Tuning in: On TV this week

Tuesday Feb. 3

Nova: Dogs and More Dogs (PBS, check local listings): Did prehistoric humans choose dogs to become their "best friends," domesticating wild wolf pups and then selectively breeding them for various desirable traits? Or did the wild wolves of yesteryear choose human beings as food providers? This Nova looks at why there are so many breeds and what the latest scientific thinking is, questioning the whole notion of pure-bred practices. There is some emphasis on the genetic disorders thought to be caused by overbreeding.

Wednesday Feb. 4

Oliver Beene (Fox, 9:30-10 p.m.): When Fox offered up a tiresome sitcom last season of the same name, it bombed. But all dressed up with a new premise and much better writing, the goofy family comedy is fresher, funnier, and weirder than its predecessor. Tonight's show is a sneak preview. Oliver falls madly for the older teenage girl down the hall, but his big brother claims "dibs" on her. All those little rules of childhood come flooding back, and that's where the fun lies.

In Search of Shakespeare (PBS, Sundays through Feb. 25, check local listings): There has always been a shroud of mystery surrounding the greatest playwright of the English language. This amazing team of filmmakers and scholars makes a historical whodunit out of Shakespeare's life by drawing threads of history from surprising sources. We see the Bard in the context of his early country upbringing and his later London glory, and his sorrows and joys are set within the context of the Elizabethan era. Lines from his plays make new sense, and we find that more is really known about him than most of us have believed possible.

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