The National Geographic Channel reminds viewers of its core mission with the special "National Geographic Photographers: The Best Job in the World" (8 p.m., National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild, TV-PG).
The documentary commemorates the National Geographic Society's magazine on its 125th birthday by showcasing the men and women who have spanned the globe, ascended mountains and plunged to the bottom of oceans to capture and bring home unforgettable images.
The magazine's editor, Chris Johns, catalogs the dangers his people have faced at the hands of angry mobs, vengeful dictators, wild animals, and plane and helicopter crashes.
"Job" introduces viewers to the artists behind photos like the fearful "Afghan Girl," taken by Steve McCurry. Steve Winter relates how he took a shot of a rare one-horned rhino just as the tank-like creature was attacking him and the elephant he was riding. Emory Kristof shows us the cameras he specially devised to scour the Atlantic floor and discover the Titanic's gravesite. Other photographers take us face-to-face with King Tut's cadaver, a human trafficker and the faces of poverty in a Peruvian village.
These mini-profiles are sprinkled lightly on the hour's main story, which follows an expedition to the top of one of Antarctica's unexplored mountains. And here the rather depressing conventions of cable television take over. While the still photographers and their works are treated with reverence, the mountain climbing team is championed as a band of adrenalized dudes.
Although some subscribers allow issues of the magazine to accumulate into giant yellow piles on their shelves or basement floors, National Geographic has always been a special publication. It wasn't only a monthly, but an invitation to became a member of the National Geographic Society, an organization dedicated to exploration, science and discovery.
That's what makes the National Geographic Channel's broadcast of shows like "Doomsday Preppers" all the more disappointing -- and toxic to the National Geographic Society itself.
So-called "preppers" don't believe in any society at all. They're driven not by curiosity, knowledge and science, but superstition, junk science, fringe politics, selfishness and fear. Surely someone at the National Geographic Society must realize that hyping paranoia is not in its mission statement. You can't promote wisdom with your right hand and champion ignorance with your left.
---Whipped cream and other
delights on "MasterChef" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
---A trip to Bali on "America's Next Top Model" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Game one of the National League Championship Series (8 p.m., TBS).
---"Charlie Rose: The Week" (8:30 p.m., PBS) glances back at the past seven days.
---"The Hollow Crown" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-14) concludes with Shakespeare's "Henry V" and Henry's famous "band of brothers" speech at Agincourt.
---Director Ron Howard documents a 2013 music festival featuring Jay Z in "Made in America" (9 p.m., Showtime).
---A conspiracy theory may help explain everything on "Hawaii Five-0" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---The sitcom "Love That Girl" (9:30 p.m., TV One) returns for a second season.
---All in the family, all of the time on "Blue Bloods" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---"20/20" (10 p.m., ABC) profiles Pakistani teen and education activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban militants.
---A new affliction changes
people's minds on "Haven" (10 p.m., Syfy, TV-14).
A campus rebellion puts a professor (Anthony Quinn) in charge in the 1970 drama "R.P.M." (6:15 p.m., TCM). Ann-Margret co-stars.
---Pizza delivery on "Under- cover Boss" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---A new anchor woman on "The Michael J. Fox Show" (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-PG).
---Comparison shopping on "Last Man Standing" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Intimate apparel on "Sean Saves the World" (8:30 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
---Out-of-this-world makeovers on "The Neighbors" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Abbie's sister escapes on "Sleepy Hollow" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
---Love song dedications on "Shark Tank" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Nacho Figueras, Chris Fran-
jola, Cameron Esposito and Gary
Valentine appear on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!, r).
---Cedric the Entertainer, Nikki Glaser, Sara Schaefer and Steve Earle and the Dukes are booked on "The Arsenio Hall Show" (WPMT, WPHL).
---Michael Strahan and Cage the Elephant appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Rosie Perez and Tenacious D on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Will Arnett, Clark Gregg and Bonnie Raitt visit "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC, r).
---Keanu Reeves, Benedict Cumberbatch and My Morning Jacket appear on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Rashida Jones and Brian McKim on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at email@example.com.