We got mischief; elder abuse, samurai…boxing and late night talk shows. It’s a packed #SetTheVCR this week. Yes!
Monday, June 07
Sammy Suggestion: The Story of Late Night (Anytime / CNN go)
Carson, Leno, Letterman – legendary hosts that changed late-night television. Through good times and bad, they gained America’s trust and kept the country laughing. But it wasn’t all laughter all the time. From secret deals to broken promises, some of the most dramatic stories were the ones that didn’t play out in front of the television cameras.
Last night the final episode of CNN’s scintillating The Story of Late Night aired. Entitled Reinventing Late Night it closed with current late night talk Jimmy Fallon, James Corden etc. however before that it explored the dynamic work of Leno, Letterman, and Stewart on The Daily Show. Oh and of course: Johnny Carson. Decades later his work is still crazy impressive. As per the original media release: “The Story of Late Night is a six-part docuseries…that will take viewers on a 60-year journey through late-night television’s most memorable moments.” Now all 6 episodes are complete if you wanna to sit down and engage this series as a “trade paperback” via CNNgo and later on HBO Max (date to be confirmed). (Which ironically is now Conan O’Brien’s new TV home.) Bonus Recommendation: if all this is making your funny bone salivate CNN Audio has created Behind the Desk: Story of Late Night a podcast companion. So some witty content for your eyes and some witty content for ears. Big Monday Recommendation.
Tuesday, June 08
Sammy Suggestion: The Amusement Park (Anytime / Shudder)
An elderly gentleman goes for what he assumes will be an ordinary day at the amusement park, only to find himself in the middle of a hellish nightmare instead.
The Amusement Park is a 1973 thriller film directed and edited by George A. Romero. The Amusement Park is…ah also a 2019 thriller film directed and edited by George A. Romero. Even though he died in 2017. I mean you gotta figure if anybody is gonna come back from the dead with a new movie it’ll be George A. Romero. Actually in 73 the Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania hired Romero to make a PSA about elderly abuse. I know. “An elderly gentleman goes for what he assumes will be an ordinary day at the amusement park, only to find himself in the middle of a hellish nightmare instead.” I know. For what it’s worth there are no zombies, no vampires and no homicidal maniacs so I give Romero points for his restraint. Anyways the Lutheran Society rejected the horror movie. The print was lost then obviously found, restored and here we are: enjoying a 1973 George A. Romero Amusement Park in 2021.
Wednesday, June 09
Sammy Suggestion: Loki (Anytime / Disney+)
In Marvel Studios’ LOKI, the mercurial villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Kate Herron directs and Michael Waldron is head writer.
And now for some mischief in the middle of the week. Interesting move airing Loki on Wednesdays instead of Fridays but it’s what you’d expect from Loki. This show introduces the Time Variance Authority (TVA) who’ve enlisted (I don’t think that’s the correct word) Loki’s help (Loki doesn’t “help” so I know that’s not the right word) to repair the timeline. Ah…based on Loki’s dubious track record I can safely assume human history is radically alerted. While we wait to see how much trouble he generates 2 notes:
Owen Wilson plays The Honorable Mr. Mobius “Moby” M. Mobius. (Mobius was one of the presiding judges during the trial of She-Hulk. So I wonder if his character will surface on that MCU show.)
And David Oster who directed Todd McFarlane: Like Hell I Won’t a doc has worked on film set for some MCU productions including Endgame, Infinity War and Loki.
His “admittedly biased, not really that bold, and non-spoiler predictions are:
– It’ll be a big hit around the world
– Tom Hiddleston’s performance will be highly praised
– People will want more of Owen Wilson as Mobius.” S’nice to hear somebody has an honest word to say about Loki.
Thursday, June 10
Starstruck: Series 1 (Anytime / HBO Max)
STARSTRUCK follows Jessie (Matafeo), a millennial living in East London juggling two dead end jobs and navigating the awkward morning-after-the-night-before when she discovers the complications of accidentally sleeping with famous film star Tom (Nikesh Patel). What she thought would become an amusing anecdote soon turns into something more, as the couple realize they can’t keep away from each other.
Sammy Suggestion: Awake (Anytime / Netflix)
After a global event wipes out humanity’s ability to sleep, a troubled ex-soldier fights to save her family as society and her mind spiral into chaos.
Awake on Netflix: a global event causes all electronics to go reverse Maximum Overdrive. This time they’re all dead. The chaos has left humans wide Awake. Now they’re all busy crazy as The Machinist trying to solve their involuntary insomnia. This is a movie not a TV show so let’s see where this all goes.
Friday, June 11
Trese: Season 1 (Anytime / Netflix)
Based on the comic series created by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, this show’s title character, Alexandra Trese (voiced in English by Shay Mitchell), is a private detective who is frequently called in to solve cases involving mythological or fantasy creatures.
Sammy Suggestion: The Kid Detective (Anytime / Crave)
A once-celebrated kid detective, now 32, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity. But a naive client brings him his first adult case — to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend.
And now for a dark comedy with some wasted childhood potential! “A once-celebrated kid detective, now 32, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity. Until a naive client brings him his first ‘adult’ case, to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend.” Hah. A whodunit is some fresh Friday fun.
Saturday, June 12
47 RONIN : This action-adventure follows the exploits of 47 samurai warriors who plot to exact revenge on a court official responsible for their master’s death.
PASSENGER 57: An airline security expert must take action when he finds himself trapped on a passenger jet when terrorists seize control of it.
This weekend if you wanna see some strong men do a violent number on someone else I got 2 great suggestions. First up is 47 Ronin on Netflix Canada: “A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun.” Basically they’ve crunched the numbers and feel revenge is worth it. Or! There’s Passenger 57 on Starz via Crave a paint by numbers action thriller: Die Hard on a airplane. “An airline security expert must take action when he finds himself trapped on a passenger jet when terrorists seize control of it.” It’s Wesley Snipes so you know the bad guy’s number is…up. It’s Saturday; fire up the microwave popcorn and put on one or both of these movies: it’s the best way to look out for Number One.
Sunday, June 13
Sammy Suggestion: The Kings (Anytime / Showtime & Crave)
A four-part series featuring four champions who ushered in a boxing renaissance. The series showcases the dominance of Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard and their battles in and out of the ring.
“The Kings is a four-part series chronicling the fierce rivalry between world champions and future Hall of Famers known as the “Four Kings” – Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, and Sugar Ray Leonard. It chronicles the four fighters’ dramatic and divergent ascents to greatness and the legendary matches they produced.” I don’t know enough about boxing to grasp the strategy or comprehend the nuance so an informative documentary is much helpful. And Showtime Sports does a solid job with these docs; they’re 30 for 30 quality. The series is airing living on Sundays starting on June 6 at 8pm however they’re all On Demand.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.