#CouchWorthy: Hawkeye

Hawkeye: Limited Series (Anytime / Disney+) – Marvel comics got stuck in this silly game of new characters old names.

So Peter Parker is Spider-Man and now suddenly Miles Morales is Spider-Man. That doesn’t make any sense.

Same with Captain America, Wolverine (sigh…) and Hawkeye. The comics were having so much fun being lazy the MCU on Disney+ decided to play that game too!

Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye.

Kate Bishop is not Hawkeye.

If she calls herself that…that’s dumb which means she’s dumb.

Kate Bishop: “Some people have actually called me…the world’s greatest archer.” I can promise you they have not. Updating your Wikipedia page doesn’t make it true.

Do The Work: Come Up With An Original Name. Inspirations not Iterations.

This trailer offers no surprises: it’s exactly what you think it’ll be.

Hawkeye will premiere its first two episodes on November 24, 2021 (#SetTheVCR); with six episodes total, concluding on December 22.

#SetTheVCR | Disney+ | November 24, 2021


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

Will Venom’s Carnage be PG as in…Pretty Good?!

According to Film Ratings a movie called Venom: Let There Be Carnage is rated PG-13 and not hard R. How is that logical? How much Carnage can you pull off with PG?

Mainstreaming Venom like it’s the MCU is weird.

Venom is not gonna sell happy meals. Economics due to the budget perhaps?

Spider-Man can’t go R; understandably that makes sense but Venom? That’s a weird choice.

Butts in the seats? Perhaps. The first Venom was also PG-13 and hauled more than $854 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million. So economics says PG-13 is good business but the box office of Joker and Deadpool for example say otherwise.

(Considering the success of Deadpool and the failure of Suicide Squad I’d bet a hard Rated R for Right On Batman movie would work.

If Twilight-Sparkle Batman isn’t rated R then any talk is about being raw or dark or grim or violent is just cheap marketing talk. Buzzwords.)

Oh and The Suicide Squad. Though The Suicide Squad shoulda never been on HBO Max in the first case: such a bad call. Still what was a good call was dumping David Ayer’s wretched Suicide Squad what tragically was rated PG-13. DC went soft…again. No guts no glory.

So for James Gunn’s super dope The Suicide Squad they went hard R and it worked…the violence made sense; as did all the jokes. The movie benefitted from that R-freedom (“drug use, brief graphic nudity, language throughout, some sexual references, and strong violence and gore”); it’s lots of fun. (Not as much heart as Guardians of the Galaxy but that was expected; still excellent soundtrack as always.)

Or…Yo Joe!

If the studio was serious about making Snake Eyes more like a proper G.I. Joe movie and less like a Nicolas Cage/Brian De Palma remake aim for Rated R for Ruckus: ninjas, Storm Shadow, motorcycles, guns, Cobra: so much goodness to play with. Wouldn’t that make a better movie? And a better movie “brings all the boys to the yard.”

Mash It Up, Mash It All. Snake Eyes was rated PG-13 and still bombed: it rolled the dice and came up Snake Eyes: the economics play or butts in the seats didn’t work out.

Just something to contemplate as you consume your Venom Happy Meal, right? “Oh…I got Carnage! What did you get?”


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 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.

#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.

#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.

#SetTheVCR: February 22-28, 2021

Having lived through The Cola Wars how are you enjoying The Streamer Wars? The latest shot is via Disney+ which this week adds STAR, their Adult Section. Sadly it’s not behind a beaded curtain. But that’s not all that’s on TV.

Monday, February 22

Independent Lens: “Mr. SOUL!” (10/9c PM / PBS)

Righteous! The documentary Mr. SOUL! on Independent Lens remembers Ellis Haizlip, host of a nationally syndicated 1960s-70s variety show whose guests included Black luminaries like Stevie Wonder, Cicely Tyson, James Baldwin and Muhammad Ali.

Sammy Suggestion: The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte hosts the Tonight Show (Anytime / Crave)

In early 1968, as riots rock American cities and the Vietnam War escalates, the legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte takes over “The Tonight Show” for one week. With a guest list that includes Bobby Kennedy, Aretha Franklin, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sidney Poitier, Belafonte introduces a fractured, changing country to itself for five historic nights.

I never expected this to come to Canada. One of Peacock’s original programs when they launched it all seemed so…in-house? Anyways I’m happy to report it’s here and I cannot wait to make a seriously serious tea. “For one week in February 1968, Johnny Carson gave up his chair to Harry Belafonte, the first time an African-American had hosted a late night TV show for a whole week.” I revere Johnny Carson and his astonishing work on The Tonight Show. This week with Harry Belafonte is part of Carson’s legacy; so happy happy to see it acknowledged.

Tuesday, February 23

Pelé (Anytime / Netflix)

The Brazilian soccer legend, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, is saluted in the sports documentary “Pelé.”

