From Batman to Burt Reynolds to James Bond? This week’s #SetTheVCR has a lot of action to offer. And BONUS! We’re moving #SetTheVCR to Monday, so have two Sundays this week. All that extra #couthworthy goodness, just in time for the inaugeration. Thanks, Obama – er – Biden.
Sunday, January 17
Tiger: Docuseries Part 2 (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. Part 2 is the conclusion.
Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie (10 p.m. / PBS)
The TV special Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie profiles the prolific British author and creator of such classic literary as sleuths Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.
Batwoman: Season 2 (8 p.m. / The CW & Showcase)
Javicia Leslie takes over as BATWOMAN in the second season of the CW drama.
Sammy Suggestion: Pennyworth: Season 2 (9 p.m. / Showcase)
Former British SAS soldier Alfred Pennyworth forms a security company and goes to work with Bruce Wayne’s billionaire father, Thomas, in 1960s London.
The Canadian Debut: Alfred Pennyworth is no longer in Batman comics (RIP!) but he lives on in TV with all kinds of EPIX adventures. “In Pennyworth: Season 2 civil war has erupted in London, leaving Alfred in the middle and looking for an escape route.” Season 2 will feature the introduction of Lucius Fox (Simon Manyonda) who if you’ve read DC Comics will make you say oooo. (Please Note: in Canada Pennyworth: Season 2 debuts tonight on Showcase. It premiered in America on December 13 on EPIX.)
Monday, January 18
Sammy Suggestion: AMERICAN MASTERS: HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE (9 p.m. / PBS)
Jazz iconoclast Nina Simone, Emmy and Tony winner Cicely Tyson and action star Pam Grier are among the Black female entertainers celebrated on a new AMERICAN MASTERS.
Although Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier are among the entertainers celebrated in the latest episode of American Masters: the highlight is of course: Nina Simone. Keep her alive and keep her relevant: she’s so good. A stunning talent who truly demonstrated How It Feels to Be Free.
Tuesday, January 19
Sammy Suggestion: THE NIGHT CALLER: DOCUSERIES (ANYTIME / SUNDANCE NOW)
A 4-part true crime docuseries exploring a killer’s harrowing legacy – of tragedy, grief, responsibility and redemption – through the eyes of those closest to the killer and his victims whose lives he altered irrevocably.
I did not know about any of this. (How does serial killer marketing work? Why do we know some names/crimes and not others?) “From 1959 to 1963, a mysterious attacker terrorized Perth, Australia, committing random and extraordinarily violent crimes. Determined to find the culprit, the Perth police arrested two different suspects. And in a climate of fear, both men were convicted. But the violence didn’t stop. Even when the actual killer was caught and confessed to all the crimes, the first two men remain behind bars.” Woah. Did you know about all this? New Day, New True Crime. There are four episodes in the docuseries and they’ll drop weekly on Sundance Now.
Wednesday, January 20
Presidential Inauguration (Anytime / All The Channels)
Broadcast networks and cable news outlets will offer live coverage from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., of the “Presidential Inauguration” of Joe Biden.
Sammy Suggestion: SPYCRAFT: DOCUSERIES (9 p.m. / Netflix)
The spy game is a serious business, and throughout history, the tools and technologies developed for it have mattered as much as the spies themselves.
Q (the good one…the best one) was Desmond Llewelyn and oh how he tolerated James Bond. He worked hard to make Bond look good; and do his duty for Queen and Country. His passing in 1999 was sad; so think of this docuseries Spycraft as a tribute. This eight-episode series gives viewers an unprecedented look at the incredible spy gadgets and the agents that put them to use with accounts from ancient history to modern day intrigue. If you’ve ever visited the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. one of the startlingly rooms is the bug room: old school bugs were so big (how did that work?) eventually they got smaller and better, even becoming cameras. We tend to think of technology we use: phones getting smaller, better…improving with each iteration. Spy gadgets do as well. So this is your mission if you choose to accept it!
PS: What does it say that the only way to find an official trailer for this series is from Netflix Uzbek. Hmm….
