• 1
    Frontline

    Frontline

    Follow
    PBS
    Since it began in 1983, ‘Frontline' has been airing public-affairs documentaries that explore a wide scope of the complex human experience. Frontline's goal is to extend the impact of the documentary beyond its initial broadcast by serving as a catalyst for change.moreless
  • 2
    Nature

    Nature

    Follow
    PBS
    Nature is a wildlife documentary program that has been airing on PBS since 1982. Its longevity is explained partly by its quality; Nature has won numerous Emmy awards. Documentaries have explored a multitude of different animals, plants, and other aspects of the natural world. Subjects vary from "Africa" to "Yellowstone Otters." Some documentaries have featured celebrities, such as "Wild Horses of Mongolia with Julia Roberts" and "John Denver: Let This Be a Voice." While the documentaries vary in creator, style and narrator, they are all educational and suitable for the entire family.moreless
  • 3
    NOVA

    NOVA

    Follow
    PBS
    Seen in more than 100 countries, NOVA is the most watched science television series in the world and the most watched documentary series on PBS. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Each week NOVA takes an in depth look at a particular topic or individual in the science field. NOVA's topics cover all branches of science and engineering. NOVA's unique way of presenting each topic can be interesting to both those with no prior knowledge or those whose life's work is being covered.moreless
  • 4
    Cosmos

    Cosmos

    Follow
    PBS (ended 2005)
    Carl Sagan brings us the Cosmos, everything that ever was and ever will be, in an approach that is easily accessible even for those of us that are not science wizards. This 13 part series covers everything from the history of astronomy, the challenges it faced at its creation, how the universe was created and how it all might end, to the evolution of life on Earth, and the nature of the human brain. First aired in 1980 by the Public Broadcasting Service, Cosmos has seen multiple versions over the years. When the series was released on home video in the late 1980s, a 14th episode was included, which consisted of an interview between Dr. Sagan and Ted Turner. Dr. Sagan taped new epilogues for the 10th anniversary version in 1990, in which he addressed new discoveries and alternate viewpoints. The Science Channel rebroadcast the series on its 25th anniversary in 2005 with enhanced computer graphics. The series was awarded an Emmy and a Peabody Award. It has been broadcast in 60 countries and has been seen by an estimated 500 million to 1 billion viewers worldwide.moreless
  • 5
    The Joy of Painting

    The Joy of Painting

    Follow
    PBS (ended 1994)
    The Joy of Painting was a television show dedicated to the art of the late Bob Ross, during this half an hour television show, Bob would do his best to teach everyone, from the most talented painter, to casual art type, his special techniques. Bob was famous for his landscapes and "Happy little trees" that would be our little secret.moreless
  • 6
    Austin City Limits

    Austin City Limits

    Follow
    PBS
    Austin City Limits has established a reputation for showcasing great live musical performances. The show's studio allows for intimate and engaging performances by independent, mainstream, critically acclaimed, and popular artists. The show was originally created to display the emerging talents of the alternative country music scene in Austin, TX in the 1970s. Soon, however, the show branched out to include all types of music: alt country, pop rock, bluegrass and zydeco are just a few. Many television historians attribute MTV, CMT and VH1'a success to the contributions of this groundbreaking musical series. On Wednesday, November 12th, 2003; President Bush presented ACL with the National Medal of the Arts. ACL was the first television show (ever) to win the award.moreless
  • 7
    American Experience

    American Experience

    Follow
    PBS
    Since 1988, PBS has broadcast a series that focuses on the history of the United States and what has made it unique. Called American Experience (originally titled The American Experience), the program examines the people, events, technology, and natural resources that have shaped the country. Hosted by David McCullough until 2002 and narrated by a number of well-known personalities - American Experience uses historians and authors, period images and film, music, dramatic re-enactments, and contemporary context to set the stage for its topics.

    The series continues to this day with a variable number of installments produced each year. Episodes are generally 60 minutes in length, but some longer episodes and multi-part series have also been produced. The show airs at different days and times on local PBS stations.

