Happy New Year! May 2022 not be the absolute disaster of the last two years. At least we’ve got TV. Here’s your first-of-the-year #SetTheVCR recommendations.
Monday, January 3
The Cleaning Lady: Season 1 (9 p.m. / Fox)
Premiere! A Cambodian doctor with an ailing son and an expired visa gets mixed up with the mob in a new Las Vegas-set drama. Based on the 2017 Argentinian television series La Chica Que Limpia.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE SUPER BOB EINSTEIN MOVIE (ANYTIME / HBO MAX)
A hilarious and intimate documentary celebrates the life and legacy of the late actor, writer, and producer Bob Einstein. Exploring Einstein’s unlikely discovery and enduring career, the film features interviews with those who knew him best.
Look at this astonishing run: “actor, writer and producer Bob Einstein becomes famous for his iconic alter ego Super Dave Osborne, working with the Smothers Brothers, and playing Marty Funkhouser on the hit TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Super Dave is an incredible TV show so it’s no surprise in this documentary slash eulogy (Einstein passed away on January 2, 2019, aged 76, after being diagnosed with cancer) it’s loaded with Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, David Letterman, Sarah Silverman, Norman Lear, Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Rob Reiner and JB Smoove…I mean Bob brought all these people together. Now that’s a Super Duper legacy.
Tuesday, January 4
Frontline: American Insurrection (10 p.m. / PBS)
In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, FRONTLINE, ProPublica and Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program team up to examine how far-right extremist groups have evolved in the wake of the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally — and the threat they pose today.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: JUDGE STEVE HARVEY: SEASON 1 (8 P.M. / ABC)
Steve Harvey a comic and TV personality demonstrates his sarcastic knowledge of American jurisprudence in the new courtroom series.
If you’ve ever enjoyed Steve Harvey on Family Feud you’ve seen his gift for sarcastic common sense on full display. If Harvey was an X-Man that would be his natural ability. So it’s no surprise he’s acting as a “judge” in this new unscripted courtroom comedy. For 10 episodes enjoy Harvey’s arbitration handling approach…some derision, some common sense and good old fashioned verdicts. Is this legal? Probably not but the humour is so good; I’ll allow it. Please proceed Judge Steve Harvey and badger the witness. And her mom!https://www.youtube.com/embed/VWJ_20BNRhY?wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1
Wednesday, January 5
American Greed: Season 15 (10 p.m. / CNBC)
CNBC’s longest-running primetime original series, “American Greed” is back for a momentous 15th season on a new night – Wednesday, January 5th at 10pm ET; and this season the series celebrates reaching its 200th episode. The award-winning series is narrated by legendary actor Stacy Keach. Two hundred episodes in, the truth remains: some people will do anything for money.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: STAY CLOSE: LIMITED SERIES (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
When Carlton Flynn vanishes 17 years to the night after Stewart Green did, it sets off a chain reaction in the lives of people connected to both men.
This eight-episode British crime drama was released on December 31. However it was hard to “Stay Close” to this with all the year end specials happening. In August 2018, writer Harlan Coben signed a five-year deal with Netflix; that deal has provided us with Netflix originals like Safe (2018), The Stranger, The Woods (both 2020) and now Stay Close. “The lives of a photojournalist (Ray: the once promising documentary photographer, now stuck in a dead-end job pandering to celebrity obsessed rich kids), a soccer mom (Megan: a working mother of three) and a homicide detective (Broome: a detective who’s unable to let go of a missing person’s cold case. ) are disturbed by a terrible event from the past.” Classic British-ness…what was done horribly in the dark is horribly revealed in the light./y
Thursday, January 6
Episodes 8 & 9 of the Hiro Murai produced TV show. One more episode to go.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: JOE MONTANA: COOL UNDER PRESSURE (ANYTIME / PEACOCK)
This 6-part premium sports documentary series, Joe Montana: Cool Under Pressure features stories that most people don’t know; the doubt from his coaches, the controversies with teammates, and the insecurities from within that drove one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the sport.
