Milli Vanilli, Bodies and Burning Girls…are you seeking fun Halloween TV recommendations? Then welcome #SetTheVCR into your life and behold fresh TV.
Monday, October 23
Lessons In Chemistry: Limited Series (Anytime / Apple TV+)
Set in the 1950s, Elizabeth Zott’s dream of being a chemist is put on hold when she finds herself pregnant, alone, and fired from her lab.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE BURNING GIRLS: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / PARAMOUNT+)
A Vicar and her daughter. Both arrive in a new village in hope of a fresh start but soon find the strange community has terrible secrets.
We got a British TV show set in a village with creepy secrets. Sold! Plus witchcraft, exorcism kits, bloodied nighties…if we can add some flickering candles to the mix we got solid October horror. It all starts with a reverend who takes a position with the town as the new reverend because the previous one had died, but new isn’t aware as to how the old died. Oh-Oh. Cue the foggy moors. The thing is the new vicar is escaping her own scandal and she’s hoping her and her daughter could start over in this English village. Well you know how that is gonna go…the show is after all called Burning Girls and you know why they burn girls, right? That’s hot.
Tuesday, October 24
Welcome Back To The NBA – Inside The NBA (7:30 p.m. / TNT)
The 2023–24 NBA season is the 78th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The regular season is scheduled to begin on October 24, 2023, and end on April 14, 2024. And tonight to kick it all off is Inside The NBA on TNT one of the best TV shows on TV. The 7:30 pm game is Lakers at Nuggets. The 10 pm game is Suns at Warriors.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MILLI VANILLI (ANYTIME / PARAMOUNT+)
The documentary tells the story of Robert “Rob” Pilatus and Fabrice “Fab” Morvan, who became fast friends during their youth in Germany. So much fallout.
Man; we’ve lived through Y2K, Satanic and Moral Panics (no child has ever…ever died from Halloween candy) and…Milli Vanilli. Trust is a fragile commodity and after all of those experiences I’m super stingy when it comes to trust. This is the story of how 2 Germans became one of the biggest pop acts in the late 80s…only by the time they won the best new artist Grammy in 1990 they were a ticking time bomb. And it all went off when it was revealed they didn’t sing a single note. It was mess so hot they couldn’t just Blame It on the Rain. Milli Vanilli is a the ideal metaphor as we look back at the back 90s trying to sort out what’s real and what’s not. How little actions have big consequences. The 90s were the growth of the internet, the fall of the Soviet Union, the O.J. Simpson verdict…the last humble decade where most of our society still had the analog skills to survive on the streets while engaging Nintendo Game Boys and raising Tamagotchis as digital pets. Fantastic documentary and I highly recommend making a tea for this one.
Wednesday, October 25
Predator (Anytime / Crave)
A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior. Directed by John McTiernan with classic Arnold one-liners this is a sci-fi 80s action masterpiece that should not be missed.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: BODIES: LIMITED SERIES (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
Four detectives. One body. Stephen Graham stars in this genre-bending mystery thriller.
Are you sick and tired of comic book adaptations? Then skip Bodies by Si Spencer and Dean Ormston an eight issue limited series published in 2014 by Vertigo. Bodies the Netflix show begins in 2023, with police attending a far-right march in London’s East End and discovering a…body. Before that investigation is launched the episode jumps back to 1941 where a detective in London’s East End discovers a…body. Before that investigation is launched the episode jumps back to 1890 where a detective in London’s East End discovers a…body. Yes there’s a Groundhog Day quality to the body…to how the victim was killed and much more. But before the audience can process all that…there’s an even more audacious leap to…2053. If you’re a fan of time jump TV shows like The Lazarus Project and Dark (both #SetTheVCR recommendations) you’ll wanna check this Bodies.
Thursday, October 26
Standing Up, Falling Down (Anytime / Hulu)
A struggling stand-up comedian and an alcoholic dermatologist (Billy Crystal!) form an unlikely friendship and give each other the confidence to face their failures.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: PETE HOLMES: I AM NOT FOR EVERYONE (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
Comedian Pete Holmes delivers a feel-good stand-up set on his awkward post-prostate exam hug, a devilish Midwest meeting and his mom’s voicemail glitches.
Netflix’s genres for this latest Pete Holmes comedy special are Witty and Goofy. In that order that perfectly encapsulates Pete Holmes. If he had a business card that’s exactly what it should say…Witty and Goofy.
Friday, October 27
Penn & Teller: Fool Us: Season 10 (8 p.m. / The CW)
Aspiring magicians from all over the world perform their best tricks to try and fool Penn and Teller, the world-famous magician duo. If the two can not guess how the trick was done, the “fooler” gets to be on their Las Vegas magic show.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE ENFIELD POLTERGEIST (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
Experience the chilling true story of the world’s most famous poltergeist case through original audio recordings made inside the house as the events unfolded.
Turns out the Twilight Zone opening narration was correct: “There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” Is the the most famous poltergeist haunting in history real? Or is it Amityville fake? And if it’s real…what does that say about ghosts and what lies beyond death? Programming Note: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case as you can tell from the title is based on this story. Last week’s #SetTheVCR referenced The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It based on the recent Netflix documentary The Devil on Trial. (More? The Nun is a spiritual spin-off to The Conjuring 2 and today on HBO Max and Crave The Nun II has begun streaming today. See Sunday?)
Saturday, October 28
World Series Game 2 (7 p.m. / Fox)
Major League Baseball’s 119th World Series continues between the Arizona Diamondbacks vs Texas Rangers.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: PAIN HUSTLERS (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
Liza dreams of a better life for her and her daughter. She gets a job at a bankrupt pharmacy, and Liza’s guts catapult the company and her into the high life, putting her in the middle of a criminal conspiracy.
More Painkiller profits! The Opioid Epidemic has been so profitable for streamers but there’s only so many stories to tell. This one focuses on the sales agents. You know all the pain hustlers in this so sit back and watch them achieve all their American dreams.
Sunday, October 29
1956 – France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (ANYTIME / NETFLIX-CANADA)
Eddie Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution.
A fun part of Halloween is terrible movies. From Chopping Mall to…Killer Klowns from Outer Space terrible movies are a Halloween staple. The first Venom is a terrible movie. I don’t expect this sequel to be much better. So it fits with the horror B-movie quality of this month. This may still be streaming on Starz or Hulu in the US. Sony movies are weird to find since they don’t have a streaming home. Either way? Let There Be Carnage.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.