Hey not sure what to watch this week on the small screen? No worries #SetTheVCR is here to help you make some of those decisions easier. Each week Sammy Younan and I will give you our picks for each day of the coming week. Please note – All times are Eastern Standard Time so please adjust for your time zone.

Still no real start to the TV season as the fall lineup is a bust because of the pandemic. However, we are getting treated to some interesting offerings in the mean time that many of us wouldn’t usually have the time for. Let’s enjoy this while it lasts and hopefully it will make consider other options even after the big network shows return.

Lots of documentaries this week proving yet again for all the CGI and the bright spectrum of talented actors at our disposal: Life is stranger than fiction.

Sammy Younan

Monday, September 14

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes (9pm / Crave) – The 2018 documentary debuts on Crave just in time for the upcoming American election which is less than 7 weeks away. Considering his legion of sins and faults Fox was clearly better under Roger Ailes; in his death, it has floundered and become visionless. This is a documentary about the media and the creation of Fox News. It is how we got here because way before Trump Americans elected actor Ronald Reagan. It’s fascinating to see the image construction because actual politics which is the passing of sensible bills and sound laws does not make for compelling TV. So what does make for Must-See TV? Apparently Roger Ailes knew. (Sammy)

The Third Day (3am / HBO Max)SERIES PREMIERE! A new limited series that appears to be giving us engaging and horrific storytelling. It does feel a little like The Wickerman but hopefully, that is more the classic Sutherland version and not the insane Cage remake. The show has an amazing cast showing up and giving us something that could be truly horrific. I’m looking forward to catching this mystery before the island traps me. (Mr. Green)

Tuesday, September 15

Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice (3am / Netflix) – Well, this is an unsettling Netflix documentary. A Thai scientist and his family decide to cryogenically freeze their dying toddler: the child has brain cancer so they give her the Walt Disney treatment. Making her the youngest person in the world to undergo cryo-preservation. The hope is that she can be “injected” into a regenerated body. I’m uncomfortable with all this; a dying child; freezing the kid, she’s two-years-old like her brain is still developing. She barely knows her family. I’m going to watch this but I’m deeply troubled. (Sammy)

Harlan County, USA (9:15pm / TCM) – This is a documentary that I have been wanting to catch for years. It documents the 1973 Kentucky coal miners strike and the brutal opposition they faced. This is the type of doc that will remind you that as far as we’ve collectively come we are still only a couple of steps ahead of where we were just 4 decades ago. (Mr. Green)

Wednesday, September 16

The Devil All The Time (3am / Netflix) – In 1976 Marvel and DC published Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. Today in 2020 Netflix is giving us Spider-Man vs. Batman? Tom Holland tries to protect a small Ohio town from evil forces that include an unholy preacher (Robert Pattinson) and a crooked sheriff (Sebastian Stan with both his human arms). It’s Sinners and Saints seeking “Deliverance” in Knockemstiff, Ohio. (Sammy)

Challenger: The Final Flight (3am / Netflix) – Like many my age I remember this happening and thinking this would be the worst tragedy of my life. My Kennedy assassination moment. Thirty-four years later I’m still amazed how naive I was. Especially, after the recent anniversary of 9/11. Still, at the time this was as big as it got for me. I had really hoped that we would have been lucky enough to watch the launch like so many other schools were doing, but now I’m glad we didn’t. This documentary is going to be a bittersweet watch for me. (Mr. Green)

Thursday, September 17

Sammy’s Pick of the Week

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show (Anytime / Peacock) – This is fascinating. Peacock is mining its rich offerings for documentary status. Their first offering is Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show. Which is one of those strange things we don’t properly do anymore: The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson had guest hosts for entire weeks during Carson’s vacations. (Jimmy Kimmel recently employed guest hosts. Yet for the most part, you get the TV host you expect or you get a rerun.) Carson’s guest hosts included Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Joan Rivers, David Letterman, and Don Rickles among so many other luminaries. The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show captures Belafonte’s week as a guest host in February 1968. The intelligent activist went all-in on black culture; guests included Aretha Franklin, Sidney Poitier, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. against a backdrop of a Wonder Years country struggling with riots and the Vietnam War. Right? Fascinating. Belafonte appears in the film, along with Questlove and a few others as they look back on the impact of this one week in a prominent talk show that clearly generated, you know: talk. (Sammy)

Dragon’s Dogma (3am / Netflix) – I never played the game this is based on but damn if that trailer doesn’t get me excited to watch this. There is obviously some high fantasy elements shown that will look familiar to fans of Tolkien for example but with some of the crazy over the top epic action that anime is known for. The other thought I’m left with is that I could totally see this as a live-action film but knowing Hollywood it would star Nic Cage or Sean Connery or some other notorious actor know for taking pay cheques over quality scripts. Which is why I’m glad this is an anime instead. Some things are better suited in animation. (Mr. Green)

Friday, September 18

All In: The Fight for Democracy (3am / Amazon Prime) – Americans are addicted to “vote!!” as an effective solution but voting has no value if the candidates are lousy. When the system offers Trump or Hillary it’s clearly not good. So I was surprised that the recent boycott by NBA players resulted in a push for voting. While not the most elegant solution it was the easiest change they could promote. The problem is the system is unfair because that’s how it was designed. This Amazon Prime documentary follows former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams and other activists battling against efforts to suppress voter participation in elections. Before the system can be corrected it must first be understood. (Sammy)

Mr. Green’s Pick of the Week

The Long Way Up (3am / Apple TV+)SERIES PREMIERE! As a fan of Ewan McGregor’s, I have been fascinated by his Long Way series of adventures with his best friend Charlie Boorman. These trips end up being part travelogue and part exploration of their friendship and their lives at the time of the trip. If you have never seen any of the previous series I highly recommend checking them out or if you prefer to read the books are available as well. (Mr. Green)

Saturday, September 19

The Invisible Man (8pm / HBO) – Have you seen The Invisible Man? I’m sure you saw that coming a mile away but I couldn’t resist. I have lived a good life with no regrets. (Sammy)

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous (Anytime / Netflix) – This pick is solely for the kids. While I like dinosaurs as most people do, this show looks to skew a little younger than what I would want to watch. Still, for the kids that are big fans of the series of films here is a great add-on for them to help hold them over until the next Jurassic World film is released. (Mr. Green)

Sunday, September 20

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Anytime / Crave) – The boring description reads: “Charlie, a 15-year-old introvert, enters high school and is nervous about his new life. When he befriends his seniors, he learns to cope with his friend’s suicide and his tumultuous past.” Yeah whatever: this movie will fill the John Hughes hole in your heart. Some excellent teen angst. Everybody in this movie is broken. (Sammy)

Lovecraft Country (9pm / HBO) – This show is soooo good. Why do you need me to recommend it to you?! Just do yourself a favour and watch it each week. We need to have more quality shows like this on TV. I’m tired of much of what we get from Hollywood and like to see some new creative voices getting a shot to shine. (Mr. Green)

Well, there you go plenty of options for the week ahead. Enjoy yourself and watch responsibly.

If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!