I’ve Recruited some of the best TV recommendations as we head into the Christmas season to help you #SetTheVCR most effectively.
Monday, December 12
My Old School (Anytime / CBC Gem)
In 1993, 16-year-old Brandon Lee enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a well-to-do suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. What followed over the next two years became the stuff of legend.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MY NEXT GUEST NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
TV legend David Letterman teams up with fascinating global figures for in-depth interviews and curiosity-fueled excursions in this talk show.
Did you hear the one about 2 former comedians getting to talk about comedy in a war zone? Indeed David Letterman interviewed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in a Kyiv metro station for the next installment of his Netflix show. Previously Letterman interviewed ex-President Barack Obama but this talk show has stayed mostly with famous folks rather than political peoples. (Zelensky sorta fits as he was on a comedy series called Servant of the People — about a history teacher who is elected president of Ukraine. President Trump was recently elected following his TV career. For all the value of streaming classic TV is still a powerful medium we underestimate so much.) Watch this solo episode for now; there’s no confirmation yet (?) on a fifth season.
Tuesday, December 13
Kindred: Season 1 (Anytime / Hulu)
An aspiring writer who has uprooted her life of familial obligation and relocated to Los Angeles, ready to claim a future that, for once, feels all her own. But, before she can settle into her new home, she finds herself being violently pulled back and forth in time.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: 30 FOR 30: JEANETTE LEE VS. (8 P.M. / ESPN)
After dominating the 90s and early 2000s and her recent cancer diagnosis, Jeanette Lee looks back on her storied career and opens up about her life and legacy like never before.
The focus of this 30 for 30 is Jeanette Lee; the billiards player nicknamed The Black Widow. Oh. I’ve never seen a billiards documentary before and I know absolutely nothing about Jeanette Lee. I can’t even name the top pool players in the world. Or what makes a pool player great (aside from the obvious.). Nothing like a fresh documentary to defeat leftover ignorance. I’ll be sure to “cue” up my VCR for this one. Programming Note: This 30 for 30 will be available on ESPN+ immediately after its premiere.
Wednesday, December 14
Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic 2022 (9:00 p.m. / The CW)
Heh…holiday magic with Ed Alonzo, Trigg Watson, Rudy Coby, Nick Dupuch, Chipper Lowell, Farrell Dillon, Xavier Mortimer, The Clairvoyants, Naathan Phan, Krystyn Lambert, Alexandra Duvivier, Ben Barnes, Eric Eaton, Rob Lake, The Conjurors and Murray SawChuck.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: GRAILS: WHEN SNEAKERS CHANGED THE GAME: LIMITED SERIES (ANYTIME / HULU)
Profiles entrepreneurs Earl Cooper and Olajuwon Ajanaku, former Morehouse College golf champions who created the lifestyle brand Eastside Golf to promote diversity on the golf course.
The six-part docuseries profiles entrepreneurs and golf champions Earl Cooper and Olajuwon Ajanaku who created the lifestyle brand Eastside Golf to promote diversity on the golf course. Yes; this includes their inspiring Jordan collab; recently launched on November 12, 2022. And…it’s directed by ESPN’s Hannah Storm so that’s an appealing hook. (Storm is a passionate sneakerhead. She’s can kick it like nobody’s business.) The series includes interviews with notable figures such as DJ Khaled, Chris Paul, sports executive Shawn Costner, founder of Stock X, Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena, former MLB All-Star pitcher CC Sabathia; among others. So you’ll want to sneak this into your TV watching. I’m so gonna “kicks” it with this.
Thursday, December 15
The Simpsons Meet The Bocellis in Feliz Navidad (Anytime / Disney+)
While not quite as fun as a Treehouse of Horror; here’s a Christmas short from The Simpsons. Homer surprises Marge with the ultimate gift: an unforgettable performance from Italian opera superstar Andrea Bocelli.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: WHO KILLED SANTA? A MURDERVILLE MURDER MYSTERY (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
Senior Detective Terry Seattle is back and this time, the case is critical. Along with his two celebrity guest stars, Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph, he is on a mission to figure out…who killed Santa?
Netflix’s improv comedy series Murderville returns with a special holiday-themed murder mystery. The unique Christmas special, sees the return of Will Arnett as Detective Terry Seattle. And this time around he teams up with Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph to figure out who killed Santa. As always…there is no script for the co-stars. This is all improv (they never got the script!) and worse (or funny!) they have no idea what’s happening. So fun: tis the season to be jolly right?
Friday, December 16
It’s a Noah Centineo Double Bill: “Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods–and imprisoned just as quickly–Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.” Eh, sure.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE RECRUIT: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
A rookie lawyer at the CIA stumbles headlong into the dangerous world of international espionage when a former asset threatens to expose agency secrets.
Dude from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before grew up to become Jack Ryan. Noah Centineo is a fledgling lawyer at the CIA when a spy comes in from the cold with dark secrets (is there any other kind with the CIA?) that will she is willing to expose. This is the twist; the kid is a rookie not a seasoned James Bond and doesn’t have the experiences or connections yet…who does he trust? Can he even trust himself? Over 8 episodes we’ll find out. Doug Liman the dude from the Bourne movies directs the first two episodes. So…are you gonna “Recruit” Netlix’s latest TV show for your entertainment needs?
Saturday, December 17
Call Me Miss Cleo (Anytime / HBO Max)
Featuring interviews with celebrities and those closest to the self-proclaimed voodoo priestess, the film explores the many layers behind a complicated and charismatic figure. Revisiting an era of corded phones and 1-900-numbers, Call Me Miss Cleo reveals the whole truth behind the ever-enigmatic woman on late night TV, only to abruptly disappear from public consciousness.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: IF THESE WALLS COULD SING (ANYTIME / DISNEY+)
The untold story of the Abbey Road studio, all-star interviews and intimate access to the premises.
Kid A – Radiohead, Rubber Soul – The Beatles, Raiders of the Lost Ark (soundtrack) – John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra, Duran Duran – Duran Duran and so much more have been recorded at Abbey Road Studios. It’s why they’re all featured in Mary McCartney’s documentary (Paul’s daughter). Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Williams, Elton John, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Noel Gallagher, George Lucas, Kate Bush and Nile Rodgers all share their Abbey Road memories and magic. Now that sounds like an usual yet fascinating dinner party you’d “crosswalk” Abbey Road to. Surprisingly for such a popular recording studio; this is its first documentary.
Sunday, December 19
Pelosi in the House (Anytime / HBO Max)
Follows Nancy Pelosi behind the scenes, through the milestones of her career leading up to the inauguration of President Joseph Biden.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE HISTORY OF COMEDY: SEASON 2 (ANYTIME / CBC GEM)
Using archival footage the series examines not only what makes us laugh, but how comedy has affected the social and political landscape throughout history.
The CNN original surfaces on CBC Gem. Topics for Season 2 include: Carnal Knowledge, Sketch & Improv, Drawn To Be Funny, Gone Too Soon, In It Together and No Offense. You can also watch Season 1; this show is filled with contemporary interviews with comedy legends and does a great job of contextualizing comedy which doesn’t sound funny. But if you know why we laugh at what we laugh at; that makes it easier to make more of what makes us laugh. It’s called The Funny Business for a reason.
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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