PATTON OSWALT: I LOVE EVERYTHING (2020) Stream on Netflix. Patton Oswalt has seen extreme highs and lows in the last few years. The actor and comedian’s first wife, the true-crime writer Michelle McNamara, died in 2016. After that, Oswalt told The New York Times, “I’ll never be at 100 percent again.” A year later, he remarried and delivered a profound stand-up special, “Annihilation.” In “I Love Everything,” Oswalt takes a lighter approach. He discusses finding love again and shares existential anecdotes about buying a house and entering his 50s. One of his discoveries about aging: Breakfast has become dull. He mourns the vibrant cereal boxes displaying animal mascots that he has had to replace with “hospital white” boxes and sad beige bowls.
ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (1974) Stream on Criterion; rent on Amazon or iTunes. Unconditional love takes center stage in this romantic drama by the German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Set in postwar Munich, the movie follows the complex and taboo-defying relationship between Emmi (Brigitte Mira), an older, widowed cleaning lady, and Ali (El Hedi ben Salem), a younger Moroccan immigrant and garage mechanic. Emmi’s friends and family cruelly reject her new partner, yet the couple decide to marry anyway. Over time, though, Emmi herself becomes racist toward Ali, seemingly as a way to fit in with those around her. In his review for The Times, Vincent Canby wrote that the careful detail with which Fassbinder “dramatizes the couple’s subsequent ostracism, and the rampant racial prejudice they face, is a deadpan cover for the film’s real concerns, which, as I read the film, are the many disguises of love.”
DC’S STARGIRL 8 p.m. on CW. The DC Universe’s television imprint continues to expand with this new drama series. A high school sophomore, Courtney (Brec Bassinger), is forced to adapt to a new life after moving from Los Angeles to Nebraska. One day, she discovers that her stepfather (Luke Wilson) was Starman’s sidekick, and that he still has the superhero’s signature weapon, the Cosmic Staff. When the staff comes alive in her arms, Courtney decides to carry on Starman’s legacy as Stargirl, leading a new generation of young superheroes.
THE STORY OF SOAPS 9 p.m. on ABC. Soap operas may have passed their heyday. But according to the experts and stars in this two-hour special, their legacy lives on. Presented by ABC and People magazine, the special features a long list of celebrities — among them Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Andy Cohen and Vivica A. Fox — who explore the genre’s gifts to television over the years, including serialized plots and the creation of strong roles for female creators and actresses. John Hamm, for one, argues that soap operas created “the original binge-watch.” Whether you voraciously followed “All My Children,” “Dallas” or “Desperate Housewives,” there’s something here for every soap fan.