There are some impressive finds off the beaten path of network prime-time TV. If you can't give up House or Dancing with the Stars, consider the DVR.
MY FATHER, THE PHYSICIST: Nova, the splendid PBS series that makes science fascinating and accessible, has one of its season's best tonight with "Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives." It features the journey by Mark Oliver Everett, singer and guitarist for the rock band the Eels, to understand his father, Hugh Everett III, a famed physicist, who died of a heart attack when Mark was 19 years old. The documentary is complicated, touching and illuminating. (8 p.m., MPT,
Channels 22 and 67) *** 1/2
HOLLYWOOD GANGSTERS: Besides becoming a seemingly endless loop of fabulous films, cable channel TCM has been offering some very nice little Hollywood documentaries lately. Tonight's offering looks at Warner Bros. studio and the great gangster films of the 1930s and '40s. Public Enemies: The Golden Age of Gangster Films, narrated by Alec Baldwin, explores the work of such performers as Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. (8 p.m., TCM) ** 1/2
LATE-NIGHT GUESTS: Former President Bill Clinton visits the Late Show with David Letterman (11:35 p.m., CBS). Actor Dana Carvey appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35 p.m. NBC).