Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Will Ferrell: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize
The comedy star is honored in an event taped recently in Washington, D.C. Among the friends and colleagues who celebrated his career were fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Maya Rudolph and Molly Shannon, as well as Jack Black, Conan O’Brien, John C. Reilly, and the rock band Green Day. Monday, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos
Space is far from empty, the first episode of this engaging four-week NOVA series reveals: It seethes with mysterious energy whose secrets scientists are striving to uncover. With imaginative use of graphics and lucid metaphors, physicist Brian Greene makes such arcane subjects as quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the nature of time compelling and even fun. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Marathon Boy
Born in an Indian slum and sold at age 3, Budhia Singh was rescued from a life of destitution by a judo coach who discovered that the boy had an extraordinary gift for distance running. By age 4, he had run 48 marathons and become a national celebrity—but his fame attracted the disapproval of government officials, leading to a startling turn of events. Filmed over five years, this fascinating documentary chronicles the boy’s tumultuous saga. Thursday, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m., HBO

Independent Lens: Deaf Jam
This vibrant documentary follows a deaf teen as she gains mastery in using American Sign Language to create a poetry in which rhymes are resemblances between hand gestures and meter is measured in movement. Cameras follow her as she performs with spoken-word poets in New York City poetry slams, eventually establishing a fruitful and unlikely collaboration with a hearing poet. Thursday, Nov. 3, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Hell on Wheels
This new series is a revisionist Western with echoes of Deadwood and the films of Sergio Leone. Anson Mount portrays a former Confederate soldier whose participation on a railroad-building crew masks his true purpose: vengeance for the death of his wife. The show is as intelligently written as it is handsomely produced, touching on such issues as government corruption and the exploitation of marginal populations. Sunday, Nov. 6, at 10 p.m., AMC

Other highlights

Vanguard
The documentary series returns with a report on how American guns are fueling drug cartel wars in Mexico. Monday, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m., Current TV

Rock Center With Brian Williams
The NBC Nightly News anchor will host the network’s first new prime-time news program in nearly 20 years. Correspondents will include former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel. Monday, Oct. 31, at 10 p.m., NBC

The Good Wife
Alicia is forced by the Treasury Department to report on her own client. Julianna Margulies stars in this outstanding legal drama. Sunday, Nov. 6, at 9 p.m., CBS

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