#SetTheVCR: July 12 – 18, 2021

From Stan Lee to Rick Rubin to the Tenth Doctor Who this is a legendary #SetTheVCR week!

Monday, July 12

Eden: Season 1 (Anytime / Spectrum Originals)

As each episode unfolds from a different character’s perspective, EDEN explores a multi-generational tale of events that happen before, during and after a young woman goes missing one warm, summer night.

Sammy Suggestion: Stan Lee’s Alliances: A New Reality (Anytime / Audible)

Biohacker Olivia Park is obsessed with an emerging mystery within Oz, the online portal created by alien technology. What she finds is a primitive xenobot, Eno, who takes her on a mind-bending trip through time that begins as the Berlin Wall is falling, and takes her back to the origins of the modern internet and the fall of a digital Atlantis created by her father, Wesley Park, and entrepreneur William Ackerson.

Stan Lee who died in 2018 gifted us one final Universe to explore. In 2019 nerds were introduced to the final Universe Stan co-created: Stan Lee’s Alliances. In this Universe via Book 1 we meet Cameron and his cyberkinetic talent who later connects with Nia whose powers include well I can’t share. Together they of course forcibly right some wrongs. A Trick of Light was originally an Audible Original co-written by Stan Lee and Kat Rosenfield, and narrated by Yara Shahidi. It was the first story of Stan Lee’s Alliances series co-created by Lee, Luke Lieberman, and Ryan Silbert. The second story is now out, a prequel and it’s yes an audiobook; still co-written by Kool Kat Rosenfield. “Biohacker Olivia Park is obsessed with an emerging mystery within Oz, the online portal created by alien technology. What she finds is a primitive xenobot, Eno, who takes her on a mind-bending trip through time that begins as the Berlin Wall is falling, and takes her back to the origins of the modern internet and the fall of a digital Atlantis created by her father, Wesley Park, and entrepreneur William Ackerson.” Face front True Believers: it’s always great to start the week with some Science Fiction.

Tuesday, July 13

30 for 30: Breakaway (9/8c PM / ESPN)

Directed by Rudy Valdez, the documentary explores the story of WNBA Star, Maya Moore, who was one of the best basketball players in the world when she stepped away from the sport for a remarkable reason: to fight for a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned.

Sammy Suggestion: A Quiet Place: Part II (Anytime / Prime Video)

Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) continue their fight for survival in silence, now facing the terrors of the outside world in this suspenseful thriller directed by John Krasinski.

“After 89 days, most of Earth’s human population has been annihilated by blind creatures with hypersensitive hearing that attack anything making noise.” So began 2018’s A Quiet Place. I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic worlds and this one is strange: you can’t make a sound. So making one of the main characters pregnant was such a compelling choice. Another engaging character was…silence. In an interview with Headliner Magazine Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl (the sequel’s sound design, supervising sound editors) shared how sound (and silence) was a central character in the film: “We started hearing stories after the first film that people were afraid to eat their popcorn in the theatre! That was thrilling for us to hear because it’s like, ‘Okay, this experiment that we tried actually works’! We were able to literally make the audience hold their breath.” Sadly cinemas did not open in Ontario so here we are watching at home: “Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.” “Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.”

Wednesday, July 14

A Classic Horror Story (Anytime / Netflix)

In this gruesome suspense film, strangers traveling in southern Italy become stranded in the woods, where they must fight desperately to get out alive.

Sammy Suggestion: Gunpowder Milkshake (Anytime / Netflix)

When an assassin veers off mission to rescue a child, she triggers a war with a powerful crime syndicate — and reunites a gun-wielding sisterhood.


Karen Gillan is playing a professional assassin: a hitwoman! Solid pitch right? Karen Gillan has also unleashed a gang war when her high-stake mission goes sideways and so she needs a gang. Can’t fight a gang war without a gang right? Her gang includes her mother and her former hitwomen sidekicks. Gunpowder Milkshake echoes Wanted a 2008 movie adapted from a Mark Millar mini-series: Angelina Jolie was a hitwoman, she belongs to Fraternity who select their targets via the Loom of Fate. In Gunpowder the assassins organization is called the Librarians. Let’s see where the similarities start and end.

