"The Great Escapes of World War II" / 5 and 9 p.m. A&E
Talk about your great getaways. The first part of this two-hour documentary recounts a real-life run for freedom among 600 prisoners who forged false papers, manufactured bogus uniforms and simultaneously dug three long tunnels named Tom, Dick and Harry in 1944. Six survivors discuss their experiences during the program, which also recalls clandestine Resistance missions carried out in occupied Europe solely by the light of the moon.
"Sideshow" / 6 and 9 p.m. TLC
One of the freakish individuals interviewed in this look at carnival sideshows is Jeanie the Half Woman, who talks about life on the road during the 1930s with her late husband, a giant whose height was an astounding 8-feet-4. Appropriately, they were billed as the World's Strangest Married Couple. Narrated by "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander, the two-hour program offers archival footage and visits to shows still in existence.
"End of Summer" / 8 p.m. Showtime
Saucy yet shallow, this turn-of-the-century soap opera pairs Jacqueline Bisset and Peter Weller as a prim spinster and her lost love. An attempt to rekindle old flames in idyllic Saratoga Springs, N.Y., burns out when Weller becomes smitten with an improper young beauty (Amy Locane), who in turn is drawn to an ambitious minister (Julian Sands) with a wandering eye.
"Masterpiece Theatre" / 9 p.m. KCET
Derek Jacobi, brilliant in "I, Claudius," takes on another complex role for PBS. "Breaking the Code" breaks down the life of Alan Turing, the mathematician who cracked the German "Enigma" code of World War II. An equally pivotal aspect of the 90-minute drama is Turing's homosexuality, which led to a tragic end. Jacobi, who played the stage role in New York and London, is joined by Prunella Scales, as his doting mother, and Harold Pinter, as an agent from the Ministry of Security.
"Melrose Place" / 8 p.m. Fox
Reacting to criticism heaped on them last year, the producers have made amends this season by picking up the pace and focusing on relationships. In a two-hour episode bringing the overall total to 150, the women of "Melrose" have their say. A pregnant Alison, for example, leaves Jake at the altar, while Amanda turns the tables on D&D honcho Craig. Meanwhile, Peter winds up in the arms of Taylor, his deceased wife's sister. Listen, we never said they were \o7 believable \f7 relationships.
"Into the Arms of Danger" / 9 p.m. NBC
Television's top-rated network is nothing if not consistent. On many a Monday, one can count on NBC to carry a TV movie in which women are raped ("She Cried No"), molested ("Stand Against Fear") or pursued by a psychotic male ("Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?"). The latest potboiler gives us Morgan Fairchild as a mother whose 17-year-old daughter (Chandra West) leaves home, only to meet a sleazeball (Ricky Paull Goldin) who makes her work in a strip club. Need we say more?
"The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" / 11:35 p.m. NBC
Leno knows a good thing when he sees it. And what he has seen in the past are enviable ratings when his show hit the road for Chicago, Phoenix and New York. Music director Kevin Eubanks and announcer Edd Hall join their jocular boss as the late-night crew heads to Las Vegas for its third weeklong stay.
"The Chris Rock Show" / 12:30 a.m. HBO
The mercurial comic brings his quick wit to a new late-night talk show. Produced in New York, the five-week series opens with guests Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Robert Morton, who departed "Late Night With David Letterman" last year, is a consulting producer. Rock on, Chris!