Get Superpowered with these TV recommendations: from Special Ops to Steph Curry to a Minx. All this fun can only mean it’s #SetTheVCR.
Monday, July 17
The Last Dance (7 p.m. & 8 p.m. / TSN 5)
The Last Dance is a 10-part docuseries from ESPN/Netflix focusing on 1997-98 Chicago Bulls which culminated in a championship and is sadly Michael Jordan’s final season (with the Bulls). Starting today and for every Monday at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. TSN will air 2 episodes; concluding on Monday August 14. For cord-cutters who missed The Last Dance on ESPN and then on ABC back in like 2020 it’s on Netflix in all of its F Bomb glory.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: NBA SUMMER LEAGUE (9 P.M. / ESPN)
There will be a total of four games played by each team between July 7 and July 14. Once all teams have completed the four games, the four teams with the highest scores will progress to the semifinal round. The semifinal games are scheduled for July 16, while the championship game is set to take place on July 17.
Tonight is the championship game of the NBA’s Summer League in 2023: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Houston Rockets. (Yeah I don’t care either. But it’s sports in July so you take what they give you.) The NBA’s Summer League is a trailer for the upcoming season. There’s player development (and coaches development), talent is assessed and a team’s strengths and weaknesses are identified if not addressed. Pay attention now and you won’t be saying that guy came outta nowhere. You’ll be in the know. For example: Cavs’ Isaiah Mobley (yes…the older brother of Cavs star center Evan Mobley) was named MVP of Summer League title game. Mobley finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists to power Cleveland to its 1st title since the Summer League went to a tournament format in 2013.
Tuesday, July 18
Southern Storytellers: Season 1 (9 p.m. / PBS)
Celebrate Southern identity through the eyes of contemporary creators of literature, music, film and television, including authors like David Joy; poets Jericho Brown and Natasha Trethewey; songwriters Lyle Lovett and Justin Moore; songwriter/screenwriter/actor Billy Bob Thornton and songwriter/actress Mary Steenburgen and lots more.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: DEGRASSI: FULL SERIES (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO-CANADA)
Degrassi is a long-running television series portraying multiple generations of students attending the titular school while facing various personal and social issues.
To quote Kevin Smith: “Folks, I would like to raise a simple toast: to Degrassi!” Today Prime Video-Canada (eh, yes!) is all aboot Degrassi. In the 90s popular American TV shows had teens like Donna on 90210 who was struggling being…a virgin. Like, really? Over in Canada on Degrassi girls were not only having sex but getting pregnant and having abortions. Over the many incarnations (Prime is adding 7 different Degrassi TV shows) the teens confronted gambling and racism, dealt with suicide, pedophilia among a host of other sexual issues some taboo for their times. Degrassi accurately reflected high school. There’s a dark post-apocalyptic wasteland quality to high school; as growing individuals figure out who they are, confirm their values and of course…have fun. Degrassi has been around since 1979. The technology is vastly different but otherwise the classic high school struggles are all the same from drugs and sex and fitting in. And that’s enduring power of this TV show, why it has a hold on imaginations and earns approval from Kevin Smith. Pain and hurt and suffering are universal timeless experiences. Don’t let the Canadians are nice thing fool you; we can go hard.
Wednesday, July 19
Disquiet (Anytime / Paramount+)
After a near-fatal car accident, Sam wakes to discover he is trapped in an abandoned hospital by mysterious and sinister forces that have no intention of letting him leave…
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE WATCHFUL EYE: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / DISNEY+ CANADA & HULU)
Elena Santos is a young woman with a complicated past, maneuvering her way into working as a live-in nanny for an affluent family in Manhattan. She quickly learns that everyone in the mysterious building has deadly secrets and ulterior motives.
Series Premiere via Freefrom: A Hitchcockian Rear Window all set in the same building this time: The Greybourne in Manhattan. After a woman’s mysterious death (is there any other kind?) her aunt enlists the live-in nanny for the affluent family who may have had something to do with the young woman’s death to investigate. So basically the aunt turned her into a Nanny-Cam?? As the ah…Nanny-Cam conducts her investigation she learns…of course everyone in the freaky building has deadly secrets and ulterior motives (is there any other kind?). This is a serious Only Murders In The Building. Programming Note: On June 30, 2023 this was canceled at Freeform. So maybe it’s not worth a Watchful Eye?
Thursday, July 20
65 (Anytime – Netflix-US)
An astronaut crash lands on a mysterious planet only to discover he’s not alone. After Earth but mercifully without Will Smith’s annoying son?