Thursday, July 15

Dr. Death: Limited Series (Anytime / Peacock)

As patients entering the operating room of Dr. Christopher Duntsch for routine spinal surgeries start leaving permanently maimed or dead, two fellow surgeons and a young Assistant District Attorney set out to stop him.

Sammy Suggestion: Staged: Season 2 (Anytime / Hollywood Suite)

Actors Michael Sheen and David Tennant play fictionalized versions of themselves, trying to rehearse a performance during lockdown via videoconference, while the underconfident director, Simon, struggles to keep control of the production. Features guest appearances by Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson, and Adrian Lester.

Wanna hang out with Simon Pegg, Christoph Waltz, Ewan McGregor, Ken Jeong, Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Gad, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Cate Blanchett? Oh and David Tennant and Michael Sheen. That can easily be arranged and ah…Staged. Season 2 is now in Canada: all 8 episodes are on demand. This unique British comedy is primarily filmed using video-conferencing technology. Guess the lockdowns did prompt some creativity.

Friday, July 16

Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (Anytime / Netflix)

Thrust back to 1666, Deena learns the truth about Sarah Fier. Back in 1994, the friends fight for their lives — and Shadyside’s future.

Sammy Suggestion: ICON: Music Through The Lens (9/8c pm / PBS)

Featuring in-depth and often irreverent interviews with the world’s best-known music photographers, musicians, gallerists, music journalists and social commentators, Icon: Music Through the Lens is an eye-opening, six-part, thrill ride through the amazing world of music photography.

Originally broadcast last November on Sky Arts in the UK ICON: Music Through The Lens comes to America. The six-part series about music photography will explore all aspects of music photography. For example Episode 4 On The Cover details the role music magazines played in elevating music photography to iconic status. “Since having the idea almost a decade ago to highlight the amazing contribution photographers have made to popular music we are humbled an delighted to have been able to document the truly incredible stories and experiences of many of the most important people in this field,” says producer and director Dick Curruthers. “Nobody has shone a spotlight on the impact photography has made to our understanding of popular music in quite the way this series has and it will, we are sure, stand as testament to that contribution.” Sounds fascinating let’s look to the left and see what…develops.

Saturday, July 17

Sammy Suggestion: McCartney 3,2,1 (Anytime / Hulu)

Paul McCartney. Rick Rubin. History in the making.

It’s Rick Rubin: that’s it. I could tell you this docuseries is 6 parts or it explores Paul McCartney’s music. But it’s Rick Rubin: you in or you out? (Hulu for Americans; Disney+ for Canadians.)

Sunday, July 18

History of the Sitcom (9/8c PM / CNN)

This eight-part docuseries reunites audiences with the television friends, families, and co-workers they grew up with while introducing cutting-edge comedies that are sure to be your next binge-watch.

Sammy Suggestion: 100 Foot Wave (Anytime / HBO)

The six-part series intimately captures the decade-long odyssey of surfing pioneer Garrett McNamara, who, after visiting Nazaré, Portugal in hopes of conquering a 100 foot wave, pushed the sport to ever-greater heights and alongside locals helped transform the small fishing village into the world’s pre-eminent big-wave surfing destination.

Surf’s Up! “The six episode series captures the common spirit and fearless passion shared by Garrett McNamara ( the Guinness World Record holder for the largest wave ever surfed for eight years) and big-wave surfers from across the world as they push themselves through life-altering injuries and tantalizing near-misses in their collective pursuit of the inconceivable. Spanning four continents, 100 Foot Wave is an inspirational story of a group of people on a quest to achieve new heights, and a town and a sport that were forever changed by one seemingly impossible dream.” Sounds like a wild ride; doubt you’ll be “board” watching this docuseries.


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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