‘The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family’ Among Titles on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August

Frontline’s Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack and the documentary miniseries The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family are among the titles available on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel this August.
 
The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack, debuting Aug. 2, is a dramatic and intimate look inside the Russian assault on Kharkiv told by displaced families trying to survive underground, civilians caught in the fight, and first responders risking their lives amid the shelling of Ukraine’s second largest city.

The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family, debuting Aug. 28, covers the scandalous rise and fall of the Boleyn family in a three-part documentary series filled with love, betrayal and obsession. Told from the unique perspective of the family itself, the series juxtaposes narration from historical academics with actors performing significant scenes.

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Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August include Eugene O’Neill: A Film by Ric Burns (“American Experience”) on Aug. 9; Afghanistan Undercover (“Frontline”) on Aug. 9; Roberto Clemente (“American Experience”) on Aug. 18; and Rise of the Bolsonaros on Aug. 30.

Two Docs About Ukraine Added to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

The PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel has added two programs that deliver historical background on how the current situation has unfolded in Ukraine.   

Zelenskyy: The Man Who Took on Putin is a new documentary profile of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It charts the rise of the comedian, actor and entertainer who became the improbable wartime leader. It explores the man behind the series of game-changing media appearances which have encapsulated the defiant response of a nation. 

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Frontline: Putin’s Road to War follows the inside story of what led to Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine. It presents the events that shaped the Russian leader, the grievances that drive him, and how a growing conflict with the West exploded into war in Europe.

Ken Burns Doc ‘Benjamin Franklin’ Headed to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel April 4

A new two-part documentary directed by Ken Burns, Benjamin Franklin, will launch on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel April 4.

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

The program explores the life and work of one of the most consequential figures in American history — a prolific writer and publisher, a groundbreaking scientist and inventor, a world-renowned diplomat and a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. This dramatic re-creation of Franklin’s mind and world is scripted exclusively with Franklin’s own words, preserved from letters and diaries, bringing to life intimate conversations with the viewer. 

In addition to Emmy-Award winning Mandy Patinkin providing the voice of Franklin, Benjamin Franklin includes interviews with some of the country’s leading scholars of early American history, including Franklin biographer Walter Isaacson, who also served as a senior advisor to the project.

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Franklin, whose life has been celebrated as a quintessential American story, was anything but typical. His 84 years spanned nearly the entirety of the 18th century — an epoch of revolutionary change in science, technology, literature, politics and government — change that Franklin himself helped to advance. He launched the first public library in America, organized a volunteer fire company, and founded an academy that eventually became the University of Pennsylvania. His annual publication, “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” set a model for future humorists such as Mark Twain and contained maxims that are still part of our shared lexicon. There were also his famous experiments with electricity, which led to one of his most important inventions — the lightning rod.

Season Eight of ‘Finding Your Roots’ Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Jan. 5

Season eight of “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” will start streaming on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Jan. 5.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. During a limited-time promotion Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel will be available to new subscribers for 99 cents per month for two months. 

Exploring the mysteries and surprising revelations hidden within the family trees of popular figures, season eight includes 10 episodes of examinations and ancestral discussions with 21 subjects, including Terry Crews, Tony Danza, Kathryn Hahn, Nathan Lane, John Leguizamo, Leslie Odom Jr., Pamela Adlon, Regina King, André Leon Talley, Erin Burnett, Mario Lopez and Anita Hill, among many others. 
 
In the episode “Activist Roots,” Henry Louis Gates explores the family trees of Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Anita Hill, introducing two women who’ve made profound sacrifices for social justice to the ancestors who made sacrifices for them. 
 
Then, in “Children of Exile,” Henry Louis Gates explores the poignant roots of chef David Chang and actor Raúl Esparza — two men whose families fled their homelands to live in exile, never to return. From war-torn cities in North Korea to shark-infested waters off the shores of Cuba, Gates sets off to recover the stories of individuals who came to America against all odds and built a better life for themselves. 

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Spanning the globe, season eight maps family trees and uncovers lost ancestors from the United States and Africa; Latin America and the Caribbean; as well as Poland, Ireland, Russia and Korea.

Docs on Martin Luther King Jr., American Culture and History Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in December

Documentaries on Martin Luther King Jr. and American culture and history are among the programs coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in December.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. During a special promotional period Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel will be available for new subscribers for 99¢ per month for two months.

In Remembrance of Martin, streaming now, brings together influential figures to discuss the legacy and life of one of Martin Luther King Jr. Coretta Scott King joins the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, Jimmy Carter, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senator Edward Kennedy, John Lewis, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Andrew Young as they recall King’s career and trace his leadership through the civil rights movement. The film includes portions of King’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech.

