What's on TV: shows worth noting for Dec. 29 - Jan. 4

The following are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times Eastern, check local listings.

Tantalus: Behind the Mask (PBS, check local listings): A fascinating documentary on the theater event of 2000 - the epic "Tantalus," produced at the Denver Center Theatre Company by Peter Hall of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes and reveals the difficulties of staging a 10-hour epic.

Monday 12/31

The Crucible of the Millennium (PBS, 9 p.m. to midnight, check local listings): Understanding the tensions between the Judeo-Christian and Muslim worlds requires us to look back at the 15th century. The documentary examines relationships among Europeans, Africans, Asians, and Middle Easterners and how those relationships have shaped history.

Tuesday 1/1

World Birthday (TLC, 9-11 p.m.): The joy of a baby's arrival is celebrated in this documentary that travels the world to interview 12 families as they prepare for a birth. Some intense details.

Wednesday 1/2

The Films of Ivan Reitman (Encore, 8-9 p.m.): The comedies of the director (like "Ghostbusters," "Twins," "Dave") are highlighted with fun and dash.

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