PBS Distribution’s Andrea Downing to Be Honored With Fourth Annual ‘Fast Forward’ Award

Media Play News on Jan. 22 announced that Andrea Downing, co-president of PBS Distribution, will receive the fourth annual Media Play Fast Forward Award, which honors people, technologies, organizations, products or services that move the home entertainment industry forward.

With more than 25 years’ experience in the home entertainment business, industry leader Downing is being honored for her exceptional, broad and groundbreaking role at PBS Distribution. She has led the evolution of the organization from a start-up focused on physical goods to a global distribution company of public media content around the world. Her focus on adapting to the media landscape has led to five subscription streaming channels — PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids, PBS Living, PBS Documentaries and PBS America (U.K.). In addition to licensing content on DVD and Blu-ray, she has also spearheaded the company’s move into transactional video-on-demand; subscription video-on-demand; theatrical releasing; and educational, non-theatrical, inflight and international program sales and co-productions.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by Media Play News with the Media Play Fast Forward Award — particularly when I consider how many of my peers are doing incredible work in extraordinary times,” said Downing. “The home entertainment market has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, and we have all had to learn to pivot quickly and anticipate what will come next. But no one anticipated a global pandemic, and we have been tested mightily this past year.

“I also recognize that I would not have received the award without the incredible dedication and talent of the PBS Distribution team. I am so proud that they continuously pivot to face our challenges and opportunities and develop innovative ways to address and capitalize on them, all while supporting each other and maintaining our company values. It is an honor to lead this team each and every day and contribute to the public television system’s mission of giving voice to all Americans.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Last year, the Media Play Fast Forward Award went to Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. In 2019, the award went to digital retailers Cameron Douglas of FandangoNow, Galen Smith of Redbox On Demand, Google Play Movies & TV’s Jonathan Zepp and the team at Apple iTunes. The previous year, the inaugural Media Play Fast Forward Award was shared by the Fox Innovation Lab and Movies Anywhere.

Follow us on Instagram

The Media Play Fast Forward awards are an outgrowth of the Home Entertainment Visionary Awards, which were launched in 2002 by the now-defunct Home Media Magazine. Comcast’s Brian Roberts was the 2017 honoree. Warren Lieberfarb, the father of DVD, was the first Visionary Award winner, back in 2002. Other honorees have included Sony Pictures’ Ben Feingold, Samsung’s Tim Baxter, and Walmart’s Louis Greth and Chris Nagelson.

Downing will be profiled in the March issue of Media Play News.

‘A Thousand Cuts’ Debuts Jan. 9 on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

The “Frontline” documentary A Thousand Cuts will debut on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Jan. 9.

The film follows Philippine journalist and Time Person of the Year Maria Ressa as she is targeted by President Rodrigo Duterte for exposing the truth of the political corruption in her country on her news site, Rappler. The film offers an inside look at the key players in the escalating war between press and government in the Philippines and the ongoing threat against freedom of the press.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

It examines social media disinformation campaigns and the crackdown on the news media in the Philippines by Duterte — who has made Ressa one of his top targets. At great personal risk, Ressa has been at the forefront of holding Duterte and his government accountable for their violent war on drugs. In response, Duterte has barred Rappler reporters from the presidential palace and revoked Rappler’s license. Ressa herself has been charged with a cyber libel case. Ressa places the tools of the free press — and her own freedom — on the line in defense of truth and democracy in “A Thousand Cuts.”

The film received a Grand Jury Prize nomination from the Sundance Film Festival and a Best Documentary Award Nomination at the Gotham Independent Film Festival.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

‘Love and Monsters,’ ‘Yellow Rose’ Top Slate of New DVD, Blu-ray Disc Releases

Paramount Pictures’ post-apocalyptic adventure Love and Monsters and the Sony Pictures arthouse favorite Yellow Rose top the slate of new releases available for home viewing on Jan. 5.

Also out are Girl, from Screen Media, and several PBS Distribution releases, including Elizabeth Is Missing, the haunting BBC television drama that stars Glenda Jackson as Maud, an elderly woman living with dementia who struggles to piece together a double mystery.

Love and Monsters stars Dylan O’Brien as a man trying to reconnect with his high school girlfriend (Jessica Henwick) in a dystopian future where giant monsters have overtaken the Earth.

Paramount initially released the film via premium video-on-demand (PVOD) on Oct. 16, and it promptly debuted at or near the top of the digital charts, bowing at No. 1 on FandangoNow and No. 2 on Vudu. The price was lowered in early December and the film promptly shot to the top of the Redbox On Demand chart.

