starro the Conqueror.” While not as fun as James Gunn’s Guardian movies this is one of the better DC Films and you don’t hear that statement that often. It’s a Christmas Miracle!

Friday, December 24

The Suicide Squad (Anytime / Crave)

The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world — Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave.
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Sammy Suggestion: Don’t Look Up (Anytime / Netflix)

Two astronomers go on a media tour to warn humankind of a planet-killing comet hurtling toward Earth. The response from a distracted world: Meh.
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Netflix has upped their big budget game with Michael Bay’s 6 Underground, Red Notice, The Old Guard and Bright among many other films. The latest big budget spectacle (and granted most of the budget may be devoted to hiring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill and many others rather than classic Independence Day blow-up-ness…) “tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.” Look, it’s Christmas Eve. Do you want to watch It’s A Wonderful Life (again?!) or do you want a movie written and directed by Adam McKay? Now that is a wonderful life.

Saturday, December 25

NBA Christmas Games Slate (Various times/channels…starting at Noon.)

NFL gets Thanksgiving. NBA gets Christmas: 5 games starting with Hawks at Knicks and concluding with Mavs at Jazz.
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Sammy Suggestion: Dealer’s Choice: Fade To Shane Black Christmasy Movie Magic! (Anytime / Various Channels)

Action cinema legend Shane Black has set everything from Lethal Weapon to The Nice Guys at Christmas, but why does he love festive action movies?
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Sigh. Okay so on December 18 I recommended an actual totally legit for real Christmas movie: Last Train To Christmas. And people who know me as a charming Grinch were shocked. So today on Christmas Day…baby Jesus, Santa Claus all of it…what am I gonna recommend? Why any Shane Black movie of course. As a filmmaker his hallmark is Christmas. Christmas has been used as a backdrop in Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. Even his original script for The Last Boy Scout featured Christmas (less so the released movie). He said this in 2016 in EW: “Christmas represents a little stutter in the march of days, a hush in which we have a chance to assess and retrospect our lives. I tend to think also that it just informs as a backdrop. I also think that Christmas is just a thing of beauty, especially as it applies to places like Los Angeles, where it’s not so obvious, and you have to dig for it, like little nuggets. One night, on Christmas Eve, I walked past a Mexican lunch wagon serving tacos, and I saw this little string, and on it was a little broken plastic figurine, with a light bulb inside it, of the Virgin Mary. And I thought, that’s just a little hidden piece of magic. You know, all around the city are little slices, little icons of Christmas, that are as effective and beautiful in and of themselves as any 40-foot Christmas tree on the lawn of the White House. So that, in a lot of words, is the answer.” So there ya go…seek little slices of Christmas magic in movies Shane Black has written and/or directed. “Love, Actually, Is All Around.”

Sunday, December 26

Letterkenny: Season 10 (Anytime / Hulu)

The residents of Letterkenny belong to one of three groups: the Hicks, the Skids, and the Hockey Players, who are constantly feuding with each other over seemingly trivial matters that often end with someone getting their ass kicked.
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Sammy Suggestion: Dead Man’s Switch (Anytime / Discovery+)

In 2018, Gerry Cotten, a shrewd cryptocurrency mogul, dies suddenly, losing the passwords to customer accounts worth more than $215,000,000. Now, journalists, regulators, and account holders want to know if Cotten is really dead — or on the run.
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A riveting cryptocurrency thriller (new genre alert!) unravels the story of a Canadian blockchain wizard (new business card alert!) who mysteriously died on his honeymoon in India and the fate of his investors’ $200 million. Did it vanish into the digital void or does it remain locked away in password-protected accounts? You know how frustrating it is to get into Facebook or IG if you’ve forgotten your password? Imagine not having the password to an account with hundreds of millions of dollars.

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

230 | Dani Doucette (Run With Me)

My Summer Lair Chapter #230: Are You Prepared To Enter The Daniverse?

Electro Pop Artist Dani Doucette joins My Summer Lair from sunny Costa Rica. She wisely departed the frozen north which is where I am recording. You can even hear the Sunshine in her voice. Sigh.

You can also hear her sun infused voice on her freshly released Run With Me EP.

