Lots of familiar faces in this week’s #SetTheVCR. So park your face in front of the TV and we can begin.
Monday, February 21
The Endgame: Season 1 (10 p.m. / NBC)
In this heist drama, criminal mastermind Elena Federova squares off against a principled FBI agent.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ALL THE STREETS ARE SILENT (ANYTIME / CBC GEM)
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, skateboarding and hip-hop culture collide in downtown Manhattan. Archival footage from the era showcases the fusion of these two forms of expression.
You’ll want to Kick, Push this TV recommendation. All the Streets Are Silent a documentary from director Jeremy Elkin is a portrait of time 1987-1997, capturing the transformative moment when hip hop and skateboarding culture converged in New York. We got Stretch Armstrong, Fab 5 Freddy, Rosario Dawson, DMC, DJ Clark Kent and so much more in this unique doc. Another excellent way to celebrate Hip Hop’s 50th birthday. I know basketball has taken over as a core element of hip hop but skateboarding as a side culture has always been there. It’s freshtastic it gets recognized with this doc.
Tuesday, February 22
The Sky is Everywhere (Anytime / Apple TV+)
Lennie is a teen musical prodigy grieving the death of her sister when she finds herself caught between a new guy at school and her sister’s devastated boyfriend. Through her vivid imagination and conflicted heart, Lennie navigates first love and first loss.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: WILD ‘N OUT: 300 (8 P.M. / VH1)
Nick Cannon and a celebrity guest battle it out in hip-hop and improv competitions.
Say what you want about Nick Cannon (and most people freely do) but he’s had a surreal career. Take for example today’s recommendation: Wild ‘N Out celebrates its 300th Episode with a new season. Come on…did you really expect Wild ‘N Out to get to 300 episodes?? Fat Joe, Wyclef Jean, G-Eazy and Kossiko, Mariah the Scientist, Jimmy Allen, Lisa Raye, D.Smoke, Naughty By Nature, Kid ‘N Play, Dave East, Saucy Santana, Darius McCrary, Belly, Dreamdoll, Spice, Baby Tate, EST Gee and more are set to appear. Whew. Now that’s a Wild party. (Following the premiere, fans can catch all-new episodes every Tuesday and Wednesday night.)
Wednesday, February 23
Robot Chicken: Season 11 (Anytime / HBO Max)
Rapid-fire channel flips propel viewers through Robot Chicken’s twisted takes on pop culture. The quarter-hour Adult Swim entry brings action figures to life in three-dimensional worlds through the old-school magic of stop-motion animation.
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.
Act 2 of the Kanye West documentary is titled act ii: PURPOSE. Last week’s act i was Vision and we witnessed the frustrating hustle of Kanye West. Who wanted to be more than an outstanding producer; he wanted to be a rapper but record labels and even friends wouldn’t take him seriously. Now he’s (finally) signed by Roc-A-Fella as an artist rather than just an in-house producer. This’ll be the rise of Kanye including that fateful car accident in 2002 which shattered his jaw and which prompted him to record Through the Wire…when his jaw was still wired shut. The first act introduced us to a Kanye West we’ve never met; the hungry up and coming kid trying to find his voice. This second act will clearly align with the public face of Kanye West as the hits and fantastic beats slowly roll out.
Thursday, February 24
The Porter (Anytime / CBC Gem)
Inspired by real events and set in the roar of the 1920s, THE PORTER follows the journeys of an ensemble of characters who hustle, dream, cross borders and pursue their ambitions in the fight for liberation – on and off the railways that crossed North America.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: WOLFE: SEASON 1 (ANYTIME / SHOWCASE ON DEMAND)
The adventures of Professor Wolfe Kinteh, a crime scene investigator in the north of England.
Wolfe a British television police procedural drama on Sky Max touches down in Canada. All 6 episodes debuted in the UK on September 10, 2021. Here it’s a weekly TV show which follows Professor Wolfe Kinteh, a crime scene investigator and academic who solves crimes in northern England. Wolfe (who of course is brilliant but flawed) is assisted by a team that includes child prodigy Maggy, middle-aged single mom Dot, team entomologist Steve, and new recruit Dominique, “who has a dark past that brings her into conflict with Wolfe.” CSI with Bangers & Mash, then?
Friday, February 25
Cry Macho (Anytime / Crave)
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: NO EXIT (ANYTIME / HULU & DISNEY+ CANADA)
Stranded by a blizzard, a young woman is forced to find shelter at a highway rest area with a group of strangers. Discovering an abducted girl in a van in the parking lot, she embarks on a terrifying mission to discover who among them is the kidnapper.
In No Exit “Havana Rose Liu makes her feature film leading role debut as Darby, a young woman en route to a family emergency who is stranded by a blizzard and forced to find shelter at a highway rest area with a group of strangers. When she stumbles across an abducted girl in a van in the parking lot, it sets her on a terrifying life-or-death struggle to discover who among them is the kidnapper.” Based solely on the trailer? My money is on the All State Guy…he’s so the kidnapper. Who do you think is the kidnapper?
Saturday, February 26
Finding You (Anytime / Netflix Canada)
After failing an audition, a violinist travels to Ireland to find inspiration and meets a famous movie star looking for a real connection.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE FRENCH DISPATCH (ANYTIME / HBO MAX & DISNEY+ CANADA)
A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in “The French Dispatch.”
It’s Wes Anderson. By now you know what to expect. Just as you know what to expect when you watch a Quentin Tarantino film, right?
Sunday, February 27
Free Guy (Anytime / Disney+ & HBO Max)
A bank teller discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, and decides to become the hero of his own story. Now, in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way before it’s too late.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SUPER PUMPED: THE BATTLE FOR UBER (10 P.M. / SHOWTIME & CRAVE)
Based on the shocking true story, strap in for the meteoric rise and fall of Uber founder, Travis Kalanick. With a lift from venture capitalist Bill Gurley and board member Arianna Huffington, Kalanick takes a win-at-all-costs approach to forge the fledgling start-up into a multi-billion-dollar tech titan. But every surge comes at a price – and as his visionary drive spirals out of control, it threatens to be the downfall of it all.
uper Pumped: The Battle For Uber is adapted from a most excellent book by Mike Isaac. As always I’d rather a documentary than a biopic yet here we are. Uma Thurman is Arianna Huffington; Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Travis Kalanick and Hank Azaria is Tim Cook. Remember the Jerry Maguire vs Bob Sugar phone call scene that led to Show Me The Money? That’s the hyper energy you can expect with Super Pumped…as narrated by Quentin Tarantino. It’s 5 parts and it’ll air weekly starting tonight.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.