Now, Love and Monsters becomes available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc and DVD. Blu-ray special features include deleted scenes, “Bottom of the Food Chain: The Cast of Love and Monsters” and “It’s a Monster’s World: Creating a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Sony Pictures’ Yellow Rose  makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Jan. 5. The film festival alum is centered around a Filipina teen from a small Texas town who fights to pursue her dreams as a country music performer while having to decide between staying with her family or leaving the only home she has ever known.

The film, directed by Diane Paragas, was released through digital retailers on Dec. 22. Yellow Rose stars Grammy-winner Eva Noblezada in her feature film debut, award-winning country music artist Dale Watson, Princess Punzalan and Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga (MulanAladdin).

Follow us HERE on Instagram

Also available Jan. 5, on DVD only, is the thriller Girl, from Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company. The film from writer-director Chad Faust has been available digitally for sale and VOD since last month.

Girl stars Bella Thorne as a young woman who returns to her small hometown to exact revenge on her abusive father, only to discover someone murdered him the day before. As the girl searches for answers, she soon finds herself prey to a sinister sheriff (Mickey Rourke) and uncovers a family legacy more disturbing than she’d imagined.

Meanwhile, PBS Distribution is out with a number of releases that, in addition to Elizabeth Is Missing, include two “Nature” documentaries, Santa’s Wild Home and Pandas — Born to Be Wild; Nova: Nature’s Fear Factor, and Not Done: Women Remaking America. Most are available through digital retailers and on DVD.

Season Seven of ‘Finding Your Roots’ and ‘Ken Burns: Here and There’ Among Titles Debuting on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in January

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free, season seven of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” and Ken Burns: Here and There are among the programs debuting on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in January.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free starts streaming Jan. 19. From Award-winning director Yoruba Richen and based on the book of the same name, the program tells the inspiring story of how six iconic African American female entertainers, Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier, challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process. The documentary features interviews and archival performances with all six women, as well as original conversations with contemporary artists influenced by them, including one of the documentary’s executive producers Alicia Keys, along with Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson and many others. The documentary also includes interviews with family members, including Horne’s daughter Gail Lumet Buckley.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”

Season seven of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” is due Jan. 20. Over the course of 10 episodes, Gates uses genealogical detective work and cutting-edge DNA analysis to guide twenty influential guests through the branches of their family trees, traveling hundreds of years into the past to discover people and places long forgotten. The season features actors Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Christopher Meloni, and Tony Shalhoub; Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin; filmmakers Kasi Lemmons and John Waters; talk show host and author Andy Cohen; journalists Gretchen Carlson, Maria Hinojosa, Don Lemon, and Nina Totenberg; comedians Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, and Roy Wood, Jr.; and musicians Clint Black, Rosanne Cash, and Pharrell Williams.

Ken Burns: Here and There debuts Jan. 1. The biography is about the life and work of the documentary filmmaker and follows the story of his love for filmmaking and storytelling, the evolution of his career throughout the years, his fondness of small-town life, and his love for a bridge in Brooklyn. Filled with small stories and monologues, this program captures the 40-year intimate relationship Burns has with his America, with his colleagues, his family, his community, his craft, and taking sweeping historical concepts and making them relatable to his audiences.

Doc ‘Driving While Black’ Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

The documentary film Driving While Black is streaming now on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel.

From Emmy award-winning Ric Burns and Gretchen Sorin, the film explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African-American experience for hundreds of years. Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences of African-Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond, Driving While Black examines the history of African-Americans on the road from the depths of the Depression to the height of the Civil Rights movement and beyond, exploring the deeply embedded dynamics of race, space and mobility in America.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Driving While Black utilizes archive material from the period — including footage, photographs, advertisements, road signs, maps, letters and legal records — and weaves together oral histories and the on-camera insights of scholars, writers, musicians and ordinary American travelers. The film also delves deeply into the history of The Green Book, the travel guide authored by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green. From a first edition focused on the Northeast, Green expanded his guide to include much of the country, providing travel tips for African Americans driving, including safe and welcoming places to stop, dine and rest, as well as places to avoid, given the potential for racially motivated violence. “Vacation without aggravation,” the book advised African American families planning a road trip.

Hugh Laurie Thriller ‘Masterpiece: Roadkill’ Heads Up December PBS DVD Releases

The Hugh Laurie thriller “Masterpiece: Roadkill,” season two of “Great Performances: Now Hear This” and a duo of “Nova” programs are among the titles coming to DVD from PBS Distribution in December.