Listening to her 7 song EP inspired me and I wrote the following haiku as a sort of review:

Sugar High
Universe Craved heart
Run With Me

So that is clearly an excellent place to start this really warm conversation about Dani, her spirited music, hot sci-fi movies oh and her inspired upcoming tour which isn’t like how most bands tour. You gotta wait for that such a cool creative idea.

But first as you’d expect from a podcast called My Summer Lair we gotta start with the Sun…

Dani Doucette @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wednesday January 19, 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: December 13-19, 2021

Lotta regrets and lotta nostalgia with this week’s #SetTheVCR. I mean tis the season right? Just be careful…the salt from your tears doesn’t mix well with eggnog. #ProTip.

Monday, December 13

The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe (Anytime / Discovery+)

A revealing new documentary that pulls the curtain back on the multi-level marketing company and features interviews with retailers, warehouse workers, designers and others whose lives were profoundly impacted by the organization.
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Sammy Suggestion: Anger, Social Media And Us (Anytime / BBC 2)

David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger and Us follows the writer and comedian as he explores the impact social media is having on our behaviour both on and offline.
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Basically a British The Social Dilemma only with more sarcasm. However Baddiel’s explorations includes meeting with prolific users, writers and experts which includes Kat Rosenfield (a Stan Lee collaborator). She’s a dope writer and often offers up a unique perspective on these complicated matters. Thankfully if you forget to #SetTheVCR for this never no worries: I’ll tweet this out as a reminder.

Tuesday, December 14

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes in order to win her heart.
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Sammy Suggestion: Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (Anytime / HBO & Crave)

Street Gang takes us inside the minds and hearts of the Sesame Street creators to help us understand not only how they produced this groundbreaking show, but also what it was like to be at the center of a cultural and social phenomenon.
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There’s a startling moment early in David Kamp’s book Sunny Days: The Children’s Television Revolution That Changed America where Loretta Long is cast to play Susan on Sesame Street. She calls her parents back home in Michigan to describe her new job; this new TV show which’ll premiere on November 10, 1969 and her sharing included trying to describe Bird Bird to her parents. It never occurred to me there was a life before Big Bird: like the sun and the moon and the stars. He’s always been there. We’ve never had to describe Big Bird; he’s like Superman. It doesn’t matter if the person is 2 years old or 82 years old: EVERYONE knows these characters. However not many people know all the artists, writers, producers, and educators who created Sesame Street. And that’s where Street Gang comes in: watch it for nostalgia; watch it for joy. An ideal way to celebrate 50 years of Sunny Days.

Wednesday, December 15

Ace Venture: Pet Detective (Anytime / Hulu)

In the role that made him a movie star, Jim Carrey places Ace Venture, a goofy detective searching for a missing mascot.
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Sammy Suggestion: Shatner In Space (Anytime / Prime Video)

A documentary special following William Shatner’s Blue Origin space flight.
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Following his recent space adventure William Shatner said to Jeff Bezos: “What you’ve given me is the most profound experience I can imagine.” He added: “I hope I never recover from this.” In attempting to explain seeing the Earth from space William Shatner is experiencing an emotional response call The Overview Effect. “The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space.” The more we all go to space the more we’ll shift. Shout out and much thanks to everyone who purchased something from Amazon to fund Bezos’ wealth and give us this freshtastic moment with Shatner in space and the sloooow growth of space tourism and space life. Space Is The Place!

Thursday, December 16

The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (10 p.m. / Crave)

Episode 5 of the Star Trek docuseries is added to Crave to today for Canadians. (Americans can check out the series on History Vault.)
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Sammy Suggestion: Juice WRLD: Into The Abyss (8 p.m. / HBO & Crave)

A dynamic exploration of the life and lasting legacy of wunderkind rapper Juice WRLD. Captured through an intimate verité lens, the sixth installment in the Music Box series follows the Chicago native’s path to superstardom and streaming supremacy by the time he was 18 courtesy of his breakout hit, “Lucid Dreams.”
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Jarad Anthony Higgins died on December 8, 2019. As Juice WRLD dude had it. HAD IT. The final Music Box documentary for this first season…HBO’s musical 30 for 30s recognizes the life and the talent we lost. This one is gonna hit hard. I want to watch it but I dunno if I can get through it.

