What’s cuter than a puppy? Four puppies! Cesar Millan, “The Dog Whisperer” (8 p.m., National Geographic) makes a change of pace and does a little book promotion with “How to Raise the Perfect Dog,” a special with its own companion book (Harmony 2009).
As followers of this series know, Millan likes to say that he “rehabilitates dogs and trains people.” In this episode, Millan takes the human training out of the picture and shows how, with proper puppy training, you can avoid many of the mistakes that can become serious pathologies in older dogs.
This is well worth watching if you’re planning on becoming a dog owner for the first or 20th time. You can learn all the things you did wrong with your last puppy.
• Proof that not every critter has been properly puppy trained can be found on “I’m Alive” (8 p.m., Animal Planet), a weekly series dedicated to stories of folks who survived deadly animal attacks. Many surmounted horrific pain and moments of fear by focusing their thoughts on family and loved ones. A rattlesnake-bite victim tells himself he has a daughter to raise. Similar determination helped the survivor of an alligator attack swim to safety using his one remaining arm.
• “Sanctuary” (9 p.m., Syfy), starring Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne, returns for a second season of special effects. This fantasy series is shot almost entirely in front of a “green screen,” allowing for plenty of fantastic creatures — and explaining some of the less-than-natural performances by some of the humans involved.
“Sanctuary” airs right after “Stargate Universe” (8 p.m., Syfy), the newest incarnation of the long-running franchise. It’s interesting to note that last Friday, the premiere of “Universe” on a cable network drew slightly more viewers than “Dollhouse” (8 p.m.) on Fox, a broadcast network.
That’s bad news for “Dollhouse,” and Fox’s whole Friday-night lineup, which has been losing viewers for a while. But it may have meaning for the future of science fiction and other forms of genre dramas on network.
For the record, “Medium” (8 p.m., CBS) was the most watched network show last Friday, a night of not particularly large audiences. You may recall, “Medium” was given the heave-ho by NBC. As a 9 p.m. drama on that network, it was seen as expendable after the decision to go with the Jay Leno experiment. CBS has a good track record of taking NBC castoffs and spinning them into gold. NBC dumped “JAG,” and CBS aired it for years before its creative team begat “NCIS,” which has in turn spun off “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
• Note: The “Ugly Betty” season premiere, originally scheduled for tonight, will air next Friday.
• TCM spends the night with thrillers emphasizing political paranoia, including “The Manchurian Candidate” (7 p.m.), “The Parallax View” (9 p.m.) and “The Boys from Brazil” (11 p.m.).
Tonight’s other highlights
• Eli’s parents have some catching up to do on “Ghost Whisperer” (7 p.m., CBS).
• Mike hires a lawyer (Snoop Dogg) with a dubious reputation on “Brothers” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Group therapy can be murder on “Monk” (8 p.m., USA).
• A gambling operation remains mysterious on “Numb3rs” (9 p.m., CBS).