We survived the Cola Wars only to face The Battles of the streamer. Prior to the pandemic studios would play corporate chicken with blockbuster releases staking their claim for a specific Summer weekend: the bet being my movie will earn more than your movie. That mostly went away as the pandemic destroyed typical opening weekends. However for streamers Friday November 12 is as big as like Memorial Weekend is for the movies. It’s a glorious return to corporate chicken with many sound bets on what audiences will want to watch. We’re all gonna hafta make choices and as such I am prepared with this week’s #SetTheVCR to help you make the best ones. The Choice Is Yours.
Monday, November 08
Will Smith: The Best Shape of My Life (Anytime / YouTube Originals)
Will Smith’s embarking on a major quest; he’s gonna lose 20lbs in 20 weeks all while finishing his memoir. But he quickly hits a turning point that he didn’t see coming.
Sammy Suggestion: Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (10 p.m. / NBC)
Finding an unexpected clue, Langdon, Katherine, Nuñez and Peter partner with Sato and her CIA colleagues to spring a trap for Mal’akh; as the night unfolds, the real puzzle is quickly discovered.
Has Peacock solved the streaming code? Tonight NBC will air the pilot of the Peacock original series Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. The show has gone linear! So yeah you could watch The Lost Symbol tonight to crack Dan Brown’s code or…you can wait until Friday and solve the murder of JFK! Oliver Stone has returned to JFK’s assassination via recently declassified evidence and testimony. JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass will be added to Showtime on Demand and Showtime streaming only on November 12! However, like The Lost Symbol the documentary will make its linear TV debut on November 22 at 7 pm (JFK was of course killed on November 22, 1963.). The Choice Is Yours.
Tuesday, November 09
Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman: Season 1 (10 p.m. / History Channel)
An eight-part miniseries with Morgan Freeman as he explores real-life prison breaks that have captured the attention of the public.
Sammy Suggestion: Frontline: Pandora Papers (10 p.m. / PBS)
A massive leak of financial documents reveals hidden assets and deals of the world’s wealthy and powerful. With the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, FRONTLINE examines secret finance overseas and in the U.S.
The Pandora Papers is all about: “Show me the money!” A two year investigation culminates into this Frontline exposé which discloses the tax havens, offshore accounts and other legal tax loopholes where the rich hide their financial assets. Pandora Papers is on PBS at 10 p.m. So yeah you could watch Pandora Papers tonight to explore the wacky world of the wealthy or…you can wait until Friday for wacky and reveal in The World According to Jeff Goldblum: Season 2. The first five episodes of Season 2 featuring Jeff Goldblum’s zany curiosity explorations will be released on November 12 as part of Disney+ Day. And one of the new episodes focuses on magic (Ta-Da!). The Choice Is Yours.
Wednesday, November 10
An honest Hong Kong cop protecting a Triad boss’s girlfriend-turned-informer, finds himself framed for the murder of a dirty cop and going on the run.
A dedicated Hong Kong cop’s unusual policing methods result in his demotion to traffic duty, despite his success in fighting crime. Meanwhile, an old enemy is released from prison and sets out to get revenge.
Sammy Suggestion: Passing (Anytime / Netflix)
In 1920s New York City, a Black woman finds her world upended when her life becomes intertwined with a former childhood friend who’s passing as white.
Rebecca Hall’s modern Black Like Me dissects the friendship of two Black friends in 1920s Harlem…even though one of em (clearly?) has a secret. So yeah you could watch Passing tonight to witness who can successfully pass or…you can wait until Friday and enjoy two great passing Big Men in the NBA. Recently retired Pau Gasol’s documentary It’s About the Journey lands on Prime Video. The Kobe section will be heartbreaking. While Showtime continues its string of basketball documentary excellence with a Kevin Garnett documentary. Of course it’s called Anything Is Possible. Considering the personalities and careers of both players this is just too good to pass up. Truly: The Choice Is Yours.
Thursday, November 11
Ragdoll (Anytime / AMC+)
A freshly demoted DS returns to the field–only to have his dark past follow him. His dear friend and boss, Baxter, and an American ingenue, Edmunds, fall with him into the grotesque–and brilliant–game of the ‘Ragdoll’ Killer.
