PBS WWII Series ‘World on Fire’ Begins Streaming on Masterpiece Prime Video Channel April 6

The PBS World War II series “World on Fire” will begin streaming on the Masterpiece Prime Video Channel beginning April 6.

A new episode will debut every Sunday following April 6 with the full series available May 17.

The subscription rate for PBS Masterpiece is $5.99 a month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Academy Award-winner Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets, “Mad About You”) and Sean Bean (“Lord of the Rings,” “Game of Thrones”) star in the series taking place during the first year of the war following the intertwining fates of ordinary people in four countries, Britain, Poland, France, and Germany, as they grapple with the effects the war has on their everyday lives.

Hunt stars as an American broadcaster reporting from Warsaw and then Berlin as fighting erupts. Bean plays a World War I veteran-turned-pacifist trying to cope with chronic shellshock while looking after his working-class family. And Academy Award-nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) stars as a British fascist sympathizer who finds herself sheltering a young refugee.

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In Manchester, England, Douglas Bennett (Bean) is fighting a losing battle for pacifism as his country spirals into war. His lawbreaking son, Tom (Ewan Mitchell, “The Last Kingdom”), is given the choice of prison or the military. His daughter, Lois, is a factory worker and talented singer, involved in a romance with upper class translator Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King, “Little Women” on Masterpiece) — much to the dismay of Harry’s aloof mother, Robina (Manville).

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Posted to the British embassy in Warsaw, Harry forgets Lois when he falls in love with local waitress Kasia Tomanszeski, becoming close to her family, including her studious little brother, Jan. Harry also befriends Nancy Campbell (Hunt), an American radio reporter trying to uncover the truth about the Nazi regime.

From the Nazi invasion of Poland, to the near debacle at Dunkirk, to the fall of Paris, “World on Fire” brings to life the devastating effect of war.

Also starring are Blake Harrison (“A Very English Scandal”) as a stalwart English sergeant, Julia Brown (“Shetland”) as an armed services entertainer, Zofia Wichłacz (“The Romanoffs”) as a Polish resistance fighter, Brian J. Smith (“Sense8”) as an American doctor in occupied Paris, and Parker Sawyers (“Southside with You”) as a Parisian jazz musician.

Jane Austen’s ‘Sanditon,’ ‘Howards End’ Among Titles Due on Disc and Digital From PBS in February

The Jane Austen series “Sanditon” and a miniseries of the classic E.M. Forster novel “Howards End” are among the titles coming to disc and digital from PBS Distribution in February.

Writer-executive producer Andrew Davies completes Austen’s last piece of work — unfinished due to her death in 1817 — with the PBS “Masterpiece” series “Sanditon,” due on Blu-ray, DVD and digital Feb. 4.  Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Les Misérables,” “Little Dorrit”) takes the first 11 chapters of the final Austen masterpiece and creates an epic drama. Set during the Regency Period, the story follows Tom Parker (Kris Marshall), who is obsessed with turning the sleepy seaside village of Sanditon into a fashionable health resort. He enlists the financial backing of the local, curmudgeonly wealthy widow, Lady Denham (Anne Reid). Through a mishap while traveling through the countryside, Tom and his wife Mary (Kate Ashfield) make the acquaintance of the Heywoods, a local farming family. While describing his plans for Sanditon, their eldest daughter Charlotte (Rose Williams) is intrigued and excited and Tom invites her for an extended stay at the seaside town. Upon her initial arrival, the sensible and naive Charlotte observes hypochondria, avarice and attempted seduction run amok. Lady Denham is playing matchmaker for her destitute nephew, Sir Edward (Jack Fox), who is determined to seduce Lady Denham’s ward, Clara (Lily Sacofsky), and become the primary heir to his aunt’s estate. The arrival of wealthy, mixed-race heiress Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke), under the guardianship of Tom’s upright brother Sidney (Theo James), due to a promise he made to Lambe’s father on his deathbed, adds an interesting complication. Eligible men naturally find Miss Lambe fascinating, while Charlotte is intrigued by Sidney. Charlotte Spencer also stars as Sir Edward’s scheming sister, Esther. Even as Austen was succumbing to her fatal illness, she chose to lampoon the contemporary fad for tonics, sea water cures and other medical remedies. Undiagnosed at the time, her malady was probably Addison’s disease, which today is easily treatable. Austen died at age 41, on July 18, 1817.

