No one has peace this week’s #SetTheVCR: that’s the State of the Union it doesn’t matter where you’re From or even if you’re a jeen-yuhs. It does make for excellent TV, though.
Monday, February 14
Ali Wong: Don Wong (Anytime / Netfix)
In her third Netflix stand-up special, Ali Wong reveals her wildest fantasies, the challenges of monogamy and how she really feels about single people.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: STATE OF THE UNION: SEASON 2 (ANYTIME / SUNDANCETV & AMC+)
A series of ten, ten-minute episodes of an original comedy series about contemporary relationships. Each episode is set immediately before a couple has their weekly marital therapy session. Unacknowledged and unanalyzed, these stolen moments used to get their story straight for the therapist, may be starting to build bridges back to what made them what they were.
Why not spend Valentine’s Day with Brendan Gleeson and Patricia Clarkson’s troubled marriage? Wait…do you miss Season 1? No worries: this is a romantic anthology TV Show: Season 1 documented Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd’s…troubled relationship. So for “this season, liberal campaigning Ellen (Clarkson) drags her traditional, self-made husband Scott (Gleeson) out of his comfort zone and into a hipster Connecticut coffee shop, where they have 10 minutes before their marriage counselling session to drink a coffee, gather their thoughts and argue about everything from Quakerism to pronouns. Each week, between the bickering, they begin to piece together what has gone wrong between them.” You read that right: new episodes of the 10-minute per episode drama will debut across 10 nights on SundanceTV and as binge premiere on Sundance Now and AMC+. I figure if love at first sight is an instant reaction it should take at least 10 minutes to know what went wrong right?
Tuesday, February 15
American Experience: The American Diplomat (9 p.m. / PBS)
THE AMERICAN DIPLOMAT explores the lives and legacies of three African American ambassadors — Edward Dudley, Terence Todman and Carl Rowan — who pushed past historical and institutional racial barriers to reach high-ranking appointments in the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ICAHN: THE RESTLESS BILLIONAIRE (9P.M. / HBO & CRAVE)
A documentary that explores the fascinating contradictions at the heart of the famed financier, Carl Icahn. Amassing close to $20 billion dollars over the last half century and at the forefront of some of the most legendary business deals of our times, Icahn, often referred to as the “Lone Wolf of Wall Street,” is a feared negotiator and master strategist in the art of corporate takeovers and investments.
Directed by Bruce David Klein The Restless Billionaire explores financier Carl Icahn’s fascinating contradictions. If you don’t know who that is think of a legit Donald Trump meets a pre-3 ghost Scrooge: this doc takes viewers inside some of the biggest deals of the last half century including his takeover of TWA in the 1980s, his high-profile investment in Apple in 2013 which provoked a stock rise of $17 billion dollars (this effect is known on Wall Street as “The Icahn Lift”), his very public battle with Bill Ackman over Herbalife, and his intervention during the Texaco bankruptcy, the largest in the world. (I wonder if his public spat with Marvel Comics is deeply acknowledged in this.) Basically this documentary is the cool answer is to The Social Network’s famous quote: “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars is cool.”
Wednesday, February 16
Marvel Studios: Assembled — The Making of Eternals (Anytime / Disney+)
An in-depth look at the making of ETERNALS that takes viewers behind-the-scenes with on-set footage, conversations with stars and filmmakers, and more.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: JEEN-YUHS: A KANYE TRILOGY (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
The lives of an emerging superstar and a filmmaker intertwine in this intense, intimate docuseries charting Kanye West’s career, filmed over two decades.
“This is my life, homie, you decide yours. / Old folks talking ’bout, “Back in my day” / But homie, this is my day.” Indeed. Kanye West has earned a Last Dance. ieen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy begins today and will air on the next 3 Wednesdays (February 16, February 23 and finally Part 3 on March 2). This docuseries will showcase “his formative days trying to break through and his life today as a global brand and artist.” If you think yesterday’s Carl Icahn documentary was controversial you gotta wait for the Heartless response to Kanye; it’s often without Mercy like a Runaway Monster.
Thursday, February 17
Fistful of Vengeance (Anytime / Netflix)
A revenge mission becomes a fight to save the world from an ancient threat when superpowered assassin Kai tracks a killer to Bangkok.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: PEACEMAKER (ANYTIME / HBO MAX & CRAVE)
Picking up where THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021) left off, PEACEMAKER returns home after recovering from his encounter with Bloodsport – only to discover that his freedom comes at a price.
The final episode of DC Extended Universe (DCEU) television series comes to a close. (It’s clever pun title is It’s Cow or Never…get it?) Safe to say this series was a resounding success and many people adore DC Comics’ Karen. Did you enjoy Peacemaker? And what happens now? Marvel has clear timelines and promotes phases…the audience knows what to anticipate next and when that next is coming. While there are some notable DC Films coming up later this year (notably The Flash and The Batman) what else can we as viewers expect from DC TV? Will the above-ground swimming pool of “superheroes” get a second season? There are some questions even the questions even the season finale cannot address to bring us all…peace.
Friday, February 18
Severance: Season 1 (Anytime / Apple TV+)
Mark leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE KING’S MAN (ANYTIME / HULU & DISNEY+ CANADA)
Discover the origins of the very first independent intelligence agency.
Though this is the third installment in the Kingsman film series; it’s actually a prequel and reveals the birth of the Kingsman organization. While I’ve enjoyed the Kingsman films…solid British ruckus a prequel isn’t alluring. I suppose that coupled with how difficult it was to watch movies during COVID (The King’s Man was released on December 22, 2021 in the US and on December 26, 2021 in the UK) meant this movie didn’t score a reception fit for a king. Well here it is on TV for your Royal Highness.
Saturday, February 19
Space Force: Season 2 (Anytime / Netflix)
A four-star general begrudgingly teams up with an eccentric scientist to get the U.S. military’s newest agency — Space Force — ready for lift-off.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: RED HEAT (ANYTIME / CRAVE VIA STARZ)
A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country.
I haven’t seen this Arnold classic in like what 20 years? This was Rush Hour before Rush Hour. Arnold is a Russian cop and Jim Blushie is an American cop (in Chicago). Together they must set aside their (cultural) differences to capture a Georgian drug lord. So getting a 2L bottle of Coke and a pile of Popeyes. Going out hard on this classic from 1988.
Sunday, February 20
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Season 9 (11 p.m. / HBO & Crave)
Youngster Ralphie Parker spends most of his time dodging a bully and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a Red Ryder air rifle.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: FROM: SEASON 1 (10 P.M. / EPIX)
FROM unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the forest including the terrifying creatures that come out at night.
One of the 2022 TV shows I’m most looking forward too. Doesn’t this freely offer eerie Stephen King small town vibes? “The series unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town in middle America that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents fight to keep a sense of normalcy and search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the surrounding forest – including the terrifying creatures that come out when the sun goes down.” I’m a sucker for these types of trapped sci-fi horror mysteries. If all the books in the library are blank my heart blooms. Hopefully From is strong enough to find the right audience so it gets to Season 2.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.