Weekend programming offers profiles of creative pioneers

Posted 11/10/17

By Kevin McDonough

On Saturday, Hulu begins streaming the documentary "Obey Giant," a profile of street artist Shepard Fairey.

Best known for his creation of the "Hope" poster associated with Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, "Obey" …

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Weekend programming offers profiles of creative pioneers


By Kevin McDonough

On Saturday, Hulu begins streaming the documentary "Obey Giant," a profile of street artist Shepard Fairey.

Best known for his creation of the "Hope" poster associated with Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, "Obey" explores Fairey's youth and his early works, including stickers proclaiming that "Andre the Giant Has a Posse," which became a viral urban art phenomenon in the pre-digital age.

While many associate street art with the graffiti scene and downtown grit, Fairey hails from South Carolina, where he attended prep school and had parents who recognized his talents from an early age, encouraging his art.

"Giant" also wrestles with the questions of legality and artistic merit that have followed Fairey and his use of appropriated imagery.

• Syfy embarks on a "Futurama" (6 a.m. Saturday) marathon, airing episodes of the Matt Groening cartoon until 4 a.m. early Tuesday morning. "Futurama" takes over the Syfy schedule from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

• TCM observes Veterans Day with a daylong schedule of war movies and service comedies, most notably "The Best Years of Our Lives" (5 p.m. Saturday), a 1946 drama that received seven Oscars, including Best Picture, for its depiction of returning servicemen and their families.

• AMC launches the six-episode survey "Robert Kirkman's Secret History of Comics" (11 p.m. Sunday) with a special weekend preview before entering its regular time on Mondays at 10 p.m.

"History of Comics" kicks off with "The Mighty Misfits Who Made Marvel," an account of the friendship, collaboration and estrangement of writer/editor Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Their falling-out had much to do with the perception that Lee had eclipsed his artists to become the face of Marvel.

In addition to interviews with Lee other comic artists and live action stars of Marvel-themed movies, much of the first episode is told in animated comic panels. In both style and substance, it resembles the documentary "Batman and Bill," which streamed on Hulu earlier this year.

• Comic books and haute cuisine may be light-years apart, but the documentary "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent" (9 p.m. Sunday, CNN) profiles a man who, like Jack Kirby, was overshadowed by a famous partner and robbed, some say, of credit for revolutionary contributions to his field.

A hero to a generation of chefs, Tower was unknown to me when I screened this film. More than a biography or another "foodie" profile, "Magnificent" treats Tower's early life as a novelist might. We're shown cinematic re-creations of his emotionally starved childhood spent with a distant father and an alcoholic mother in four-star hotels, luxury liners and exotic locales in the 1950s and early 1960s, when people still dressed up for air travel.

Left to his own devices, much like a boy version of "Eloise at the Plaza," Tower haunted hotel kitchens and memorized menus, turning himself into a precocious culinary savant.

As an adult, he would try to bring back the grandeur and glamour of his youthful sanctuaries, becoming the head chef at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse in California in the 1970s. He upgraded that seminal venture from its hippie origins to become a spot rivaling the best restaurants in New York or Europe.

Tower fell out with Waters when she wrote a book that minimized his contributions to her ground-breaking restaurant and its celebration of local sourcing and farm-to-table menus, which many contend were Tower's essential ideas.

After that, Tower established Stars in San Francisco in the 1980s, one of the first restaurants to feature the chef as a celebrity and the kitchen as a kind of theater.

While many great artists don't get to enjoy a second act, Tower had a third. "Magnificent" concludes with his efforts to revive New York's Tavern on the Green restaurant from a reputation for mediocrity after years of bad reviews.

Even if you don't follow food trends, "Magnificent" offers a fascinating character study of a singular man, driven and damaged at the same time.


• Abby treats the gang to a ride in a hot air balloon in "The Magical Wand Chase: A Sesame Street Special" (7 p.m., HBO, TV-Y).

• Andreas Damm and Toni Garrn star in the ripped-from-the-headlines 2017 shocker "Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer" (8 p.m., Lifetime).

"Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks" (7 p.m., Oxygen) presents interviews with the serial killer.

"Cat vs. Dog" (10 p.m., Animal Planet) visits homes where an ancient rivalry continues.

• Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad and St. Vincent appear on "The Graham Norton Show" (10 p.m., BBC America, TV-14).

"Copycat Killers" (10 p.m., Reelz, TV-14) profiles a homicidal teen who embraced Satanism in the hopes that he might follow in the (cloven) footsteps of Damien from "The Omen" movies.


• Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7 p.m., CBS): a deadly "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan; new allegations roil the U.S. Gymnastics team.

• The West Indies beckon on "Outlander" (8 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).

• The Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots in "Sunday Night Football" (8:20 p.m., NBC).

• Morwenna gives birth on "Poldark" on "Masterpiece" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings).

• The Saviors have a secret weapon on "The Walking Dead" (9 p.m., AMC, TV-MA).

• Henry clashes with the president on "Madam Secretary" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).


Pat Boone stars as a singing teen in the 1957 musical comedy "Bernardine" (10 p.m. Sunday, TCM), a fairly chaste imitation of the Elvis movies of the period.


Notes from an old case ring familiar on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) * Jack feels old on "Will & Grace" (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14) * Security concerns on "Superstore" (8:30 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14) * Shemar Moore stars in the pilot episode of "S.W.A.T" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).


Footage captures a long-missing terror suspect on "Wisdom of the Crowd" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * Marge runs for mayor on "The Simpsons" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) * Magic tricks on "America's Funniest Home Videos" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * AI turns evil on "Ghosted" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) * Nukes go missing on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * Brian is evicted on "Family Guy" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Two episodes of "Shark Tank" (9 p.m. and 10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Carol's delicate condition on "The Last Man on Earth" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

© 2017, United Feature Syndicate