Friday, December 17

Rolling Like Thunder (8 p.m. / Crave & Showtime)

Before street art became mainstream, the anonymous outlaws of “freight writing” put graffiti on the map. One of the most extreme and risky iterations of the art form, freight train graffiti culture has a rich history, laden with myth-like artists, remarkable romances and competitive graffiti crews.
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Sammy Suggestion: Station Eleven: Limited Series (Anytime / HBO Max & Crave)

A post-apocalyptic saga based on the best-selling book by Emily St. John Mandel. Spanning multiple timelines, this limited drama series tells the stories of survivors of a devastating pandemic as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
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Generally there are two types of apocalypses. The most popular and common is where everything is utterly destroyed…buildings, humans…all of it. Think Independence Day or Knowing. No one and nowhere is safe. Then there’s…let’s call em a local apocalypse. All the infrastructure of our civilization remains intact but humans are an endangered species. Think any zombie movie/TV show or The Stand. Station Eleven is the latter; much like The Stand, a virus has eliminated most humans. “A limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s international bestseller, Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic saga that follows survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.” I never read the novel so I dunno what to expect over these 10 episodes. However Hiro Murai is a producer and director and he’s incredible at balancing real violence with real comedy; real humanity. You’ve seen his dynamic work on Barry (highly recommended) and Atlanta. Both of which have a unique tone; they’re not traditional TV shows. So yeah if you’re in the mood for a local apocalypse…here ya go! But really check out Hiro Murai’s impressive talents.

Saturday, December 18

UNINTERRUPTED Canada: The Fred VanVleet Story (Anytime / Crave)

Toronto Raptors point guard and UNINTERRUPTED Canada partner to chronicle his extraordinary journey from the streets of Rockford, Illinois and undrafted free agent to NBA Champion
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Sammy Suggestion: Last Train To Christmas (Anytime / Sky Cinema)

When successful 80s nightclub manager Michael Sheen boards a magical train at Christmas, he discovers that each carriage harbours a different stage of his life.
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A Christmas movie brimming with regrets which means I’ll regret this recommendation: “Tony Towers (Sheen) is about to take the trip of a lifetime. It’s 1985 and he’s a successful nightclub manager, a local celebrity and engaged to a much younger woman, Sue (Emmanuel). Things are going great. But when he embarks upon the 3:17 to Nottingham for a Christmas family reunion, things get a little strange. Moving up a carriage to the buffet car lands him in 1995, where he finds his clubs have failed and his life has fallen apart. Tony discovers that by moving up and down this fateful train, he can transport himself forward and backward to various stages of his life.” A kind of time loop Doctor Who time travel affair. Okay so fine here’s a Christmas movie. “Now I Have A Time Machine. Ho-Ho-Ho.”

Sunday, December 19

The Matrix (Anytime / Crave)

Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question — What is the Matrix?
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Sammy Suggestion: Mother/Android (Anytime / Hulu)

Set in the near future, Mother/Android follows Georgia and her boyfriend Sam through their treacherous journey of escape as their country is caught in an unexpected war with artificial intelligence.
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I dig the I Am Legend vibes replacing vampires with renegade Androids. That’s fresh. “Georgia (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Sam (Algee Smith), a couple who go on a treacherous journey to escape their country, which is caught in an unexpected war with artificial intelligence. Days away from the arrival of their first child, the couple must face No Man’s Land— a stronghold of the android uprising, in hopes of reaching safety before Georgia give birth.” Wait, is this not based on a comic book or a book or a TV show or a video game?! Original sci-fi? Is that possible?

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

#CouchWorthy: Welcome to Earth

Welcome to Earth: Limited Series (Anytime / Disney+) – We need a name for this genre where a famous actor explores the hidden wonders of Earth. Prime examples include Down to Earth with Zac Efron (new season coming in 2022), Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco (Season 2 is currently airing), Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Round (with rumours of a second season) and now Will Smith’s Welcome to Earth (is it really named after his line in Independence Day??).

As revealed during Disney+ Day Welcome follows Will Smith as he “Focuses” on remote and uncharted places. On Earth.

