#SetTheVCR: May 03-09, 2021

Another streamer joins the TV party! It’s gonna be one of those #SetTheVCR types of week.

Monday, May 03

NBA Special Edition: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes (7:30/6:30c PM / ESPN2 & ESPN+)

ESPN and Marvel announced a groundbreaking collaboration today to launch the first-ever Marvel-inspired alternate presentation for the Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans game on Monday, May 3. The latest development in Marvel and ESPN’s long history of sports content collaboration, the telecast will integrate elements from an original Marvel story and iconic characters including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange throughout the live game, including 3D virtual characters, custom graphics and animation packages.

Sammy Suggestion: Mongrel Home Cinema (A Brand New Streamer!)

A selection of award-winning cinema, curated by Mongrel Media and Magnolia Entertainment.

Welcome the latest screener slash platform: Mongrel Home Cinema launched on April 30. Mongrel Media is an independent Canadian film distributor established in 1994; Mongrel is also a dog that does not belong to one officially recognized breed. Which if you’ve seen the movies Mongrel Media distributes you understand how apt that name is. In partnership with New York-based Magnolia Pictures this streamer will only be available for Canadian audiences offering art-house movies, cool indies: a curated collection of films from both companies’ catalogues. 10 titles will be added on the first Tuesday of every month.

Subscriptions are available through Mongrel (mongrelhomecinema.com) or the Android or iOS app for $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually. (Get: 3 weeks free using promo code: MONGRELSOCIAL)

Some launch title suggestions: Before Trilogy, Ex Machina, Under The Skin, The Lobster, Frances Ha (highly recommended movie…excellent soundtrack) and you know…many others.

If Netflix is like Blockbuster where you “rent” James Bond or Jurassic Park Mongrel Home Cinema is like Queen Video: all taste and curated.

Tuesday, May 04

The Avengers (Anytime / Disney+)

ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF NEW YORK! When an unexpected enemy threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Sammy Suggestion: Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Anytime / Disney+)

“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch (first introduced in “The Clone Wars”) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch—a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army—each possess a singular exceptional skill that makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew.

Happy Nerd Christmas: May The 4th Be With You All. The Bad Batch is the newest Disney+ TV show (sandwiched between MCU shows Falcon and Loki). It is both a sequel to and spin-off from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Which was highly enjoyed by many but I did not check it out. Still The Mandalorian was solid one of the recent Star Wars offering I found enjoyable. Feel free to hang out with Baby Yoda if animated clone troopers are not your jam.

Wednesday, May 05

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, director Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star.

Sammy Suggestion: Weird Science (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak electrical accident brings her to life in the form of the lovely, superhuman Lisa (Kelly LeBrock).


One of the best Robert Downey movies from back in the day. If you got kids they gotta watch just for the old timey computers (Wyatt’s computer is a Memotech MTX512 with an FDX add-on. So cool!). And that whole mutant bikers scene is just: weird. Still Weird Science for sure doesn’t age it just improves. Two dorks with bras on their head use their computer to make a hot girl. Tis a John Hughes classic.

Thursday, May 06

Dark Side of the Ring: Season 3 (9/8c PM / Crave)

Exploring the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling and trying to find the truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.

Citizen Penn (Anytime / Discovery+)

The humanitarian efforts of Sean Penn and a dedicated team of volunteers as they set up a long term base to bring aid to Haitians after the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck in 2010.

Sammy Suggestion: From Cradle to Stage (Anytime / Paramount+)

Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, shares personal stories about Dave’s childhood alongside family anecdotes from fellow “rock moms.”

In 2017 Virginia Grohl mother of Foo Fighters Dave Grohl published From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars. A kind of Behind The Music that was more like Behind The Mothers who were Behind The Music. That book has been adapted into a six-part docuseries. The musician-and-mother guests set to appear on the series are Imagine Dragons‘ Dan Reynolds and Christine Reynolds, Pharrell and Dr. Carolyn Williams, Miranda and Bev Lambert, Brandi and Teresa Carlile, Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello and Mary Morello, plus Rush‘s Geddy Lee and Mary Weinrib. Though it debuts today on Paramount+ you may wanna save this for Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Friday, May 07

Sammy Suggestion: Jupiter’s Legacy (Anytime / Netflix)

They’re the first generation of superheroes. But as they pass the torch to their children, tensions are rising — and the old rules no longer apply.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Steven DeKnight (a writer and a director on Netflix’s Daredevil; now show-runner and executive producer of Jupiter’s Legacy) who said: “Personally, I’m a fan of weekly episodes. It creates a communal viewing experience and leads to the vital “water cooler” conversations.” Though he later added: “How many episodes per season isn’t decided by the writers or even the showrunner. That’s the studio/network.” Which for Jupiter’s Legacy is Netflix as adapted from the Mark Millar comic book. I asked him about weekly vs binging because we’ve seen how successful the MCU shows were on Disney+ in part because of their weekly experience. Now that you’ve lived with weekly releases and binge releases for a few years: where do you stand? As for this Netflix show you can tell from title what it’s about. “Jupiter’s Legacy follows the story of the world’s first superheroes who received their powers in the 1930s. In the present day, they are the revered elder guard but their superpowered children struggle to live up to the legendary feats of their parents.” Basically Superboy or Robin is never gonna be as cool as Superman or Batman. So how do you live up to that legacy? I’ve read many Mark Millar comics which has given us movies such as Kick-Ass and Kingsmen but I haven’t read this 10 issue series so this is all new to me. The comics haven’t left a heavy legacy for the TV show to live up to.

Saturday, May 08

Sammy Suggestion: Greenland (8/7c PM / HBO)

John Garrity, his estranged wife and their young son embark on a perilous journey to find sanctuary as a planet-killing comet hurtles toward Earth.

Gerard Butler stars in a ground-level movie about the end of the world: think Deep Impact but as an indie movie. A comet is on a collision course with the Earth, its impact expected to cause an extinction-level event in a day or so. Thus Butler’s a structural engineer who must race against the clock to get himself and his family (shout to Morena Baccarin!) to a secure shelter in Greenland. The problem? Well many because the movie’s running time is 119 minutes so of course there’s a number of obstacles in their way otherwise this would be a short movie. What you think people fall in love in the first 10 minutes of a rom-com?!

Sunday, May 02

The Nevers (9/8c PM / HBO & Crave)

Joss Whedon’s Nevers is described as “a science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.” August, 1896. Victorian London is rocked to its foundations by a supernatural event which gives certain people — mostly women — abnormal abilities, from the wondrous to the disturbing. But no matter their particular “turns,” all who belong to this new underclass are in grave danger.

Sammy Suggestion: A Nolan Doubleheader (Anytime / Crave)

INCEPTION: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious, when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.

TENET: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

I saw Tenet on September 20, 2020. I didn’t expect that’d be my last movie for such a long time. Tenet requires more than 1 viewing so this is most helpful: it was added on Crave on May 7. With Inception Nolan clearly established the physics of that world (well dream world) so viewers knew what was possible (if they didn’t always know what was real.) With Tenet I don’t feel Nolan fully firmly established the physics or rather it was too complex so viewers end up doing calculus instead of enjoying a movie. In Star Trek I dunno what dilithium crystals are but I know when the ship is in trouble: you know? So here ya go: A Nolan Doubleheader: Tenet and Inception are on Crave.


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

My 3 John Hughes Marathon Observations

Hope Santa was good to all you beautiful people (even though let’s be honest, being on the naughty list is way more fun, better stories! Coal be damned). I’m pantslessly enjoying a John Hughes marathon (not really sure why, just kinda happened).

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