#SetTheVCR: February 01-07, 2021

Another week of TV and another set of Super Duper TV recommendations. It’s also I believe the first time Britney Spears has been mentioned or even acknowledged. So that’s Super Cool right?

Monday, February 1

Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story (Anytime / Crave)

An inside look at the career of Lennox Lewis from his rough upbringing to the Olympics and the professional ranks where he established himself as one of the greats in the history of the sport.

Sammy Suggestion: Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America (Anytime / CBC Gem)

From Executive Producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter comes a new series that focuses on groundbreaking songs pivotal to the evolution of American music and culture. Don’t miss the series premiere Sunday, October 13 at midnight.

2019’s Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America surfaces on CBC Gem. Check out the talent behind the camera: executive producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee and Alex Gibney. Whew. Each episode of this documentary series focuses on a novel song pivotal to the evolution of American music and hip hop culture. The six episodes of this AMC series are devoted to MC Shan and Marley Marl’s “The Bridge,” Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Run-DMC’s “Rock Box,” Outkast’s “Elevators,” and Queen Latifah and Monie Love’s “Ladies First.” Amazing.

Tuesday, February 2

Fake Famous (9 p.m. / HBO)

In the future, everyone will be FAKE FAMOUS for 15 minutes as detailed in this documentary about the rise of the social-media influencer.

Sammy Suggestion: Two Sentence Horror Stories (8 p.m. / The CW)

An anthology series featuring updated tales of horror and haunting for the digital age, inspired by the viral fan fiction of two sentence horror stories.

Tonight’s episode of Two Sentence Horror Stories (Essence) is special because Laura Mennell the troublemaker from Project Blue Book guest stars. Should be fun and joyful mischief. “A young woman struggling to make ends meet starts work at a high-end nail salon, but the horrifying physical toll the job takes leads her to suspect something much more sinister may be at play.” Oh Oh.

Wednesday, February 3

Sammy Suggestion: Critical Thinking (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

Based on a true story, CRITICAL THINKING tells the inspiring tale of Mario Martinez, the Cuban-American teacher, and his chess team at the Miami Jackson High School.

Critical Thinking is the latest in the “help the at-risk kids inspirational sometimes based on a true story” movie genre. We’ve had Antonio Banderas as an unwavering teacher reaching problem kids with dancing. Hilary Swank as an unwavering teacher who used writing to reach problem kids. Even Tiffany Haddish in Night School took a turn as an unwavering teacher to help problem students. The latest addition to this genre is John Leguizamo an unwavering teacher and “white knight” teaching his inner-city kids chess! Because life isn’t a game of checkers. He also directed this movie and it got some decent buzz at SXSW so perhaps it can teach us something special.

Thursday, February 4

The Head (Anytime / HBO Max)

THE HEAD is a six-episode survival thriller set in an isolated and inaccessible Antarctic research station in which winter has fallen on the South Pole, and the sun will soon disappear for the next six months.

Sammy Suggestion: 30 for 30: Al Davis vs. the NFL (9 p.m. / ESPN)

The story of the long-running feud between Raiders owner Al Davis and NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.

The latest 30 for 30 is a fantastic story; I know some of this but not the whole story. (Oakland is a crazy sports town though we don’t recognize it as such: Moneyball for baseball, the Raiders and how they influenced hip hop culture while the Warriors offered Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin to Curry…and yet with the exception of baseball teams leave Oakland.) One thing I’ve never understood is the primary difference between how the NFL is covered vs the NBA. NFL owners figure prominently in daily sports coverage and reporting. Owners get blamed for losses sometime. I don’t get the difference. It’s rare for NBA owners to be interviewed or blamed or even acknowledged. Anyways. Here’s the story of Al Davis vs. the NFL. (For Canadians this’ll be on TSN on Friday night at 7 p.m..)

Friday, February 5

Space Sweepers (Anytime / Netflix)

Chasing after space debris and faraway dreams in year 2092, four misfits unearth explosive secrets during the attempted trade of a wide-eyed humanoid.

Greenland (Anytime / Prime Video)

A family fights for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth.

Bliss (Anytime / Prime Video)

A brilliant painter turns to anything she can to complete her masterpiece, spiraling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and murder.

Sammy Suggestion: Framing Britney Spears (10 p.m. / FX)

Anytime there’s that amount of money to be made, you have to question the motives of everyone close to that person.

The New York Times Presents on FX is their version of PBS’s Frontline. They’re following The Killing of Breonna Taylor with umm: Framing Britney Spears. Crazy. Gimme More hard hitting journalism. This documentary about the I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman pop star’s Toxic legal fight to wrest control over her life and Circus career from her father’s conservatorship because she’s not A Slave 4 him. I can’t name any more Britney hits without Google’s assistance. #FreeBritney

Saturday, February 6

Sammy Suggestion: Irresistible ( 8 p.m. / HBO)

An American political comedy film written and directed by Jon Stewart, about a Democratic strategist who tries to help a local candidate win an election in a small right-wing town.

That this movie is from writer and director Jon Stewart is what makes it Irresistible. Expect political satire and comedy with sharp edges as a Democrat political consultant (Steve Carell) helps a retired Marine colonel (Chris Cooper) run for mayor in a small Wisconsin town. Thanks to Rose Byrne it’s not going well. February 26 on Crave for Canadians.

Sunday, February 7

The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8 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.

Sammy Suggestion: Super Bowl LV (6:30 p.m. / CBS)

The American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs will play the National Football Conference champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Because Tom Brady is not capable of sitting out a Super Bowl.

This is an outstanding Super Bowl! If Brady wins he’s 7 for 10. 70% in The Final Game! I thought Jordan’s 6 for 6 100% was nuts. If Mahomes wins it’s like a passing of the torch. Like when Jordan won his first NBA Championship in 1991 against Magic and the Lakers. (By then Bird’s back was bad, Celtics were done. And in the fall of 1991 Magic tested positive for the HIV virus and retired. So Jordan naturally rightfully became The Man!). Either way it’s ruckus. And Malvern’s own The Weeknd is performing at halftime. This’ll be a Super Sunday: may it be as spicy as your chicken wings.


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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