The six-part limited series is less a Pursuit of Happyness and more like a Bright Shark Tale. From volcanoes to deep sea adventures Will Smith “Hitches” his wagon to elite explorers who behold all the Collateral Beauty our world has to offer.

It sounds dangerous like he’s joined a Suicide Squad but it’s inspiring.

Because after all a Lakeview Terrace is a terrible way to see The Secret Life of Bees. The Human Contract demands we explore our world because we’re all connected with barely Six Degrees of Separation.

So explore the Earth (our glorious Earth!) with Will Smith before it’s too late; because environmentally a time is coming we can only term as After Earth.

#SetTheVCR | Disney+ | December 8, 2021

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

229 | Penny Lane (Listening to Kenny G)

My Summer Lair Chapter #229: Have You Listened…Not Heard…Have You Listened To Kenny G?

When I say Kenny G what is the first thing that pops into your head? For me and this HBO Max documentary touches upon it; it’s that classic elevator music sound. I may be in the minority.

Kenny G is the best-selling instrumental artist ever. So clearly lots of people are happily listening to Kenny G. He himself says: “I don’t think I’m a personality to people,” says Kenny G. “I think I’m a sound.”

In the hectic boom and Breathless backlash to Kenny G and his music this entire discourse is electrified by a distinct philosophy of taste. Music is an emotional connection though for many critics they are not Sentimental about Kenny’s music.

Penny Lane’s documentary Listening to Kenny G is more than a Silhouette of the popular artist. By the Time This Night Is Over you’ll know more about Kenny G and hear some of his fiercest critics who are not fans of his Classics in the Key of G.

As such I was thrilled to talk to director Penny Lane to talk about the New Standards of taste and Kenny G.

Listening to Kenny G is part of HBO’s Music Box series created by Bill Simmons who gifted us 30 for 30 over on ESPN. Think of the Music Box series as sonic 30 for 30s. You can stream the doc on HBO Max.

This Music Box documentary happens to focus on Kenny G whose music gives pleasure to many and yet angers others. Let’s unpack the complex emotions with director Penny Lane.

The Listening To Kenny G trailer:

Penny Lane @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday November 30, 2021 at 11:30am

What are you watching on YouTube? There’s divine delight at discovering delicious pop culture. Sign up now so you can enjoy the My Pal Sammy newsletter.

229 | Penny Lane (Listening to Kenny G)

My Summer Lair Chapter #229: Have You Listened…Not Heard…Have You Listened To Kenny G?

When I say Kenny G what is the first thing that pops into your head? For me and this HBO Max documentary touches upon it; it’s that classic elevator music sound. I may be in the minority.

Kenny G is the best-selling instrumental artist ever. So clearly lots of people are happily listening to Kenny G. He himself says: “I don’t think I’m a personality to people,” says Kenny G. “I think I’m a sound.”

In the hectic boom and Breathless backlash to Kenny G and his music this entire discourse is electrified by a distinct philosophy of taste. Music is an emotional connection though for many critics they are not Sentimental about Kenny’s music.

Penny Lane’s documentary Listening to Kenny G is more than a Silhouette of the popular artist. By the Time This Night Is Over you’ll know more about Kenny G and hear some of his fiercest critics who are not fans of his Classics in the Key of G.

As such I was thrilled to talk to director Penny Lane to talk about the New Standards of taste and Kenny G.

Listening to Kenny G is part of HBO’s Music Box series created by Bill Simmons who gifted us 30 for 30 over on ESPN. Think of the Music Box series as sonic 30 for 30s. You can stream the doc on HBO Max.

This Music Box documentary happens to focus on Kenny G whose music gives pleasure to many and yet angers others. Let’s unpack the complex emotions with director Penny Lane.

Penny Lane @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday November 30, 2021 at 11:30am EST

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#SetTheVCR: December 06-12, 2021

Oh yes I know Christmas is coming but thankfully only in real life: it’s not on TV just yet. Behold some excellent non-Christmas #SetTheVCR recommendations. Except for the one that totally is a holiday film, no matter what anyone says.

