Scott D. Pierce: What to watch on Thanksgiving — including The Beatles

Food, family, football, and the Fab Four? You bet!

(Apple Corps. Ltd.) Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison perform their final concert together.

Thanksgiving means food, family, football, parade floats … and The Beatles?

This year, that’s the case. Disney+ will start streaming Peter Jackson’s three-part documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” on Thanksgiving Day.

Jackson, a three-time Oscar winner for “The Lord of the Rings,” originally intended “Get Back” to be a theatrical film. But there was just so much material it expanded to six hours — and that’s about a tenth of what he had to work with.

Jackson and his team spent more than three years restoring and editing almost 60 hours of film shot back in 1969 — when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were both recording 14 songs and working toward a breakup.

A small portion of the footage, shot by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, ended up in the 1970 film “Let It Be.” The 14 songs ended up in the Beatles’ final two albums, “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be.”

And “Get Back” rewrites history for the better. For half a century, it’s been widely believed that The Beatles broke up amid anger and acrimony — this footage shows that John, Paul, George and Ringo were less angry and more businesslike.

Jackson tells that story without shunting the music aside. “Get Back” also includes The Beatles’ final concert, performed on a London rooftop, for the first time in its entirety.

It’s not exactly a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but Beatles fans will be hungry for more after Part 1 streams on Thursday. Part 2 debuts Friday; Part 3 debuts Saturday.

The Macy’s parade

After a much downsized, made-for-TV event a year ago, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns this year with performers, marching bands, giant balloons and Santa Claus. You can watch it live from 7-10 a.m. on NBC/Ch. 5 — or watch NBC’s rebroadcast from noon-3 p.m.

And if you don’t care for NBC’s coverage, you can switch over to CBS (7-10 a.m., Ch. 2).

National Dog Show

I know, I know. It’s a little weird. But if you love dogs — and who doesn’t? — and you start to watch, you’ll find yourself caught up in this two-hour show (10 a.m., NBC/Ch. 5). You’ll see dog breeds you’ve never even heard of.

Choices in the NFL

There are a couple of interesting games and one that’s not — Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (10:30 a.m., Fox/Ch. 13). Yes, I know that they’re longtime rivals who’ve played each other since 1930, but the Bears are bad and the Lions are terrible. Only fans of those teams will care. And maybe not even them.

The better games are Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (2:30 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) and the Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints (5:20 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5). At least they all still have a chance to make the playoffs.

College football

Mississippi at Mississippi State (5:30 p.m., ESPN) might be fun. And there’s some local interest, because Ole Miss is jockeying for position in the CFP poll with BYU. As for the other game — Fresno State at San Jose State (1:30 p.m., FS1) … well … as of this writing, there’s still a chance that Fresno could win its division and meet Utah State in the Mountain West Conference title game. If the Aggies get there.

“Miracle on 34th Street”

This 1943 classic is one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time — and one of the greatest Thanksgiving movies. Remember — it begins at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You can stream it on HBO Max and Hulu, and you can rent it from Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. But make sure you get the right one — the 1947 original. The 1994 remake is not worth watching, and none of the TV movie versions (1955, 1959 and 1973) are up to the quality of the original.


“Friends” is one of the best sitcoms of all time, and its nine Thanksgiving shows are among its best episodes. You can stream them on HBO Max or watch them on TV — 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on TBS and 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. on Nickelodeon.

And, by the way, I stand by my ranking of the “Friendsgiving” episodes: 1. “The One With All the Thanksgivings” (Season 5); 2. “The One Where Underdog Got Away” (Season 1); 3. “The One Where Ross Gets High” (Season 6); 4. “The One With Chandler in a Box” (Season 4); 5. “The One With the Rumor” (Season 8); 6. “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” (Season 7); 7. “The One With the Late Thanksgiving” (Season 10); 8. “The One With the Football” (Season 3); 9. “The One With Rachel’s Other Sister” (Season 9).

Other marathons worth watching

“Harry Potter” saga (7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., USA) • Beginning with the first prequel (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), this marathon includes the first three “Harry Potter” movies.

“All Creatures Great and Small on Masterpiece” (8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7) • All seven Season 1 episodes of the 2020 reboot.

“Roseanne” (10 a.m.-2 p.m., CMT) • Includes six Thanksgiving episodes.

“Yellowstone” (10 a.m.-8 p.m., Paramount Network) • All 10 hours of the series’ first season. (Back when it was produced primarily in Utah.)

“The Civil War” (10:25 a.m.-6 p.m., CSPAN2) • All nine episodes of Ken Burns’ 1990 documentary series.

“The Hunger Games” quadrilogy (11:40 a.m.-9 p.m. and 9 p.m.-6:40 a.m., EPIX) • All four movies — twice.

“Back to the Future” trilogy (1-8:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.-4 a.m., Syfy) • All three movies — twice.

“Pride & Prejudice” (12:30-6 p.m., BYUtv) • The BBC’s 1995 six-part adaptation.

“The Canterville Ghost” (6-10 p.m, BYUtv) • Four-part BBC/BYUtv co-production.

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