Is tonight’s “celebrity” edition of “Locked Up Abroad” (9 p.m., National Geographic) a cautionary tale? Or a comedy? It’s hard to turn a series all but based on “Midnight Express” into a sitcom. But it’s not impossible.
Tonight’s tale is narrated and re-enacted by its subject, actor Erik Aude, best known for his supporting role in “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
This “Locked Up” arrives at a grim Pakistani prison, where Aude is beaten and brutalized. His path to prison is like something out of a stoner comedy called “Dude, Where’s My Common Sense?”
According to Aude, he was on the brink of post-“Dude” stardom when an acquaintance asked him to fly to Pakistan on his behalf and bring back some “leather goods.” Sure, dude, why not? What could go wrong?
Aude’s gullibility would be off the charts at any given time, but his friend asked him to fly to Pakistan in the teeth of post-9/11 tensions. American forces had just invaded Afghanistan, and extremists had recently executed journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. Any “tourist” with half a brain would avoid the region. But Aude didn’t seem to have that problem.
Armed with a blind ignorance and gung-ho spirit befitting a slapstick comedy fall guy, Aude also goes jogging in the heart of a Pakistani city teeming with anti-American hatred. And then he proceeds to hit on veiled women, because, he explains, he could still see their eyes. And they were hot!
• Jaleel White (“Family Matters,” ‘‘Dancing With the Stars”) hosts “Total Blackout” (9 p.m., Syfy), a scary new variation on the game show.
• “Great Planes” (9 p.m., Military) enters a third season with a profile of the B-29 Superfortress, the four-engine bomber best known for its role in incinerating Japanese cities in conventional air raids and dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Actors await a big break at a rundown motel on the repeat pilot episode of “The L.A. Complex” (7 p.m., CW).
• Phil’s new partner (Greg Kinnear) comes on a little strong on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).
• “NOVA” (8 p.m., PBS) explores the secrets of our sun.