Superman & Lois (8/7 PM / The CW) & Superman & Lois: Legacy of Hope (9:30/8:30c PM/ The CW)

After years of facing supervillains, monsters and alien invaders, the world’s most famous superhero, The Man of Steel aka Clark Kent and comic books’ famed journalist Lois Lane come face to face with one of their greatest challenges ever — dealing with being working parents in today’s society.

Immediately following the premiere, The CW takes fans behind the scenes with the brand-new special SUPERMAN & LOIS: LEGACY OF HOPE. The special features sneak peeks and interviews from the cast and executive producers of the new series, plus special guests discussing the legacy of the Man of Steel.

Sammy Suggestion: Dealer’s Choice!! (Anytime / Disney+ Star)

STAR is a hub within the Disney+ streaming service for television and film content intended for an adult audience.

On April 13, 2020 Disney endured a plethora of legit criticisms for their Splash “think of the children” edit. On Disney Plus they chose to CGI edit the Tom Hanks movie so when Daryl Hannah his mermaid girlfriend runs off into the ocean instead of seeing her butt they literally gave her hair extensions to cover it up. No butts about it: that was a lousy life choice and created an uneasy tension with the audience (it’s one thing for George Lucas to continually CGI tinker with Star Wars it’s another for a studio to blindly alter the vision of a creator out of a misguided morality.). Well today Disney Plus adds Star with all kinds of wonderfully Rated R movies and more. We got 4 Alien movies, Deadpool and Die Hards to TV shows like all the Marvel Hulu shows to the Orville and much more. (Even Hill Street Blues…no way that holds up!). Original programming includes Love, Victor (a Love, Simon spin-off) and Helstrom (which was canceled on December 14, 2020.). Do these offerings make Disney Plus a Super Star Streamer? Or will it deepen their uneasy relationship with morality?

Wednesday, February 24

Ginny & Georgia: Season 1 (Anytime / Netflix)

Free-spirited Georgia and her two kids, Ginny and Austin, move north in search of a fresh start but find that the road to new beginnings can be bumpy.

Sammy Suggestion: Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (Anytime / Netflix)

Dynamic reenactments and expert commentaries bring to life the tumultuous history and power struggles of a warring 16th-century feudal Japan.

And now a mid-week trip to feudal Japan. Age of Samurai produced in part by Smithsonian Canada is an attempt to be educationally and historically accurate in depicting this violent yet honourable era in Japan’s history. Over 6 episodes a handful of actors (you’ll recognize some faces…from The Wolverine, Altered Carbon, 47 Ronin, Heroes Reborn) will play the villains and warlords attempting to become Japan’s absolute ruler. Yes: this includes Masamune Date (head of the Date Clan and aka One-Eyed Dragon!) who was the inspiration for Darth Vader’s helmet/design. While Japanese history is fascinating (and gory) a lot of our pop culture is rooted in this ancient time period. So this is an enchanting two-fer. Learn about them to learn about us.

Thursday, February 25

Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (Anytime / HBO Max)

JIMMY CARTER, ROCK & ROLL PRESIDENT charts the forgotten story of how Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others.

Sammy Suggestion: Spaceship Earth (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)

A look at the group of people who built the Biosphere 2, a giant replica of the earth’s ecosystem, in 1991.

Is it possible to have culture without a cult? Every now and then we’ll run into a documentary and go: how do people live like this? None of us fully appreciate or grasp just what’s out there and how not everyone lives and works the “exact” same way. “Spaceship Earth is the true, stranger-than-fiction, adventure of eight visionaries who in 1991 spent two years quarantined inside of a self-engineered replica of Earth’s ecosystem called BIOSPHERE 2.” Was this science or science fiction? A dream or dreamers? Only one way to find out.

Friday, February 26

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (Anytime / Apple TV+)

Take a deeply intimate look at extraordinary teenager Billie Eilish. Award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler follows her journey on the road, onstage, and at home with her family as the writing and recording of her debut album changes her life.

Sammy Suggestion: Irresistible (Anytime / Crave)

A Democratic political consultant helps a retired Marine colonel run for mayor in a small Wisconsin town.

Jon Stewart’s follow up to Rosewater is pretty much what you expect from the former host of The Daily Show. “A Democratic strategist helps a retired veteran run for mayor in a small, conservative Midwest town.” It’s like a political version of Mamet’s State and Main. Americans can laugh at the political antics as well since this was added to HBO Max on February 6.

Saturday, February 27

Sammy Suggestion: John Lewis: Good Trouble (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

The life of John Lewis is celebrated in this documentary that follows his journey from civil rights activist to United States Representative.

The latest CNN Films documentary has magically appeared on Netflix (Canada). The 2020 documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble salutes the late Georgia congressman and lion of the civil rights movement. (If that isn’t appealing Netflix Canada has 2 other CNN Films: RBG (on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and Apollo 11 (a sublime documentary on the Moon Landing.). All 3 docs are worth the time investment.