“Howard’s End”

Also due Feb. 4 from “Masterpiece” on DVD and digital is the four-episode miniseries “Howards End,” starring Matthew Macfadyen, Julia Ormond, Hayley Atwell, Philippa Coulthard and Tracey Ullman. The series follows Margaret Schlegel (Atwell), an intelligent, idealistic young woman who is courted by the older Henry Wilcox (Macfadyen), a self-made conservative businessman. After his wife Ruth (Ormond) dies unexpectedly, he becomes the owner of Howards End. Meanwhile Margaret’s passionate and capricious younger sister Helen Schlegel (Coulthard) takes up the cause of Leonard Bast, a young bank clerk who falls on hard times at work and at home with his partner Jacky. In the absence of their late parents, the sisters’ loving but interfering Aunt Juley (Ullman) tries to keep the young ladies and their brother Tibby on the straight and narrow. The adaptation is written by Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the SeaGangs of New York).

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Coming Feb. 11 on DVD and digital is American Experience: McCarthy, chronicling the legacy of Joseph McCarthy’s relentless search for anyone he deemed a communist or enemy of the state. The Wisconsin Senator’s crusade is now the centerpiece of any conversation involving the government’s role in decency, democracy and ethical conduct. This witch hunt, completely free of restraint or oversight, led to the trials and imprisonment of many celebrities, Americans and immigrants. This program details the rise of McCarthy’s political life which led to his belief that there was a great conspiracy threatening America, culminating in a chilling campaign full of groundless accusations, bullying intimidation, grandiose showmanship, cruel victimization and a web of lies to keep public opinion on their side.

Due Feb. 4 on DVD and digital is Nova: Decoding da Vinci. On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, with guidance from historian Walter Isaacson, the program pulls back the curtain to investigate what led to da Vinci’s ahead of his time, legendary successes. The program examines how his scientific studies, from dissecting humans to studying optics, led to a host of brilliant inventions, such as hang gliders, armored tanks, parachutes and many others. The program further explains how this deep scientific curiosity was behind the most captivating work of art in history, The Mona Lisa.

Coming Feb. 11 on DVD and digital is Nova: The Violence Paradox. Violence is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. We see it in the news, in movies, on TV and video games so why do some experts say that violence is decreasing and that we’re living in the most peaceful time in history? The program addresses these questions and explores the intricacies of how violence permeates our life, psychology and everyday thoughts and actions. The program takes us through time and the human mind to investigate what impacts the violence rates and what people are doing now to reduce violence in the world.

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Finally, on Feb. 18 comes Nova: Animal Espionage on DVD and digital. With the technological advancements of the camera industry, experts and viewers get an intimate look at hard-to-view species behind closed doors during their everyday lives. Camera traps and drones, completely hidden from the animal’s view, allow viewers to get closer than ever before to animals such as whales, tigers and elusive giant armadillos. The recordings featured on this program capture everything from the unexpected to the comical.

 

‘Mr. Selfridge,’ ‘Wolf Hall’ Among Titles Streaming in November on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video

PBS Distribution in November is debuting seven new programs on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel, including the entire series (all four seasons) of “Mr. Selfridge,” starring Jeremy Piven.

PBS Masterpiece is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

All four seasons of “Mr. Selfridge” start streaming Nov. 22. Created by Emmy Award-winning writer Andrew Davies (Pride and PrejudiceBridget Jones’ Diary), “Mr. Selfridge” brings to life the story of American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge (Piven), the colorful and visionary founder of Selfridges, London’s lavish department store. Pioneering, reckless, and with an abundance of charm, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for early 1900s Londoners, where the latest topics or trends were showcased and traditions were challenged.

The six-part miniseries adapted from Hilary Mantel’s best-selling novels, “Wolf Hall,” begins streaming Nov. 10. A historical drama for a modern audience, this unromanticized re-telling lifts the veil on the internal struggles England faced on the brink of Reformation. From humble beginnings and with an enigmatic past, Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) is the brilliant consigliere to King Henry VIII (Damian Lewis). Told from Cromwell’s perspective, “Wolf Hall” follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this pragmatic and accomplished power broker who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy, “The Crown”) and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.

