Around the remote: Television picks for the week of Jan. 7-13


“China from the Inside” – China is rapidly becoming a formidable world power, but it remains largely shrouded in mystery. This ambitious documentary series attempts to shed some light on the country and its people by introducing viewers to government leaders, modern urban workers and inhabitants of traditional rural communities. Along the way, it examines the many contradictions of China, with scenes from breathtakingly beautiful locales, as well as some of the world’s most polluted sites. This week’s first two hours of the series look at how the Communist Party exerts control over 1.3 billion citizens and how many long-oppressed Chinese women are beginning to fight for their rights and their future. It’s a timely and vital journey that never ceases to fascinate. 9 p.m. Wednesday, PBS. Series concludes next week.

Other bets:

• Is “Grease” still the word? We’re about to find out. In “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” a group of Broadway hopefuls will compete to land the roles of Danny and Sandy in a new stage production of the iconic musical. Beauty school dropouts need not apply. 8 p.m., NBC.

• As the fourth season of “The L Word” begins, a hysterical Bette has fled with baby Angelica, prompting the women to stage an intervention in order to prevent Tina from having her former lover arrested. Cybill Shepherd is a new member of the cast, but doesn’t show up until next week. 10 p.m., Showtime.

• We wonder what Hunter S. Thompson would think of “I’m From Rolling Stone.” This new reality series follows six wide-eyed young journalists as they struggle to meet deadlines and file stories for the iconic publication. The best of the bunch will land a full-time position. 10 p.m., MTV.


• Is there another Eminem in our midst? “The (White) Rapper Show” is a reality series that puts 10 pale-faced contestants through challenges that will test their musical cred, knowledge of hip-hop culture and their ideas about race. Along the way, hip-hop pioneers such as Grandmaster Flash and Fat Joe will school the wannabes. 10:30 p.m., VH1.

• “Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence” is a disturbing new hour-long documentary that explores hateful behavior against Jews and how it continues to flourish today – more than 60 years after the Holocaust. Journalist Judy Woodruff narrates and hosts. 11 p.m., PBS.


Queen Latifah is your host for the most populist of awards shows – the 33rd annual People’s Choice Awards. This is the one where folks like you and me determine our favorites in television, music and the movies. Latifah is also a nominee for “favorite funny female star.” 9 p.m., CBS.


• Have we told you lately that “Friday Night Lights” is our favorite new series of the season? Tonight, the primo drama offers another fresh episode that has the Street family pursuing legal action against coach Taylor. Sounds like unsportsmanlike conduct to us. 8 p.m., NBC.

• Was Barry Williams really high during a 1973 episode of “The Brady Bunch”? Is it true that “Gong Show” host Chuck Barris was a trained CIA assassin? A new series called “TV Land Myths and Legends” looks to get to the bottom of these and other dark mysteries. Maybe they’ll tell us why “Everwood” was canceled. 10 p.m., TV Land.


• On a new episode of “Ugly Betty,” it seems that Wilhelmina is suddenly displaying a kinder, gentler side around the office. Naturally, this plunges “Mode” staffers into a state of utter shock. 8 p.m., ABC.


• Young fans of “That’s So Raven” will want to check out “Cory in the House.” It’s a new spin-off series that has Cory Baxter (Kyle Massey) moving to Washington, DC, where his father has been named chef to the president. Shortly after arriving in the Beltway, Cory becomes smitten with the daughter of an ambassador. 9:30 p.m., Disney Channel.