Sunday, February 28

The Circus: Season 6The Circus (8/7c PM / Showtime)
Nothing’s left off the table when groundbreaking docu-series THE CIRCUS returns for another season of politics, up close and personal.

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.

Did you get the memo? Milton from Office Space is gonna be the guest voice on The Simpsons. Yes Stephen Root. This episode should be “fire.” And help prevent a case of the Mondays.


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

#SetTheVCR: February 15-21, 2021

Interestingly lotta old school this week. Sometimes we just gotta look back before can look ahead. Speaking of “that sounds deep” my first recommendation is Waterworld. Oh it’s gonna be one of those types of weeks!

Monday, February 15

The Crew: Season 1 (Anytime / Netflix)

Life in the garage swerves off track for a NASCAR crew chief and his tight-knit racing team when a new boss steps in and shakes things up. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: Waterworld (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw “smokers,” and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.

1995’s Waterworld is known for its budget than its quality. With a budget of $172 million (and a total outlay of $235 million once marketing and distribution costs are factored in) it did not do well at the box office. “In a futuristic world engulfed by water (the polar ice cap has completely melted) a nameless antihero Kevin Costner as The Mariner witnesses a gang of pirates focused on Enola (Tina Majorino) who, according to their leader the Deacon (Dennis Hopper), has a map to Dryland tattooed on her back.” This is years after Escape from New York and years before Avatar yet Waterworld wasn’t exactly an IP machine. A video game and a couple of Universal Studios attractions. So: Does It Hold Up?

Tuesday, February 16

Kenan: Season 1 (8:30/7:30 PM / NBC)

Raising two kids is a three-man job in this new family comedy starring Kenan Thompson. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song (9/8c PM / PBS)

An intimate four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUT SONG will explore the 400-year-old story of the black church in America, the changing nature of worship spaces, and the men and women who shepherded them from the pulpit, the choir loft, and church pews.

You might know Henry Louis Gates Jr. as the host of the PBS series Finding Your Roots a 23andMe type show for celebrities discovering their origins. (You might also remember Henry Louis Gates Jr. a black man was arrested in 2009 and that racially charged event led Obama to arrange a “beer summit” with the arresting officer.) Gates’ focus has consistently been greater recognition of black literature and black culture. And today visually on PBS (and via the book medium) he fulfills his artistic mandate. The Black Church features interviews with John Legend, Bishop Michael Curry, Cornel West, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Rev. Al Sharpton and many others. Together they examine the centrality of religion and spirituality to the African American experience. This’ll conclude on Wednesday night same channel and time. And the accompanying book with the same title is out today. (A bonus #NewBookAlert!).

Wednesday, February 17

Amend: The Fight for America (Anytime / Netflix)

Will Smith hosts this look at the evolving, often lethal, fight for equal rights in America through the lens of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: Behind Her Eyes: Limited Series (Anytime / Netflix)

A single mother enters a world of twisted mind games when she begins an affair with her psychiatrist boss while secretly befriending his mysterious wife.

A miniseries adaptation of Sarah Pinborough’s novel (I dunno who that is), Behind Her Eyes is a thriller about a triangle between Louise (Simona Brown), the married man she’s having an affair with (Tom Bateman) and his wife Adele (Eve Hewson). In the course of six episodes, Louise begins an unlikely friendship with Adele and gradually realizes that Adele has some secrets of her own. Based on the trailer Behind Her Eyes is like Closer meets A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Thursday, February 18

House Party (Anytime / Crave)

It’s #TBT for Kid ‘N Play. Kid decides to go to his friend Play’s house party, but n`either of them can predict what’s in store for them on what could be the wildest night of their lives. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: It’s a Sin: Miniseries (Anytime / HBO Max)

1981, and a gang of friends move in together, in the heart of London. As the decade unfolds, we follow their hopes and dreams, highs and lows, all coming out and coming of age. But a terrible new virus is on the rise, and they’ll need each other more than ever as the fight begins.

A Russell T. Davies update! (I coulda sworn he talked about writing an AIDS drama back when he was writing Doctor Who.) Set initially in the early 1980s (and yes named after the outstanding Pet Shop Boys single), It’s A Sin is a British TV series that addresses the HIV and AIDS epidemic that wrought destruction on London’s gay community. The five-episode mini-series depicts a decade of life starting from 1981, during which cases of the virus rapidly increase, and the wider world is eventually forced to take notice. I hope this is as strong and as bold as Years and Years. (Also highly recommended viewing.) Please Note: for Canadian viewers this will be on Prime Video (Canada) on Friday, February 19.

Friday, February 19

It’s a Sin: Miniseries (Anytime / Prime Video (Canada))

1981, and a gang of friends move in together, in the heart of London. Watch Trailer Up There ?

