In this week’s #SetTheVCR odd people are overcoming the odds which oddly makes for compelling television.
Monday, August 09
Terry Fox: The Power of One (8 p.m. / CBC & CBC Gem)
A special one-hour broadcast that will share diverse stories of hope, courage, and resilience as told by iconic Canadians inspired by the vision and enduring legacy of Terry’s Marathon of Hope.
Sammy Suggestion: ESPN 30 for 30: Into the Wind (Anytime / Crave)
Terry Fox, an amputee with cancer, attempted running across Canada for cancer awareness. In the process, he captured the heart of a nation.
Effective activism is the result of employing simple solutions. Terry Fox saying I’m going to jog across Canada: incredibly straightforward yet it ignited a shift in our conversations and work around cancer. Tonight on the CBC Gem you can enjoy Terry Fox: The Power of One which is your standard memories and music performances TV special. However, let’s go back to the source with Steve Nash’s captivating documentary. As part of TSN’s Doc Collection (Season 1; Episode 23) you can watch this 30 for 30 bursting with insights, experiences and footage from the late 70s. (It’s also funny that this ESPN documentary which aired in America spends a few minutes talking about Scarborough: good luck with that Americans.) This is a fantastic 30 for 30: many Canadians know Terry Fox but many Canadians don’t know Terry Fox. Choose inspiration.
Tuesday, August 10
Stargirl: Season 2 (8 p.m. / The CW)
High school student Courtney Whitmore inspires an unlikely group of young heroes to stop the villains of the past.
Untold: Malice at the Palace (Anytime / Netflix)
Key figures from an infamous 2004 incident between players and fans at an NBA game in Michigan discuss the fight, its fallout and its lasting legacy.
I’m not certain about the “Untold” part when it comes to the Malice at the Palace. That was all deftly covered in the Showtime doc on Ron Artest. 2019’s Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story. Still here we go: Untold is Netflx’s attempt to battle ESPN’s 30 for 30 doc-series. For the next 4 weeks a new sports documentary will drop and it begins with Malice. If you don’t know, the brawl occurred during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the defending champion Detroit Pistons on Friday, November 19, 2004, at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (I adored that basketball venue, sad it’s no longer with us.) At first the players fought following a hard foul. However that fight spilled into the audience (I mentioned this is Detroit yes?) so now it’s NBA players fighting NBA fans. It’s wild if you’ve never seen this footage. So here we are again revisiting this melee. Choose ruckus!
Wednesday, August 11
What If…?: Season 1 (Anytime / Disney+)
“Space. Time. Reality. It’s more than a linear path.” WHAT IF…?, an Original Series from Marvel Studios, is coming Summer 2021 to #DisneyPlus.
Sammy Suggestion: The Kissing Booth 3 (Anytime / Netflix)
Determined to make the most of her final summer before college, Elle plans the ultimate bucket list as she navigates what comes next with Noah and Lee.
On May 11, 2018 Netflix dropped The Kissing Booth your garden variety teen movie. However on August 17, 2018 Netflix then dropped To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. And that I dug much more. Better characters, better actors, better soundtrack. The second Kissing Booth was a disappointing struggle and I can comfortable kiss and tell: the main actress Joey King ain’t exactly Fonzie cool. In the second movie when she asks: “Don’t you believe in charity?” and is told: “I’m standing here talking to you.” A) that’s LOL! and 2) that’s accurate. Thanks new character for speaking my truth. So now here we are: To All the Boys has sadly concluded 3 movies later. This is the third and final Kissing Booth (even if they make more this is the final movie for me…) and we got Molly Ringwald. Alright fine. Choose to kiss goodbye.
Thursday, August 12
Field of Dreams Game (6pm / Fox)
If you build it MLB will come: The White Sox and the Yankees meet on a baseball field constructed on an Iowa farm based on the 1989 Kevin Costner film in the MLB’s first-ever “Field of Dreams Game.”
Star Trek: Lower Decks: Season 2 (Anytime / Paramount+ & Crave)
Star Trek: Lower Decks focuses on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the USS Cerritos, in 2380.
Sammy Suggestion: Titans: Season 3 (Anytime / HBO Max)
Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find where they belong. In Season 3, circumstances draw our heroes to Gotham City, where they reunite with old friends and face new threats.
I’ve been enjoying the HBO Max DC shows way more than the CW shows. At the risk of sounding like a Lindsey Naegle TV executive the shows are dark, edgy and gritty; better suited to the no limits of the HBO Max medium. I really enjoyed Season 1, though I found Season 2 uneven as the kids battled Deathstroke and Dick evolved from Robin to Nightwing (spoiler?!). (What was strange was how Season 2 adapted whole chunks of the 84 comic book arc The Judas Contract. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was an animated movie released in 2017 while the Teen Titans animated series on the Cartoon Network also adapted The Judas Contract. That’s a lotta redundancy.) All we know about Season 3 is: “the third season will follow the Titans in their journey to Gotham City, where they reunite with old friends and face new threats.” Which is really the plot of Season 1 and Season 2. Choose T shaped buildings!
Friday, August 13
Masters of Illusion (8 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.
Sammy Suggestion: Beckett (Anytime / Netflix)
An American tourist goes on the run in Greece after a tragic accident plunges him into a political conspiracy that makes him a target for assassination.
John David Washington plays an American tourist caught up in a conspiracy while vacationing in Greece. I’m not sure who or what is behind the web of conspiracy; fans of Harrison Ford’s Fugitive should enjoy this movie. Choose to join the manhunt!
(This time Washington is the one-armed man!)
(It was originally called Born to Be Murdered which was a stronger title. I wonder why Netflix changed it?)
Saturday, August 14
NFL Preseason Football: Buccaneers vs Bengals (7:30 p.m. / CBS)
10 NFL Preseason games as we kick of The 102nd season of the National Football League.
Sammy Suggestion: Just For Laughs: Showcases (Anytime / YouTube)
Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets sidetracked with facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.
Just for Laughs returned on July 26-31 in Montreal, NYC and LA. If you weren’t able to attend, never no worries! They’ve released some of the shows on ye olde YouTube. Below I’ve shared The Alternative Show shot in LA which features stand up sets from Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt and many others. However go to the site for additional links and showcases you can stream. Choose free jokes!
Sunday, August 15
Invisible Monsters: Serial Killers In America: Season 1 (9 p.m. / A&E)
A single narrative exploring the perfect storm of what was happening in culture, communications, law enforcement, media, forensics, and technology that allowed them to proliferate and evade capture.
Sammy Suggestion: The History of the Sitcom (9/8c PM / CNN)
History of the Sitcom 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.
Part 7 of the 8 part History of the Sitcom is called: Freaks, Geeks & Outsiders. You don’t want to wiggle your nose at this description: “Aliens, geeks, monsters, immigrants, witches… the fresh perspective of sitcom fish-out-of-water give us funny new insights into the ever-changing face of America.” Oh! Hopefully this episode covers Mork and Mindy; that’s utter gold! Choose funny aliens!
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.