The biography What the Durrells Did Next hits screens Nov. 11. Hosted by “The Durrells in Corfu” matriarch Keeley Hawes, it follows the true story behind one of the best-loved families in TV drama. Lifting the lid on every family secret, heartbreak and triumph, the program reveals how Corfu shaped the personalities and ambitions of each family member. It’s an outlandish story of African expeditions, global fame, heartbreak and the establishment of a zoo dedicated to saving endangered species. The film describes how young Gerry Durrell grew up to be a world-famous zoologist whose ideas on conservation revolutionized the roles of zoos forever, how Larry Durrell nearly won the Nobel Prize for literature — but was deemed to have too much sex in his books — and how flirtatious Margo stayed forever young on cruise ships across the world. With exclusive testimony from HRH Princess Anne, family members, experts, and the actors who brought these beloved characters to life, the show is packed with revelations and personal insights.

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Available now for streaming is the Danish drama-mystery “Walter Presents: Seaside Hotel, Season 2.” It’s the next summer at the Seaside Hotel and the residents are back for more shenanigans. After spending the winter helping out at the hotel, chambermaid Fie remains heartbroken from the previous summer. Amanda refuses to tell the truth that could exonerate Morten of Mr. Lindberg’s murder, keeping Morten on the run and leaving Fie with a broken heart. Forced apart from a new fling by her father, Amanda must once again spend the summer in the hotel. Meanwhile, two new young gentlemen have moved in and their contemporary style and attitudes doesn’t settle well with some of the regular guests. And one of them sets his sights on Amanda.

Streaming beginning Nov. 8 is the French series “Walter Presents: Mystery in Paris, Season 1.” A combination of thriller and women’s emancipation, this series is set in the heart of Paris, which was experiencing an industrial and social revolution at the time. Each episode place at an iconic site in the City of Lights, during the late 19th century. Told from the women’s point of view, a ghastly murder occurs in each of the locations: the Moulin Rouge, the Eiffel Tower, the Opera Garnier, the Place Vendôme, the Louvre Museum, The Sorbonne University, and The Elysee Palace, where the main character needs to solve the mystery and the murder.

The Dutch series “Walter Presents: The Neighbors, Season 2” hits screens Nov. 22. The second season of the drama returns to the same suburban streets, one year later; the neighborhood hasn’t changed, yet the dramatic events of the previous year have turned the characters’ lives upside down. Following her recovery from a coma, Eva returns to the neighborhood, while her husband Peter is still locked away in an institution. However, she has been left with amnesia and has no recollection of her past life with Peter. Could this be the fresh start she needs? Steef has been sentenced to four years in prison, but is not planning to stay behind bars for long. After a daring prison escape, he has two priorities — finding his son and taking revenge for the death of his wife, Rebecca. In the meantime, Eva befriends her new neighbors Steffi and Lex and their kids who are completely unaware of last year’s drama and are preoccupied with their own messy web of lies. By presenting herself as a babysitter, Eva finds a way into their lives and soon after starts plotting the fulfillment of her lifelong wish — a family of her own.

The French series “Walter Presents: Bright Eyed Revenge, Season 2” starts streaming Nov. 29. The new season begins with Olivia on a quest to find and save her daughter Lou. Nothing can stop her, not even her arch enemy, Etienne Chevalier, the man who had Lou kidnapped. But her mission takes on a suspenseful twist. Alone and against all odds, she manages to track down Lou’s location. But the new police officer on the case thinks she is nothing but a lawless renegade. Caught in the crossfire, Olivia is forced to give herself up and gets thrown in jail.

She struggles to survive the hostile world of prison and begins to question her own motivations. Has she become so blinded by the need for vengeance that she has done more collateral damage than good to those around her? How can she stop the machine? Faced with Etienne’s new evil schemes, she has only one possible ally left: Alexandre, the father of her child.

New Seasons of ‘Masterpiece’ Series ‘Grantchester’ and ‘Endeavor,’ ‘American Experience’ and Other Franchises Coming on Disc and Digital From PBS in July

Season six of “Endeavor” and season four of “Grantchester” from the “Masterpiece” franchise, as well as productions from “American Experience,” “American Masters,” “Nova” and “Frontline” are on the July disc and digital slate from PBS Distribution.

Endeavor: Season 6 debuts July 9 on DVD, Blu-ray and digital. Shaun Evans sports a new look as DS Endeavour Morse in the sixth season of the detective drama, the prequel to the long-running “Inspector Morse” series.  His character faces new challenges, with Morse having started a new role as a uniformed officer at the Woodstock police department and embracing the fashion of the period by growing a moustache. Alongside Evans, the new series sees stage and screen actor Roger Allam return as DI Fred Thursday, alongside Anton Lesser as CS Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange, James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn, Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday, Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil and Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday. Following the dissolution of the Oxford City Police and the merging with Thames Valley Constabulary at the end of the last series, the new series picks up with the team dispersed as they find their feet in their various new roles. However, despite their separation, the tragic murder of DC George Fancy still hangs over them both collectively and individually, with the case remaining unresolved.

