We got old school Batman to new school horror; from comforting classics to confronting cryptics. Oh…welcome back to #SetTheVCR.
Monday, September 20
Time100 (10 p.m. / ABC)
ABC in partnership with TIME will bring the annual TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people to life with a special television event,
Sammy Suggestion: Batman: The Audio Adventures (Anytime / HBO Max)
A tale of life and death in Gotham City. After years of vigilante crimefighting, Batman prepares to become an official Gotham employee, deepening the rift between himself and Catwoman, who’s been using Gotham criminals as her personal ATM.
Saturday September 18 was Batman Day. As part of the Batman celebrations Batman: The Audio Adventures a 10 part scripted audio drama was released on HBO Max. Jeffrey Wright is Batman, Rosario Dawson is Catwoman and John Leguizamo is the Riddler. (Leguizamo as The Riddler could work in real life too…). . Inspired by the most excellent Batman: The Animated Series and the 1960s Batman TV show the dynamic podcast was written and directed by Dennis McNicholas. So yes you do need to be an HBO Max subscriber to enjoy all 10 episodes. However our generous corporate overlords at WarnerMedia have released the first two episodes for free on all podcasting platforms, as well as DC Universe Infinite and DC YouTube. Oh Yeah! So let’s check this out. Is Audio Batman the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now?
Tuesday, September 21
Level Playing Field: Season 1, Episode 2 (8 p.m. / HBO & Crave)
A look at the NCAA’s creation of the term “student-athlete” and how it connects to the widespread misclassification of workers today.
Sammy Suggestion: Nike’s Big Bet (Anytime / Peacock & CBC Gem)
The story of a scandal that rocked the running world as Alberto Salazar was handed a four-year ban from all coaching activities from the U.S. Anti-Doping Association.
A classic exploration of do the ends justify the means? Only imagine if you focused that debate on sports which has a clear winner and defined losers. In 2001 Nike established the Oregon Project as a program to develop elite runners (and put Americans back on top…of course.). Coach Alberto Salazar was in charge of the program and given free reign to employ his unorthodox tactics to deliver results(…of course.). In 2019 despite never failing a drug test and his athletes never testing positive, he received a four-year doping ban from all coaching activities and the project immediately collapsed. So…what happened? Malcolm Gladwell appears in this doc suggesting Salazar’s methods justified the means by pushing the boundaries of what’s fair in sport. Is that true? Documentaries are not like sports; there aren’t always clear winners and obvious losers. I spoke to the director Paul Kemp and can confirm: in Canada the CBC Gem version is 44 minutes while in America on Peacock it is 83 minutes. I guess streaming is also a “Big Bet.”
Wednesday, September 22
Star Wars: Visions (Anytime / Disney+)
Seven Japanese anime studios bring their unique talent and perspective to Star Wars: Visions, a collection of animated Original Short Films.
Sammy Suggestion: Intrusion (Anytime / Netflix)
After a deadly home invasion at a couple’s new dream house, the traumatized wife searches for answers — and learns the real danger is just beginning.
“After a deadly home invasion at a couple’s new dream house, the traumatized wife searches for answers — and learns the real danger is just beginning.” I like these types of movies where you can’t tell if the main character is paranoid; possibly suffering from dementia or she’s really onto something. Eventually as she persists and asks questions; because the facts do not align she begins to suspect her husband. Oh Oh. The trailer has a great line: “Never Ask Questions.” A tragic life lesson for all of us. Netflix recently gave us a “Things Are Not What They Seem” movie with The Woman in the Window. I hope they make more of em. Creepy cool fun.
Thursday, September 23
Creepshow: Season 3 (Anytime / Shudder)
CREEPSHOW, the anthology series based on the 1982 horror comedy classic, is still the most fun you’ll ever have being scared!
Sammy Suggestion: Doom Patrol: Season 3 (9:30 p.m. / HBO Max)
Doom Patrol is a team of traumatized and downtrodden superheroes, each of whom has suffered a horrible accident that gave them superhuman abilities but also left them scarred and disfigured.
