Big Names in this week’s #SetTheVCR: The Sandman, Mr. October, David Koresh and Tom Cruise. All they require is a Watcher, Britpop supplies the soundtrack.
Monday, March 20
Based on the infamous Boston Strangler murders, this is the true story of Loretta McLaughlin, the first reporter to connect the murders and break the story of the Strangler. She and fellow reporter Jean Cole challenged the sexism of the early 1960s to report on the city’s most notorious serial killer and worked tirelessly to keep women informed.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: WATCHER (ANYTIME / HULU)
Who watches the Watchmen? You never know who’s watching.
Is this like Reverse Rear Window? Watch as American woman moves with her husband to Bucharest. Then watch her grow anxious as a creepy stranger watches her from the apartment building across the street. Then watch her grow agitated as she suspects the Watcher watching her across the street is a serial killer decapitating women. Watch what happens…next.
Tuesday, March 21
Nope (Anytime / Prime Video-US)
The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: BRITPOP: THE DECADE THAT CHANGED MUSIC (ANYTIME / MY5)
The four-part docuseries tells the story of the integral British genre from start to finish. There will be “exclusive new interviews with the key players”, who will tell “fascinating behind-the-scenes stories”, and a “rare and unseen archive of all the era’s big names”adds a description
A docuseries you can turn up to 11! The first episode documents the fate, fortunes and rivalries of Blur, Oasis, Suede and Elastica as they fashion Britpop. You know those bands and you enjoy those songs. Which means the second episode is a deep dive into the Oasis vs Blur chart battle and feud. Hopefully this docuseries comes to North America soon. There will be “exclusive new interviews with the key players” who will tell “fascinating behind-the-scenes stories” and a “rare and unseen archive of all the era’s big names.” Amazing. I dig Britpop way more than grunge so until this comes here; I play the music.
Wednesday, March 22
Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. This is the James Gunn Squad…so the good Suicide Squad movie.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: WACO: AMERICAN APOCALYPSE (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
This immersive three-part Netflix documentary series is the definitive account of what happened in Waco, Texas in 1993 when cult leader David Koresh faced off against the federal government in a bloody 51-day siege.
An intense mid-week journey into one of America’s most notorious tragedies. The Waco massacre was originally the Waco siege: for 51 days the FBI and the ATF were in a stand off with Branch Davidians holed up in their ranch. The ATF had a search warrant, believing the popular cult was selling and/or stockpiling illegal weapons. Only the religious group refused the warrant, prompting a federal stand off. By the time the ruckus was all over 76 Branch Davidians, including 25 children, two pregnant women, and their leader David Koresh were dead. All broadcast live on CNN. So…what happened in 1993? Waco: American Apocalypse promises to be a raw and unflinching exploration of the events leading up to the siege. The standard takes you behind the lurid headlines with recent interviews from those who were caught up in this tragic event. (On both sides…Federal agents and Branch Davidians survivors.) This is true crime, this is church and state, this is abuse of power…this is something that was difficult to forget. Even 30 years later.
Thursday, March 23
The Thing About Pam: Limited Series (Anytime / Freevee)
Based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria that resulted in the conviction of her husband, Russ, but he insisted he did not kill her. This brutal crime set off a chain of events that would expose a diabolical scheme deeply involving Pam Hupp.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE NIGHT AGENT: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
In the basement of the White House, there’s a phone that never rings. This is the story of the night it rings.
Never read Matthew Quirk’s novel but The Night Agent about an FBI agent who gets a Federal Booty Call (U Up?) looks dope. Classic heart-pumping action and lots of Kiefer Sutherland can’t trust anybody this goes right to the top shadowy machinations. The TV series follows the crooked journey of Peter Sutherland a young FBI agent who finds himself caught up in a conspiracy (of course he does!) that threatens to upend the entire nation (of course it does!). As he navigates a web of lies and deception (oh yes!), Peter must use all of his skills and training to uncover (wait for it!) the truth before it’s too late! (There it is.) A spy thriller meets political drama should be enough to…keep you up at Night. U Up for The Night Agent?
Friday, March 24
The saga of a team of wildly talented high school girls soccer players who become the (un)lucky survivors of a plane crash deep in the remote northern wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated but thriving team to savage clans, while also tracking the lives they’ve attempted to piece back together nearly 25 years later, proving that the past is never really past and what began out in the wilderness is far from over.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: REGGIE (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO)
One of sport’s most influential megastars, beloved baseball icon, and 5-time World Series champion Reggie Jackson contemplates his legacy as a trailblazing Black athlete fighting for dignity, respect, and a seat at the table in this intimate and revealing new documentary exploring his life and barrier-busting career.
Reggie Jackson was nicknamed “Mr. October” for his clutch hitting in baseball’s postseason: so clearly he earned a Last Dance. Clutch is typically associated with the NBA not the MLB. Reggie helped Oakland win five consecutive American League West divisional titles, three straight American League pennants and three consecutive World Series titles from 1972 to 1974. And Reggie helped New York win four American League East divisional pennants, three American League pennants and back to back World Series titles, in 1977 and 1978. That is all clutch. And that’s all known and on the record (especially for non-baseball fans like me.). But…who is Reggie Jackson? Beyond just the baseball greatness Reggie “sits down with fellow legends Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, and more to discuss their own race and sports experiences, how far we’ve really come, and the leagues they want to leave behind for future generations.” Should be another home run for Prime Video’s sports docs (and another lazy strikeout for my blurb ending puns.).
Saturday, March 25
Clerks III (Anytime / Crave)
After suffering a massive heart attack, Randal (Jeff Anderson) enlists friends and fellow clerks Dante (Brian O’Halloran), Elias (Trevor Fehrman), Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) to help him make a movie about life at the convenience store Quick Stop.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: TOP GUN: MAVERICK (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO-US)
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 you feel the need…for speed. It’s Tom Cruise so replace the G in Gun to an F. Programming Note: It’s still on Paramount+ but if you’re in American and got Prime here it be.
Sunday, March 26
The series explores themes of power and family dynamics through the eyes of patriarch Logan Roy and his four grown children, Kendall, Siobhan, Roman, and Connor.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MARK TWAIN PRIZE FOR AMERICAN HUMOR CELEBRATING ADAM SANDLER (8 P.M. / CNN)
The 24th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor live ceremony will be held at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, DC, on Sunday, March 19, and the program will air in full exclusively on CNN on Sunday, March 26.
That’s My Boy! Through his Hustle The Sandman has given us a number of Uncut Gems that have Blended comedy with the serious. Like a Bulletproof Wedding Singer he’s been with us since we were reading about Jack and Jill. Now as Grown Ups it’s hard to Click away when his Dirty Work movies show up on Netflix. I mean he’s good Funny People who’ve sparked all kinds of romance over 50 First Dates. So to win The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor isn’t Stupidity or a throbbing hangover after Eight Crazy Nights. It is 100% Fresh. And if you have an issue with that…eh…Just Go With It.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.