Due July 30 is Grantchester: Season 4 on DVD, Blu-ray and digital. The series returns with a new vicar. Tom Brittney (OutlanderCall the Midwife) joins the cast as Reverend Will Davenport — man of the people and crime-solving partner to Robson Green’s Geordie Keating in 1950s Grantchester. James Norton, who plays the charismatic, jazz-loving clergyman Sidney Chambers, makes his final appearance during the series. Confident, caring and enigmatic, Grantchester’s new young parish priest channels his boundless energy into a quest for social justice. He is a man of God, but with the devil inside of him. As Geordie draws him into righting the wrongs of criminal Cambridge, Will’s own troubled past is unearthed.

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July 9 comes American Experience: Chasing the Moon on DVD, Blu-ray and digital. This July marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, and the program thoroughly reimagines the race to the moon for a new generation, upending much of the conventional mythology surrounding the effort. The three-part series recasts the Space Age as a stew of scientific innovation and PR savvy, political calculation and media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama. With no narration and using only archival footage — including lost or overlooked material — the film features new interviews with a diverse cast of characters who played key roles in these historic events. Among those included are astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Poppy Northcutt, the 25-year-old “mathematics whiz” who gained worldwide attention as the first woman to serve in the all-male bastion of NASA’s Mission Control, among others. Chasing the Moon relates how the drive to land a man on the moon was fueled as much by politics as it was by technology and was a controversial undertaking during a volatile time.

Coming July 16 on DVD and digital from the “American Masters” franchise is Robert Shaw: Man of Many Voices. Viewers trace the improbable journey of Shaw’s life and career, from his childhood as a preacher’s son in rural California through his meteoric rise as a star of popular music during the Great Depression. Soon, Shaw made another highly implausible move to classical music where he again achieved stunning success. He founded the groundbreaking Collegiate Chorale, and led choruses for legendary orchestra conductors, including Arturo Toscanini. An early champion of civil rights, his chorales were among the first to break the color barrier in the American South. Shaw performed the music of Bach in the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, brought audiences to tears in East Berlin in the darkest days of the Cold War. Shaw believed great music could have a profound influence, whether in individual lives or in bringing communities together. Shaw’s eventful journey is brought to life by interviews with legendary musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma, Sylvia McNair, Alice Parker, Marietta Simpson and Florence Kopleff, among others. Family members, admirers, and friends include President Jimmy Carter and Ambassador Andrew Young. The production is narrated by David Hyde Pierce.

Four programs are coming in July on DVD and digital from the “Frontline” series.

Available now is The Abortion Divide, which offers a window into the sometimes difficult and deeply personal choices women face with unplanned pregnancy — and examines the steadfast belief of the anti-abortion community that there should be no choice at all.  With intimate access, the film follows women struggling with unplanned pregnancies, doctors and nurses who provide abortions, as well as those who counsel women against the procedure.

Coming July 9 is The Last Survivors, which follows men and women who as young children lived through the Holocaust. Now, over 70 years after World War II, the program speaks with some of the last remaining survivors of the tragedy. Drawing on intimate interviews with victims and family members, director Arthur Cary presents a haunting look at how disturbing childhood experiences and unimaginable loss have impacted the daily lives and relationships of survivors — from survivor’s guilt, to crisis of faith, to second-generation trauma.

Also on tap July 9 is Trump’s Trade War. President Donald Trump’s decision to put tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports last year shocked the world — and launched a perilous confrontation between the world’s two largest economic superpowers. The program takes viewers to locations both in the United States and China, drawing on business and government insider accounts to offer a look at the increasingly competitive rivalry between the two countries — a rivalry that extends well beyond just trade and tariffs.

Supreme Revenge, due July 30, chronicles the bitter, partisan battle that played out during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. It reflected deep divisions in Washington that may seem unique to America’s current political and social moment, but as the investigation reveals, the intense politicization on display during the Supreme Court confirmation process — and the transformation of the Court itself — has been a shift decades in the making.

Four programs are coming from “Nova” on DVD and digital in July.