Sammy Suggestion: Patrice O’Neal: Killing Is Easy (10/9 PM / Comedy Central)

An original documentary based on the irreverent comedian’s life and produced in collaboration with All Things Comedy.

If you look up Patrice O’Neal on Wikipedia you’ll read this apt description: he “became known for his conversational style, deconstructive analysis, and often confrontational point of view in his stand-up routines.” That is wonderfully spot on. In his 2011 special Elephant in the Room (see?! The title makes sense!) he opened with the following lines: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m thanking one in particular. Bad titties in the front row. Thank you so much. Thank you, audience coordinator, for putting those titties up in the front row. God bless you. Those are distracting me.” Yes that’s how the special opened! O’Neal died of a stroke resulting from his type 2 diabetes on November 29, 2011, at the age of 41. He left behind a woulda, coulda comedy career. I’m grateful Bill Burr is the executive producer of this special doc and pushed to make it happen. May this helps others to discover the comedic stylings of Patrice O’Neal.

Saturday, February 20

Sammy Suggestion: The Muppet Show (Anytime / Disney+)

Scooter scrambles to upload the Muppets’ streaming series, while the gang throws complications, distractions and obstacles at him.

All 5 season of The Muppet Show are now on Disney+. I repeat: all 5 seasons of The Muppet Show are on Disney+. Though…Statler and Waldorf have feelings about the classic comedy show…

Waldorf: “That was wonderful!”

Statler: “Bravo!”

Waldorf: “I loved it!”

Statler: “Ah, it was great!”

Waldorf: “Well, it was pretty good.”

Statler: “Well, it wasn’t bad…”

Waldorf: “Uh, there were parts of it that weren’t very good though.”

Statler: “It could have been a lot better.”

Waldorf: “I didn’t really like it.”

Statler: “It was pretty terrible.”

Waldorf: “It was bad.”

Statler: “It was awful!”

Waldorf: “It was terrible!”

Statler: “Take ’em away!”

Waldorf: “Bah, boo!”

Statler: “Boo!”

Sunday, February 21

Modern Marvels (10/9 PM / History Channel)

History favorite MODERN MARVELS is back…with a fresh take and a new attitude. This time Modern Marvels goes straight for the taste buds in an all-compassing celebration and exploration of food. Watch Preview Here

The Circus (8 PM ET/PT / Showtime)

Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the intense, inspiring and infuriating stories behind the headlines. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: Coming To America (Anytime / Prime Video)

An extremely pampered African Prince travels to Queens, New York, and goes undercover to find a wife that he can respect for her intelligence and will.

Coming 2 America will of course debut on March 5 on Prime Video. Coming to America is of course a freshtastic 1988 comedy hit. Back in the day Coming to America reunited Eddie Murphy with director John Landis; the two men had worked together on another comedy hit Trading Places. However Coming is much stronger work and still holds up. Plus Coming to America established an Eddie Murphy trademark: this was the first time Eddie Murphy played multiple characters in the same film. Gold! Long before we visited Wakanda we lounged and laughed in Zamunda. Let’s return to this wonderful fictional country shall we? (This is added to Prime Video Canada today; however it’s been on Prime Video in America since February 1st.)


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

#SetTheVCR: February 08-14, 2021

How was your Super Bowl Sunday?! Here’s some terrific TV recommendations while you finish off leftover chicken wings so you can Netflix and chili.

Monday, February 8

VH1 Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition (8/7 PM / VH1)
With the help of his son Jayden and Momma Dee, Trick Daddy pulls together a backyard barbecue to reunite cast members (and their families). Watch Trailer Here

Black Lightning: Season 4 (9/8 PM / The CW)
Jefferson Pierce is a man wrestling with a secret. Nine years ago, Pierce was gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, which he used to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante BLACK LIGHTNING. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: The Corporation (Anytime / YouTube)

Provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time.

The Corporation was a scintillating 2003 documentary that compared the symptoms of psychopathy with corporate behaviour. Oh Boy! The doc featured interviews with prominent corporate critics such as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore and Howard Zinn. It is online now if you want to watch it; I highly recommend it. Especially because this Friday the sequel The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel will be broadcast on Crave. The New Corporation profiles new developments in the political and social power of corporations. It’s one of those…we’re still doing this?! kinda deals. So look out for that on Friday; after you finish checking this out. The link for 2003 is up there; here’s the trailer for the sequel.

Tuesday, February 9

Fright Club (Anytime / Discovery+)
FRIGHT CLUB features Jack Osbourne and the Ghost Brothers, Dalen Spratt, Marcus Harvey, and Juwan Mass, who freak each other out with the creepiest, craziest paranormal evidence ever caught on camera. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: The Food That Built America: Season 2 (10/9 PM / History Channel)

This series turns the lens on an iconic selection of bold pioneers behind such iconic foods as Oreo, Cheetos, pizza, and more.

