Anybody who has been Ghosted with enjoy this week’s #SetTheVCR: From Tupac to Duran Duran. So Scrap your plans; no need to be a Diplomat and Bring It On!
Monday, April 17
New Girl: Complete Series (Anytime / Hulu)
Time for another classic Cece and Winston mess-around.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SCRAP (ANYIME / CBC GEM)
Discover the vast and strangely beautiful places where things go to die and meet the people who collect, restore, and recycle the world’s scrap.
Scrap your plans and head on over to CBC Gem and enjoy this documentary about junk? Or perhaps it is about the things we all leave behind when they no longer have value. Scrap is an Edward Burtynsky like tour of unexplored places which subtly reveals their overlooked beauty. The doc conveys “a deeper environmental and human message about our relationship to things, the sadness we feel at their eventual loss, and the joy that we can find in giving them a new purpose.” Highly Recommended TV viewing; if you keep this around it’ll bring you joy.
Tuesday, April 18
Bring It On: Cheer or Die (Anytime / Crave)
A made-for-television cheerleading comedy slasher film that aired on Syfy on October 8, 2022. In order to win the upcoming regional cheer competition; the squad decides to choreograph a winning routine in secret at a nearby abandoned school. I mean what’s the worst than can happen? Are you gonna cheer for the killer or the cheerleaders?
SAMMY SUGGESTION: DURAN DURAN: A HOLLYWOOD HIGH (ANYTIME / PARAMOUNT+ CANADA)
A feature-length docu-concert film about the fantastic band.
Post-pandemic Duran Duran wanted to return to LA and did so with a rooftop performance that anchors this musical documentary. To promote their latest album Future Past, released in October 2021, and inclusion for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2022, The Wild Boys performed on the roof of The Aster. Right in the shadow of the classic Capital Building. Talk about a View To A Kill. Sooner or later every major band on Planet Earth has done an outdoor performance and/or a rooftop gig. It’s a Notorious milestone and they commemorate it with this doc. You’ll Come Undone if you miss this. You know how Careless Memories can be right? (Though this is a movie I had a hard time working in Girls on Film; you’d think that would be an obvious reference but it was difficult to shoehorn.)
Wednesday, April 19
Just For Laughs 2022: The Gala Specials – Jo Koy (Anytime / Crave)
Jo Koy is hosting his very first multi-comic gala at Just For Laughs in Montreal. This is just like other JFL Gala Specials with Russell Peters, Patton Oswalt etc.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MR. MERCEDES: SEASON 1-3 (ANYTIME / DISNEY+ CANADA STAR)
A demented killer taunts a retired police detective with a series of lurid letters and emails, forcing the ex-cop to undertake a private, and potentially felonious, crusade to bring the killer to justice before he can strike again.
Oh! A Stephen King detective and a lazy tortoise: I enjoy both those things. Mr. Mercedes arrived on Peacock on October 15, 2020 (from the rarely viewed Audience Channel; which I believe is now defunct.) now it’s in Canada. Easily one of the best Stephen King adaptations…in yo’face Castle Rock; and sorry IT with John Ritter and see you in hell Langoliers with Bronson Pinchot! Brendan Gleeson is an Irish treasure and as detective Bill Hodges he’s outstanding as is the show’s soundtrack. Mr. Mercedes rocks the disco and jams the nightclub. Based on Stephen King’s spellbinding Mr. Mercedes trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch) for over 3 TV seasons the David E. Kelley series combined supernatural elements, a murder mystery; devious characters, and characters seeking redemption. There’s also a lazy tortoise (not a turtle!!) if you dig animals. Enjoy…you’re so in for a treat. The show concluded on November 12, 2019 and I doubt there’s any reason for a fourth season still I’m eagerly sharing it now because with strong ratings “never say never.”
Thursday, April 20
Mrs. Davis: Season 1 (Anytime / Peacock & Crave)
“Mrs. Davis” is the world’s most powerful Artificial Intelligence. Simone is the nun devoted to destroying Her. Who ya got? The series premieres with four episodes. Hacks for that, Damon Lindelof.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE DIPLOMAT: SEASON 1 (ANYIME / NETFLIX)
Amid an international crisis, a career diplomat juggles her new high-profile job as ambassador to the UK and her turbulent marriage to a political star.