Thursday, January 21
Walker: Season 1 (8 p.m. / The CW)
A reimagining of the long-running series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” WALKER follows the adventures of Cordell Walker, a widower and father of two with his own moral code, as he returns home to Austin after being under cover for two years, only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home.
Sammy Suggestion: Batman Beyond & Batman: The Animated Series (Anytime / HBO Max)
BATMAN BEYOND, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, and a number of other popular DC titles are finally heading to HBO Max
True Story: When Batman Beyond debuted on January 10, 1999 I was like: no thanks. I did not enjoy seeing how the Batman story “ends.” The show slowly steadily won me over: I’ve even read some of their DC Comics. Still Batman’s legacy will always include these 2 special shows. Batman: The Animated Series is one of the best representations of Batman: especially stunning episodes such as Almost Got ‘Im. It’s worth a revisit. The 4 seasons of the Animated Series while the 3 seasons of Beyond have been added to HBO Max including a number of associated movies.
Friday, January 22
WandaVision (Anytime / Disney+)
Living idealized suburban lives, super-powered beings Wanda and Vision begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
The Sister: Season 1 (Anytime / Hulu)
Almost a decade into his new devoted married life Nathan is rocked to the core when Bob, an unwelcome face from the past, turns up on his doorstep with shocking news, triggering a series of catastrophic decisions.
Fate: The Winx Saga (Anytime / Netflix)
Fairies attend a magical boarding school in the Otherworld, where they must learn to master their magical powers while navigating love, rivalries and the monsters that threaten their very existence.
Sammy Suggestion: DEREK DELGUADIO’S IN & OF ITSELF (ANYTIME / HULU)
IN & OF ITSELF chronicles conceptual storyteller Derek DelGaudio’s attempt to answer one deceptively simple question: Who am I?
This is magic! Yes! But it’s also the spark magic ignites…it’s the same spark we’ve seen in Justin Willman’s Magic for Humans. Know that DelGaudio’s remarkable one-man show, which enjoyed a lengthy Off-Broadway run between 2017 and 2018, is brimming with card tricks, optical illusions, and even teleportation. What?! However, echoing Magic for Humans DelGaudio transforms the usual magic hustle into a powerful meditation on existential yearning and his own bumpy quest for meaning in life. I mean what’s more important? The magic or the magician? The story or the writer? Oh this’ll be a solid cup of tea.
Saturday, January 23
Sammy Suggestion: I am Burt Reynolds (ANYTIME / Crave)
Burt Reynolds was the epitome of American macho. Known for his charm, his iconic mustache and penchant for women and cars. His career includes more than 200 films and TV series, a nude photo on a bearskin in Cosmopolitan, but also a fight against drug addiction due to stunt injuries. Through rarely viewed archive material and interviews with his family, friends and colleagues, an intimate portrait of one of America’s most beloved stars is drawn.
Burt Reynolds is cool. I don’t know if it’s the mustache or the swagger but Burt Reynolds is cool. And while I enjoyed him in many movies; I don’t know that much about him. The latest in the Paramount Network’s I Am documentary series is I Am Burt Reynolds. Previous I Am documentaries include MLK, Patrick Swayze, Evel Knievel, Paul Walker, Jackie O and it all began with Richard Pryor in 2019. It’s their version of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries. (The Paramount Network is a cable TV channel with an app so most Americans have access to it. However in Canada we’ve gotten the bulk of their I Am documentaries via Crave.)
Sunday, January 24
Sammy Suggestion: Bridge and Tunnel: Season 1 (ANYTIME / EPIX)
Written, directed and produced by Edward Burns, this dramedy series set in 1980 revolves around a group of college grads setting out to pursue their dreams in Manhattan while still clinging to the familiarity of their working-class Long Island home town.
Bridge and Tunnel is written, directed and produced by Edward Burns…remember him? This dramedy is set in the 1980s and focuses on a group of recent college grads setting out to pursue their dreams in Manhattan. However they are clinging to familiarity of their working-class Long Island hometown so that’s the tension. As I can personally attest growing up in the 80s is not easy.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.