This second season of The Food That Built America will reveal the fascinating history behind the titans who fought their way to the top of the food chain: Pizza Hut, Oreo, Kraft, McDonalds, Cheetos and more. As a survivour of the cola wars I can attest the food fights between these beloved brands hasn’t been savory. This series is about the trials, triumphs and tribulations of our food industry: familiar feelings if anybody has attempted a diet. PSA: The Food That Built America tonight is a special sneak preview before moving to its regular timeslot on Sundays at 9PM (starting ironically on Valentine’s Day. Talk about love and food…)

Wednesday, February 10

Tuskegee Airmen: Legacy of Courage (8/7 PM / History Channel)
In this one hour special, Robin Roberts explores the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary group of African American pilots including her father that served in WWII, revealing how these warriors for change helped end segregation in the military and pave the way for the civil rights movement. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Anytime / Netflix)

The notorious Cecil Hotel grows in infamy when guest Elisa Lam vanishes. From the creator of “The Ted Bundy Tapes,” a dive into crime’s darkest places.

If you’ve ever visited the Overlook Hotel then chances are you’ll want to also make a reservation at The Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The first documented suicide at the Cecil was reported in 1931 and since then the hotel’s creepy reputation has become a harrowing list of horrors: serials killers, suicides, sex workers, violent beatings, drug activity. So naturally it’s comforting to watch all that from the safe comfort of your home via Netflix. Their latest true crime 4 part docuseries doesn’t focus on criminals but rather the crime scenes. What do we do with gruesome locations? And what happens to the people who did not heed the Amityville House warning: “GET OUT.”

Thursday, February 11

Clarice: Season 1 (10/9 PM / CBS)
CLARICE is a deep dive into the untold personal story of FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field in 1993, one year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: Red Dot (Anytime / Netflix)

Trying to rekindle their marriage and with a child on the way, a young couple on a ski trip suddenly finds themselves stalked by remorseless killers.

And now a Swedish thriller! A couple on a camping trip attempting to rekindle their relationship fear they’ve become the targets of a sniper when they see a red dot following them wherever they go. That is not Swedish for common sense but English for terror.

Friday, February 12

Hip Hop Uncovered (9/8 PM / FX)
From executive producer Malcolm Spellman and Oscar® and Emmy®-winning production company Lightbox, comes HIP HOP UNCOVERED, an examination of a dying breed of power brokers who operate from the shadows of hip hop. Watch Trailer Here

Marvel’s Behind The Mask (Anytime / Disney+)
MARVEL’S BEHIND THE MASK explores the power of identity behind the world’s most iconic Super Heroes we know and love today.
Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: Terrific Teen Temptations! (Anytime | Netflix & Prime Video)

Choose From The Following Teen Movies!

A wild Sophie’s Choice today: To All The Boys: Always And Forever on Netflix vs Prime Video’s The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things. Lara Jean returns in the third and final To All The Boys movie. In the first movie, LJ was a high school student who wrote secret letters to boys she had a crush on – and, against her wishes, the letters were sent out to those boys. The second movie was not as solid as the first yet here we are: the ramifications of those love letters are still driving the plot as Lara Jean prepares to graduate from high school. Chick’s gotta stay with Noah Centineo right? The character is smart so she’s gotta do the smart thing. Right?! And yet over on Amazon we got The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things. A Time Loop Teen Movie!!! With the horny chica from Blockers. I dunno who the hunk is; he seems literally basic. So do you say goodbye to Lara Jean or do you say hello to a Groundhog Day Romance? (Or watch one now and save the other for Valentine’s Day? Ah: the stress of streaming.)

Saturday, February 13

Inside Pixar (Anytime / Disney+)
A documentary series of personal and cinematic stories that provide an inside look into the people, artistry, and culture of Pixar Animation Studios. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: Helter Skelter: An American Myth (Anytime / Hollywood Suite)

Why, after 50 years, does the Manson Family still permeate our culture, our media, and our fears? The six-episode original series is the most definitive recounting of the Manson Family story ever put on screen.

It’s been 4 years since we visited Charles Manson in prison in Fincher’s Mindhunter. And it’s been 2 years since we witnessed the twisted Tinsel Town Terror of the Manson Family in QT’s fairy tale Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood. And it’s been less than a year when Epix (in America) broadcast Helter Skelter: An American Myth on July 26, 2020. That date was selected as it recognized it’s been 50 years since the grisly murder of Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojtek Frykowski and Steven Parent. The 6 episode docuseries chronicles the Manson Family history, with the classic never-before-accessed interviews from former family members and journalists first on the scene and in the courtroom, with archival footage and newly-unearthed images. Lesley Chilcott producer on An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman, will direct as well serve as executive producer. This debuts on February 11 on Hollywood Suite’s live channels as well as their On Demand channel if you wanna get started on this early.