Monday, December 06

Landscapers: Limited Series (9 p.m. / HBO & Crave)
Starring Olivia Colman and David Thewlis, LANDSCAPERS tells a unique love story involving a seemingly ordinary British couple who become the focus of an extraordinary investigation when two dead bodies are discovered in the back garden of a house in Nottingham, England.
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Sammy Suggestion: Voir (Anytime / Netflix)

Film lovers examine the cinematic moments that thrilled, perplexed, challenged and forever changed them in this collection of visual essays.
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“From executive producers David Fincher and David Prior, Voir is a series of 6 visual essays celebrating Cinema and the personal connection we each have to the stories we see on the big screen. From intimate personal histories to insights on character and craft, each episode reminds us why Cinema holds a special place in our lives.” While some of that sounds like a dork with a YouTube channel brimming with facile explainer videos (The Easter Eggs You Missed in the Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer that only I caught!) this is Fincher. So we know these 6 short form visual essays will at least have better production values. Some of the topics and themes are: Summer Of The Shark (of course Jaws!) which reflects on blockbusters from the 70s and 80s. But I Don’t Like Him sparked by Lawrence Of Arabia connects with unlikeable characters. Film Vs. Television is a visual essay that recognizes the line between those mediums is blurring. There’s 3 more topics of course all offering TED Talk insights on the magic of cinema. Think Tyler Durden but this time with a benevolent Project Voir.

Tuesday, December 07

Man In The Arena: Tom Brady (Midnight / TSN 2)

The series features Brady and other notable figures deconstructing the milestones of his legendary NFL career, mining the psychological and emotional terrain of each victory and defeat.
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Sammy Suggestion: Vigil: Limited Series (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

The mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine bring the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services.
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Vigil and Line of Duty are BBC’s highest-rated crime dramas this year. Vigil no doubt for offering a unique premise: the 6-part series is a police procedural of a homicide on a British nuclear submarine. Oh. Fresh. That’s not your everyday mystery. The death on the HMS Vigil was “classified” as an accidental overdose but of course…nothing is what it seems. The investigation runs on parallel tracks…one cop is embedded in the nuclear submarine still on active duty and the other is on land following up leads. Because this investigation involves Britain’s national security, I can only hope the conspiracy goes “right to the top!” If you’ve enjoyed shows like Bodyguard these are the terrific tension types of shows BBC excels at. Premieres with 2 episodes and following every Sunday you can expect 2 more episodes. (Please Note: for American viewers this’ll air in the US on Peacock starting on December 23rd. Merry Christmas!)

Wednesday, December 08

World War Z (Anytime / Hulu)

Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatens to destroy humanity itself.
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Sammy Suggestion: Welcome to Earth: Limited Series (Anytime / Disney+)

WELCOME TO EARTH, a Disney+ original series from National Geographic, follows two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith on an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world to explore Earth’s greatest wonders and reveal its most hidden secrets.
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We need a name for this genre where a famous actor explores the hidden wonders of Earth. Prime examples include Down to Earth with Zac Efron (new season coming in 2022), Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco (Season 2 is currently airing), Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Round (with rumours of a second season) and now Will Smith’s Welcome to Earth (is it really named after his line in Independence Day??). As revealed during Disney+ Day Welcome follows Will Smith as he “Focuses” on remote and uncharted places. On Earth. The six-part limited series is less a Pursuit of Happyness and more like a Bright Shark Tale. From volcanoes to deep sea adventures Will Smith “Hitches” his wagon to elite explorers who behold all the Collateral Beauty our world has to offer. It sounds dangerous like he’s joined a Suicide Squad but it’s inspiring. Because after all a Lakeview Terrace is a terrible way to see The Secret Life of Bees. The Human Contract demands we explore our world because we’re all connected with barely Six Degrees of Separation. So explore the Earth with Will Smith before it’s too late; because environmentally a time is coming we can only term as After Earth.

