Interestingly lotta old school this week. Sometimes we just gotta look back before can look ahead. Speaking of “that sounds deep” my first recommendation is Waterworld. Oh it’s gonna be one of those types of weeks!
Monday, February 15
The Crew: Season 1 (Anytime / Netflix)
Life in the garage swerves off track for a NASCAR crew chief and his tight-knit racing team when a new boss steps in and shakes things up. Watch Trailer Here
Sammy Suggestion: Waterworld (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))
In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw “smokers,” and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
1995’s Waterworld is known for its budget than its quality. With a budget of $172 million (and a total outlay of $235 million once marketing and distribution costs are factored in) it did not do well at the box office. “In a futuristic world engulfed by water (the polar ice cap has completely melted) a nameless antihero Kevin Costner as The Mariner witnesses a gang of pirates focused on Enola (Tina Majorino) who, according to their leader the Deacon (Dennis Hopper), has a map to Dryland tattooed on her back.” This is years after Escape from New York and years before Avatar yet Waterworld wasn’t exactly an IP machine. A video game and a couple of Universal Studios attractions. So: Does It Hold Up?
Tuesday, February 16
Kenan: Season 1 (8:30/7:30 PM / NBC)
Raising two kids is a three-man job in this new family comedy starring Kenan Thompson. Watch Trailer Here
Sammy Suggestion: The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song (9/8c PM / PBS)
An intimate four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUT SONG will explore the 400-year-old story of the black church in America, the changing nature of worship spaces, and the men and women who shepherded them from the pulpit, the choir loft, and church pews.
You might know Henry Louis Gates Jr. as the host of the PBS series Finding Your Roots a 23andMe type show for celebrities discovering their origins. (You might also remember Henry Louis Gates Jr. a black man was arrested in 2009 and that racially charged event led Obama to arrange a “beer summit” with the arresting officer.) Gates’ focus has consistently been greater recognition of black literature and black culture. And today visually on PBS (and via the book medium) he fulfills his artistic mandate. The Black Church features interviews with John Legend, Bishop Michael Curry, Cornel West, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Rev. Al Sharpton and many others. Together they examine the centrality of religion and spirituality to the African American experience. This’ll conclude on Wednesday night same channel and time. And the accompanying book with the same title is out today. (A bonus #NewBookAlert!).
Wednesday, February 17
Amend: The Fight for America (Anytime / Netflix)
Will Smith hosts this look at the evolving, often lethal, fight for equal rights in America through the lens of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Watch Trailer Here
Sammy Suggestion: Behind Her Eyes: Limited Series (Anytime / Netflix)
A single mother enters a world of twisted mind games when she begins an affair with her psychiatrist boss while secretly befriending his mysterious wife.
A miniseries adaptation of Sarah Pinborough’s novel (I dunno who that is), Behind Her Eyes is a thriller about a triangle between Louise (Simona Brown), the married man she’s having an affair with (Tom Bateman) and his wife Adele (Eve Hewson). In the course of six episodes, Louise begins an unlikely friendship with Adele and gradually realizes that Adele has some secrets of her own. Based on the trailer Behind Her Eyes is like Closer meets A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
Thursday, February 18
House Party (Anytime / Crave)
It’s #TBT for Kid ‘N Play. Kid decides to go to his friend Play’s house party, but n`either of them can predict what’s in store for them on what could be the wildest night of their lives. Watch Trailer Here
Sammy Suggestion: It’s a Sin: Miniseries (Anytime / HBO Max)
1981, and a gang of friends move in together, in the heart of London. As the decade unfolds, we follow their hopes and dreams, highs and lows, all coming out and coming of age. But a terrible new virus is on the rise, and they’ll need each other more than ever as the fight begins.
A Russell T. Davies update! (I coulda sworn he talked about writing an AIDS drama back when he was writing Doctor Who.) Set initially in the early 1980s (and yes named after the outstanding Pet Shop Boys single), It’s A Sin is a British TV series that addresses the HIV and AIDS epidemic that wrought destruction on London’s gay community. The five-episode mini-series depicts a decade of life starting from 1981, during which cases of the virus rapidly increase, and the wider world is eventually forced to take notice. I hope this is as strong and as bold as Years and Years. (Also highly recommended viewing.) Please Note: for Canadian viewers this will be on Prime Video (Canada) on Friday, February 19.
Friday, February 19
It’s a Sin: Miniseries (Anytime / Prime Video (Canada))
1981, and a gang of friends move in together, in the heart of London. Watch Trailer Up There 👆
Sammy Suggestion: Patrice O’Neal: Killing Is Easy (10/9 PM / Comedy Central)
An original documentary based on the irreverent comedian’s life and produced in collaboration with All Things Comedy.
If you look up Patrice O’Neal on Wikipedia you’ll read this apt description: he “became known for his conversational style, deconstructive analysis, and often confrontational point of view in his stand-up routines.” That is wonderfully spot on. In his 2011 special Elephant in the Room (see?! The title makes sense!) he opened with the following lines: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m thanking one in particular. Bad titties in the front row. Thank you so much. Thank you, audience coordinator, for putting those titties up in the front row. God bless you. Those are distracting me.” Yes that’s how the special opened! O’Neal died of a stroke resulting from his type 2 diabetes on November 29, 2011, at the age of 41. He left behind a woulda, coulda comedy career. I’m grateful Bill Burr is the executive producer of this special doc and pushed to make it happen. May this helps others to discover the comedic stylings of Patrice O’Neal.
Saturday, February 20
Sammy Suggestion: The Muppet Show (Anytime / Disney+)
Scooter scrambles to upload the Muppets’ streaming series, while the gang throws complications, distractions and obstacles at him.
All 5 season of The Muppet Show are now on Disney+. I repeat: all 5 seasons of The Muppet Show are on Disney+. Though…Statler and Waldorf have feelings about the classic comedy show…
Waldorf: “That was wonderful!”
Waldorf: “I loved it!”
Statler: “Ah, it was great!”
Waldorf: “Well, it was pretty good.”
Statler: “Well, it wasn’t bad…”
Waldorf: “Uh, there were parts of it that weren’t very good though.”
Statler: “It could have been a lot better.”
Waldorf: “I didn’t really like it.”
Statler: “It was pretty terrible.”
Waldorf: “It was bad.”
Statler: “It was awful!”
Waldorf: “It was terrible!”
Statler: “Take ’em away!”
Waldorf: “Bah, boo!”
Sunday, February 21
Modern Marvels (10/9 PM / History Channel)
History favorite MODERN MARVELS is back…with a fresh take and a new attitude. This time Modern Marvels goes straight for the taste buds in an all-compassing celebration and exploration of food. Watch Preview Here
The Circus (8 PM ET/PT / Showtime)
Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the intense, inspiring and infuriating stories behind the headlines. Watch Trailer Here
Sammy Suggestion: Coming To America (Anytime / Prime Video)
An extremely pampered African Prince travels to Queens, New York, and goes undercover to find a wife that he can respect for her intelligence and will.
Coming 2 America will of course debut on March 5 on Prime Video. Coming to America is of course a freshtastic 1988 comedy hit. Back in the day Coming to America reunited Eddie Murphy with director John Landis; the two men had worked together on another comedy hit Trading Places. However Coming is much stronger work and still holds up. Plus Coming to America established an Eddie Murphy trademark: this was the first time Eddie Murphy played multiple characters in the same film. Gold! Long before we visited Wakanda we lounged and laughed in Zamunda. Let’s return to this wonderful fictional country shall we? (This is added to Prime Video Canada today; however it’s been on Prime Video in America since February 1st.)
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.