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SUPERPOWERED: THE DC STORY (ANYTIME / HBO MAX & CRAVE)
An unprecedented look at the enduring and influential legacy of DC, allowing fans to rediscover the universe of characters, as well as the iconic comic book company’s origins, its evolution and its nearly nine-decade cultural impact across every artistic medium.
Are you ready to get Superpowered? Dive into the exciting world of fan favorite DC Comics superheroes and villains. Hear from many of the popular creators who have shaped their fates. Superpowered takes viewers on an origin journey through the storied history of DC Comics. This unbelievable tale of superheroes and villains is full of captivating corporate drama and maps the power of imagination, ambition, and even tragedy (sorry Bruce Wayne). Superpowered explores the DC Comics universe, from its early years with Superman to modern-day incarnations like…Superman at the movies. Unlock the secrets of a universe filled with fantastic stories and characters who have thrilled generations. I appreciate that this follows the Stan Lee documentary.
Friday, July 21
Boris Becker: The Rise and Fall (Anytime / Paramount+ Canada)
This is the inside story of how three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, one of the world’s greatest sporting icons, ended up in a British jail.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: STEPHEN CURRY: UNDERRATED (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
The remarkable coming-of-age story of one of the most influential, dynamic and unexpected players in the history of basketball: Stephen Curry.
Stephen Curry: Underrated is the latest NBA documentary to stream on TV. (As TV viewers we’ve been bombarded with a flood of music docs and NBA docs. It’s been an outstanding year.) Typically this documentary explores Curry’s remarkable journey from birth to the NBA to NBA superstar. Though Wikipedia lite in moments it effortlessly traces his breakout performance in college (little known Davidson) to becoming one of the best basketball players in the world (well known Warriors). Through exclusive interviews (including his hot mom!) and previously unseen footage, this is an up-close look at Curry’s story so far. (This isn’t his first doc. The Warriors are naturally going to spark a number of docs and books.) Though there’s no grand hook like Jordan being cut from his high school team; Curry’s determination, resilience and hard work is inspiring. So think of this as a 2 hour Nike commercial. (Well, okay…Under Armour.)
Saturday, July 22
They Cloned Tyrone (Anytime / Netflix)
An eerie series of events leads an unlikely trio down a rabbit hole into a sinister neighborhood conspiracy.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MINX: SEASON 2 (ANYTIME / STARZ)
Set in 1970s Los Angeles, Minx centers around Joyce an earnest young feminist who joins forces with a low-rent publisher (Jake Johnson!) to create the first erotic magazine for women. In season two, Doug and Joyce grapple with Minx’s explosive success, which brings more money, fame and temptation than either of them know how to handle.
If you watched Minx Season 1 you know this show is…a “Big Deal.” Heh. This season set in 1970s Los Angeles continues to explore female sexuality and empowering their voices by offering them…a Magic Mic. Season 2 follows the erotic magazine for women Minx and Joyce its founder. She’s a determined self-made businesswoman slash feminist who is determined to make a name for herself even if that means dealing with a lusty low-rent porn publisher. Her naked ambition leads her down a treasure trail of self-discovery as she navigates deception, betrayal, and female sexuality She will be tested as she discovers the truth about herself and who she wants women to become. Minx is of course…a classic drama, but with a modern hot mess spin.
Sunday, July 23
Amy (Anytime / CBC Gem)
Amy Jade Winehouse died today, in 2011. She was 27. Of course. CBC Gem has added Amy a 2015 documentary. Though flawed; this is one of the few docs we have. Play her music today, screen this if you must. A moment of silence for the incrediblly soulful talent we lost.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SPECIAL OPS: LIONESS [ANYTIME / PARAMOUNT+)
Inspired by an actual US Military program, follows the life of Joe while she attempts to balance her personal and professional life as the tip of the CIA’s spear in the war on terror.
A must-watch for fans of espionage and suspense; Special Ops: Lioness is Paramount+’s latest new series that isn’t Yellowstone related. The Lioness Program, overseen by Nicole Kidman enlists Zoe Saldaña to oversee an aggressive Marine Raider whose operating undercover among the power brokers of State terrorism in the CIA’s efforts to thwart the next 9/11. Think Miami Vice but with terrorism instead of drugs. Cruz Manuelos is the agent who is assigned to befriend the daughter of a billionaire who has ties to terrorist organizations. Can Zoe keep her in line? And get satisfying results for Nicole? Nothing like some sweet Special Ops to kick off the week.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.