Sunday, February 14

The Simpsons: Season 32 (8/7 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.

A Spy in the FBI (8/7 PM / Reelz)
Former FBI agents and journalists recount the life of Robert Hanssen and what drew him to espionage, how he stayed hidden in plain sight for over 20 years, and the events that brought down the most damaging spy in American history. Watch Trailer Here

Sammy Suggestion: 500 Days of Summer (Anytime / Crave)

An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her.

Typically a rom-com is fun: nobody in real life runs through an airport or has a loud orgasm in a dinner. As a viewer you know what you’re getting into; it’s all good. However 500 Days of Summer is not a typical rom-com. It’s devastating in many ways which makes it ideal for Valentine’s Day. Love is not what we think it is, often and even better: love is bigger than we think it is. This surreal scene Expectations vs. Reality is a punch to the nuts. Let yourself be love and as you figure out to properly and deeply love others.


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

#SetTheVCR: January 10-16, 2021

So I get the focus for this week will be WandaVision however it turns out there are other goodies on TV this week. Huh…who saw that coming?

Sunday, January 10

American Gods: Season 3 (8 p.m. / Starz)
Ex-convict Shadow Moon roams a world he doesn’t understand, left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife. Little does he know his life is about to change after he meets a crafty, charismatic con man named Mr. Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job as his bodyguard.

Tiger: Docuseries (9 p.m. / HBOMax & Crave)
TIGER is a two-part documentary offering a revealing look at the rise, fall, and epic comeback of global icon Tiger Woods.

Sammy Suggestion: The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8:30 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)

Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the stories behind the headlines.

Yo…The Circus is back! One of my favourite 2020 TV shows deftly covering the election through smart analysis and minimal commentary. Super helpful…a 30 minute summation is all I want: I’ve no interest in CNN’s 4 hour analysis of a President Trump tweet, zero interest in stiff Twitter snark…just break down the political week for 30 minutes and I’m smart enough to get it.

Monday, January 11

American Experience: The Codebreaker (9 p.m. / PBS)
The work of cryptanalyst Elizebeth Smith Friedman brings down Al Capone, breaks up a Nazi spy ring in South America, and lays the foundation for the National Security Agency (NSA).

Sammy Suggestion: Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy (Anytime / Netflix)

A cheap, powerful drug emerges during a recession, igniting a moral panic fueled by racism. Explore the complex history of crack in the 1980s.

I’m reminded of Tupac’s lines in Changes: “Instead of war on poverty/They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me.” At the time crack deepened racial and economic inequality, toxic policing, widespread incarceration and of course: government corruption. Times have changed huh? I’m surprised considering we’ve yet to have a proper in-depth crack documentary; this is only an hour and a half; it’s not a docuseries. From director Stanley Nelson who gifted us Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool and the 30 for 30: Vick (both highly recommended viewing) this is the story of how a designer drug for the Wall Street jetset deeply impacted many of America’s black communities.

Tuesday, January 12

Two Sentence Horror Stories: Season 2 (8 p.m. / The CW)
Anthology series exploring primal and social fears.

Sammy Suggestion: Empire Records: Remix! Special Fan Edition (Anytime / Prime Video)

Updated take on the cult classic. A comedy about an eventful day in the lives of the young slackers, doers and dreamers who work at a bustling record store.

It’s Rex Manning Day! (Actually everybody knows that’s really April 8th). Still the Remix! Edition has surfaced on Amazon Prime so yeah: today is Rex Manning Day. This unrated version is 107 minutes long and includes four extra scenes with 17 minutes of additional footage. Sometimes as Terminator 2 the extra scenes make a big difference; other times the director made smart choices. Regardless when was the last time you saved the Empire?

Wednesday, January 13

Sammy Suggestion: Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer: Docuseries (Anytime / Netflix)

In the upcoming Netflix four-part documentary series NIGHT STALKER: THE HUNT FOR A SERIEL KILLER premiering January 13, the viewer is taken on a wild ride alongside two brilliant detectives as they meticulously investigate a multitude of crime scenes that at first appear to be unrelated.

True crime continues to heat up: consider this a follow up to HBO’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. That docuseries opened with True Crime Diary writer Michelle McNamara’s interest in gruesome crimes committed between the 1970s and 1980s in California by an unknown culprit known as the “Original Night Stalker.” So this 4-part series is the story of “new” Night Stalker aka Richard Ramirez who terrified San Francisco residents from June 1984 until August 1985. (Ramirez is featured in the fifth and ninth seasons of American Horror Story making that show’s title chillingly apt.)

Thursday, January 14

UFO Witness (Anytime / Discovery+)
Ben Hansen is on a mission to uncover the truth behind UFO sightings across America. With unprecedented access to the archives of famed ufologist Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Ben unlocks the secrets of the past to shed light on today’s UFO encounters.