    Though American Experience has used many films from independent film makers and has been assisted by various PBS stations throughout the country, it has always been spearheaded by WGBH in Boston.moreless
  • 8
    Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth

    Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth

    Follow
    PBS (ended 1988)
    Bill Moyers interviews legendary scholar and teacher Joseph Campbell about the origins and meanings of mythology. Using history, art, Jungian psychology, and even modern cinema, Campbell demonstrates the origins of mythic images in the deepest parts of our psyche and the power of myth in our daily lives. Most of these conversations were filmed at George Lucas' 'Skywalker Ranch.' Lucas volunteered the use of the buildings to thank Professor Campbell for the role his work played in shaping Lucas' Star Wars films.moreless
  • 9
    Timeline

    Timeline

    Follow
    PBS (ended 1989)
    One of the forgotten gems of the eighties, Timeline was an educational series with the brilliant premise of having a TV news team report straightfacedly from some of the Middle Ages' greatest turning points. Rarely has this startling mix of hard mediaeval history and the inexplicably fantastic intrusion of TV news ever been attempted. The best comparison is Walter Cronkite's You Are There, but Timeline wins over with its modern wit amidst a feudal backdrop. Curtis Olmstead has noted that Timeline series creator Gary Witt may have drawn inspiration from the 1969 proto-Python series The Complete and Utter History of Britain, though to be fair, Peter Watkins' Culloden pioneered the format as serious documentary on the BBC in 1964. And as Witt and series producer Leo Eaton have kindly pointed out, the original incarnation of Timeline on PBS was as a series of shorts called Newscast From the Past. Timeline had a long list of international producers, location shoots in Turkey, Spain and England, and a price tag of over $2 million. But PBS virtually killed the series by mismanaging its broadcast schedule (this your editor can attest to, from memory, and see dates below). Its current distributor has 5-minute RealVideo samples of each episode online; see link at left. The production companies included Maryland Public Broadcasting System, KRLU-Austin and The Newscast Company of Texas, Turkish Radio and Television, Television Española, and Holmes Associates and Molinare/Visions of Great Britain.moreless
  • 10
    Visions

    Visions

    Follow
    PBS (ended 1980)
    VISIONS was an hour-long anthology series aired back in 1976 on the Public Broadcasting Service. It was a series of original plays written expressly for TV. 4 seasons aired during 4 years. The show won an Emmy in 1977, and received 2 more Emmy nominations.moreless
  • 11
    Ken Burns: America

    Ken Burns: America

    Follow
    PBS
    Ken Burns: America is a historical documentary TV series developed by PBS that follows the award winning and acclaimed historical documentaries of Ken Burns, an American director known for his intimate and no-hold approach in his films. In the America series, Burns has spent the past twenty years telling the stories of topics deeply ingrained in the history and culture of what makes America what it is today. From the deeply American classic of baseball with its die hard fans and memories and myths that cross all generations (Baseball) to the bloody war between brothers in the civil war (The Civil War) to the development and dominance of America’s first form of mass medium in the form of the radio (Empire of the Air), Ken Burns holds nothing back in sharing, enlightening, and expanding upon the knowledge of who, what, when, where, why, and how these pieces of the United States became the defining factors of the American people and, in some ways, the world. Baseball, the Civil War, radio, inventor Frank Lloyd Wright, the infamous development of Jazz, the unparalleled achievement of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the Women’s Movement with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony are all just some of what Ken Burns considers American Stories.moreless
  • 12
    Planet Earth (1986 Miniseries)

    Planet Earth (1986 Miniseries)

    Follow
    PBS
    Planet Earth (1986 Miniseries) is a seven-part nature documentary series from PBS and narrated by Richard Kiley that takes viewers on an exploration of our home planet, examining the history of the world and determining the many factors that have shaped the land and seas over time. This series seeks to provide a comprehensive portrait of Earth's past and present, and uses scientific data to project the Earth's most likely future. Over the years the planet has slowly been shaped to look the way it does today. This series ventures beneath the Earth's crust and into the ocean's depths to look at the geological forces at work beneath our feet, as well as turning an eye to the sky and examining the solar system's role in Earth's development. Planet Earth is an illuminating and entertaining nature program that offers a glimpse of the events that have led to the modern world.moreless
  • 13
    P.O.V.

    P.O.V.

    Follow
    PBS
    Since 1988, P.O.V. has been showcasing "documentaries with a point of view." P.O.V. is the longest-running series on television featuring documentary films. Many of the films deal with social issues around the world, taking an intimate and unrelenting look at people and places that aren't always covered by mainstream media. The series has developed a highly distinguished reputation, and many P.O.V. programs have gone on to win various awards including three Oscars, nineteen Emmys, thirty-six CINE Golden Eagles, and twelve Peabody Awards. Dozens of high-profile and well respected directors have had films premiere on P.O.V., including Michael Moore, Jonathan Demme, Terry Zwigoff, Errol Morris, Albert and David Maysles, Michael Apted, Frederick Wiseman, MArlon Riggs, and Ross McElwee. The 2010 season kicked off with Robert Kenner's Oscar nominated Food, Inc., an examination of corporate farming in the United States. P.O.V. airs on PBS and is a production of American Documentary, Inc.moreless