Monitor picks

Fun facts about food

Before pizza arrived on our doorsteps in under 30 minutes, it was an edible plate, a meal for poor immigrants, and a queen's secret treat. American Eats (The History Channel, Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT) tracks the story of our favorite foods – such as where the hot dog got its bun and how a chef's hurt feelings led to the potato chip. Yummy.

Masked no more

Step aside, Nacho. Lucha Libre: Life Behind the Mask is the true story of three generations of Mexican wrestlers in Los Angeles. The wife of "Dinamic," a barber by day, thinks it's time he retires his mask. "Kayam," a schoolteacher, comes from a family of luchadores. And 14-year-old Albert aspires to one day grapple like his grandfather. A captivating documentary.

Man vs. the sea part I

In late December 1951, a raging Force 12 storm claimed dozens of vessels and lives in the Atlantic. It also spawned a 60-foot-high rogue wave that KO'd "The Flying Enterprise," a 396-foot-long cargo ship. Frank Delaney's Simple Courage recounts how Capt. Kurt Carlsen evacuated his ship and then stayed aboard, determined to steer her to port – even though she was listing at 60 degrees. The page turner makes "The Perfect Storm" of 1991 seem like a ripple in a duck pond.

Summer concerts – in your living room

Live music on TV is a rarity – Saturday Night Live's performers hardly count – so we're grateful for PBS's Soundstage. Robert Plant inaugurates the show's fourth season which was filmed in high definition and boasts coming performances by Bill Laswell, Garbage, Fountains of Wayne, and KT Tunstall. (Check pbs.org/wttw/soundstage for local listings.)

Man vs. the sea part II

The Discovery Channel lures fans of high-seas drama with Lobstermen: Jeopardy at Sea (replaying Saturday at noon and 1 p.m. EDT). In the spirit of the gripping "Deadliest Catch" – in which strong-armed Bering Sea crabbers defined "tough day at the office" – this two-parter pits old-pro crews vs. a brash newcomer captain clawing for "big numbahs" of crustaceans on Georges Bank.

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