Honorable Mention (not currently streaming on the aforementioned services, but may be found elsewhere): Call the Midwife, House of Cards (1990), Wives and Daughters, Jeeves and Wooster, Birdsong, Created by: Simon Nye Stars: Keeley Hawes, Milo Parker, Josh O’Connor, Daisy Waterstone, Callum Woodhouse, Alexis Georgoulis, Yorgos Karamihos, Watch on Amazon Prime What more could you want? Route 2) If all of that sounds too pricey or complicated, you can instead download the PBS Passport app. In this totally unique, slow burner mystery, DCI Stuart and DI Khan investigate core suspects whose lives have—until now—moved on from the sins of the past.Investigators: Detective duo DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunil “Sunny” Khan are determined and, for the most part, demon-free. In later seasons, particularly after an increase in funding for WGBH and Masterpiece, the scheduling became more random. That said, Foy’s performance as the petty, spoiled Lady Persie is wildly entertaining and worth watching for The Crown fans who want to see Queen Elizabeth break bad. In early 2008, Masterpiece Theatre and its affiliated program Mystery! Though it could have used more time in which to spin its intriguing tale, the uniqueness of the setting and storyline, especially given its elements of gothic drama and unexpected humor (not to mention the immensity of Taylor-Joy’s talent), make it both a surprising and worthy watch. Taking place in 17th-century Amsterdam (which is painted in muted, Vermeer-esque tones), we follow the plight of young Nella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy) who is more or less sold to a charming, wealthy, and roguish man who doesn’t seem to have much interest in her. Maigret is a British adaptation of the books by Georges Simenon. The series is loosely based on the real story of the Durrells in a trilogy written by Louisa’s youngest son Gerry (portrayed in the series by Milo Parker). Of note: Many of these series also hop around Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming sites—so keep your eyes peeled! Though uneven at the best of times, Indian Summers makes a case for itself thanks to excellent performances from Nikesh Patel, Jemima West, Aysha Kala, and Alyy Khan in particular. The three-part miniseries is is a fitting tribute to the novel’s central themes: love, kinship, and the bravery of women, and is as bright, clever, and emotional and any excellent adaptation should be (it’s also one of the only adaptations that makes Amy less hateful and where Jo rejecting Laurie makes real emotional sense). It can be very quiet, but once it has its hooks in you, you won’t be able to stop bingeing each of its three, six-episode seasons (with another on the way). It is a soothing, deeply engaging alternative to the sound of fury of so many current dramas. His Poirot is a comprehensive character study, and a terrifically fun one at that. Watch on PBS Passport, The lush, swirling period piece Downton Abbey is never short on drama or general strife. One of TV’s brightest gems has one of the strangest names, which means that the series may have passed you by. In the summer of 1995, Mobil announced that it would stop funding Mystery! The beauty of turning Les Misérables into a (non-musical) miniseries is that we get a long view of the characters, finding new sides to well-known figures—Lily Collins’ Fantine, Dominic West’s Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo’s Javert—and finding depth in those, like Olivia Colman’s Madame Thénardier, who often come across as one-note. Available now on PBS Masterpiece. The 11-hour series earned an Emmy for the late Laurence Olivier and catapulted Jeremy Irons into a successful, Oscar-winning career. The acting prods the lines around it with sly good cheer. Chronicling the lives of three generations of a wealthy family from the late 1800s through early 1900s, The Forsyte Saga is based on the John Galsworthy trilogy of the same name. The 2002 version is fantastically dramatic and heartbreaking, full of schemers and dreamers and a grandly charming cast as it spins its dizzying tale of romance and woe. With Vincent Price, Alan Cumming, Gene Shalit, Diana Rigg. Get the superfan scoop on the series with our exclusive email newsletter, and learn about other MASTERPIECE shows. —Keri Lumm, Look, if Lucy Worsley wants to tell you something about history, probably focused around the Tudor, Regency, or Victorian eras, you listen ok? Route 1) If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, there are a lot of great series already included in your Prime Membership (detailed more below). Wallander is a study in visual contrasts: saturated color schemes, dramatic plays of shadows and light, extreme changes in focus. —Allison Keene, Created by: Sally Head Stars:Helen Mirren, Tom Bell, Karen Tomlin, Peter Capaldi, Watch on Amazon via Bribox It’s also a story where Dickens’ naming conventions are perhaps at an all-time high—Lady Dedlock, Mr. Jarndyce, Miss Flight, Snagsby, William Guppy, Krook, etc—and the adaptation leans into its strangeness. Watch on Amazon Prime Murder conviction? Jack Frost is the curmudgenly detective, played by beloved British actor David Jason. —Keri Lumm, Created by: Andrew Davies Stars: Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Lily Collins, Adeel Akhtar, Johnny Flynn, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Written by Victor Hugo and published in 1862, Les Misérables is known as one of the great novels of the 19th century. For most of its history, the program