Old Dads have a Devil of a time dealing with a Wolf Pack. What else but #SetTheVCR. Shall we watch more TV?
Monday, October 16
Shining Vale: Season 2 (Anytime / Starz)
A dysfunctional family that tried to run from their problems by moving their kids into a possibly-haunted Victorian mansion in small-town Connecticut. For Season 2 the house starts to reveal the shocking secrets of its dark past.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: JOHN CARPENTER’S SUBURBAN SCREAMS (ANYTIME / PEACOCK)
The series explores the dark secrets and unspeakable evil that sometimes lurks beneath the surface of the sun-drenched streets, manicured lawns and friendly neighbors of suburbia.
In 1978 audiences met creepy Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s Halloween. At the time the original pitch by John Carpenter and Debra Hill was that Halloween could become an anthology series of films that centered around Halloween night. Each sequel would contain its own characters, setting, and storyline. However Myers proved to be way too popular. That original pitch is why Halloween III: Season of the Witch doesn’t have anything to do with Michael Myers vs babysitters. (It also bombed so badly that it promoted the swift return of Michael Myers.) So the idea of a Halloween anthology was abandoned and I dunno how many movies later Michael Myers is still trying to silently kill his sister. However, you can celebrate a Halloween anthology with John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams. Now this is a fascinating hook: “Each episode focuses on one true tale of terror, told by the real people who lived through it. Their firsthand accounts are brought to life through premium cinematic scene-work, news clips, home photos, and archival footage, combining the visual language of horror films with the tools and techniques of documentaries, creating a uniquely frightening experience for viewers.” And just like Halloween…Carpenter also composes the series’ theme music. Programming Note: For Canadians Suburban Screams premieres on Wednesday, October 18 at 10 p.m. on Showcase.
Tuesday, October 17
Haunted Mansion (Anytime / Disney+)
A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest and a historian to help exorcise her newly bought mansion after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE DEVIL ON TRIAL (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
The Devil on Trial explores the first — and only — time “demonic possession” has officially been used as a defense in a US murder trial.
The third installment of the popular horror franchise The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It came along in 2021. And like the other movies in the horror collection it was inspired by a true story of true evil. The Devil was based on the first person in America to use “the devil made me do it” in a murder defense. Which is a weird defense. It reminds me of the Chris Rock line when he was talking about Siegfried & Roy’s tiger: “That tiger ain’t go crazy; that tiger went tiger!” In 1981 19-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson claimed that he murdered his 40-year-old landlord, Alan Bono, while under the influence of demonic forces. I mean it’s his landlord, did the devil really need to be involved? That killing in Connecticut “conjured” up self-professed demonologists and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were known for their probe into the infamous haunting in Amityville, Long Island. Horror movies this time of year are lots of fun. But real life can be scary too.
Wednesday, October 18
The second series of shorts highlights ordinary Canadians doing extraordinary things to make their communities better places. From Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (Ancestral Threads), to noise pollution in Toronto (Do You Hear What I Hear?), from the first all-female Muslim softball league (Sisterhood Softball), to a rapper addressing mental health issues (Mind Check, 1-2 1-2), the second series of Citizen Minutes will inform and entertain.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: BILLY THE KID: SEASON 2: PART 1 (ANYTIME / MGM+)
The epic romantic adventure inspired by the life of America’s most infamous outlaw continues in Season Two, as Billy and his allies square off against his oldest friend Jesse Evans and the corrupt powers of the Santa Fe Ring. When shots are fired, the conflict erupts into the bloody Lincoln County War. Amidst the fighting, Billy will struggle to hang onto his soul—and to the love of his life.
More action and more gunfights: the show continues to build towards the Lincoln County War of 1878. It’s always fun to ride with an outlaw even though the first episode of Season 2 is called The Road To Hell. William H. Bonney’s road to Billy The Kid is notoriously mysterious…especially his earliest years before becoming a prominent criminal. So this show continues to blend fictional and historical characters to fill in the blanks while telling its story. Cowboys and gun fights…that’s enough to “draw” my attention. Programming Note: Part One is the first four episodes. Part Two follows in 2024 due to the recent Hollywood strikes.
Thursday, October 19
Peter & The Wolf (Anytime / HBO Max)
Featuring music and narration by Gavin Friday, and artwork based on original illustrations by Bono. The short film follows a grieving 12-year-old Peter who is now in the care of his grandfather after enduring the loss of a parent. Upon hearing stories of a wolf on the loose, Peter decides to explore the vast meadow and forest nearby to try and find the wolf himself. Along the way he encounters creatures who help him on his quest while contending with hunters aiming to win a prize for capturing the wolf.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: WOLF LIKE ME: SEASON 2 (ANYTIME / PEACOCK)
In the second season of Wolf Like Me, Mary (Isla Fisher) and Gary (Josh Gad) leap into the next phase of their relationship, facing their biggest challenge yet: pregnancy. As much as the two try to have a “normal” pregnancy, it seems impossible with so many questions looming over them. Will their child be a human or a wolf?