First Horse Warriors, due July 16, investigates the advent of horse riding, a momentous step in human history. Horses vastly expanded long-distance travel and trade, made the herding of other livestock possible, and led to the rise of formidable mounted warriors who changed the fate of nations. But when and how did our ancestors first learn to master these animals? The program unlocks the mystery on the grassy plains of Kazakhstan, where wild horses still roam free, and nomadic herders follow their traditional way of life. Investigating clues from archaeology and genetics, researchers reveal vivid evidence of the very first horsemen.

Also coming July 16 is Saving the Dead Sea, exploring salt-encrusted shores that were the backdrop of Old Testament drama and the source of Cleopatra’s beauty treatments. But the Dead Sea is dying. Since 1976, its level has dropped more than 100 feet. Its coastline is pockmarked with thousands of sinkholes. After more than a decade of research and debate, scientists, engineers and political leaders have come up with a plan: connect the Red Sea with the Dead Sea by way of a massive desalination plant. If it’s successful, the project could not only revive the sea but also help ease political tensions and water shortages in the region. NOVA follows what is perhaps the world’s largest water chemistry experiment as scientists and engineers race to save the Dead Sea and bring water to one of the driest regions on Earth.

Coming July 30 is Inside the Megafire, about the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. As residents raced to evacuate, the Camp Fire devoured 150,000 acres and claimed 86 lives. How did it get so big so fast? Why are megafires like these becoming more common? “Nova” goes to the front lines of the deadliest fires of California’s 2018 fire season to hear from the people who had to flee and from the scientists racing to understand what’s behind these record-breaking infernos. Researchers take to the forest, and even a fire lab, to understand the increasing megafire threat.

Also due July 30 from “Nova” is Back to the Moon. On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic moon landing, Nova looks ahead to the hoped-for dawn of a new age in space travel. This time, governments and private industry are sharing the work of reaching our nearest celestial neighbor. But why go back? The reasons are varied. The Moon can serve as a platform for basic astronomical research, as an abundant source of precious materials like rare metals and hydrogen fuel, and ultimately as a stepping stone for human missions to Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and beyond.

‘The Miniaturist’ From Masterpiece Coming Out on Digital Sept. 10, Disc Sept. 18 From PBS

Masterpiece: The Miniaturist will be released on digital Sept. 10 and DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 18 from PBS Distribution.

Set in Golden Age Amsterdam in 1686, this adaptation of Jessie Burton’s bestselling novel stars Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, The Witch), Romola Garai (Churchill’s Secret, The Hour) and Alex Hassell (Suburbicon, Anonymous). The story follows Nella (Taylor-Joy), a naive 18-year-old from a bankrupt aristocratic family in the provinces who is wooed by Johannes Brandt (Hassell), a handsome and prosperous merchant looking for a wife. Once wed, Nella lives in Johannes’ mansion, mostly without him, kept in the care of his grim and overbearing sister, Marin (Garai), and the household’s two controlling servants. As a wedding gift, Johannes gives Nella an exquisitely crafted cutaway model of the very house she is living in. He instructs her to furnish it to her liking and gives her the address to the miniaturist who creates the tiny objects. She and the miniaturist only communicate by letter and upon her first order, she receives more objects than she requests. Without direction from Nella, the miniaturist keeps sending new creations including dolls replicating Johannes, Marin and the servants, with details that hint at closely held secrets.

PBS to Release ‘Little Women’ Adaptation on Digital May 14, Disc May 22

PBS Distribution will release Masterpiece: Little Women, featuring Emily Watson and Angela Lansbury, on DVD ($24.99) and Blu-ray ($34.99) May 22 and Digital HD May 14.

Little Women airs on “Masterpiece” May 13 and May 20.

Masterpiece: Little Women (Photo courtesy of Patrick Redmond)

Based on the classic novel, the story follows the four March sisters on their journey from childhood to adulthood while their father is away at war. Under the guidance of their mother Marmee (Emily Watson), the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman, from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss and marriage. The March sisters are played by newcomer Maya Hawke as Jo, Willa Fitzgerald (“Scream: The TV Series”) as Meg, Annes Elwy (King Arthur: Excalibur Rising) as Beth and Kathryn Newton (“Big Little Lies”) as Amy. Also appearing are Angela Landsbury as their cantankerous wealthy Aunt March; Michael Gambon as benevolent neighbor Mr. Laurence; Jonah Hauer-King (Howards End) as Laurie Laurence, the boy next door; and Dylan Baker (“The Good Wife”) as Mr. March.

Little Women is one of the most-loved novels in the English language, and with good reason,” said writer and executive producer Heidi Thomas in a statement. “Its humanity, humor, and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief, and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world.”