The new political thriller “Roadkill” from Academy Award nominee David Hare (The Reader, The Hours) comes out on DVD Dec. 15. The series stars Laurie as Peter Laurence, a self-made forceful and charismatic politician. Peter’s public and private life seem to be falling apart — or rather are being picked apart by his enemies. As his personal revelations spiral, he is shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse, expertly walking a high wire between glory and catastrophe as he seeks to further his own agenda, while others plot to bring him down. However, events show just how hard it is, for both an individual and a country, to leave the past behind. Helen McCrory (The Queen, “Harry Potter”), Sidse Babett Knudsen (“Westworld, Inferno) and Millie Brady (“The Last Kingdom,” Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) also star.

Season two of “Great Performances: Now Hear This” is due Dec. 1. Viewers join Scott Yoo, renowned violinist and conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic, in a four-part documentary miniseries that merges music, storytelling, travel and culture, as Yoo chases the secret histories of some of the greatest music ever written.

Also coming Dec. 1 is Nova: Human Nature, a feature-length film exploring the science, history, and ethics of a revolutionary gene-editing technology and its applications.

American Masters: Keith Haring — Street Art Boy is a biographical documentary coming out Dec. 8. International art sensation Keith Haring blazed a trail through the legendary art scene of 1980s New York and revolutionized the worlds of pop culture and fine art. Haring’s message targeted the underlying threat of violence, sexual exploitation and political oppression. His art was shown in more than 100 group and solo exhibitions during his lifetime and he continues to be celebrated today.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also due Dec. 8 are Nova: Secret Mind of Slime and Secrets of Royal Travel. Nova: Secret Mind of Slime explores the questions and science behind the “intelligence” of slime molds. These creatures are not animals, nor plants, nor fungi, yet they appear to learn and to make decisions without brains, expanding the boundaries of intelligence beyond the animal kingdom. Secrets of Royal Travel tells the inside story of the monarchy on the move, taking viewers inside some of the most famous, yet exclusive, transport systems around the globe with select interviews of royal staff.

Coming Dec. 15 is The Queen and the Coup, a documentary about the happenings in February 1953, the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, during which she is about to be deployed in a U.S. plot to topple Iran’s last democratic leader in favor of an all-powerful Shah.

Follow us on Instagram

Finally, Dec. 22 comes Nova: A to Z — The First Alphabet and How Writing Changed the World. The documentary explores the history of writing. Just as writing changed the course of human history, the evolution of paper and printing revolutionized the spread of information. While the invention of paper boosted Chinese and Islamic societies, the simple fact that the Latin alphabet could be printed using a small number of discrete, repetitive symbols helped popularize moveable type, handing Europe a crucial advantage at the beginning of the Renaissance. The printing press itself kicked off the scientific revolution that fast-tracked us to the current digital age.

‘Victoria,’ Uma Thurman-Narrated ‘Age of Nature’ Among Titles Due on Digital and DVD From PBS in November

PBS Distribution is releasing six new programs on DVD and digitally this November, including all three seasons of the “Masterpiece” period drama “Victoria” and the documentary series The Age of Nature narrated by Uma Thurman.

Nov. 3 comes a boxed set of all three seasons of the drama “Victoria,” starring Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria. The account of the life of one of history’s greatest monarchs begins as Victoria takes her first faltering steps from capricious, hormonal teenager to respected monarch, while navigating palace intrigue and constitutional crises alongside an epic romance with her cousin Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). As Victoria’s reign continues, she must face the very modern challenge of balancing life as a mother and wife with her work as ruler of the most powerful nation on Earth. As the lavish saga unfolds against the backdrop of pivotal moments in history, the Queen and Prince Albert must meet each public challenge while confronting profound personal change.

Due Nov. 24 is Frontline: Policing the Police 2020. Writer and historian Jelani Cobb examines allegations of police abuse and the challenge of fixing a broken relationship within a community. Policing the Police 2020 is a provocative journey inside one police force that’s been ordered to reform by the Department of Justice: the Newark Police Department in New Jersey, which was found to have a pattern of civil rights abuses against the city’s black residents. Viewers will take a nuanced glimpse into how topics surrounding the national discussion about race and policing are playing out every day on the streets of Newark, in community members’ homes, and in the city’s police precincts. Cobb gives viewers a raw and complex look at the challenge of changing how cops operate in a place like Newark, a poor city plagued by violent crime, where the victims and the perpetrators are usually black, and the police force itself is largely black and Latino. The documentary examines the difficulties of fixing a broken relationship with the community after decades of mutual mistrust, and includes candid interviews with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who is now trying to shake up the department from the inside.