Sammy Suggestion: Hunted (Anytime / Shudder)

A modern and radical take on the Little Red Riding Hood fable, HUNTED is an exhilarating, transcendent, and frequently brutal survival tale that elevates itself with the power of myth and magic, while still holding an exacting mirror to present-day society.

And now for an adult horror fable: if you think your dating life is a disaster check out Hunted. “What started as a flirtatious encounter at a bar turns into a life-or-death struggle as Eve (Lucie Debay) becomes the unknowing target of a misogynistic plot against her.” This is the directorial debut for French filmmaker and comic artist Vincent Paronnaud so it should be visually engaging.

Friday, January 15

One Night In Miami (Anytime / Prime Video)
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.

Outside The Wire (Anytime / Netflix)
In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired up with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.

Servant: Season 2 (Anytime / Apple TV+)
A Philadelphia couple is in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.

Sammy Suggestion: WandaVision (Anytime / Disney+)

Living idealized suburban lives, super-powered beings Wanda and Vision begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.

Yes: One Night In Miami is on Amazon Prime and yes Outside the Wire is on Netflix. But after the strange MCU-less year we had last year today’s recommendation can only be WandaVision. MCU’s Netflix shows were for the most part well-received so now we turn to the Disney+ era starting with WandaVision. WandaVision will follow the story of Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision) living out the ideal suburban life. But ah…what if this Pleasantville isn’t real life? This series takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and will lead into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (which is scheduled for March 25, 2022. It was previously going to be released on May 7, 2021 but was pushed back to November 5, 2021, due to pandemic, before it was further shifted to the March 2022 date after Sony rescheduled the Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel to the November 2021 date. I’m tired too.)

The 9 episode series is directed by Matt Shakman with Jac Schaeffer as head writer. The composer is Christophe Beck, and the theme (for certain episodes) is by Frozen’s Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Oh and today you get 2 episodes and then the episodes will be released weekly.

Saturday, January 16

Sammy Suggestion: Deadwater Fell (Anytime / Hoopla)

DEADWATER FELL is a four-part British drama television miniseries written and created by Daisy Coulam. It stars David Tennant as a doctor whose wife and three young children are murdered in a fire.

An Acorn Original comes to Hoopla (you need your library card to sign into this service: otherwise it’s free!). Did you watch Broadchurch (s’on Netflix)? In that Dave Tennant played a passionate yet ornery detective trying to solve the murder a child in a small town brimming with secrets. In Deadwater Fell he’s the suspect and this time there are 3 murdered children…in a small town brimming with secrets. “When a seemingly perfect and happy family is murdered by someone they know and trust, the small Scottish community they call home becomes riven with mistrust and suspicion as those closest to the family begin to question everything they thought they knew about their friends.” Hmm. Is David Tennant guilty? Or did somebody else do it? You’ll hafta watch all 4 episodes to find out.


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

#SetTheVCR: January 03-09, 2021

New Year: New TV Recommendations. Shall we get all into it?

Sunday, January 3

The Simpsons: Season 32 (8 p.m. / 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.

Sammy Suggestion: Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (9 p.m. / CNN)

From the gospel sung in local Georgia churches, to the country music he could pick up on his childhood radio, to the Bob Dylan lyrics that set him apart as a politician, “Rock & Roll President” plays like a virtual soundtrack to Carter’s life story.

One of the oddest reasons to elect Barack Obama was because he was “just like us.” He too has Jay-Z on his iPod. Err sure. Obama was the 44th President; however before him and his rap filled iPod there was the 39th President Jimmy Carter and his unique relationship to music. According to the media release: President Carter “formed lifelong bonds with artists Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Rosanne Cash, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Nile Rodgers, and many, many others. Director Mary Wharton’s engaging film explores how President Carter’s deep love of all forms of music has been both a feature and an asset for his storied life and career.” Many of whom you’ll see in this documentary. Music has uplifted dissent voices (anything by Bob Dylan); shared bold often tragic American experiences (Springsteen’s Atlantic City) so it’ll be fascinating to see how music has shaped Carter’s Presidency. After all the primary job of the President is to listen. But listen to who?

Monday, January 4

Welcome Discovery+ to the streaming party! It launches today.

A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem (10 p.m. / PBS)
A Woman’s Work” sheds light on the continued fight to end the gender pay gap prevalent throughout the National Football League, chronicling the journeys of cheerleaders from the Raiders and the Bills, each of whom put their careers on the line to take legal action and fight for fair pay.

Sammy Suggestion: Jeopardy! (7:30 p.m. / CBS)

Welcome to Jeopardy!, home of America’s Favorite Quiz Show®.

The end of an era. Alex Trebek’s final Jeopardy! episodes will begin tonight. The first of the five episodes will start with Trebek’s “powerful message about the season of giving.” The final episode, on Friday, will conclude with a tribute to the longtime and beloved host. He died of pancreatic cancer on November 8, 2020 at age 80. A permanent host has yet to be announced, though I don’t envy that person. I saw the Bulls play after Jordan and Pippen departed and it was awful. It’s a lot to live up to; a burdensome legacy yet I suppose the show must go on.