Sammy Suggestion: Pharma Bro (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)
The story of Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical tycoon known for raising the price of an AIDS drug 5500% overnight, buying the sole copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million dollars and being convicted of securities fraud.
I primarily know Martin Shkreli from the purchase of the Wu-Tang album (Once Upon a Time in Shaolin...it was so limited only a single copy was ever sold.) so I’m not sure if the rest of his “achievements” warrant a whole documentary. I guess that’s the classic American dream right? To be so infamous you “score” a documentary. So yeah you could watch Pharma Bro tonight to grapple with Big Pharma corruption or…you can wait until Friday and sample Dopesick now available to Canadians via Disney+ Canada. Americans have been hooked on Hulu’s Dopesick since October 13. The Michael Keaton docuseries will begin streaming weekly on November 12. Take a Hit…if you D.A.R.E. The Choice Is Yours.
Friday, November 12
Lethal Weapon (Anytime / Crave)
Following the death of his wife, Los Angeles police detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) becomes reckless and suicidal. When he is reassigned and partnered with Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), Riggs immediately clashes with the older officer. As they encounter increasingly dangerous situations, Riggs and Murtaugh begin to form a bond. Riggs’ volatile behavior might just help them apprehend the criminals — if it doesn’t kill them both first.
Sammy Suggestion: Disney+ Day (Anytime / Disney+ & YouTube)
Disney+ subscribers, and fans will enjoy exclusive offers, surprise moments, exclusive entertainment, content premieres from all of the service’s marquee brands, and much more.
Following Tudum on September 25, DC FanDome on October 16 today is DISNEY+ DAY. Yet another Nerd Christmas brimming with trailers and dynamic announcements. In reaction to all that marketing noise the other streamers are determined to put Disney on…ah RED NOTICE. So yeah you could celebrate all the Disney+ Day announcements and revelations and hype all day today or…you can see if that wonderful woman Gal Gadot as an art thief can steal your attention away.
Saturday, November 13
Elf (Anytime / Crave)
One Christmas Eve a long time ago, a baby crawled into Santa’s bag of toys and is raised as an elf. Buddy goes looking for his true place in the world–in New York City.
Sammy Suggestion: Blade Runner: Black Lotus (Midnight / Adult Swim)
Replicants are like any other machine, they’re either a benefit or a hazard. Find out what went into making the world of Blade Runner: Black Lotus from the creators of the new anime series.
The popular sci-fi movie Blade Runner gets animated: “Los Angeles 2032. A young woman wakes up with no memories, and possessing deadly skills. The only clues to her mystery are a locked data device and a tattoo of a black lotus. Putting together the pieces, she must hunt down the people responsible for her brutal and bloody past to find the truth of her lost identity.” So yeah you could watch Blade Runner’s classic robotic-Pinocchio existential crisis or…chop it up with the freshly released on Friday Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. Who was already animated in comic books and is now a real life MCU movie just added to Disney+. The Choice Is Yours. (Please Note for Canadians we have the same Adult Swim so same date and same time. No Canadian delay on this nerd-show!)
Sunday, November 14
Adele: One Night Only (8:30 p.m. / CBS)
A primetime special with extraordinary performances from the superstar including Adele’s first new material in six years plus her chart-topping hits. The special will also feature an exclusive interview with Adele by Oprah Winfrey from her rose garden, in Adele’s first televised wide-ranging conversation about her new album, the stories behind the songs, life after divorce, weight loss and raising her son.
Sammy Suggestion: Mayor of Kingstown: Season 1 (Anytime / Paramount+)
Mayor of Kingstown follows the McLusky family – power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.
In Mayor of Kingstown Jeremy Renner is Mike McLusky, a power broker in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of incarceration is a thriving industry. So yeah you could watch Jeremy Renner tonight working the system loaded with criminals who are not straight shooters or…you check out Friday’s Disney+ Day special “celebrating the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+ with an exciting look towards the future.” A future that includes Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton in Hawkeye which’ll later on this month. The Choice Is Yours.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.