If you’re impatiently awaiting new Umbrella Academy then here’s your tempting invitation to enjoy Doom Patrol! Same family dysfunction; same weird superpowers…same excellent soundtrack (Bowie!!) and…yes AND! Doom Patrol has a robot that swears. A lot. I so heart the HBO Max DC TV shows way more than the CW shows. In the first season, the malevolent Mr. Nobody captured the Chief launching the Doom Patrol on a rescue mission. Along the way, they uncovered secrets about themselves and the Chief, who is responsible for the tragic events that gave them their powers. Season 2 introduced Dorothy Spinner who endangered the world when her powers threatened to unleash the Candlemaker, an ancient entity. Season 3 now…ushers in the arrival of Madame Rouge in a time machine. Yo! Sweet superhero sarcasm. That’s all I ask.
Friday, September 24
Being James Bond (Anytime / Crave)
Daniel Craig candidly reflects on his fifteen year tenure as James Bond. Includes never-before-seen archival footage spanning from ‘Casino Royale’ (2006) to ‘No Time To Die’ (2021).
The Starling (Anytime / Netflix)
A woman adjusting to life after a loss contends with a feisty bird that’s taken over her garden — and a husband who’s struggling to find a way forward.
My Little Pony: A New Generation (Anytime / Neflix)
Equestria’s divided. But a bright-eyed hero believes Earth Ponies, Pegasi and Unicorns should be pals — and, hoof to heart, she’s determined to prove it.
Sammy Suggestion: Midnight Mass (Anytime / Netflix)
The arrival of a charismatic young priest brings glorious miracles, ominous mysteries and renewed religious fervor to a dying town desperate to believe.
The official synopsis as released by Netflix: “Midnight Mass tells the tale of a small, isolated island community whose existing divisions are amplified by the return of a disgraced young man (Zach Gilford) and the arrival of a charismatic priest (Hamish Linklater). When Father Paul’s appearance on Crockett Island coincides with unexplained and seemingly miraculous events, a renewed religious fervor takes hold of the community – but do these miracles come at a price?” This is created and directed by Mike Flanagan who has found a happy horror home on Netflix. This miniseries is 7 episodes (which makes sense…7 is a spiritually positive number) and continues Flanagan’s strange trend of shrinking his seasons: The Haunting of Hill House was 10 episodes, The Haunting of Bly Manor was 9 episodes and now we’re down to 7. Excellent way to kick off Halloween season.
Saturday, September 25
Sammy Suggestion: Elvira’s 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special Special (8 p.m. / Shudder)
This year marks the 40th anniversary for the horror host, icon, and Mistress of the Dark, and AMC Networks’ premium streamer is celebrating with a one-night movie marathon event.
Shudder’s Elvira’s 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special Special gives you 2 good and buoyant reasons to check it out: Horror. Movies. lol! To keep you abreast here I’m talking about classics. “In celebration of her 40th anniversary, Elvira will lend her unique blend of witty commentary to a four-movie horror marathon that includes Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988), House on Haunted Hill (1959…Vincent Price!), The City of the Dead (1960…Christopher Lee!), Messiah of Evil (1960…a seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult…of course…).” This ah…titillating horror special should be frightfully fun.
Sunday, September 26
The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)
Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the stories behind the headlines.
Sammy Suggestion: The Simpsons: Season 33 (8/7 p.m. / Fox)
Mr. Burns goes under cover at the nuclear power plant and becomes friends with Homer and the gang.
It’s Season 33 of The Simpsons. You’re in or you’re out. You had 32 seasons to make up your mind. This season will be twenty-two episodes with Treehouse of Horror XXXII on October 10. (This is the first Treehouse of Horror episode to consist of five segments instead of the usual three.) And Season 34 is coming. So you’re in or you’re out. I’m in to the end. Season 32 had some gems; some classic lines. The old gal still has it.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.