The war heats up as “Parade’s End” (8 p.m., HBO, part five of five) concludes. This extraordinary hour features harrowing trench battle scenes and depictions of the bravery, confusion and fear of men mired in mud and subject to unceasing bombardment. It’s quite remarkable.
The drama’s powerful anti-war message centers on the action far from battle, condemning the vanities and delusions of a high command far more interested in appearances, professional advancement and social connections than the lives of millions of men squandered in the trenches.
Viewers hoping “Parade’s End” would provide a “Downton Abbey” substitute will have to focus on the wardrobes and interior decoration. That happier series used World War I as a melodramatic plot device. “Parade’s End” concludes with the war obliterating almost everything that matters.
• Hank comes closer to locating his wife on “Zero Hour” (7 p.m., ABC). He’d better hurry up, because the audience for this show is harder to find than the answers to a hundred-year-old Rosicrucian mystery. The ratings for the debut of “Zero” set a new low for scripted series on ABC. That sad number shrank by more than 20 percent for the second episode.
• The terminally deadpan series “Nathan for You” (9:30 p.m., Comedy Central) consists of mock videos of a young business school graduate pitching ideas to boost sales for small businesses. Low-key laughs give way to crude scatological jokes when he advises a strip mall yogurt shop to develop a flavor similar to manure. Help yourself.
Tonight’s other highlights
• The gang takes a course with professor Cornwallis (Malcolm McDowell) on “Community” (7 p.m., NBC).
• The top 40 semifinalists emerge on “American Idol” (8 p.m., Fox).
• The contestants compete with designs aimed at senior citizens on “Project Runway” (8 p.m., Lifetime).
• Erica and Tina may be ending more than their tour on the season finale of “Mary Mary” (8 p.m., WE).
• Charlie gets a celebrity patient (Cee Lo Green) on “Anger Management” (8:30 p.m., FX).
• “American Greed” (9 p.m., CNBC) profiles the fraudulent claims of a wealth-building club.
• Anderson Cooper hosts “The Bully Effect” (9 p.m., CNN).
— Copyright 2013 United Feature Syndicate, distributed by Universal Uclick.