Thursday, December 09

The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (10 p.m. / Crave)

Episode 4 of the Star Trek docuseries is added to Crave to today for Canadians. (Americans can check out the series on History Vault.)
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Sammy Suggestion: Music Box: Mr. Saturday Night (8 p.m. / HBO & Crave)

This documentary chronicles the meteoric career of Australian entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, who gambled on a magazine article about the Brooklyn night club scene and turned it into the 1977 cultural touchstone Saturday Night Fever, forever changing the way film studios approached movie soundtrack synergy, leaving an indelible mark on American cinema for decades to come.
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Disco Sucks! For us to get to that level of hate, disco had to go mainstream. The latest Music Box documentary is Mr. Saturday Night about Robert Stigwood’s gamble that turned Saturday Night Fever into a cultural touchstone. Along the way Stigwood managed Cream and the Bee Gees, produced Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar and served up Grease. This isn’t a documentary so much as a time machine back to the 70s. So click your platform shoes three times and know if you got a Fever this is working. (Please Note: Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss is next week’s final Music Box for “Season 1.” Oh that one is gonna hit hard.)

Friday, December 10

Encounter (Anytime / Prime Video)

A decorated Marine goes on a rescue mission to save his two young sons from an unhuman threat. As their journey takes them in increasingly dangerous directions, the boys will need to leave their childhoods behind.
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Sammy Suggestion: Ricky Powell: The Individualist (8 p.m. / Showtime)

Famed street photographer Ricky Powell made a name for himself taking wild portraits of New York City’s who’s who in the 80s and 90s. From the Beastie Boys to Basquiat, Powell’s lens captured the grit and glamour of the city’s downtown scene like never before. Powell and some of his notable subjects reflect on his fascinating life and work — as well as the demons that shaped him.
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If you don’t know the name you know the photographs: “Famed street photographer Ricky Powell made a name for himself taking wild portraits of New York City’s who’s who in the 80s and 90s. From the Beastie Boys to Basquiat, Powell’s lens captured the grit and glamour of the city’s downtown scene like never before. Powell and some of his notable subjects reflect on his fascinating life and work — as well as the demons that shaped him.” When we’re talking about “notable subjects” that means Chuck D and Mike D, LL Cool J, Laurence Fishburne and more. Oh so making a tea for this one.

Saturday, December 11

Die Hard (Anytime / Prime Video)

This holiday classic (you head me) follows an NYPD officer as he tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. Yippie ki yay MF.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Real Charlie Chaplin (8 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)

Hollywood icon Charlie Chaplin rocketed to fame from the slums of Victorian London and spent decades as one of Hollywood’s most famous and beloved stars until his scandalous fall from grace. His stage persona and incendiary media portrayal defined how he was perceived, but his private life has always been shrouded in mystery – until now.
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So excited for The Real Charlie Chaplin! That dude was a #GOAT. When he died in 1977 we never replaced him. You can’t…you only get one whose that good; who goes that hard in the paint and then he’s gone. It’s surreal how good Chaplin was. “Having unprecedented access to the Chaplin archives, The Real Charlie Chaplin blends dramatic reconstructions with never-before-heard recordings, intimate home movies, behind-the-scenes material, and newly restored classic films to reveal a side of the worldwide icon that – until now – has been shrouded in mystery. Tracing back a century ago – when Chaplin first stepped onto the screen – the film recounts his meteoric rise from the slums of Victorian London to the heights of Hollywood superstardom.” From The Tramp to The Great Dictator this is The Real Charlie Chaplin.

Sunday, December 12

BBC First: Free Preview (Anytime / BBC First)

A free preview is on now until January 02, 2022 for all Canadians. “From drama and comedy to mystery and adventure, BBC First brings you the best of British entertainment with the perfect mix of premium programming – and a bevy of classic blockbusters.”
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Sammy Suggestion: Hollywood Suite: Free Preview (Anytime / Hollywood Suite)

‘Tis the season to be jolly with Hollywood Suite’s nationwide free preview, December 1st thru January 5th!
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Oh! One of my favourite holiday traditions: the yearly free preview of Hollywood Suite. Available nationally from December 1 to January 5, 2022. 4 movie channels divided by decade: 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. We got movies like Teen Wolf (1985), The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, Ocean’s 11 (1960), both Kill Bill Volumes, Taxi Driver and lots more. We got TV shows like Staged with David Tennant and Michael Sheen, Helter Skelter: An American Myth and lots more. It’s truly a Christmas miracle every year. So now what will you watch first: something classic or something that will become a classic or something that is classically so bad it’s good?

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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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