THE VCR IS MIIIIIIIIIIIINNNEEEEE!!!
Hello, folks, and welcome to a special edition of #SetTheVCR with your host, social media lackey and lover of doggos (especially her own), Stephanie Cole. With Sammy on vacation, I’m taking over duties and taking you on a wild ride of sports, music, chipmunks, Ted Lasso, and the red bouncy-balls of doom. So, sit back, relax, grab some popped corn and the good spot on the couch, and Welcome to Stephanie’s #SetTheVCR.
Monday, July 26
Roswell, New Mexico: Season 3 Premiere (8/7c / The CW)
After a decade away from home, Liz Ortecho returns to her native Roswell to care for her ailing father. When she arrives, she reconnects with her high school crush Max Evans, only to discover that Max and his siblings are aliens who have kept their abilities secret their entire lives.
Stephanie Suggestion: Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes (9/8c / HBO)
A six-part, half-hour documentary series, brings to life Ronan Farrow’s intimate, revealing interviews with whistleblowers, journalists, private investigators and other sources, conducted for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s podcast and best-selling book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and A Conspiracy to Protect Predators.
Ronan Farrow is a trip and a half. A guy who could have been a throwaway – a one trick pony, son of a scandal – has turned into one of thee most hard hitting journalists of our era. Farrow’s insanely explosive book Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and A Conspiracy to Protect Predators, took to task the concept of news outlets buying stories just to bury them through the guise of the Harvey Weinstein story. This documentary deconstructs all of that through Farrow’s own podcasts about the hubub, and if you ever wanted to see (and hear) the actual true harrowing side of journalism and how it’s played a part in keeping men like Weinstein on top, this is the doc for you. Just, you know, bring along your stockpiles of sanitizer. You’re going to need it.
Tuesday, July 27
The Operative (Anytime / Netflix)
Working as a Mossad spy assigned to Tehran, Rachel (Diane Kruger) reaches her breaking point. Now it’s dangerously hard to tell whose side she’s on. Also starring Martin Freeman.
Stephanie Suggestion: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/7 ET/PT / HBO Max)
REAL SPORTS is TV’s most-honored sports journalism series, with 33 Sports Emmy Awards, including 19 for Outstanding Sports Journalism. Now in its 27th season, the monthly magazine broadcast produces unchartered investigative pieces and in-depth profiles from across the sports spectrum.
Full Disclosure: I’ve never watched a single episode of Real Sports. I know very little about Bryant Gumbel other than that he knows sports, he’s got accolades out the ying yang, and he seems to be a stand up dude. But here’s the thing: I’m not immune to sports. I am more than a little obsessed with baseball (GO ANGELS!), and I grew up in an actual ‘I live my life a quarter mile at a time’ family, so I get it. The nature of competitive whatever is to the core. And because of that, I find myself recommending something I’ve never watched, because Gumbel has always at least exuded a level of professionalism, respect, and knowledge that makes me want to tune in to his perceptions of the sports world. Oh, plus the Olympics are on. Perfect time to get some fresh perspective.
Wednesday, July 28
Bartkowiak (Anytime / Netflix)
After his brother dies in a car crash, a disgraced MMA fighter takes over the family nightclub — and soon learns his sibling’s death wasn’t an accident.
Stephanie Suggestion: Chip’n’ Dale: Park Life (Anytime / Disney+)
Follows two tiny troublemakers, Chip and Dale, trying to live the good life in a big city park while having giant-sized, sky-high adventures. Nervous worrier Chip and laid-back dreamer Dale make the perfect odd couple: they’re best buddies and they drive each other nuts. In their perpetual pursuit of acorns, these ultimate underdogs are joined by Pluto, Butch and other iconic Disney characters as they face down bullies great and small.
Okay, so hear me out. This is not the sort of thing you’d see on a #SetTheVCR, I get it. Except for how it is. I mean, isn’t this all about what’s couchworthy and what we need to detach from the world for a minute? And my childhood was Chip ‘n’ Dale; their early adventures were on constant rewind with my VCR growing up, and I used to blush in nervous fangirl energy whenever I’d run into them at Disneyland. Add the fact that I was forever confused about how there was a group of stripping dudes tied into these face-stuffing dilettantes, and you get a sense of how I grew up with them as constant friends. So recommending them for thy youngins seemed fitting, especially in the middle of summer. Color me nostalgic, but it seems we could use a dose of childhood right about now.
