Can you read my Poker Face? You People are gonna enjoy this week’s #SetTheVCR selections.
Monday, January 23
The Lazarus Project: Season 1 (9:00 PM / TNT)
Fresh from airing in the UK…the Project touches down in America tonight. The Project is a top secret organization dedicated to preventing mass extinction events and with the ability to make time go backwards. This show has been renewed for a second season.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: VIOLENT NIGHT (ANYTIME / PEACOCK)
A coal-dark holiday action-comedy that says you should always bet on red: to hell with “all is calm.”
An edgy Christmas movie! David Harbour is the Santa you don’t mess with. He puts a team of mercenaries on the naughty list. On Christmas Eve they broke into a wealthy family compound taking everyone hostage. That’s not nice. Harbour begins “stocking” the mercenaries punishing them for their lack of Christmas Cheer. So gather around the warm glow of the TV for this heartwarming (and heart ending) violence. Tis the season…for beatings?
Tuesday, January 24
American Masters: Roberta Flack (9 p.m. / PBS)
From “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” to “Killing Me Softly” and beyond, Roberta Flack gave voice to a global soundtrack of beauty and pain, love and anguish, hope and struggle.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: TRUTH & LIES: EPISODE 2 (9 P.M. / TVO)
Each episode of Truth & Lies unpacks the fascinating—and often infuriating—details of history’s greatest deceits, from falsifying justifications for war to spreading conspiracy theories to engaging in scandalous corruption.
The six-part docuseries details recent and historical events where facts have been intentionally distorted to achieve influence and control. Oh. Last week’s episode was Episode 1: Conspiracy explored how conspiracy theories feed on insecurity and have the potential for incredible destruction. Episode 2 airs tonight, it’s called Weapons of War. Truth is often the first casualty of war. And of course what’s a war without fresh propaganda. Every Tuesday do a deep dive into the sinister lies that obscure the truth. You’ll be yelling out Facts! as you watch this compelling docuseries.
Wednesday, January 25
Meet Jen. She lives in a world where everyone has a superpower. Everyone except her. Which is just sodding great. Extraordinary is somewhere between a sitcom and an existential crisis: an eye-popping, shocking, hilarious, and bittersweet comedy about finding your way in the world, when all you’ll ever be is ‘ordinary’.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: GRIND NOW SHINE LATER: THE CHRIS BOUCHER STORY (8 p.m. / TSN)
Chris Boucher wasn’t supposed to be in the NBA. But he is.
This is the third Raptors related documentary from Uninterrupted Canada following Fred VanVleet’s Par-Lay: Bet on Yourself (2021) and Anything Is Possible: The Serge Ibaka Story (2019). According to the media release: “The documentary tells the story of Chris Boucher’s improbable journey of overcoming the odds, and just four years after his release by the Golden State Warriors, hitting a multi-year, multi-million dollar NBA payday with the Toronto Raptors that has allowed him to create generational wealth for his family.” Programming Note: This is streaming on Crave starting today.
Thursday, January 26
Wolf Pack: Season 1 (Anytime / Paramount+)
Based on the 2004 book of the same name by Edo van Belkom, this young adult series follows four teenagers as they all realize they were attacked by a werewolf. Guess that would make em a…Teen Wolf.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: POKER FACE: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / PEACOCK)
Follow Charlie on a cross-country road trip as she meets a rogue’s gallery of characters and avenges a new injustice each episode, armed with little more than her uncanny ability to detect lies and a genuine appreciation for her fellow humans (and the occasional dog).
Rian Johnson’s TV debut (well like real TV not a Netflix movie) is a 10 episode case-of-the-week mystery series with Charlie Cale. Charlie can always tell when someone’s lying — a skill that helps when she encounters one strange criminal after another. The lengthy list of guest stars/criminals includes Adrien Brody, Ron Pearlman, Judith Light, Lil Rel Howery and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, among others. The hook here is viewers witness who did the crime and how they did it early on in the episode. Charlie Cale’s focus is cracking the case and that’s what we follow. To quote the media release: “She hits the road with her `69 Plymouth Barracuda and with every stop encounters a new cast of characters and strange crimes she can’t help but solve.” Intriguing premise; no poker face here you can see my enthusiasm on my face. Programming Note: Premieres with four episodes, followed by weekly drops each Thursday.
Friday, January 27
Willow: Behind the Magic (Anytime / Disney+)
The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes for an in-depth look at the making of the hit original series which debuted on Disney+ November 30, 2022.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SHRINKING: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
Shrinking follows a grieving therapist who starts to break the rules and tell his clients exactly what he thinks. Ignoring his training and ethics, he finds himself making huge, tumultuous changes to people’s lives…including his own.
Jason Segel, who wrote the show, plays a therapist grieving the loss of his wife has hit his breaking point. He begins to tell his clients exactly what he thinks. Soon, his blunt truths begin changing both their lives and his own: classic hijinks. While Harrison Ford portrays Dr. Phil (for real…), a by-the-book therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I mean it’s Jason Segel and Harrison Ford in this 10-episode comedy; you’d be crazy to overlook this show.
Saturday, January 28
Shotgun Wedding (Anytime / Prime Video)
Darcy and Tom gather their families for a destination wedding, but the ceremony gets put on hold when the entire wedding party gets taken hostage.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: YOU PEOPLE (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
Families and cultures clash when two LA millennials from different backgrounds fall in love and face the ultimate relationship test: meeting the parents.
Jonah Hill plays a red-faced fiancé-to-be tasked with convincing the black parents of his girl that he isn’t like other white people. It’s the parents who are comedy gold in this Netflix movie. The black parents Hill is desperately trying to impress and failing are Eddie Murphy and Nia Long. His Jewish parents are Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny. This isn’t a meet-cute so much as a meet-rough: Meet the Fockers with racial tensions and swears.
Sunday, January 29
Maestro Chef Wes (Anytime / Bell Fibe TV1)
The 6 episode cooking TV show features Maestro Fresh Wes with a number of celebrity guests such as Classified and battle rapper Pat Stay and classic Canadian hip hop puns: he makes Backbone Sliders. Get it?
SAMMY SUGGESTION: LOCKWOOD & CO. (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
In a world plagued by ghosts, three teens band together as paranormal investigators, risking what little they have to unravel a diabolical conspiracy.
Hardy Boys with ghosts? Amidst the many corporate adult-run Ghostbusters agencies there is Lockwood & Co. A slim startup founded by two teenage boys who’ve recently added a gifted girl. This is helpful in a universe where ghosts require an “exterminator” or at least to be captured and removed from the premises. But in this creepy world only kids have that distinct ability. Kids gradually lose their ability to detect ghosts as they get older. This British detective thriller television show is based on a series of supernatural young adult novels by Jonathan Stroud released between 2013 and 2017. Should be a welcome snack in between Strange Things seasons.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.