It’s my birthday week and the TV recommendations are…well mostly my taste. Some cake and candles to go with this week’s #SetTheVCR.
Monday, September 25
Season of Boom (Anytime / Seahawks YouTube channel)
An NFL docuseries told from the members of the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII championship team.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: 101 SCARIEST HORROR MOVIE MOMENTS OF ALL TIME (ANYTIME / SHUDDER)
A Shudder Original: master filmmakers and genre experts celebrate and dissect the most terrifying moments of the greatest horror films ever made.
On September 1st AMC announced a Universal sized monster FearFest with over 700 hours of films, series and specials to be curated by Shudder and broadcast and/or streamed across all the AMC Networks. There’s all the horror classics including the 45th anniversary of Halloween and the 50th anniversary of The Exorcist. But sandwiched between all the classics is a horror docuseries that reveals why the classics are truly classics. The Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time. I’ve so enjoyed this docuseries. If you’re a horror nerd this is appointment television. Shortly after movie goers saw Psycho; many became terrified of showering. (Janet Leigh who was murdered in the scene only took baths moving forward.) Jaws made people afraid of the water. A horror scene lingers; past the end of the movie when the Sun has come up and the horror has been vanquished but a scary scene…a moment stays with the audience long after the house lights come on. “In this eight-episode series from the producers of Eli Roth’s History of Horror, master filmmakers and genre experts celebrate and dissect the most terrifying moments of the greatest horror films ever made, exploring how these scenes were created and why they burned themselves into the brains of audiences around the world.” Here we go…all 8 episodes can be streamed on Shudder: let the debates ring out. What are your scariest horror movie moments of all time? (If you dig horror docuseries’ check out below my recommendation for September 28!) Programming Note: Shudder’s 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time airs every Friday at 11:00 p.m. on AMC which wisely pairs it with many of the horror movies discussed in the docuseries. So yes you can stream it on Shudder or watch on Friday nights an episode then check out horror good times like The Shining. Outstanding double feature, really.
Tuesday, September 26
Chappelle’s Home Team – Luenell: Town Business (Anytime / Netflix)
Chappelle’s Home Team is a series of stand-alone comedy specials executive produced by Dave Chappelle and featuring comedians chosen and spotlighted by Chappelle. The first special released as part of Home Team was Chappelle’s Home Team- Earthquake: Legendary, which premiered in February 2022.
This three-part docuseries chronicles the controversial story surrounding Renee Bach, a young American missionary who felt called by God to set up a charity for malnourished children in Jinja, Uganda.
These religious malarkey docs are quickly becoming a genre, like a Holy 30 for 30. We had 2 Hillsong docs, Praying for Armageddon, In The Name of God, John of God and praise God…lots more. To that list you can add the aptly named Savior Complex. I dunno who Renee Bach but her story based on the title is all too familiar. Over three parts this documentary “takes a close look at the thorny complexities of missionary work when local facilities are underfunded, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) fill the gap to provide resources in developing countries.” It’s a story as old as the Bible. People who like to help often hinder. There’s a reason why we call we call 911 when ruckus goes down…we get out of the way and leave the work to you know…trained professionals. We don’t just assume we can put out a fire or help someone in medical distress. If we did then we’d have a Savior Complex.
Wednesday, September 27
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Anytime / Netflix)
A beloved Roald Dahl story about a rich man who learns about a guru who can see without using his eyes and then sets out to master the skill in order to cheat at gambling. It’s Wes Anderson and Benedict Cumberbatch.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ENCOUNTERS (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
The landmark four-part series travels the globe to explore four extraordinary true stories of encounters with otherworldly phenomena. The series goes beyond the science to highlight the profoundly human impact of these encounters on lives, families, and communities.
A four-part docuseries that travels the globe to explore four extraordinary true stories of encounters with otherworldly phenomena. This is compelling because most of our UFO discourse is filtered through a North American lens. How do other people in the world view UFOs? What does their culture tell them about UFOs? Each episode tells a single story: “strange lights in the sky over small-town Texas; submersible space crafts haunting a coastal Welsh village; an alien encounter with school children in Zimbabwe and (woah!) non-human intelligence reportedly interfering with a nuclear power plant in Japan.” Yo…let’s do this. The Truth Is Out There…is that what they would say in Zimbabwe?
Thursday, September 28
In her first HBO stand-up special, comedian and writer Sam Jay takes the stage at Brooklyn Steel for a hilariously frank discussion on embracing our differences, the stresses of long-term relationships, and the power of empathy.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: AMC FEAR FEST: POLTERGEIST (9:30 P.M. / AMC)
FearFest curated by Shudder has been running since September 1st. As I wrote above…it’s 700 hours of films, series and specials. Whew. Check it out. Here’s one horror classic recommendation!
