From spies to skateboarders; from vices to curses there’s something for everyone in this week’s #SetTheVCR.
Monday, April 4
Sherlock: The Full Series (Anytime / Crackle)
In this contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories, Dr. John Watson is a war vet just home from Afghanistan. He meets new flatmate, the brilliant but eccentric Holmes, and almost as soon as Watson moves into the Baker Street flat, they are embroiled in mysteries, and Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty, appears to have a hand in the crimes.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SLOW HORSES: LIMITED SERIES (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
This quick-witted spy drama follows a dysfunctional team of MI5 agents—and their obnoxious boss, the notorious Jackson Lamb—as they navigate the espionage world’s smoke and mirrors to defend England from sinister forces.
Basically Gary Oldman is Roger Murtaugh, a British spy who is too old for this…Slough House. Slough House is an MI5 dumping ground for spies who make career ending mistakes. Over 6 episodes Oldman who now lives up to his last name must marshal the resources he has such as he has and get these Slow Horses together for one last career saving…appreciation. Is that the opposite of a mistake?
Tuesday, April 5
The Outlaws: Season 1 (Anytime/ Prime Video)
British adults sentenced to community service find a fortune in mob money in this imported 6 episode BBC series from writer and director Stephen Merchant. Filming on the second series has been completed and will air next year.
A wide-ranging, definitive look at Hawk’s life and iconic career, and his relationship with the sport with which he’s been synonymous for decades. Hawk, born in San Diego, Calif., is a pioneer of modern vertical skating and one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. The documentary features unprecedented access, never-before-seen footage, and interviews with Hawk, and prominent figures in the sport including Stacy Peralta, Rodney Mullen, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Neil Blender, Andy MacDonald, Duane Peters, Sean Mortimer, and Christian Hosoi.
Tony Hawk scored a Last Dance; no surprise. “Centering around intimate new interviews with Tony Hawk himself, the film is an all-encompassing look at the skateboarder’s life, legendary career, and relationship with the sport with which he’s been synonymous for decades.” And while this documentary will do a solid job of displaying Tony’s undaunted determination to succeed; to really build up a sport and a develop a lucrative market where none existed don’t overlook the soundtrack. We got The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Echo and The Bunnymen, Joy Division, Pavement, Oingo Boingo, The Replacements, XTC and New Order. Woah.
Wednesday, April 6
The Rental (Anytime / IFC Films Unlimited)
Dave Franco’s 2021 terror tale The Rental is about two couples whose weekend getaway takes a twisted turn.
After the tragic death of their mother, Frank and Joe Hardy’s father relocates the boys to their mother’s hometown while he tries to solve the case, but the boys want answers as well.
You know? The first season of The Hardy Boys was decent. The second season picks up six months after the events of Season 1; in Canada you can see it on YTV and Hulu in America. “In Season 2, when a Bridgeport classmate mysteriously disappears, Frank and Joe Hardy drop their new normal routine to get back to detective work. But when they discover the mystical relic they destroyed last year is still in play, it becomes clear their simple missing person case is actually part of something far more sinister.” See? That sounds decent right?
Thursday, April 7
See For Me (Anytime / Shudder)
A blind woman must use a new phone app to help her survive a home invasion. in the Randall Okita’s 2022 thriller See for Me.
Season 2 of Shudder’s intriguing docu-series that explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously cursed horror film productions will look at Rosemary’s Baby, The Wizard of Oz, Stalker, and more.
What The Wizard of Oz, Rosemary’s Baby, Stalker, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Cannibal Holocaust have in common is on-set mishaps making them cursed. Sometimes the legends are scarier than the movies. So…were these films really cursed, as many believe, or just the victims of bad luck and bizarre circumstances? The second season of Shudder’s most excellent docuseries returns to answer that scary question. I highly recommend Season 1 if you haven’t seen it; that season covered in Poltergeist, The Omen, Twilight Zone: The Movie, The Exorcist and sadly The Crow. (They did a solid job fully explaining just what happened to Brandon Lee.)
Friday, April 8
Around the World in 80 Days (Anytime / CBC Gem)
A thrilling, new adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel starring David Tennant.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ALL THE OLD KNIVES (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO)
When the CIA discovers one of its agents leaked information that cost more than 100 people their lives, veteran operative Henry Pelham is assigned to root out the mole with his former lover and colleague Celia Harrison.
A modern-day espionage thriller that follows Henry (Chris Pine) as he investigates Celia (Thandiwe Newton), a past flame from their days as CIA intelligence officers in Vienna, who is now under suspicion of having been a double agent. ooo I’m always a sucker for a double-agent thriller.
Saturday, April 9
Masters of Illusion: Season 8 (9:00 p.m. / The CW)
Actor Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”) hosts this mystifying series featuring escape artists, cutting-edge illusionists and talented performers. In front of a studio audience, these modern magicians demonstrate their perplexing and astonishing skills with performances that include interactive magic tricks, astounding escapes, sleight-of-hand, large-scale illusions and boisterous comedy routines.
Based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat, the drama series captures Adelstein’s (played by Ansel Elgort) daily descent into the neon-soaked underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing and no one is truly what or who they seem.
Based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat this drama captures Adelstein’s daily descent into the neon-soaked underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing and no one is truly what or who they seem. Debuts on HBO Max with 3 of the 10 episodes dropped on April 7, 2 episodes ever week after.
Sunday, April 10
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.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: DIAMOND HANDS: THE LEGEND OF WALLSTREETBETS (10 P.M. / MSNBC)
The true story of how retail traders rallied around GameStop to rock the financial system. This MSNBC documentary will be added to Peacock on May 18.
MSNBC Films has been quietly good at this types of financial docs. They need to better brand em like ESPN Films and 30 for 30s. (CNN Films are also excellent but suck at branding. Hopefully CNN+ addresses that issue.) “It was a perfect storm with a 100% chance of chaos: a global pandemic, a population pumped with record stimulus, an app aspiring to democratize trading, everyday investors stuck at home, and a retail corporation assumed to be doomed.” (Please Note: this’ll stream the next day on Peacock.)
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.