The Age of Nature comes out Nov. 3. Narrated by Uma Thurman, this three-part documentary series brings together inspirational contributors, rare archive material, and stunning imagery from all around the world, to give viewers a deeper understanding of nature and our place within it. The series explores humanity’s relationship with nature and wildlife, as scientists and conservationists from all over the world examine ways we can restore our planet. It also explores how an increased awareness of the natural world could lead to a new chapter in the story of both humanity and the planet. With stunning photography, the series focuses on the resiliency of Earth’s ecosystems through stories of success, as scientists, citizens, and governments act to fix past mistakes and restore the environment. Filmed on seven continents, The Age of Nature presents creative ideas from around the globe for dealing with such pressing issues as climate change, animal extinction and environmental degradation. Each episode highlights some of the latest scientific research that helps us understand the workings of the planet and explores effective strategies for restoring the environment, re-wilding landscapes, and maintaining a balance between species.

The drama The Trouble With Maggie Cole is due Nov. 10. In the drama, idle gossip escalates out of control and starts to affect people’s lives. Set in a picturesque fishing village, the series centers on Maggie Cole, the self-appointed oracle of the close-knit community of Thurlbury. When a radio journalist interviews Cole (Dawn French, “The Vicar of Dibley”) for a small piece about local life in their tiny coastal community, she gives him far more detail and embellishment about the locals and their personal lives than he was looking for. As the interview is played in full, all the guarded secrets, indiscretions, and gossip are broadcast for the whole county to hear, changing life in Thurlbury forever. In the days and weeks following the show’s broadcast, Maggie’s overzealous chit-chat gets her into serious hot water, as the fallout from her very public gossip-fest disrupts the lives of her fellow residents. Packed full of comedy, intrigue and suspense, The Trouble with Maggie Cole is a warmly humorous yet distinctly cautionary tale about the perils of passing on unfounded gossip.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets comes out Nov. 17. In this new installment from historian and Chief Curator of England’s Historic Royal Palaces, Worsley invites viewers into three iconic London palaces: the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace. Viewers learn about the Tower of London’s terrifying past, Hampton Court’s magnificent display of Tudor power and Kensington Palace’s role in the making of a modern royal family. Wide-angle shots of beautiful ballrooms, secret passages and Baroque gardens provide context for Worsley’s captivating tales of royals and their private lives.

Follow us on Instagram

The four-part series Hacking Your Mind is due Nov. 24. It takes you inside the world of hackers ­­— from presidential campaigns and social media companies, to corporate marketers and governments — revealing how they influence your behavior without your even being aware of it. The series is hosted by Jacob Ward, who brings viewers on a journey of discoveries and laughter from the farthest corners of the globe to the inside of your mind. Ward is known for his appearances on “The Today Show,” is the longtime editor of “Popular Science,” and NBC’s science correspondent. Hacking Your Mind features best-selling authors, including Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Big Short), and Nobel Prize winners, including Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow) and Richard Thaler, creator of behavioral economics. Throughout the program, discover how we evolved to make many of our decisions not based on what we “think,” but based on our feelings, intuition, and habits. This enables us to make decisions almost instantly, as though we’re operating on autopilot. Most of the time these autopilot processes serve us well, but they can also lead us to make predictable mistakes. Ward reveals how these common mistakes make us vulnerable to bias and misinformation.

New Episodes From ‘Arthur,’ ‘Nature Cat,’ ‘Xaxier Riddle’ Coming in November on PBS Kids Prime Video Channel

PBS Distribution in November will feature programming from “Arthur,” “Xavier Riddle and The Secret Museum,” “Elinor Wonders Why,” “Cyberchase” and “Nature Cat” on the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel.

The subscription rate for the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel is $4.99 a month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Arthur: An Arthur Thanksgiving bows Nov. 17. In this new film, Arthur and his family are getting ready for Thanksgiving, but when Pal disappears to go on his own adventure, Arthur puts his plans on hold to search for him. Meanwhile, D.W. starts to think that Aunt Minnie might be more of an Aunt “Meanie.” In this movie, family, friends, and the rest of Elwood City will try to get Pal home, and hopefully D.W. and Aunt Minnie will be able to joyously celebrate the holiday together.