aired on Thursday nights. Series. Fortunately for us, this is an ace adaptation, helmed by David Suchet’s masterful performance. Below are 30 of our favorite PBS Masterpiece selections, in no particular order, grouped by where you can stream them. A well-costumed soap opera, Mr. Selfridge is on the saucier side of Masterpiece’s offerings, and also makes a good companion watch with the similarly-themed (and earlier-set) Paradise. Though this round at 165 Eaton Place is positively bursting with soapy drama—scandals, intra-family affairs, and even a Nazi spy in the household—most of the characters are fairly unsympathetic and difficult to like. Both feature young women being pushed very suddenly into a royal role they had not been expecting, facing difficulties living under constant public scrutiny, and fighting to command respect from men who do no think them up to the task. Like any grand Dickensian tale, Little Dorrit is a deeply emotional story full of labyrinthine twists. This 2018 retelling of the novel—which many people familiar with the story through the stage musical and its screen adaptations may not have actually read—is brought to you by Masterpiece, and it lives up to the name. —Amanda Schurr, Created by: Andrew Davies Stars: Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen, Ton Courtenay, Andy Serkis, Eddie Marsan, Arthur Darvill, Most people discovered the exceptional talent of Claire Foy while watching The Crown, but those who watched the 2008 miniseries Little Dorrit (part of the BBC’s well-received run of adapting some lesser-known Dickens works by Andrew Davies) had an early heads-up. As they decipher the clues and patterns, the ladies must juggle their sleuthing efforts with their newly civilian lives—to avoid suspicion, de facto leader Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin) and co. tell their husbands they’re in a book club. To put it another way: In Prime Suspect, Mirren delivers one of the most brilliant, influential performances in the history of the medium. The 30 Best PBS Masterpiece Shows (and Where to Stream Them) Group 1: Available on Amazon Prime. Though their lives have seemingly moved on from these past crimes (and current partners or children may have no idea about it), scratch the surface and you’ll find the pain and angst over these tragedies still simmering underneath. This British-Austrian pairing of struggling police detective Oskar Rheinhardt (Jürgen … And this version, written by Andrew Davies, is an absolute banger. Weaving in a host of Indian characters’ stories with English socialites and politicians, Indian Summers actually has something interesting to say—even if it too often gets caught up in melodrama to say it as effectively as it should. I could go on and on. No matter what route you choose, you can rest assured that everything featured on PBS Masterpiece is good. —Allison Keene, Created by: Simon Langton Stars: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Susannah Harker,Julia Sawalha, Horse riders make their way through a 16mm-colored countryside, Colin Firth makes his way into a lake, and Austen makes her way onto TV in what remains the definitive adaptation of Austen’s work for the screen (the breathtaking opening three minutes of Joe Wright’s 2005 film adaptation aside). —Allison Keene, Created by: Andrew Davies Stars: Denis Lawson, Anna Maxwell Martin, Patrick Kennedy, Carey Mulligan, Gillian Anderson, Charles Dance, Alun Armstrong, Timothy West, Burn Gorman, In the mid-aughts, the BBC decided to adapt (once again) a host of lesser-known works by Charles Dickens, starting with Bleak House. (Check out the 2013 documentary Being Poirot for more about the actor’s career-defining role.) And if you are just now considering catching up, you are in for a treat. And you will be the one urging people to get past the strange names of the title (which will no longer be strange to you) and give this wonderful show a chance. Maybe that’s why Rachael New’s PBS mystery series, “Miss Scarlet and the Duke” feels so charming, because Being Feminist (capitalization intended) isn’t what it sets its focus on. Suffice it to say that the family continue to have their adventures, but the feeling of things winding down is acute in these last episodes. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Around the same time the BBC started adapting lesser-known Dickens works into a miniseries format written by Andrew Davies, so too did it bring us some of the lesser-appreciated Jane Austen works (from Davies, naturally). A lovely, simmering humor is felt throughout, which helps soften some of its occasional sorrow. . PBS Masterpiece Mystery! It’s an artful complement to the detective’s largely internal struggle, which also includes issues with his adult daughter and Alzheimer’s-afflicted dad (David Warner, exceptional as ever). like Frontline, NOVA, Sesame Street, The Joy of Painting and Arthur, but it’s also full of great UK period pieces and crime series. —Allison Keene, Created by: Daisy Goodwin Stars: Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Nell Hudson, David Oakes, Rufus Sewell, Examining the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign, Victoria has never gotten the same attention as its splashy cousin, The Crown. Those have, over the years, mostly been part of Masterpiece Theater, Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery, and Masterpiece Contemporary. If series about the scandals and foibles of the uppercrust appeal to you, you cannot go wrong with Forsyte. —Lacy Baugher, Created by: Sandy