Thursday, July 29
Dr. Death: The Undoctored Story (Anytime / Peacock)
Docuseries about Dr. Christopher Duntsch — nicknamed “Dr. Death” — an infamous neurosurgeon who was sentenced to life imprisonment after maiming, harming, or killing 33 patients who came in for complex but routine spinal surgeries in the Dallas, TX area in the early 2010s.
Behind The Music: Season 2 (Anytime / Paramount+)
The groundbreaking and prolific music documentary series returns with several new episodes and the best of the vault remastered and updated for today’s audiences featuring artist interviews, a creative refresh and reimagined visual style.
Stephanie Suggestion: Ted Lasso (Anytime / AppleTV+)
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.
Ever have that show literally everyone is talking about and you end up having a full existential crisis of ‘do I hide in my cone of shame and not admit I’ve never seen it, or do I go Full Hipster and act like I’m too cool for it’? That’s Ted Lasso. This is another show I’ve never seen, but crititical buzz-be-gone, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. And by good, I mean super awesome feel good. Ted Lasso is, by all accounts, the happy-go-lucky we all need in the year of our whatever, 2021. Because if there was ever a time to admit you’d never seen the thing, and you just need that push to watch the thing because it sounded like you needed the thing to feel good about things in general, this is it.
Friday, July 30
Back on the Record with Bob Costas (11/10c / HBO)
29-time Emmy®-winner and legendary broadcaster Bob Costas returns to HBO with a new series, Back on the Record with Bob Costas. The series, which will air four episodes each year, will be driven by in-depth interviews with the biggest names in sports, entertainment, and popular culture, and discussions led by Costas that will address today’s most topical sports issues.
Stephanie Suggestion: The Demi Lovato Show (Anytime / Roku)
The 10-minute episodes will find Lovato in conversation with a variety of guests with discussions covering topics such as activism, feminism, gender identity, sex, body positivity, mental health and, one of Lovato’s favorite topics, aliens.
Okay, look. Just hear me out again. We all need a win right now. And Demi Lovato – who has been through her fair share of need-a-wins – is poised, not only to get her win, but give us all the win we so need and deserve. Kelly Clarkson paved the latest path of talk show hosts who don’t trash their interviewees to get the ratings and the dirt, and Demi is the perfect follow up to that. A little bit more depth with the same level of heart from two girls that society even 10 years ago would have completely thrown away. Here’s tipping a 40 to Demi. Shine bright like a diamond, girl.
Saturday, July 31
Stephanie Suggestion: The Vault (Anytime / Netflix)
A genius engineer and his crew of amateur thieves plot a scheme to seize a legendary lost treasure hidden in a fortress beneath the Bank of Spain.
I will forever only ever see Freddie Highmore is that little kid from Love, Actually who learns to play the drums like a baller in a matter of days just to try and win over a girl from school he’s literally never spoken to, only for it to totally work in the most spectacular, TSA-is-having-a-heart-attack showdown you’ll ever see at Heathrow Airport. Except for how that wasn’t Freddie Highmore, that was Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Freddie was from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake, and all Gen Y British kids look alike, okay, stop looking at me like that. The truth is, I have no idea if The Vault is any good, and according to Rotten Tomatoes, that would be a 54% hard no, but honestly, I took one look at little Sam all grown up in full combat gear on the poster, got verklempt, and added it to my Netflix queue. Plot and rotten tomatoes be damned.
Sunday, August 01
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.
Stephanie Suggestion: Wipeout: The Suicide Squad Special (9/8c / TBS)
Grab your squad on August 1! Wipeout returns with a special episode guest starring the cast of The Suicide Squad and writer-director James Gunn.
Raise your hand if you had a mild, insignificant, barely worth mentioning, possibly-borderline-unhealthy-according-to-your-therapist obsession with the OG Wipeout. No? No one? Just me? Alrighty then. There have been lots of obstacle course shows over the years (hi, American Gladiator!), but there was just something about giant red bouncy balls and a whack-a-mole wall of doom that tickled me to no end, even today. So I was already on board with this reboot when it premiered back in April, especially with JOHN CENAAAAAA!!!! as cohost. And with that little insider, nepotistic connection via a certain upcoming movie reboot-that-isn’t-a-reboot, we will now have our very own The Suicide Squad special episiode with even writer-director James Gunn himself getting bounced around. I think. The descript wasn’t clear on that one, but here’s hoping.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair. Stephanie Cole is the questionable sidekick who makes pretty pictures and whitty captions to promote said Lair. Think Bond and Q.
(Stephanie is obviously Q.)