The good news is Keri Russell the new US ambassador to London. The bad news is she’s married…to the former ambassador who is not getting used to being a First Husband. Thankfully there’s no time to dwell on power dynamics in their marriage. There’s a huge international crisis to deal with. Helpfully she’s in the UK; I find a strong pot of tea helps me when I must confront a crisis. Well let’s be diplomatic: do you want to see Keri Russell helping to build up America or helping to destroy America? Either way shall we see what these Americans are up to?
Friday, April 21
Slip: Season 1 (Anytime / The Roku Channel)
Restless in her marriage Mae through a surreal journey of parallel universes, married to different people, trying to find a way back to her partner, and ultimately, herself. Sliding Doors with orgasms.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: DEAR MAMA (10 P.M. / FX)
Dear Mama is five-part docuseries exploring the lives and legacies of mother and son, Afeni and Tupac Shakur.
Tupac Amaru Shakur died on September 13, 1996. As a rapper his work was notable for focusing on the troubles that plague inner cities. Tupac remains a wonderfully flawed; rough around the edges symbol of activism. Where did his distinct worldview come from? By being raised by his mother, Afeni Shakur who was a member of the Black Panther Party. It helps she raised Tupac in Baltimore and later they moved to San Francisco. Both cities have unique cultures and oddly enough moving to San Fran made Tupac officially West Coast before that was a real thing. Still…if you’ve ever listened to Tupac’s 1995 song Dear Mama you can hear she struggled as a mother due to her drug abuse. Her crack cocaine addiction cost her jobs, strained her relationships including those with her children and put her on welfare. Yet that activist fire never dimmed. More than just a five-part docuseries about a famous rapper and his infamous mother this is an American story. From the revolutionary ruckus of the Black Panthers to the world changing impact of hip hop. America is a country brimming with contradictions; Tupac’s music often highlighted those strange discrepancies. It’s not a surprise America birthed hip hop and yet struggled with a crack cocaine epidemic. I hope this is the first of Last Dance type docs for Tupac; keep his work and his memory alive. (Though this is terrible marketing; why isn’t this being released on Mother’s Day?? Dear Mama? More like Dear Lord!)
Saturday, April 22
Dead Ringers: Limited Series (Anytime / Prime Video)
A reimagining of David Cronenberg’s 1988 Dead Ringers; this is a limited series starring Rachel Weisz playing the double-lead role of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twins who share everything. It’s a binge drop; it premieres with all six episodes today.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: GHOSTED (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
In Ghosted salt-of-the-earth Cole (Chris Evans) falls head over heels for enigmatic Sadie (Ana de Armas) – but then makes the shocking discovery that she’s a secret agent.
Isn’t this Mr. & Mrs. Smith? Or True Lies? Chris Evans thinks Ana de Armas is hot; great: we all do. Only it turns out she’s not playing hard to get: she’s a CIA secret agent. So after being Ghosted after 2 dates Evans romantically decides to surprise de Armas in London. Where he is marked as the Taxman. Only that’s his hot lady friend; her spy code name is Taxman. So their third date now becomes sexy espionage. Now this is a Meet Cute. Toss in pulse-pounding fight scenes set in exotic locations and you get a classic whirlwind romance. Will Chris Evans get that elusive fourth date?
Sunday, April 23
Amityville: An Origin Story (10 p.m. / MGM+)
This four-part docuseries tells the story behind the world’s most infamous haunted house tale: the Amityville murders. The project is the first elevated look at every aspect of this wildly layered story about the heinous murder of a family of six that became eclipsed by paranormal controversy.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: FROM: SEASON 2 (ANYTIME / MGM+ & PARAMOUNT+ CANADA)
A new season unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents fight to keep a sense of normalcy and search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the surrounding forest – including the terrifying creatures that come out when the sun goes down.
On Valentine’s Day 2022 I wrote hopefully From is strong enough to find the right audience so it gets to Season 2. I mean what’s not to love? “The series unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town in middle America that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents fight to keep a sense of normalcy and search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the surrounding forest – including the terrifying creatures that come out when the sun goes down.” I’m a sucker for these types of trapped sci-fi horror mysteries. If all the books in the library are blank my brown heart blooms. As for Season 2…oh: “hidden truths about the nature and terrifying origins of the town begin to emerge, even as life for its residents is plunged into chaos by the arrival of mysterious newcomers.” Oh as in oh yes. From me to you; this is Must See TV. Can we get From to Season 3?
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.