It’s my birthday. And happily as part of AMC’s FearFest tonight’s feature is Poltergeist. Even though nobody dies in this horror movie; it’s an excellent classic. (Bonus Birthday Fun? Head on over to Shudder an AMC BFF and check out a docuseries Cursed Films…Season 1 is phenomenal! During Season 1 I heard for the first time that whole Poltergeist used real skeletons urban legend. Huh. I just heard an urban legend about a 1982 movie in 2022. The tragic passing of the actors that was well known. That I knew about. But man I need new friends…ones who pass on urban legends. Nobody said anything…yo! Spill the dirt. When I blow out my candles I’ll wish for friends who are passionately into urban legends. What’s the worst that can happen?)
Friday, September 29
John Wick: Chapter 4 (Anytime / Crave)
John Wick uncovers a path to defeating The High Table. But before he can earn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE CONTINENTAL: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / PEACOCK & PRIME VIDEO-CANADA)
Night 2!! The three-part event will explore the origin behind the iconic hotel-for-assassins centerpiece of the John Wick universe through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott, as he’s dragged into the Hell-scape of 1970’s New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind.
John Wick’s dark and delightful world comes to TV in a 3 night burst of action: Night 1 was September 22nd, tonight Night 2 (directed by Charlotte Brandstrom) is broadcast and the conclusion Night 3 is October 6. All 3 nights are Winston Scott’s Wonder Years (sans Jets jacket) in 1970s NYC. Together all 3 TV movies serve as a prequel for the John Wick movies. I will for sure be checking into The Continental for a 3 night stay. Programming Note: John Wick: Chapter 4 will be on Crave on tonight (see above); so…same day as Night 2. That movie has a nunchucks vs AR-15 fight! (Nunchucks are my love language…)
Saturday, September 30
Violent Night (Anytime / Crave)
A coal-dark holiday action-comedy that says you should always bet on red: to hell with “all is calm.” So gather around the warm glow of the TV for this heartwarming (and heart ending) violence. Tis the season…for beatings?
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ALL UP IN THE BIZ (ANYTIME / PARAMOUNT+ CANADA)
The documentary feature, which premiered at Tribeca Festival last month, is the definitive story of late, great rapper Biz Markie, who is best known for his mega hit Just a Friend.
As #HipHop50 celebrations roll on across New York City it’s fitting to have a moment of silence for Biz Markie. Biz passed away on July 16, 2021. Like…look who is in this doc: Nick Cannon, Tracy Morgan, Big Daddy Kane, Fat Joe, Daryl McDaniels (DMC!), Doug E Fresh, Dapper Dan, Prince Paul, Rakim, Marley Marl and more! And check out this line from the description…there’s one word…a key phrase that stands out; see it? “Director Sacha Jenkins weaves together a collage of dynamic celebrity interviews, rare archival footage, reenactments with puppets, and playful animation to share the personal and professional story of Biz Markie and the mark he left on hip-hop history and the music industry around the world.” Yup! Reenactments with puppets. When was the last time you saw a documentary that featured reenactments with puppets? Or is the better question to ask why aren’t there more puppet laced docs? If you know Biz Markie you know reenactments with puppets is the best way to go. Programming Note: Check out Mixtape also streaming on Paramount+ as of August 1st.
Sunday, October 01
Family Guy: Season 22 (9:30 p.m. / Fox)
In a wacky Rhode Island town, a dysfunctional family strives to cope with everyday life as they are thrown from one crazy scenario to another.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE SIMPSONS: SEASON 35 (8 P.M. / FOX)
The satiric adventures of a working-class family in the misfit city of Springfield.
Fox’s Animation Domination lineup will still include The Simpsons who’re returning for a staggering 35th season. (Krapopolis is an animation rookie…that’s a new show from creator Dan Harmon. The rest of the Animation Domination lineup you know.) Season 35 kicks off when Homer volunteers to be a school crossing guard. Treehouse of Horror XXXIV is expected on October 22nd. (It comes with a Silence of the Lambs parody!) One legit concern? Season 19 (September 23, 2007 – May 18, 2008) was only 20 episodes due to the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. (Sound familiar?) So let’s see how many episodes we get for Season 35 with the current Hollywood Strikes going on. And that’s it. It’s…The Simpsons. You’re either in or you’re out. There’s no marketing at this point, like SNL you know exactly what this is and what to expect. It’s been trucking since 1990 and there’s over 750 episodes. It’s a comedy institution. Be grateful for the time we have; this doesn’t happen often. Programming Note: New episodes will be available to stream on Hulu the next day.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.