“Cyberchase Vol. 12” debuts Nov. 6. Digit’s friend Ren is excited to plan a Valentine’s Day party at his favorite garden but discovers that the garden isn’t available. He and the CyberSquad must find a Plan B in “A Garden Grows in Botlyn.” Then, Digit’s cousin Brigit is in a bind. Her flowering cactus plants are not bearing any apple cactus fruit. According to her chart, the bats she needs to pollinate the flowers are missing. The Earth kids lead a search party in “Missing Bats in Sensible Flats.” Plus, Buzz and Delete surprise their boss Hacker with a blissful day at a spa in “Water Woes,” but when the water supply suddenly stops flowing, Hacker and the other patrons are left out to dry. Then, trouble is brewing beneath Serene Greens, the cybersite greenery. Hapo the earthworm needs help underground, and the CyberSquad must figure out what is happening to their small friend’s home in “Soil Turmoil.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Nature Cat Vol. 10” is coming Nov. 13. Nature Cat and his pals want to take their lava game to a whole new level for the amateur volcanologist club in “Tally Ho! A Volcano!/No Rest For The Squeeky.” The only problem is that for their plan to work, they will need to find an active volcano. Then, Squeeks thinks she will be able to spend her whole night skateboarding, doing karate, and yodeling instead of sleeping. In “Amber Rocks/The Big Stink,” Daisy collects garbage at the beach and finds an orange nugget among the rocks. Could the little nugget be a piece of amber? Plus, Squeeks stumbles upon a patch of mysterious looking mushrooms in Ronald’s backyard, and Nature Cat and his pals celebrate midsummer — a magical time to celebrate the growing season with all the new life that it brings, in “A Magical Mushroom Mystery Tour/A Midsummer’s Day Dream.”

“Xavier Riddle and The Secret Museum, Volume 5” debuts Nov. 20. Xavier Riddle, his sister Yadina, and their friend Brad travel back in time via the Secret Museum to learn how to solve their everyday problems by learning lessons from real-life inspirational figures, when they were still kids. Each adventure helps children ages 4 to 7 make connections between the character skills that made these historical figures into heroes and those same qualities within themselves.

Follow us on Instagram

“Elinor Wonders Why Vol. 4” comes out Nov. 27. Elinor and her friends have more fun curious adventures in this new volume of episodes. While walking through the forest, Elinor and friends come across a stream and decide to make a stone walkway to cross it in “Water You Doing?/Thinking About Blinking.” Then, Ari is crowned the blinking champion after winning a bunch of intense staring contests at school. In “Follow That Roly Poly/Rain, Rain Don’t Go Away,” the Exploring Club searches for somewhere super cool to explore when they find a Roly Poly that leads them on their next adventure: discovering bugs under a log. Also, when the kids’ fun gets cut short by weather, they start to wonder why it needs to rain at all. In “Make Music Naturally/Light The Way,” the kids learn that Señor Tapir is putting on a concert. They want to participate, but don’t have any instruments. Then, the kids are camping out, but after Elinor’s Dad falls asleep, they must find a way to communicate quietly. Plus, the pals wonder why people sneeze, and they play in a big soccer game in “These Sneezes/Ari’s Lucky Shirt.”

‘Frontline: The Choice 2020,’ ‘And She Could Be Next’ Among Political Titles Available on PBS Documentaries Prime Channel

PBS Distribution is streaming several political titles on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in time for the upcoming Nov. 3 election.

Among the titles available are Frontline: The Choice 2020, American Experience: The Vote, And She Could Be Next, Ken Burns: The Congress, American Experience: The Presidents and Frontline: Whose Vote Counts.

The subscription rate for PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Frontline: The Choice 2020 offers interwoven investigative biographies of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden and examines the defining moments that shaped Trump and Biden’s lives, their approaches to power, and their visions for America’s future at this pivotal juncture.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, American Experience: The Vote tells the dramatic story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote, a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history. In its final decade, from 1909 to 1920, movement leaders wrestled with contentious questions about the most effective methods for affecting social change, debating the use of militant, even violent tactics, as well as hunger strikes and relentless public protests. The battle also upended previously accepted ideas about the proper role of women in American society and challenged the definitions of citizenship and democracy. Exploring how and why millions of 20th-century Americans mobilized for — and against — women’s suffrage, The Vote brings to life the unsung leaders of the movement and the deep controversies over gender roles and race that divided Americans then — and continue to dominate political discourse today.

