Oh Baby! From basketball to biographies to a Blood Red Sky this #SetTheVCR post is packed with balmy balance.
Monday, July 19
War of the Worlds: Season 2 (Anytime / Disney+ UK)
In present-day Europe, astronomers detect a transmission from another galaxy and the world waits for further contact, within days of the transmission mankind is all but wiped out by a devastating attack.
Sammy Suggestion: For Ball and Country (Anytime / Peacock)
Follow the greatest basketball players in America as they set aside their on-court rivalries and form a star-studded team to represent their country.
Well not quite another Last Dance this will provide another background on the nostalgia inducing and aptly named Dream Team. (Check out a 2012 decent documentary The Dream Team I’m sure will surface on NBA TV as the Olympics unfold.) It’s the past coupled with the present with current footage of USA Basketball with Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum etc. (The sad irony is that basketball is an international game: there are decent NBA players on almost every country’s team playing in the Olympics. Like Nigeria has seven NBA players…okay sure none of em are household names but still seven players.) So For Ball and Country is a unique window into USA Basketball from The Dream Team when it was dominant to now when they’re just I guess…prominent? “In addition to an all-access look at the 2021 team’s training camp in Las Vegas, the series looks back into the USA Basketball video vault with never-before-seen footage of this storied program.” Episodes 1 and 2 will premiere on July 19, with episodes 3 and 4 streaming on July 20 and finally episodes 5 and 6 stream on July 21.
Tuesday, July 20
Don’t Tell a Soul (Anytime / The Roku Channel)
A security officer falls down a hidden well while chasing two teenage brothers who stole more than $12,000. Desperate to get out, he soon tries to convince one of the siblings to set him free and save his life.
Sammy Suggestion: In Their Own Words: Season 2 (8pm / PBS)
Using a fresh and innovative combination of interview, archive and animated content, “In Their Own Words” is an intimate journey into the lives and minds of some of the world’s most compelling men and women.
If you dig A&E Biography then you’ll enjoy In Their Own Words: though this is more personal as you can infer from the title. The series premiered in 2015 with profiles of Queen Elizabeth ll, Muhammad Ali and Jim Henson. For this second season they’re airing six specials spotlighting Pope Francis, Chuck Berry, Princess Diana, Jimmy Carter, Elon Musk and Angela Merkel. Two of the episodes that I highly recommend are Episode 5 Elon Musk and Episode 2 Chuck Berry who of course infamously stole Johnny B. Goode from Marty McFly…I wonder if that will be in his biography special.
Wednesday, July 21
Marvel Studios’ Assembled: The Making of Loki (Anytime / Disney+)
A comprehensive documentary series streaming on Disney+ that chronicles the creation of Marvel Studios’ latest TV show, LOKI.
Sammy Suggestion: New Mutants (Anytime / Disney+ Canada)
Five teenage mutants — Mirage, Wolfsbane, Cannonball, Sunspot and Magik — undergo treatments at a secret institution that will cure them of their dangerous powers.
The New Mutants were the apocalyptic sign of this pandemic. Originally shot from July to September 2017 this Marvel Mutant Movie was supposed to come out on April 13, 2018. Then it was delayed to February 22, 2019, which was pushed to August 2, 2019 then finally a miracle happened: April 3, 2020 was the confirmed date! Trailers and everything. Then the pandemic shut everything down in March and we should have interpreted a New Mutants release as a sign. It finally came out on August 28, 2020. There were many reasons for the delay: the chief among them was the vision for the movie: Breakfast Club detention crossed with a Cuckoo’s Nest institution. Should they emphasize the YA teenager growing pains (the hallmarks of a classic teen movie) or double down on the horror aspects (teens in trouble is classic horror). After all that it’s now on Disney+ Canada and like the recently restored Snyder Cut of Justice League it’s doubtful this will go anywhere: there’s no need to restore the New Mutants verse.
Thursday, July 22
Through Our Eyes (Anytime / HBO Max)
A spotlight on the perspectives of children as they experience some of the most challenging issues facing families today – homelessness, parental incarceration, military caregiving, and climate displacement.
Sammy Suggestion: Wayward Pines (Anytime / Disney+ Canada)
A Secret Service agent travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two federal agents who have gone missing. Instead of answers, Ethan’s investigation only turns up more questions and he soon learns that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.
I want to do a Troy McClure opening for this blurb because you know M. Night Shyamalan from such movies as Signs and Sixth Sense and you know the Duffer brothers from such Netflix hits like Stranger Things. Go back in time to 2015 and 2016 together these fear pee inducing gentlemen had a previous show called Wayward Pines airing on Fox. Adapted from Wayward Pines novels by Blake Crouch (The plot of Crouch’s first novel in the trilogy, Pines is covered over the first five episodes of season one. The second and third novels, Wayward and The Last Town make up the remaining five episodes.) If you don’t know, Wayward Pines is set in a small town and it’s creepy, they’re “watching us” and they are eerie sci-fi elements. You get the sense this was their TV training wheels. As for what the big mystery is, here’s what M. Night said before signing on to direct: “As long as everybody isn’t dead, I’m in.” So that’s off the table.
Friday, July 23
Ted Lasso: Season 2 (Anytime / Apple TV+)
Jason Sudeikis is Ted Lasso, an American football coach hired to manage a British soccer team—despite having no experience. But what he lacks in knowledge, he makes up for with optimism, underdog determination…and biscuits.
Sammy Suggestion: Blood Red Sky (Anytime / Netflix)
When a group of terrorists hijacks an overnight transatlantic flight, a mysteriously ill woman must unleash a monstrous secret to protect her young son.
Ready? We got a German horror film: yo! It starts off with a classic flight hijacking then it goes all Die Hard on a plane only this time “Bruce Willis” is a vampire. Team Ruckus Reporting for Duty! Vampires and hijackers now that’s a good Netflix party.
Saturday, July 24
Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Part 1 (Anytime / Netflix)
After a calamitous battle fractures Eternia, Teela and an unlikely alliance must prevent the end of the Universe in this sequel to the ’80s classic.
Sammy Suggestion: Jolt (Anytime / Prime Video)
A bouncer with a slightly murderous anger-management problem that she controls with the help of an electrode-lined vest she uses to shock herself back to normalcy whenever she gets homicidal. After the first guy she’s ever fallen for is murdered, she goes on a revenge-fueled rampage to find the killer while the cops pursue her as their chief suspect.
If this Kate Beckinsale movie is any good it’ll have Jolt Cola as product placement. “A bouncer with a slightly murderous anger-management problem that she controls with the help of an electrode-lined vest she uses to shock herself back to normalcy whenever she gets homicidal. After the first guy she’s ever fallen for is murdered, she goes on a revenge-fueled rampage to find the killer while the cops pursue her as their chief suspect.” As I said…if this movie is any good…what do you think? Bonus Fun: If you find a Jolt Cola moment send me a screencap.
Sunday, July 25
History of the Sitcom (9/8c PM / CNN)
This eight-part docuseries reunites audiences with the television friends, families, and co-workers they grew up with while introducing cutting-edge comedies that are sure to be your next binge-watch.
Sammy Suggestion: Toys of Terror (Anytime / Crave)
Evil toys magically come to life to terrorize a couple and their children inside a secluded mansion.
Think Pixar’s Toy Story but horror. Oh yes I wanna see where this goes: these murderous toys are not playing around. It’s clean up time…
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.