What's on TV


Sunday 5/11

White Teeth (PBS, 9-11 p.m., parts three and four follow May 18): Based on Zadie Smith's comic novel about multiculturalism in contemporary London, this latest Masterpiece Theatre offering is so richly devised, it will keep viewers on the edge of their seat. Englishman Archie Jones is rescued from a suicide attempt only to fall in love with a beautiful Jamaican woman who thinks the end of the world is at hand. Meanwhile, Archie's old Bengali army buddy asks him to be best man at his wedding - one arranged before his fiancée's birth. All their children grow up together, suffering the usual wounds of dysfunctional family life and local prejudice. TV-MA

Monday 5/12

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (ABC, 9-11 p.m.): For those with a taste for the thriller, this melancholy little picture serves as a prequel to Stephen King's "Rose Red." This is the story of the tragic life of a woman whose wicked husband murdered women under her very roof - and whose very roof (well, the whole house, really) then murdered other women who posed a threat to Ellen. Lisa Brenner stars. TV-14

Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company' (NBC, 9-11 p.m.): Don't bother knocking on their door. This movie is so caught up with the fallout from Suzanne Somers' mismanaged career that it spends almost no time re-creating the 1970s-'80s sitcom. Joyce DeWitt, who played Janet in the original series, executive produced this special, which may explain why her character is the only one who looks even remotely like the real thing. TV-PG

Wednesday 5/14

Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites (PBS, Parts 3 and 4 continue May 21, check local listings): This four-part series is alive with fine performances by actors like Derek Jacobi and Jeremy Irons reading the beautifully written narrative that reconstructs the history of the people who produced the first monotheistic religion. With all the irresponsible revisionist assertions out there, the latest thrilling Empire Special sets the record straight. With Jewish monotheism came the rejection of human sacrifice and the fair treatment of other human beings. Well-made and utterly absorbing, this is a must-see for those who care about ancient history.

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