Othello (January 28; 9 to 11 p.m.; Channel 13), with Andrew Davies (House of Cards, etc.) rewriting William Shakespeare (Hamlet, etc.), stars Eamonn Walker as New Scotland Yard’s first black police commissioner, Keeley Hawes as his well-born squeeze, and Christopher Eccleston as the lieutenant who resents Othello’s promotion and seems, as well, to harbor homoerotic longings. If they’re going to get rid of all that iambic pentameter, why not change the depressing ending too?
Nicholas Nickleby (January 29 and 30, 8 to 10 p.m., Bravo), Dickens’s third novel, still makes for bravura storytelling despite the squalor porn of Dotheboys Hall and the absence of Roger Rees and his RSC cronies, who in 1981 brought Chicago-born Story Theater to Broadway and public television as only the British could.
How’s Your News? (January 29; 7 to 8:30 p.m.; Cinemax) follows six adults variously coping with Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and blindness on a three-week cross-country caravan as they videotape interviews with postal workers, war veterans, country-and-western singers, chorus girls, Native Americans, and Hollywood actors. A magical mystery tour.
Brother’s Keeper (January 29; 9 to 11 p.m.; USA), in which a police detective must track down her serial-killing brother after she’s stopped drinking beer for breakfast and started remembering their abusive alcoholic father, is more interesting than it ought to be because the always wonderful Jeanne Tripplehorn is directed by the always fidgety John Badham.
West Point (January 30; 9 to 11 p.m.; Channel 13) celebrates the 200th birthday of the military academy with fascinating images (Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, and, all of a sudden, female cadets) and a mixed bag of interviews (H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Gore Vidal).
Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television (February 1, 15, and 22; 9 to 10 p.m.; TV Land) looks back at variety shows (from Nat King Cole’s to Keenen Ivory Wayans’s), drama (Cicely Tyson to Blair Underwood), and comedy (Bill Cosby to D. L. Hughley). James Earl Jones, Robert Guillaume, Maya Angelou, Ossie Davis, and Ruby Dee, etc., are interviewed, as are Aaron Spelling and Norman Lear, etc.