Animal Planet waits for the end of the election season to get political. Fans of the odd Wes Anderson project "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" should not miss the new reality series "Whale Wars" (8 p.m., Animal Planet).
"Wars" marks a programming shift for both a network and a documentary-adventure genre that have strenuously avoided controversy. It follows a boatload of antiwhaling activists under the leadership of Paul Watson, a man considered too radical for Greenpeace. He and his group, Sea Shepherd, rename their ship the Steve Irwin and travel to frozen waters at the ends of the Earth to frustrate Japanese whaling fleets. The seven-episode series will follow the Irwin and its eclectic and eccentric crew of activists and adventure seekers whose egos range from fragile to off the charts.
¢ Opposites attract and harmonize on the latest installment of "Crossroads" (8 p.m., CMT) when country star Taylor Swift and rockers Def Leppard share a stage and cover each other's songs and lyrics.
¢ The movie talk series "Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence" (7 p.m., TCM) enters a second season with a conversation between the movie critic and actor Edward Norton.
At a half-hour, these conversations are short and pithy and always leave audiences wanting more. Norton discusses directors he has worked with and learned from, including Milos Forman and Spike Lee, and how they and Woody Allen inspired Norton to appreciate directors who use editing to create finished film that deviates greatly from the original script and even from the director's original vision.
Both men discuss their appreciation for "Annie Hall" (7:30 p.m., TCM), a 1977 comedy that, on the surface, appears to be loose, personal and improvisational and yet was changed utterly in post-production, with whole sections of the film left on the cutting-room floor.
¢ The nonfiction series "Shadow Force" (9 p.m., History) follows a private paramilitary squad that straddles the line between police activity and government intervention. Composed of privately paid soldiers from Britain, the United States and South Africa, the squad intervenes against pirates in Liberia and poachers in the Congo.
Tonight's other highlights
Note: Listings may vary due to local sports coverage.
¢ A young girl's spectral visitor disrupts a wedding on "Ghost Whisperer" (7 p.m., CBS).
¢ Robin Givens guest stars as Doc's bossy girlfriend on "Everybody Hates Chris" (7 p.m., CW).
¢ Crusoe and Friday salvage a ship from the treetops on "Crusoe" (8 p.m., NBC).
¢ "Survivorman" (8 p.m., Discovery) returns for a third season. Tonight: The Sierra Nevada mountains.
¢ A magician's vanishing act proves too realistic on "Numb3rs" (9 p.m., CBS).
¢ Rosanna Arquette guest stars on "Lipstick Jungle" (9 p.m., NBC).
¢ Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): A father is charged with the brutal murder of his 3-year-old daughter.
¢ Molly fights for her film project on "Starter Wife" (9 p.m., USA).
¢ "Henry Rollins: Uncut" (9:30 p.m., IFC) looks at trouble spots around the globe. Tonight: New Orleans.
A 1980s band said to have heavily influenced Nirvana and other "grunge" artists reunites for a 2004 tour in the documentary "Loudquietloud: A Film about the Pixies" (9 p.m., Sundance).