“Everyone brings their own set of baggage to a new relationship. Gary (Josh Gad) and Mary (Isla Fisher) are no different. Gary is an emotional wreck and struggles to provide for his daughter since the death of his wife. Mary has a secret she can’t bring herself to share with anyone. The universe brought these two together for a reason, they just need to keep following the signs.” Well…after watching season 1 of Wolf Like Me I concluded it doesn’t work. It attempted whimsy but was ineffective. Eh…watch Amélie instead. It aimed for romantic-comedy and failed on both counts. Watch Notting Hill instead. The tone is all wrong…for a horror TV show. Watch Supernatural instead. So why am I recommending Season 2? Because of the insteads. If Season 2 isn’t working for you, take a pause and wonder what does this remind me of? Sometimes it’s not about the recommendations but the fun the recommendations prompts. When was the last time you saw Amélie? Right. You don’t always have to roll with a Wolf Pack when it comes to watching TV…there’s so many benefits to being a Lone Wolf.
Friday, October 20
Sick (9 p.m. / Showcase)
As the pandemic steadily brings the world to a halt, Parker and her best friend Miri decide to quarantine at the family lake house alone – or so they think. Kevin Williamson’s latest…you know the dude who wrote Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer is Sick. Parker and her best friend Miri decide to quarantine at the family lake house alone…yeah we all know how that is gonna go. Remember the classic Scream opening? Poor Drew Barrymore thought she was all alone in the house…turns out, she wasn’t. So who will survive this movie? Parker or her best friend Miri? The Peacock Original movie comes to Canada tonight.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: OLD DADS (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
A cranky middle-aged dad and his two best friends find themselves out of step in a changing world of millennial CEOs and powerful preschool principals.
Following Louis C.K.’s comedy template welcome Bill Burr to the director’s chair. For his directorial debut, he is staring as a send-up of his stand-up having experienced fatherhood relatively late in life. Remember how bits/moment of Jerry Seinfeld’s act ended up in Seinfeld? Same comedic principle here. Look, it’s Bill Burr…the thumbnail tells you what to expect if you don’t know his comedy by now. You can be an Old Dad and skip this or you can be a Fresh Father and enjoy the sardonic fatherly bond. I mean Steve Martin did Parenthood, Sandler did Big Daddy…stand up comics like Kevin Hart often experience Fatherhood. It’s Bill Burr’s turn.
Saturday, October 21
The second season picks up with the Season One cliffhanger, following a masked assailant abducting Madeline Bosch. The first two episodes of the new season are now streaming. If you dig books and reading and thrillers check out the Sammy Suggestion below!
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE PIGEON TUNNEL (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
The documentary pulls back the curtain on the storied life and career of former British spy David Cornwell – better known as John le Carré.
Have you read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Night Manager or The Constant Gardener? I have not! I’ve seen movies adapted from John le Carré’s books…Tailor Soldier Spy is is an outstanding movie. But this is an Errol Morris doc and those are always special. The backdrop is the Cold War and David Cornwell – better known as John le Carré is reflecting on his life. As a writer, sure but mostly as a former British spy. Oh, yes. And it’s all set to an original score by Philip Glass. Clearly with Morris at the helm we’re setting sail into the fuzzy boundaries of truth, memory and imagination. Which is really…the best spycraft.
Sunday, October 22
Cynara (9p.m. / Documentary Channel)
After a break-in, a mother calls 911 seeking help for her disabled daughter, Cynara. Hours later, Cynara is dead, and her mother is the prime suspect in this gripping story of Canada’s justice system on trial. A devastating and heartbreaking documentary.
The End Is Nigh! This final season takes place seven years after the previous season and has the characters living on the island known as Padre.
This Walking Dead spin-off shuffles to the end and concludes on Sunday, November 19 with two back-to-back episodes. (The Walking Dead passed away on November 20, 2022.). When the series paused on June 18…Morgan Jones and his adopted daughter Mo decided to return to Alexandria to find…Rick Grimes. Oh! Is Rick gonna show up in the final 6 episodes? What’s gonna happen to Padre the utopian island? Who is not gonna make it to the end? Walking Dead is famous for their shocking deaths. 2023 has already provided The Walking Dead: Dead City (Maggie and Negan on vacation in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan) and now The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon has recently concluded (Dixon is now not wearing sleeves in Paris.) on October 15. Both those shows have been renewed. Some sweet Zombie goodness for your Halloween horror food group consumption.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.