Lotta regrets and lotta nostalgia with this week’s #SetTheVCR. I mean tis the season right? Just be careful…the salt from your tears doesn’t mix well with eggnog. #ProTip.
Monday, December 13
The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe (Anytime / Discovery+)
A revealing new documentary that pulls the curtain back on the multi-level marketing company and features interviews with retailers, warehouse workers, designers and others whose lives were profoundly impacted by the organization.
Sammy Suggestion: Anger, Social Media And Us (Anytime / BBC 2)
David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger and Us follows the writer and comedian as he explores the impact social media is having on our behaviour both on and offline.
Basically a British The Social Dilemma only with more sarcasm. However Baddiel’s explorations includes meeting with prolific users, writers and experts which includes Kat Rosenfield (a Stan Lee collaborator). She’s a dope writer and often offers up a unique perspective on these complicated matters. Thankfully if you forget to #SetTheVCR for this never no worries: I’ll tweet this out as a reminder.
The new documentary I've made – Anger, Social Media And Us it's called – is out on BBC2, Monday Dec 13th, 9pm. pic.twitter.com/GaJfzxUeZc
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) December 3, 2021
Tuesday, December 14
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Anytime / Crave via Starz)
Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes in order to win her heart.
Sammy Suggestion: Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (Anytime / HBO & Crave)
Street Gang takes us inside the minds and hearts of the Sesame Street creators to help us understand not only how they produced this groundbreaking show, but also what it was like to be at the center of a cultural and social phenomenon.
There’s a startling moment early in David Kamp’s book Sunny Days: The Children’s Television Revolution That Changed America where Loretta Long is cast to play Susan on Sesame Street. She calls her parents back home in Michigan to describe her new job; this new TV show which’ll premiere on November 10, 1969 and her sharing included trying to describe Bird Bird to her parents. It never occurred to me there was a life before Big Bird: like the sun and the moon and the stars. He’s always been there. We’ve never had to describe Big Bird; he’s like Superman. It doesn’t matter if the person is 2 years old or 82 years old: EVERYONE knows these characters. However not many people know all the artists, writers, producers, and educators who created Sesame Street. And that’s where Street Gang comes in: watch it for nostalgia; watch it for joy. An ideal way to celebrate 50 years of Sunny Days.
Wednesday, December 15
Ace Venture: Pet Detective (Anytime / Hulu)
In the role that made him a movie star, Jim Carrey places Ace Venture, a goofy detective searching for a missing mascot.
Sammy Suggestion: Shatner In Space (Anytime / Prime Video)
A documentary special following William Shatner’s Blue Origin space flight.
Following his recent space adventure William Shatner said to Jeff Bezos: “What you’ve given me is the most profound experience I can imagine.” He added: “I hope I never recover from this.” In attempting to explain seeing the Earth from space William Shatner is experiencing an emotional response call The Overview Effect. “The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space.” The more we all go to space the more we’ll shift. Shout out and much thanks to everyone who purchased something from Amazon to fund Bezos’ wealth and give us this freshtastic moment with Shatner in space and the sloooow growth of space tourism and space life. Space Is The Place!
Thursday, December 16
The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (10 p.m. / Crave)
Episode 5 of the Star Trek docuseries is added to Crave to today for Canadians. (Americans can check out the series on History Vault.)
Sammy Suggestion: Juice WRLD: Into The Abyss (8 p.m. / HBO & Crave)
A dynamic exploration of the life and lasting legacy of wunderkind rapper Juice WRLD. Captured through an intimate verité lens, the sixth installment in the Music Box series follows the Chicago native’s path to superstardom and streaming supremacy by the time he was 18 courtesy of his breakout hit, “Lucid Dreams.”
Jarad Anthony Higgins died on December 8, 2019. As Juice WRLD dude had it. HAD IT. The final Music Box documentary for this first season…HBO’s musical 30 for 30s recognizes the life and the talent we lost. This one is gonna hit hard. I want to watch it but I dunno if I can get through it.
Friday, December 17
Rolling Like Thunder (8 p.m. / Crave & Showtime)
Before street art became mainstream, the anonymous outlaws of “freight writing” put graffiti on the map. One of the most extreme and risky iterations of the art form, freight train graffiti culture has a rich history, laden with myth-like artists, remarkable romances and competitive graffiti crews.
Sammy Suggestion: Station Eleven: Limited Series (Anytime / HBO Max & Crave)
A post-apocalyptic saga based on the best-selling book by Emily St. John Mandel. Spanning multiple timelines, this limited drama series tells the stories of survivors of a devastating pandemic as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
Generally there are two types of apocalypses. The most popular and common is where everything is utterly destroyed…buildings, humans…all of it. Think Independence Day or Knowing. No one and nowhere is safe. Then there’s…let’s call em a local apocalypse. All the infrastructure of our civilization remains intact but humans are an endangered species. Think any zombie movie/TV show or The Stand. Station Eleven is the latter; much like The Stand, a virus has eliminated most humans. “A limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s international bestseller, Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic saga that follows survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.” I never read the novel so I dunno what to expect over these 10 episodes. However Hiro Murai is a producer and director and he’s incredible at balancing real violence with real comedy; real humanity. You’ve seen his dynamic work on Barry (highly recommended) and Atlanta. Both of which have a unique tone; they’re not traditional TV shows. So yeah if you’re in the mood for a local apocalypse…here ya go! But really check out Hiro Murai’s impressive talents.
Saturday, December 18
UNINTERRUPTED Canada: The Fred VanVleet Story (Anytime / Crave)
Toronto Raptors point guard and UNINTERRUPTED Canada partner to chronicle his extraordinary journey from the streets of Rockford, Illinois and undrafted free agent to NBA Champion
Sammy Suggestion: Last Train To Christmas (Anytime / Sky Cinema)
When successful 80s nightclub manager Michael Sheen boards a magical train at Christmas, he discovers that each carriage harbours a different stage of his life.
A Christmas movie brimming with regrets which means I’ll regret this recommendation: “Tony Towers (Sheen) is about to take the trip of a lifetime. It’s 1985 and he’s a successful nightclub manager, a local celebrity and engaged to a much younger woman, Sue (Emmanuel). Things are going great. But when he embarks upon the 3:17 to Nottingham for a Christmas family reunion, things get a little strange. Moving up a carriage to the buffet car lands him in 1995, where he finds his clubs have failed and his life has fallen apart. Tony discovers that by moving up and down this fateful train, he can transport himself forward and backward to various stages of his life.” A kind of time loop Doctor Who time travel affair. Okay so fine here’s a Christmas movie. “Now I Have A Time Machine. Ho-Ho-Ho.”
Sunday, December 19
The Matrix (Anytime / Crave)
Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question — What is the Matrix?
Sammy Suggestion: Mother/Android (Anytime / Hulu)
Set in the near future, Mother/Android follows Georgia and her boyfriend Sam through their treacherous journey of escape as their country is caught in an unexpected war with artificial intelligence.
I dig the I Am Legend vibes replacing vampires with renegade Androids. That’s fresh. “Georgia (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Sam (Algee Smith), a couple who go on a treacherous journey to escape their country, which is caught in an unexpected war with artificial intelligence. Days away from the arrival of their first child, the couple must face No Man’s Land— a stronghold of the android uprising, in hopes of reaching safety before Georgia give birth.” Wait, is this not based on a comic book or a book or a TV show or a video game?! Original sci-fi? Is that possible?
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.