By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
"Nova: Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance," 8 p.m., PBS. Here is a great, sweeping adventure that happens to be nonfiction. The story of Ernest Shackleton has already been an IMAX movie (produced by "Nova") and will soon be an A&E miniseries (starring Kenneth Branagh). A natural leader, Shackleton attracted 5,000 applicants in 1914 for an effort promising only long hours, low pay and the strong possibility of death. He wanted to be the first to reach Antarctica by boat and then cross it on foot.
Disasters followed when their wooden ship became trapped in ice for 10 months before finally breaking up and sinking. The 21-month ordeal tested the limits of navigation, carpentry, ingenuity and human interplay. Think of it as life's greatest "Survivor" episode. And much of it was recorded by the crew's resident photographer, David Hurley. "Nova" tells that story with Hurley's primitive movies and his stunning photos. It also uses fresh scenery, plus diaries from the crew and reflections from descendants. The result is stunning.
"Frasier," 7 and 8 p.m., NBC. Here are reruns of a terrific two-parter involving a visit from Daphne's mom and brother. They are wonderfully played by Millicent Martin and Anthony LaPaglia.
"Watching Ellie," 7:30 p.m., NBC. Ellie's boyfriend has assured her that he's no longer interested in his wife. Now she sees the married duo looking cozy.
"The Court" premiere, 9 p.m., ABC. Oscar-winner Sally Field stars as a governor who has just been appointed to the Supreme Court. Her new colleagues include veteran actors Pat Hingle, Diahann Carroll, Miguel Sandoval and Chris Sarandon. Meanwhile, a TV reporter (Craig Bierko) and his assistant (Christina Hendricks) probe her past. This has the vibrant look and feel that we expect from "ER" producer John Wells.