OH! Joe Montana scored a Last Dance. I appreciate how he bodied NFL teams; dude is a GOAT. This “6-part sports documentary series featuring stories that most people don’t know; the doubt from his coaches, the controversies with teammates, and the insecurities from within that drove one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the sport.” (I hope the final episode is current; Montana is a GOAT celebrity investor; seriously ask Google.) We got interviews with Jerry Rice, Steve Young, George Seifert, Ed Debartolo, Peyton Manning, Magic Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr. and yes Tom Brady. Some most excellent greatness is an inspiring way to start the new year. The first two episodes of Joe Montana: Cool Under Pressure premieres today with new episodes premiering weekly.
Friday, January 7
The Tender Bar (Anytime / Prime Video)
From director George Clooney and based on the best-selling memoir, The Tender Bar follows an aspiring writer (Tye Sheridan) pursuing his romantic and professional dreams. From a stool in his uncle’s (Ben Affleck) bar, he learns what it means to grow up from a colorful group of local characters.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MOTHER/ANDROID (ANYTIME / NETFLIX CANADA)
In a post-apocalyptic world rocked by a violent android uprising, a young pregnant woman and her boyfriend desperately search for safety.
Americans have had since December 13 to check out Mother/Android when it premiered on Hulu on December 13. Today it comes to Canada so we can see how cheezy it is, eh? I dig the I Am Legend vibes replacing vampires with renegade androids. That’s fresh. “Georgia (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Sam (Algee Smith), a couple who go on a treacherous journey to escape their country, which is caught in an unexpected war with artificial intelligence. Days away from the arrival of their first child, the couple must face No Man’s Land— a stronghold of the android uprising, in hopes of reaching safety before Georgia give birth.” Wait, is this not based on a comic book or a book or a TV show or a video game?! Original sci-fi? Is that possible?
Saturday, January 8
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (8 p.m. / HBO)
The bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) continues his friendship with assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) as they try to save Darius’ wife Sonia (Salma Hayek).
SAMMY SUGGESTION: BTK: CONFESSION OF A SERIAL KILLER (9 P.M. / A&E)
Come examine the horrific crimes and psyche of notorious serial killer Dennis Rader. From Wolf Entertainment and Good Caper Content, this gripping documentary provides unprecedented access into the mind of Rader who is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences in El Dorado Correctional Facility.
A sort of conclusion to Fincher’s Mindhunter? In several short vignettes throughout the first two seasons the ADT serviceman is Dennis Rader the BTK Killer. However we’ve yet to get a third season to properly conclude the saga of the BTK Killer. Season 2 left it open ended so thankfully we have A&E as a semi-conclusion to Mindhunter. BTK stands for: Bind, Torture, Kill an American serial killer who operated from January 15, 1974 – January 19, 1991. He’s still alive which why we’ve got this documentary; it “provides unprecedented access into the mind of Rader who is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences in El Dorado Correctional Facility.” Sorta like a real life Mindhunter. Until we get Season 3, this’ll hafta tide us over. (Please Note: Part 2 is tomorrow same time and channel.)
Sunday, January 9
In this irreverent comedy series, celebrity televangelist Eli Gemstone struggles to keep his family in check — and their big-money megachurch afloat. Season 2 finds the blessed Gemstone family threatened by outsiders who wish to destroy their holy empire.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MACGRUBER: SEASON 1 (9 P.M. / SHOWCASE)
After rotting in prison for over a decade, America’s ultimate hero and uber patriot MacGruber (Will Forte) is finally released. His mission: to take down a mysterious villain from his past—Brigadier Commander Enos Queeth (Billy Zane). With the entire world in the crosshairs, MacGruber must reassemble his old team, Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) in order to defeat the forces of .
If you’re in Canada and want to check out MacGruber the latest Peacock original that’s ah…blowing up…then here ya go. “After rotting in prison for over a decade, America’s ultimate hero and uber patriot MacGruber is finally released. His mission: to take down a mysterious villain from his past—Brigadier Commander Enos Queeth. With the entire world in the crosshairs, MacGruber must race against time to defeat the forces of evil — only to find that evil may be lurking within.” It is exactly what you think it is. Great way to start 2022 with a bang, eh?
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.