Welch Stars: Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Louise Dylan, Rupert Evans, Tamsin Greig, The most important aspect of any Emma adaptation is the chemistry between Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightly. Yes, PBS has given us many treasures over the last 50 (yes, 50! —Amanda Schurr. But it’s never too late to catch up! A police officer on southern Sweden’s picturesque coast, Branagh’s Kurt Wallander must solve a run of freakish crimes. —Allison Keene, Created by: Heidi Thomas Stars: Emily Watson, Maya Hawke, Willa Fitzgerald, Katheryn Newton, Annes Elwy, Jonah Hauer-King, Angela Lansbury, Though it had the misfortune to air a little too close to Greta Gerwig’s adored film version to get noticed, don’t sleep on the BBC/PBS Little Women miniseries. PBS TV Schedule 2021: Premieres, Dates & Times | Tonights.TV ... PBS Ross Poldark, an officer in the British army, returns home to his family estates in Cornwall to discover that not only was he presumed dead, but his father has died, the woman he loves is marrying his cousin, and he has a mountain of debts and no obvious way to raise the funds. There have been many prior versions of the tale, and most of them condense it to two or three hours. But Sanditon, a book with no ending, was given life as a PBS miniseries. Grantchester is often thoughtful, sweetly compelling, and lightly thrilling—it also includes cozy period details and a dog name Dickens. The British mystery is my favorite genre – from cozies to traditional to police procedurals. Enjoy! It’s also a good mix of what you can find on Amazon/Britbox/Masterpiece services below (Passport links are found throughout this list), and includes Sherlock, which is not included with those other services. —Keri Lumm and Allison Keene, Created by: Kenneth Lonergan Stars: Hayley Atwell, Matthew Macfadyen, Philippa Coulthard, Alex Lawther, Tracey Ullman, Julia Ormond, The gorgeous four-part miniseries adaptation of E.M. Forester’s masterful Howards End stars Hayley Atwell as Margaret Schlegel, the older sister (and de facto matriarch) of a progressive and independent family living in early 20th century London. —Allison Keene, Created by: Andrew Davies Stars: Jeremy Piven, Frances O’Connor, Aisling Loftus, Ron Cook, Tom Goodman-Hill, Amanda Abbington, Amy Beth Hayes, Watch on Amazon via Masterpiece Piven is bombastic in the role, but his story is never as compelling as that of the store’s staff, and most especially their romances (of course). Taking place in the twilight of the British Raj circa 1932, Indian Summers is (thankfully) not sympathetic or nostalgic for this fraught time in history. If you can, give. —Allison Keene, Created by: Guy Burt Stars: Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Sophie Rundle, Julie Graham, Hattie Morahan, Murder mysteries and the BBC go together like tea and crumpets (see also: Ripper Street, George Gently, Hinterland, this list). Premiered: 2002 Shetland. The content here is free if you are a current PBS donor (at $60/year or $5/mo levels, typically, though levels vary by location). Together with his partner, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, they take on the elite criminal underworld of Oxford, England, relying on Lewis' instinct and Hathaway's intellect. Northanger Abbey, meant to be a spoof of sorts about gothic dramas and the girls who love them, is very fun and frothy. had been losing audiences for some time. Temporary paralysis? Watch on PBS Passport —Evan Fleischer, Created by: Richard Cottan, Peter Harness, Richard McBrien Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Smart, Tom Hiddlestone, Ricahrd McCabe, David Warner, Saskia Reeves, Watch on Amazon via Britbox The Durrells in Corfu. Life is (or was, at this time) cheap in Corfu, where the family takes up residence in a wonderfully ramshackle and remote house right on the water—which also lacks electricity or other modern conveniences. Like all good TV families, their interactions are full of love, bickering, and insults. Lushly produced, it should not be mistaken for high art so much as engrossing melodrama. Dabbling in psychoanalysis, toxicology, pre-feminism, and sleuthing, she gets the lowdown on the upper crust. This page uses the page-series.php template. Do not miss! Series such as Upstairs Downstairs, I Claudius and Poldark would go on to define the early years while, more recently, series the likes of Prime Suspect, Inspector Morse, Poirot, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Victoria, Endeavour and Grantchester would provide new audiences with an entry point to quality British drama. —Allison Keene, Created by: Sally Wainwright Stars: Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire, Nicola Walker, On the surface, Last Tango in Halifax looks like a sweet but slight story of two British widowers who knew each other in childhood and who find each other again to rekindle a lost love. The show stars Rowan Atkinson as the French Chief Inspector Jules Maigret. The story feels timely for a variety of reasons, although the genuine curiosity and politeness with which these issues are broached can seem lamentably foreign. Watch on Hulu, ITV’s long-running crime drama, which follows Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) as she pursues her quarries and confronts the Metropolitan Police Service’s rampant sexism, possesses the skeleton key to the antiheroes of TV’s most recent “Golden Age”: a slight, perceptive, ambitious, alcoholic British woman.

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