While this week offers the somber 20th anniversary of 9/11, here are some joyful TV recommendations to help you turn that frown upside down.
Monday, September 06
Robot Chicken: Season 11 (Midnight / Adult Swim)
“Adult Swim’s off-the-wall stop-motion comedy series Robot Chicken is back for season 11 and filled with more hilarious parodies and insane characters and personalities from Joe Exotic to Peppa Pig.” – Hollywood Outbreak
Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space: Season 1 (Anytime / Netflix)
From training to launch to landing, this all-access docuseries rides along with the Inspiration4 crew on the first all-civilian orbital space mission.
Sammy Suggestion: The Stand Up Show with Jon Dore: Season 2 (10:30pm / CTV Comedy)
The Stand-Up Show with Jon Dore returns for a second season, featuring a lineup of cutting-edge talent. With a small-club feel and an edgy vibe, audiences catch sets from homegrown talent.
The Season finale of The Stand Up Show with Jon Dore closes with a big time comedy draw: Dave Merheje. If you’ve seen Hulu’s Ramy or CBC’s Mr. D; Dave has made you laugh. Though that’s his acting; this is his zany standup. Loud energy with hip hop style phrasing; it’s freshtastic to include some stand up comedy as a recommendation. Lately stand up comedy has become a pop culture delicacy. Enjoy this slowly like a fine wine.
Tuesday, September 07
Untold: Season 1: Breaking Point (Anytime / Netflix)
Under pressure to continue a winning tradition in American tennis, Mardy Fish faced mental health challenges that changed his life on and off the court.
Sammy Suggestion: Being James Bond (Anytime / Apple TV+)
Discover the untold story of Daniel Craig’s 007 legacy in a special retrospective.
It’s strange but No Time To Die was supposed to come out on April 10, 2020. So if it feels like you’ve been watching James Bond trailers for a couple of years it’s because you have. Still No Time to Die is the 25th James Bond movie produced by Eon Productions. As for Daniel Craig it’s his fifth outing as British MI6 agent James Bond (Roger Moore had seven at bats). Craig has promised this will be his final Bond film. As such it’s time to look back because it looks like this movie will finally come out. “The 45-minute retrospective features Daniel Craig reflecting on his 15 years playing Bond, with never-before-seen archival footage from his oeuvre and conversations with 07 producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.” I dig this idea much more than day-and-date release movies. (No Time To Die will be released on October 8 in a cinema near you. I think.)
Wednesday, September 08
The Golden Girls: Seasons 1-7 (Anytime / Disney+ Star Canada)
Four mature women live together in Miami and experience the joys and angst of their golden years.
Sammy Suggestion: Into the Night: Season 2 (Anytime / Netflix)
Passengers and crew aboard a hijacked overnight flight scramble to outrace the sun as a mysterious cosmic event wreaks havoc on the world below.
Into the Night is a Belgian apocalyptic sci-fi drama thriller (based on the Polish science fiction novel The Old Axolotl by Jacek Dukaj). Yo. I don’t have any references for any of those things. Still the Season 1 premise was corny yet wonderful: People are on the run…from the sun. Once the cast figured out what the issue is they jumped onto a jumbo jet to head west in an attempt to survive this catastrophe that kills all living organisms during daylight hours. Like The Walking Dead survivors must deal with fuel shortage, irradiated food, hidden agendas, and other problems in their race to reach an underground military bunker. Of course getting to the bunker is not the end of the story; welcome Season 2. (Netflix has been so good to me with international sci-fi. That German show Dark not only lives up to its name but good gravy that show is hardcore sci-fi. So good. Easily one of the greatest sci-fi tv shows… of all time. Think I’m exaggerating? Check it out. While I enjoy Stranger Things Netflix has struck gold with international TV Shows.)
Thursday, September 09
Mortal Kombat (2021) (Anytime / HBO Max)
Hunted by the fearsome warrior Sub-Zero, MMA fighter Cole Young finds sanctuary at the temple of Lord Raiden. Training with experienced fighters Liu Kang, Kung Lao and the rogue mercenary Kano, Cole prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions to take on the enemies from Outworld in a high-stakes battle for the universe.
Sammy Suggestion: NFL Week 1 Game: Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8:20pm / NBC)
The 2021 NFL season officially kicks off with a match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Florida at Raymond James Stadium.
Sigh. I used to be an NBA guy. But ah…lately I’ve been watching more and more NFL games; even during the regular season. Two reasons: Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. (Also I primarily watch ESPN and they’re a football centric network plus a slew of sports documentaries have slowly decreased my NFL ignorance and increased my enthusiasm. So…they got to me.) The 2021 NFL season is the 102nd season of the National Football League. The league expanded the regular season from a 16-game schedule to 17 games. The regular season starts tonight with defending Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay hosting Dallas and ends on January 9, 2022. The playoffs are scheduled to start on January 15, 2022, and will conclude with Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on February 13 2022. “Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.”
Friday, September 10
The Voyeurs (Anytime / Prime Video)
A young couple find themselves becoming interested in the sex life of their neighbors across the street. What starts as an innocent curiosity turns into an unhealthy obsession, after they discover that one neighbor is cheating. Temptation and desire cause their lives to become tangled together leading to deadly consequences.
Sammy Suggestion: Sherlock: Season 1 (Anytime / CBC Gem)
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.
I can’t remember how I discovered Sherlock Holmes. I was 13 or 14…The Final Problem was the first thing I read; not sure why I read it but so glad I did. Beyond thrilling. 100% Wow. Today CBC Gem adds the utterly brilliant Sherlock! Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are easily some of the greatest tv writers since Rod Serling. This is a modern incarnation where Benedict Cumberbatch arrogantly contends with dim witted fools while solving painfully obvious murders. Season 1 (well Series 1…) is 3 episodes: A Study in Pink (loosely based upon the first Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet), The Blind Banker and…The Great Game which introduces archenemy James Moriarty. Oh Yes. “The game is afoot.”
Saturday, September 11
What to watch, when, and how you can watch them.
Sammy Suggestion: Class of 2021 Enshrinement Ceremony (Basketball Hall of Fame) (5:30pm/ NBA TV)
Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh and Chris Webber headline 2021 Hall of Fame class.
While I understand this is a poignant 9-11 anniversary if you want to take a break from all the docs and specials and ceremonies I have an engaging recommendation. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is for all basketball achievements: not just a person’s NBA achievements (though that helps a lot!). The Class of 2020 was a hard year: losing Kobe, that whole pandemic, a damaged NBA season: it was a lot to deal with. This year we’re almost “back to normal.” Notable 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees and Presenters: Toni Kukoc presented by Michael Jordan; Kevin Garnett presents Paul Pierce; Chris Webber presented by Isiah Thomas. Plus many more. Get your Kleenex ready. I never get through these events without getting verklempt.
Sunday, September 12
News of the World (Anytime/Crave)
Five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken by the Kiowa people. Forced to return to her aunt and uncle, Kidd agrees to escort the child across the harsh and unforgiving plains of Texas. But the long journey soon turns into a fight for survival as the traveling companions encounter danger at every turn — both human and natural.
A police chief in a southwest Pennsylvania town is forced to decide what he’s willing to do to protect the son of the woman he loves after he’s accused of murder.
Adapted from Philipp Meyer’s debut novel American Rust is the story of a complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Jeff Daniels) in a Rust Belt town in southwest Pennsylvania. Echoing his nuanced portrayal from Newsroom only this time Daniels is investigating a murder not just reporting it. “When the woman he truly loves sees her son accused of murder, Harris is forced to decide what he’s willing to do to protect him.” We’ll find out as well.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.