So I get the focus for this week will be WandaVision however it turns out there are other goodies on TV this week. Huh…who saw that coming?
Sunday, January 10
American Gods: Season 3 (8 p.m. / Starz)
Ex-convict Shadow Moon roams a world he doesn’t understand, left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife. Little does he know his life is about to change after he meets a crafty, charismatic con man named Mr. Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job as his bodyguard.
Tiger: Docuseries (9 p.m. / HBOMax & Crave)
TIGER is a two-part documentary offering a revealing look at the rise, fall, and epic comeback of global icon Tiger Woods.
Sammy Suggestion: The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8:30 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)
Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the stories behind the headlines.
Yo…The Circus is back! One of my favourite 2020 TV shows deftly covering the election through smart analysis and minimal commentary. Super helpful…a 30 minute summation is all I want: I’ve no interest in CNN’s 4 hour analysis of a President Trump tweet, zero interest in stiff Twitter snark…just break down the political week for 30 minutes and I’m smart enough to get it.
Monday, January 11
American Experience: The Codebreaker (9 p.m. / PBS)
The work of cryptanalyst Elizebeth Smith Friedman brings down Al Capone, breaks up a Nazi spy ring in South America, and lays the foundation for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Sammy Suggestion: Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy (Anytime / Netflix)
A cheap, powerful drug emerges during a recession, igniting a moral panic fueled by racism. Explore the complex history of crack in the 1980s.
I’m reminded of Tupac’s lines in Changes: “Instead of war on poverty/They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me.” At the time crack deepened racial and economic inequality, toxic policing, widespread incarceration and of course: government corruption. Times have changed huh? I’m surprised considering we’ve yet to have a proper in-depth crack documentary; this is only an hour and a half; it’s not a docuseries. From director Stanley Nelson who gifted us Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool and the 30 for 30: Vick (both highly recommended viewing) this is the story of how a designer drug for the Wall Street jetset deeply impacted many of America’s black communities.
Tuesday, January 12
Two Sentence Horror Stories: Season 2 (8 p.m. / The CW)
Anthology series exploring primal and social fears.
Sammy Suggestion: Empire Records: Remix! Special Fan Edition (Anytime / Prime Video)
Updated take on the cult classic. A comedy about an eventful day in the lives of the young slackers, doers and dreamers who work at a bustling record store.
It’s Rex Manning Day! (Actually everybody knows that’s really April 8th). Still the Remix! Edition has surfaced on Amazon Prime so yeah: today is Rex Manning Day. This unrated version is 107 minutes long and includes four extra scenes with 17 minutes of additional footage. Sometimes as Terminator 2 the extra scenes make a big difference; other times the director made smart choices. Regardless when was the last time you saved the Empire?
Wednesday, January 13
Sammy Suggestion: Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer: Docuseries (Anytime / Netflix)
In the upcoming Netflix four-part documentary series NIGHT STALKER: THE HUNT FOR A SERIEL KILLER premiering January 13, the viewer is taken on a wild ride alongside two brilliant detectives as they meticulously investigate a multitude of crime scenes that at first appear to be unrelated.
True crime continues to heat up: consider this a follow up to HBO’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. That docuseries opened with True Crime Diary writer Michelle McNamara’s interest in gruesome crimes committed between the 1970s and 1980s in California by an unknown culprit known as the “Original Night Stalker.” So this 4-part series is the story of “new” Night Stalker aka Richard Ramirez who terrified San Francisco residents from June 1984 until August 1985. (Ramirez is featured in the fifth and ninth seasons of American Horror Story making that show’s title chillingly apt.)
Thursday, January 14
UFO Witness (Anytime / Discovery+)
Ben Hansen is on a mission to uncover the truth behind UFO sightings across America. With unprecedented access to the archives of famed ufologist Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Ben unlocks the secrets of the past to shed light on today’s UFO encounters.
Sammy Suggestion: Hunted (Anytime / Shudder)
A modern and radical take on the Little Red Riding Hood fable, HUNTED is an exhilarating, transcendent, and frequently brutal survival tale that elevates itself with the power of myth and magic, while still holding an exacting mirror to present-day society.
And now for an adult horror fable: if you think your dating life is a disaster check out Hunted. “What started as a flirtatious encounter at a bar turns into a life-or-death struggle as Eve (Lucie Debay) becomes the unknowing target of a misogynistic plot against her.” This is the directorial debut for French filmmaker and comic artist Vincent Paronnaud so it should be visually engaging.
Friday, January 15
One Night In Miami (Anytime / Prime Video)
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.
Outside The Wire (Anytime / Netflix)
In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired up with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.
Servant: Season 2 (Anytime / Apple TV+)
A Philadelphia couple is in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.
Sammy Suggestion: WandaVision (Anytime / Disney+)
Living idealized suburban lives, super-powered beings Wanda and Vision begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
Yes: One Night In Miami is on Amazon Prime and yes Outside the Wire is on Netflix. But after the strange MCU-less year we had last year today’s recommendation can only be WandaVision. MCU’s Netflix shows were for the most part well-received so now we turn to the Disney+ era starting with WandaVision. WandaVision will follow the story of Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision) living out the ideal suburban life. But ah…what if this Pleasantville isn’t real life? This series takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and will lead into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (which is scheduled for March 25, 2022. It was previously going to be released on May 7, 2021 but was pushed back to November 5, 2021, due to pandemic, before it was further shifted to the March 2022 date after Sony rescheduled the Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel to the November 2021 date. I’m tired too.)
The 9 episode series is directed by Matt Shakman with Jac Schaeffer as head writer. The composer is Christophe Beck, and the theme (for certain episodes) is by Frozen’s Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Oh and today you get 2 episodes and then the episodes will be released weekly.
Saturday, January 16
Sammy Suggestion: Deadwater Fell (Anytime / Hoopla)
DEADWATER FELL is a four-part British drama television miniseries written and created by Daisy Coulam. It stars David Tennant as a doctor whose wife and three young children are murdered in a fire.
An Acorn Original comes to Hoopla (you need your library card to sign into this service: otherwise it’s free!). Did you watch Broadchurch (s’on Netflix)? In that Dave Tennant played a passionate yet ornery detective trying to solve the murder a child in a small town brimming with secrets. In Deadwater Fell he’s the suspect and this time there are 3 murdered children…in a small town brimming with secrets. “When a seemingly perfect and happy family is murdered by someone they know and trust, the small Scottish community they call home becomes riven with mistrust and suspicion as those closest to the family begin to question everything they thought they knew about their friends.” Hmm. Is David Tennant guilty? Or did somebody else do it? You’ll hafta watch all 4 episodes to find out.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.