If you wanna shake it up this Christmas; flirt with the naughty list a bit…I got some outstanding TV recommendations where there is no grand moral Christmas takeaway and the only setup is a double cross from secret agents. So gather your spirits and let’s assemble by the warm glow of a flat screen TV:…
Monday, December 19
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (8 p.m. / CBC)
The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster. A Christmas Classic.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: CLERK (ANYTIME / CRAVE)
A documentary on the career and life of filmmaker Kevin Smith.
Considering how much Kevin Smith talks…and talks and talks for a living; I dunno how much a documentary can offer or even reveal about Smith. Directed by Malcolm Ingram Clerk features interviews with various actors, directors, and other prominent figures who have associated with Smith during his career, including Matt Damon, Richard Linklater, Jason Reitman, Jason Mewes, and the late Stan Lee. So why not enjoy this Canadian documentary to understand all the Kevin Smith dogma?
Tuesday, December 20
Women Who Rock is a four-part docuseries that pays homage to the legion of female pioneers in music who have stormed the stage, wielded their instruments, amplified their voices, and sung the soundtrack of our lives. The EPIX series comes to Canada.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: INTRODUCING: PLUTO TV (ANYTIME / NEW CHANNEL!)
Pluto TV has landed in Canada with over 100 channels, and thousands of on-demand titles. The best part? It’s all FREE!!
Canada has another Tubi; same deal: all free, all on Demand: no subscription. (Pluto TV is a Paramount Company…I guess this is like paying for Prime/Paramount+ while enjoying Amazon Freevee/Pluto TV for free; kinda thing.) Initial offerings include: old school Love Boat (so exciting and new…), Mork & Mindy (Nanu Nanu), Mission Impossible (such an ironic title), old school Doctor Who (out of this world!) and so much more. Pants off; TV on!
Wednesday, December 21
Emily in Paris: Season 3 (Anytime / Netflix)
A year after moving to Paris for her dream job, Emily arrives at a career and romantic crossroads that will force her to decide where her future lies.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN: SEASON 3 (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO)
When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Welcome back to the Ryanverse: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Universe. Season 2 saw Jack Ryan heading to South America to investigate a suspicious shipment and while trying to uncover “a far-reaching conspiracy.” Oh…those are the best kinds, they go right to the top. Though sadly Jack has been implicated in this dark conspiracy so now he’s a spy who cannot come in from the cold. What will Jack uncover next? Can he control the political chaos? Watch and find out; this is a December surprise.
Thursday, December 22
Jeff Dunham: Me The People (Anytime / Crave)
Hang out with Jeff Dunham (and friends?) as he tackles how much time we dedicate to our devices, the things we spend money on and cancel culture. The Comedy Central special broadcast on November 25 comes to Crave in Canada.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: TOP GUN: MAVERICK (ANYTIME / PARAMOUNT+)
After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads Top Gun’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.
Return to The Danger Zone…if this Christmas season you feel the need…for speed. It’s Tom Cruise so replace the G in Gun to an F.
Friday, December 23
Christmas Bloody Christmas (Anytime / Shudder)
It’s Christmas Eve and fiery record store owner Tori Tooms just wants to get drunk and party, until the robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store goes haywire and makes her night more than a little complicated. Santa Claus begins a rampant killing spree through the neon drenched snowscape against a backdrop of drugs, sex, metal and violence, ultimately forcing Tori into a blood splattered battle for survival against the ruthless heavy metal Saint Nick himself.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
Famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece for his latest case.
Welcome back detective Benoit Blanc: this is a fresh follow up to the 2019 hit Knives Out from Rian Johnson. I haven’t enjoyed the recent Agatha Christie movies: Death On The Nile (super bad!) and Murder On The Orient Express (rather boring…) but Knives Out is loads of mystery goodness; if Glass Onion holds up this’ll happily fill the Agatha Christie hole in my heart. You know all the actors who are playing suspects but…do you know who the killer is? It’s difficult to get to the heart of a “glass onion” without some tears.
Saturday, December 24
Tracking Santa – A Hulu/ABC Holiday Special (Live Broadcast) (6:00 p.m. / Hulu)
In this live broadcast television Stations will track Santa sightings across America. Starting at WABC in New York, the event will jump from station to station following Santa, with anchors in the studio tossing to reporters in the field, meteorologists tracking atmospheric disturbances that can only be Santa himself, celebrity shout outs and holiday greetings, live chats with Santa, and much more.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: DIE HARD (TODAY! / PICK A STREAMER…)
A New York City police officer tries to save his estranged wife and several others taken hostage by terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. A Certifiable Christmas Classic.
A fancy fun holiday tradition: Die Hard has humour and heart and is a Christmas special worth returning to over and over again. And sadly, another Die Hard terrorist has perished! It’s funny how they’re going out one…by one in real life. Just like the movie. It’s gonna be a sombre Christmas viewing this year knowing Clarence Gilyard aka Theo has passed. (Did we spend most of the 80s with a black guy named Theo?!) Rest Now! Take a moment during this year’s viewing to enjoy his brand of villainy.
Sunday, December 25
Elf (Anytime / Crave)
Raised as an oversized elf, Buddy travels from the North Pole to New York City to meet his biological father, Walter Hobbs, who doesn’t know he exists and is in desperate need of some Christmas spirit. A Christmas Classic.
NFL gets Thanksgiving. NBA gets Christmas: 5 games starting with 76ers at Knicks and concluding with Suns at Nuggets.
A cozy Christmas tradition: the annual NBA Christmas games. This season’s slate is: 76ers at Knicks (12 p.m. est on ESPN); Lakers at Mavericks (2:30 p.m. est on ABC, ESPN); Bucks at Celtics (5 p.m. est on ABC, ESPN), Grizzlies at a Steph Curry-less Warriors (8 p.m. est on ABC, ESPN) and finally Suns at Nuggets (10:30 p.m. est on ESPN). Knicks have won games recently, Bucks and Celtics is a battle for the East and ah…nobody cares about Lakers vs Mavs. Nap it up during that one. So yes: take a break from your fantastic new Sega Genesis that Santa got you and pick up the TV remote. Hopefully you’ll have either Christmas Eve leftovers or Christmas dinner to pair with the games.
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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