This week’s #SetTheVCR is a Rogues’ Gallery of thieves, creeps, killers and criminals. Oh and lots of Star Trek to balance out all the dark TV recommendations.
Monday, September 04
Disenchantment: The Final Season (Anytime / Netflix)
To save Dreamland from Queen Dagmar’s wrath, Princess Bean must vanquish her mother and outrun a prophecy that foretells she will kill the one she loves. From Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, comes Disenchantment – an adult animated comedy fantasy series following the misadventures of a hard-drinking princess, her feisty elf companion, and her personal demon.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (9 P.M. / CNN)
The documentary which had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival reveals a key originator of American pop music: Richard Penniman.
I forgot to #SetTheVCR for Little Richard: King and Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll directed by James House. That was on PBS in June. Little Richard: I Am Everything is directed by Lisa Cortes and that’s on CNN today. Little Richard is a rock’n’roll cornerstone. I’m endlessly grateful for his work and his music. Interviews in this documentary include Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Jason King, Billy Porter, Nile Rodgers and John Waters. Now that’s a party. There’s nothing Little about Richard’s contribution to popular music. What a fitting way to spend Labour Day then with a man who helped build rock n roll.
Tuesday, September 05
Inside the NFL (8 p.m. / The CW)
A panel of football experts break down previously unseen highlights and exclusive NFL Films mic’d up sounds from the game. The latest NFL season starts on Thursday, then rolls into Sunday and Monday.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO-CANADA)
The world’s greatest leader is a hostage in the most dangerous place on Earth. Now only the deadliest man alive can save him.
I don’t remember the Mad Max movies at all. Did I like em as a kid? I remember and utterly enjoyed Escape from New York! (Not LA though, eww). So I’m glad Prime Video has added Escape from New York. It’s been at least a decade since I’ve set my “eye” on this John Carpenter classic. (I tend to rewatch Carpenter’s They Live more often. Really dig that one.) The movie storyline is classic Carpenter: Welcome to 1997 where a Batman-less United States has converted Manhattan Island in New York City into the country’s sole maximum security prison. Air Force One is hijacked by anti-government insurgents who deliberately crash it into the walled borough. Now Ex-soldier and current federal prisoner Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is given just 24 hours to go in and rescue the President of the United States, after which, if successful, he will be pardoned. My other favourite tagline for Escape is: New York Is A Disease. Harsh but it makes me laugh.
Wednesday, September 06
I Am Groot: Season 2 (Anytime / Disney+)
The troublemaking twig returns to mischief: You woodn’t beleaf what Groot gets up to in Season 2.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE JEWEL THIEF (ANYTIME / HULU & DISNEY+ CANADA)
The unbelievable first-hand account of Gerald Blanchard, one of the most creative, calculating and accomplished criminal masterminds in modern history.
How do you make a documentary when the subject is an unreliable narrator because he’s a thief? This is a portrait of Gerald Daniel Blanchard a creative, calculating and patient criminal with a strong engineering bent. Blanchard’s list of crimes includes the 1998 theft of one of Sisi’s stars, robbing a Canadian bank, petty shoplifting and lots more. This is an interesting shift as the demand for True Crime swells…nobody here was killed. There is no grand unsolved mystery. These are the tall tales of a Batman thief reliving his glory days.
Thursday, September 07
NFL Kick Off (8:20 P.M. / NBC)
The NFL’s 104th season begins with the league’s annual primetime kickoff game, as the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions at Arrowhead Stadium. More games will on Sunday.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE KILLING KIND: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / PARAMOUNT+)
Can you trust the man you fear the most?
As a top-shelf barrister, Ingrid Lewis is used to dealing with tricky clients, but no-one rivals John Webster. She wins his case and then wins his heart. But when she decides to collect her legal briefs and exit the relationship; Webster reminds her she didn’t read the fine print. In an ironic twist she defended him in court against harassment; the exact same thing he was doing to her. That’s all past tense when the first of the 6 episodes opens…only John Webster is now back. Is Ingrid Lewis’ life really in danger? Like from somebody other than John Webster? Who can she trust? Paranoia is always fashionable.
Friday, September 08
The Fabelmans (Anytime / Crave)
Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: STAR TREK DAY 2023 (ANYTIME / Paramount+ & YouTube)
Gene Roddenberry introduced audiences to a world that championed diversity, inclusion, acceptance…hope. And communication officers with mini-skirts.
On September 8, 1966, Star Trek debuted for the first time on television with The Man Trap. Fifty-seven years later, Paramount honors this important day and the franchise’s enduring legacy by providing Trekkies with memorable ways to enjoy and celebrate all things Star Trek. There are screenings and specials and episodes, lot of them are free and all of them can by found at StarTrek.com/Day. You can also watch your favourite episodes on Paramount+ or on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channels (where you can watch Doctor Who…who is turning 60. I digress.). Next Gen’s The Best of Both Worlds and Voyager’s The Killing Game and Year of Hell are particular stand outs. Programming Note: Batman Day is September 16, 2023. It’s a busy month for nerds.
Saturday, September 09
Burning Body: Limited Series (Anytime / Netflix)
Spanish series inspired by true events about a police officer who has been murdered, and the two main suspects are his girlfriend and his lover.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE CHANGELING: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
The Changeling is a fairytale for grown-ups. A horror story, a parenthood fable and a perilous odyssey through a New York City you didn’t know existed.
Set in an alternate New York City, a father and husband searches through a magical world for his abducted son and missing wife. Expect dream sequences and wonky chronology. It’s LaKeith Stanfield, right? He has a brand. Programming Note: this premieres with the first three episodes. 8 epiodes in total.
Sunday, September 10
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon: Season 1 (9 p.m. / AMC & AMC+)
Daryl Dixon washes ashore in France and struggles to piece together how he got there and why. The series tracks his journey across a broken but resilient France as he hopes to find a way back home. As he makes the journey, though, the connections he forms along the way complicate his ultimate plan.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: NFL KICK OFF WEEKEND…
“Winning football in the National Football League is uncommon.” According to Ben Powers.
Starting at CBS at 4:25 PM ET NFL games will unfold across Fox and NBC and Peacock. Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 11, with ESPN/ABC’s Monday Night Football. It’s that time of year again. Each NFL team will play 17 regular-season games (including international regular-season games in the UK and now Germany). The regular season will conclude with Week 18 on Saturday, January 6, and Sunday, January 7. The NFL playoffs are scheduled to start on January 13 culminating with Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada, on February 11. But it all starts…now.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.