New Shows Coming to PBS Beginning This Fall
by David Thiel
In May, public broadcasters gathered in Miami Beach for the PBS Annual Meeting, a four-day work conference and preview of the new programs we’ll see on WILL-TV in fall 2013 and beyond. Highlights included a new drama, Last Tango in Halifax, premiering this September. Read on for more about what's coming to PBS in the months ahead!
The BAFTA award winner for best drama series, Last Tango in Halifax stars Derek Jacobi (I Claudius, The King’s Speech) and Anne Reid (the Upstairs Downstairs remake) as reunited childhood sweethearts.* The six-part first season begins September 8 at 7:00 pm CT, as part of PBS’ reinvigorated Sunday drama nights.
Besides the return of Downton Abbey on January 5, there will be a third season of Call the Midwife in 2014. Also mentioned was the possibility of a return appearance of mystery solvers The Bletchley Circle, though that has not yet been officially confirmed.
It’s not all drama; our popular “smartest night of television” on Wednesdays continues with new episodes of Nature and Nova. The latter will take us to The Edge of Space, and use modern forensics to reexamine the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Cold Case JFK. Nature will bring us stories of an orphaned sea otter and a blind snow monkey. The human star of My Life as a Turkey will return with a herd of mule deer in Touching the Wild.
In October, Frontline and ESPN will team up to tackle the controversy over concussion-related health problems facing professional football players. Frontline will also look at immigration, superbugs, and Mexican drug cartels.
Histories include the latest in American Experience’s presidential series, this time on JFK. In time for the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ infamous radio broadcast will be a look back at War of the Worlds. Meanwhile, American Masters will profile Billie Jean King, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Marvin Hamlisch, and—for their 200th episode—J.D. Salinger.
Great Performances will celebrate its 40th year with a star-studded special, and a presentation of The Hollow Crown, a four-part miniseries that weaves Shakespeare’s royal plays into a single narrative. They’ll also bring us the San Francisco Opera’s production of Moby-Dick, Christopher Plummer as John Barrymore, a new Barbra Streisand concert, and a performance of Stephen Sondeim's Company with Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Colbert.
The next season of Antiques Roadshow will offer more new episodes than ever before, with visits to eight cities (up from six) and compilations of highlights from the past 16 years of collectibles.
New miniseries include Genealogy Roadshow, Superheroes, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Latino Americans, Story of the Jews, Super Skyscrapers, Big Ideas with Steven Johnson, How Sherlock Changed the World, and the intriguingly-titled Your Inner Fish.
That's only a taste of what you'll find on WILL-TV this fall and in 2014!
*The Doctor Who fan in me has to point out that both actors played villains in the third season of the modern series. Anne Reid was a bloodsucking Plasmavore, and Derek Jacobi was the ruthless Time Lord known as the Master. Presumably they’ll be much less evil in Halifax.