Tuesday, January 5

History of Swear Words: A Docuseries (Anytime / Netflix)
Nicolas Cage hosts this proudly profane, funny and engagingly educational series about the history and impact of the most notorious English swear words.

Sammy Suggestion: The Proof Is Out There: Season 1 (10 p.m. / History Channel)

Host Tony Harris investigates alleged videos, photos and audio recordings of giant beasts, UFOs, alleged mutants from the deep, and other mysterious phenomenon.

“Featuring clips of found footage, still images and audio recordings sourced from private citizens and government agencies, The Proof Is Out There uses the latest technology, rigorous authentication techniques, and cutting-edge analytic processes to separate the fantastic from the fraudulent.” I mean considering the proliferation of smart phones you’d think we would have seen a clear UFO video by now; maybe the Loch Ness Monster but nooooo: all we get on IG is photos of avocado toast. Thanks for nothing! Make “look up a lot” a 2021 resolution.

Wednesday, January 6

Surviving Death (Anytime / Netflix)
What happens after we die? This docuseries explores personal stories and research on near-death experiences, reincarnation and paranormal phenomena.

Sammy Suggestion: Tony Parker: The Final Shot (Anytime / Netflix)

This film examines the background and career of Tony Parker, whose determination led him to become arguably the greatest French basketball player.

“If I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.” That was how Tony Parker signed off after 18 seasons in the NBA. Parker, who is French, was drafted 28th by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2001 NBA draft. He would form a championship nucleus with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and coach Gregg Popovich and win 4 championships. Not bad for an international player huh? This Netflix documentary should neatly cap his career and his contributions; turns out international players can become popular in a playground influenced league. I can’t find an English trailer so I hope the documentary is an English…or at least subtitled? I may be Canadian but my French is not that good.

Thursday, January 7

Pieces of a Woman (Anytime / Netflix)
A heartbreaking home birth leaves a woman grappling with the profound emotional fallout, isolated from her partner and family by a chasm of grief.

Sammy Suggestion: Escape Room (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

A birthday celebration among friends in an escape room takes a terrifying turn when the clues that lead to the exit door become increasingly deadly.

In 2015 some friends and I were unable to escape an escape room…we failed! However: I did open a combination lock by listening to the tumblers though. Just like the movies. Speaking of the movies plural…the 2019 Escape Room surfaces on Netflix. This is the 2019 movie with Deborah Ann Woll (which was oddly compelling. Escape Room 2 is coming soon. Can’t wait! Originally Escape Room 2 was slated for April 17, 2020 but ah…you know how that turned out. It was later scheduled for December 30 but I doubt it materialized.). PSA: the 2017 movie also called Escape Room is like The Game meets Saw with none of the charm or intelligence of either movie…it’s Nerve for Millennials. It should be avoided at all costs. As for the good Escape Room: it’s 6 rooms with 6 strangers which means 6 secrets. It’s a surprisingly engaging movie for such a disposable concept.

Friday, January 8

Herself (Anytime / Amazon Prime)
Single-mother Sandra (Clare Dunne) escapes her abusive partner with her two young children, only to find herself trapped in temporary accommodation. After months of struggling, she decides to self-build an affordable home, but rebuilding a life from the ground up cannot be done alone.

Marvel Studios: Legends (Anytime / Disney+)
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand, Marvel Studios: Legends celebrates and codifies what has come before.

Sammy Suggestion: Pretend It’s a City (Anytime / Netflix)

Wander the New York City streets and fascinating mind of wry writer, humorist and raconteur Fran Lebowitz as she sits down with Martin Scorsese.

Oh! Martin Scorsese & Fran Lebowitz: Return…This Time It’s Personal. I hope. We haven’t see this dynamic duo since 2010’s Public Speaking…yeah? Is this a rare documentary sequel? Dope. Fran takes us on tour of the Mean Streets of New York City. Of the many gangsters Scorsese has given us Fran Lebowitz is one of my favs.

Saturday, January 9

Sammy Suggestion: The King of Staten Island (8 p.m. / HBO)

The King of Staten Island is the latest movie from 40 Year-Old Virgin and Trainwreck director Judd Apatow, starring SNL’s Pete Davidson as a man trying to cope with his mom dating a new fireman after his fire-fighter father died.

The return of the slacker! We’ve haven’t gotten a solid slacker movie who is all Dazed and Confused for a while now. These ah…Mallrats are trapped on Staten Island led by SNL’s Pete Davidson. (Kinda echoes SNL’s Mike Myers whose famous film slacker is Wayne Campbell. Though that movie has way more heart than King.) This debuted on Crave in Canada on January 1st.


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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