Tune in Tonight: D-Day recalled; Under nature’s rainbow

The History Channel observes the 80th anniversary of the Normandy invasion with the two-part documentary feature “D-Day: The Unheard Tapes” (8 p.m. and 10:05, TV-PG). This special combines cinematic reenactments, documentary footage and audiotaped interviews with soldiers who recall their experiences as Allied forces stormed the beaches and faced German machine-gunfire.

The taped observations take into account that the vast number of fighting men who survived that day have since died. Over the years, reflections on D-Day have been driven by this cruel actuarial clock. The 1962 all-star epic “The Longest Day” (11 p.m., TCM, TV-G) arrived only 18 years after the U.S. invasion of Europe, a time when most of the GI generation was still in its prime. By the time the 50th anniversary arrived in 1994, some of the coverage hinted that many veterans might not be around to celebrate the 60th. Four years later, Steven Spielberg’s 1998 war epic “Saving Private Ryan” (8 p.m., TCM, TV-MA) seemed inspired in part by that fact. It has gone on to inspire other efforts, including the 2001 miniseries “Band of Brothers,” streaming on Netflix and Max, aimed at the grandchildren of those who sacrificed.

— Peacock streams the 2024 documentary “Queer Planet,” exploring behavior in species from fungi to flamingos that challenges long-held notions about gender, attraction and the primacy of reproduction as the driver of sexual activity.

Narrated by actor Andrew Rannells (“Gutenberg! The Musical!”; “Girls5eva”) the film takes a playful approach to its interviews with authors and experts who have studied pansexual primates, sex-changing clownfish, multigendered mushrooms and everything in between.

The consensus that emerges here is that humans are unique in their cultural and emotional hangups about gender and sexuality. At the same time, in dismissing ancient and biblical notions about animal life and activity, hasn’t this film gone to the other extreme in arguing, even playfully, that creatures great and small conform to “the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ behaviors”?

Trying to shoehorn natural activity into any single understanding of the world, be it biblical or “Queer,” is always problematic. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin’s theories were used to justify theories of “social Darwinism,” a notion that the rich and powerful had been placed there by “natural selection,” and nothing could or should be done to help inferior “breeds.”

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Soviet Union under Stalin embraced a theory, developed by Soviet biologist Trofim Lysenko, which argued that genetics, evolution and agriculture conformed to Marxist-Leninist ideals. The resulting “science” sparked crop failures and other disasters.

If anything, the arguments in “Queer Planet” only confirm that applying human societal labels on the natural world or using discoveries about the natural world to explain human and even political behavior is rather absurd.

— Max streams the 2022 comedy-drama “Am I OK?,” starring Dakota Johnson as a 30-ish woman coming to grips with her feelings.

TONIGHT’S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

— An active shooter targets a hospital on “Law & Order” (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

— The Boston Celtics host the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals (8:30 p.m., ABC).

— Death crashes a wedding party on “Elsbeth” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

— A predator targets tourist hostels on “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

— A cookie-baking mom competes on “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).

— Bad news reaches Bode in prison on “Tracker” (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

— Bodies pile up at a posh beach resort on “Law & Order: Organized Crime” (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

CULT CHOICE

A scrum of brooding adults (Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell and Morgan Freeman) sorts out their feelings as a comet threatens life on Earth in the 1998 disaster movie “Deep Impact” (7:30 p.m., MTV2, TV-14). Not to be confused with “Armageddon,” released the same year.

SERIES NOTES

On two episodes of “Ghosts” (CBS, TV-PG): branching out (8 p.m.); wedding jitters (8:30 p.m.) … A winner emerges on “I Can See Your Voice” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) … “NBA Countdown” (8 p.m., ABC).

LATE NIGHT

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Hozier are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Ariana Grande, Ron Howard, Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) … Magic Johnson, Jo Koy, Doechii and JT appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (11:35 p.m., ABC).

David Ortiz and John Early visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC) … Taylor Tomlinson hosts Brian Simpson, Kelsey Cook and Blair Socci on “After Midnight” (12:35 a.m., CBS).