Follow us on Instagram

And She Could Be Next follows a defiant movement of women of color as they transform politics from the ground up. Filmed during the historic 2018 midterm elections, the series follows organizers and candidates (including Rashida Tlaib and Stacey Abrams) as they fight for a truly reflective government, asking whether democracy can be preserved — and made stronger — by those most marginalized.

In Ken Burns: The Congress, Burns profiles a durable American institution in his portrait of the U.S. Congress. Narrated by David McCullough, the film uses historic footage and interviews with “insiders” David Broder, Alistair Cooke and Cokie Roberts to detail the first 200 years. The film chronicles careers of notable members and charts the continuing growth of the Capitol building, in readings from diary entries, letters and famous speeches.

American Experience: The Presidents, including JFK, Nixon, George W. Bush, Clinton and George H. W. Bush, includes five programs taking a look at some of America’s most influential presidents of the 20th century. Focusing on the intersection of public and private, character and history, these programs examine pivotal moments in each of the presidencies and how they affected the country. Viewers will look at George W. Bush and his unorthodox road to the presidency; George H. W. Bush and his life and career as the 41st president; Clinton and his meteoric rise in state politics; JFK, with a new perspective on his private life and reevaluation of his time in the Oval Office; and Nixon, with a look at one of American history’s most powerful figures, exploring a fateful mix of strength and weakness that made him president, and then brought him down.

Finally, Frontline: Whose Vote Counts, available Oct. 21, investigates allegations of voter fraud and disenfranchisement in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

‘Van der Valk,’ ‘Flesh and Blood,’ ‘Islands of Wonder’ and Season One of ‘Cobra’ Coming to DVD and Digital in October From PBS

“Masterpiece Mystery! Van der Valk,” “Masterpiece: Flesh and Blood,” Islands of Wonder, and season one of “Cobra” are coming to DVD and digital in October.

Available now is Islands of Wonder, in which viewers journey to three of the most exotic, mysterious and remote islands on Earth: Madagascar, Borneo, and Hawaii. These isolated and iconic tropical islands harbor remarkable wildlife and human castaways found nowhere else on Earth. In a rapidly changing world, these fragile islands are a vital gauge for the health of our planet. Ancient Madagascar is the strangest and oldest island in the world, famed now for its lemurs. Though, over millennia it has given rise to more unique wildlife than any other island, Borneo’s rich coral reefs, lush jungles and mountainous landscapes reveal it is no paradise, and the struggles to survive are the secret to a greater variety of life, from orangutans to sun bears and flying snakes. Hawaii, the most remote island chain in the world, is a wondrous archipelago that has offered sanctuary for all life that have reached its tropical shores. From humpback whales to waterfall-climbing fish, carnivorous caterpillars and even albatross. All these islands are home to an extraordinary wealth of diverse wildlife and stunning, yet seldom seen, natural backdrops.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Due Oct. 13 is “Masterpiece Mystery!: Van der Valk,” which follows Piet Van der Valk, played by Marc Warren (“Beecham House,” “The Good Wife”), an engaging, unapologetic, and street-smart detective, as he leads his dynamic team in solving a raft of mysterious crimes. Brilliant, but cynical Piet Van der Valk solves these baffling crimes in and around 21st-century Amsterdam, which is more prosperous, cosmopolitan, and crime-prone than ever — at least that’s the way steely-eyed cop Van der Valk sees his murder-infested beat. Van der Valk and his team tackle high profile cases in the worlds of art, politics, addiction, mysticism and fashion.

Coming Oct. 20 is the drama “Masterpiece: Flesh and Blood,” in which the already dysfunctional lives of Helen, Jake, and Natalie are thrown into disarray when their recently widowed mother Vivien (Francesca Annis) declares she’s in love with a new man, retired surgeon Mark (Stephen Rea). Their suspicion of the newcomer triggers events in the siblings’ own complex love lives, which begin to spiral out of control. Next door neighbor Mary (Imelda Staunton) has known the family for years and tries to support them all with wise counsel, but seems powerless to stop the events from escalating. As the mystery unravels, this dark yet deliciously witty thriller explores family dynamics, modern relationships, love, loyalty, and betrayal, while keeping viewers guessing up until the very last moment.

Due Oct. 20 is season one of “Cobra,” an action-packed political drama that follows the British Prime Minister and his emergency committee as they navigate a major crisis and its political and personal fallout. On the brink of a geomagnetic solar storm, a team comprised of Britain’s leading contingency planners and senior politicians assemble under the name COBRA (taken from its meeting place in Whitehall’s Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) to guide the country through turbulent times.