On TV this week: Tuning in
Doctor Zhivago (PBS, check local listings. Continued on Nov. 9): This is a good-looking take on Boris Pasternak's novel, set during the Russian Revolution. Hans Matheson stars as a poet and doctor torn between his wife and his mistress and muse, Lara (Keira Knightley is as tangled in mannerisms as she is in her long hair). Meanwhile Lara's first seducer, Komarovsky (Sam Neill), pursues her even as the doctor is kidnapped by civil-war soldiers. The story's point is that in the midst of horror love asserts itself, and even creativity cannot be suppressed. This film, more than David Lean's exquisite movie version, illumines these realities.
Arrested Development (Fox, 9:30-10 p.m.): After nine TV series, Jason Bateman finally has a keeper. This acerbic, sharply written satire was named the best new comedy by more than a dozen newspapers, including this one. Bateman stars as Michael Bluth, a put-upon widower who has to prop up his family after his father (Jeffrey Tambor) is sent to prison for Enron-like accounting practices. Very funny stuff, but here's hoping that a running gag involving a crush between cousins disappears soon.
A Wedding in Ramallah (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings): When a Palestinian-American telephone repairman discovers that his wife wants to leave him, he tries marriage the old-fashioned way - he weds a girl he doesn't know back in his homeland and brings her to America. This documentary examines the new bride's culture shock. She can't speak English, doesn't leave the house, and is very lonely. But she also wants a happy marriage, so she does what she can to get her husband's attention.