Tuning in: What's on TV

Monday Jan. 17

The French Revolution (The History Channel, 9-11 p.m.): This excellent film lays out the reasons for the French Revolution - aristocratic arrogance, cruelty, and starvation of the poor - but this riveting tale also outlines the excesses of idealistic scoundrels who later came to power.

Wednesday Jan. 19

Point Pleasant (Fox, 9 p.m.; Part Two follows on Jan. 20, and then at its regular time, Thursdays, 9-10 p.m.): A beautiful teenager found floating just off the New Jersey coast inadvertently creates havoc in the pleasant seaside community that welcomes her. The show's supernatural bent allows its writers to investigate themes such as a mother's longing for a lost child, but this melodrama has yet to yield any real surprises.

Friday Jan. 21

American Dragon: Jake Long (Disney Channel, premières tonight at 8 p.m., regularly scheduled for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays at 5 p.m.): Set in Manhattan, this is the story of a Chinese-American teen able to morph into a dragon at will, thanks to a heritage that makes him a guardian of underground magic. Trained by his grandfather to battle evil, the boy still has time to fall in love with a gorgeous blond supervillain. Some mild scatological humor, but otherwise entertaining.

Numb3rs (CBS, 10-11 p.m.): An FBI agent recruits his mathematician brother to help him solve crimes. The relationship between the two and with their bemused dad gives the story warmth and a distinctive character. But it's the use of mathematics as a tool to predict human behavior that's really fascinating - especially since the show is inspired by actual cases. Grim subject matter, but engrossing storytelling.

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