President Eisenhower’s granddaughter and Nikita Kruschev’s son give their personal recollections of growing up in Cold War Roadshow, from “American Experience,” which begins streaming Dec. 17. Told through the eyes of historian William Taubman and journalist Peter Carlson, as well as Susan Eisenhower and Sergei Khrushchev, Cold War Roadshow takes a deeply personal look at the often-overlooked human dimensions of the Cold War. The documentary tells the story of one of the most bizarre episodes in the annals of modern history — the unprecedented barnstorming across America in the fall of 1959 by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the world leader of communism and America’s arch nemesis. At the very height of the Cold War, with American schoolchildren practicing duck-and-cover drills, the man who Americans feared could incinerate them in a rain of hydrogen bombs arrived in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of President Eisenhower. For both men, the visit was an opportunity to halt the escalating threats of the Cold War and chart a new course toward peaceful coexistence. For the American press, it was the media blockbuster story of the year.

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POV: Unapologetic, which starts streaming Dec. 28, follows two black political activists who are working and succeeding in leading a movement to transform Chicago. In the program, viewers meet Janaé and Bella, two fierce abolitionists whose upbringing and experiences shape their activism and views on Black liberation. Through their lens, the film provides an inside look into the ongoing movement that transformed Chicago, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd to the election of mayor Lori Lightfoot. Unapologetic is an official 2021 selection of TIFF Next Wave.

Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in December include: Animal Homes Season 1 (“Nature”), Animal Misfits (“Nature”), The Buddha, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Fractals: Hunting the Hidden Dimension (“Nova”), The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, Invasion of the Killer Whales (“Nature”), The Iranian Americans, The Lost Diary of Dr. Livingstone (“Secrets of the Dead”), Making Stuff Season 1, Mister Rogers and Me, Operation Bridge Rescue, Panama Canal (“American Experience”), Sacred, The Sagebrush Sea (“Nature”), A Sloth Named Velcro (“Nature”), Snow Monkeys (“Nature”), Super Hummingbirds (“Nature”), Touching the Wild: Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch (“Nature”),  and Transatlantic Sessions: The Best of Folk Vol. 1.

PBS Bows Discount Deal on PBS Kids, PBS Documentaries and PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channels

PBS Distribution has announced an early Black Friday through Cyber Monday deal for the PBS Masterpiece, PBS Documentaries, and PBS Kids Prime Video Channels. Each channel will be available to new subscribers at a subscription rate of 99 cents per month for two months beginning Nov. 23 and running through Nov. 29.

The standard subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime membership. The standard subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime membership. The standard subscription rate for the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel is $4.99 per month with an Amazon Prime membership.

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The PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel offers British and international dramas such as “Masterpiece: All Creatures Great and Small” and “Masterpiece: Sanditon,” mystery-thriller series such as “Professor T,” and “Masterpiece: Miss Scarlet and The Duke,” as well as award-winning series from around the globe through “Walter Presents.” On the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel, viewers can stream the entire library of Ken Burns programs, including the new “Muhammad Ali” docuseries. Also available, Frontline’s “A Thousand Cuts” featuring Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa as well as films from “American Masters,” “Independent Lens,” “Nature” and “Nova.” On the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel, viewers can explore more than 1,400 hours of learning adventures for kids and watch PBS Kids series such as the newly launched series from Sesame Street’s Sonia Manzano, “Alma’s Way.” Other series include “Donkey Hodie,” “Wild Kratts,” “Arthur,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Odd Squad,” “Hero Elementary,” “Elinor Wonders Why,” and the Peabody award winning series “Molly of Denali,” among others.

‘Dolly Parton’ Celebration, ‘Nova Universe Revealed’ Among Titles Due on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in October

Dolly Parton & Friends: 50 Years at the Opry and Nova Universe Revealed are among the titles available on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in October.

Dolly Parton celebrates 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in Dolly Partin & Friends: 50 Years at the Opry, streaming starting Oct. 22. Recorded live in Nashville, the special pays tribute to her songs and career with special performances from Parton and her star guests, including Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Candi Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Chris Janson, Toby Keith, Margo Price and Hank Williams Jr. Capturing Parton delivering some of her biggest hits on one of the most iconic stages in the world, this celebration of the country music legend’s 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry features new interviews with Parton, guest appearances from some of her superstar friends and more.

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Nova Universe Revealed starts streaming Oct. 28. In this five-part series, “Nova” delves into the vastness of space to capture moments of high drama when the universe changed forever. State-of-the-art animation delivers astonishing, photorealistic glimpses of the birth of the very first star, the chaos created as two galaxies collide, and the power of a supermassive black hole as it flings a star across space so violently that it’s still traveling millions of years later. “Nova” even takes viewers on the ultimate time travel voyage to witness the birth of space and time itself. Informed by huge advances in scientific understanding, this series brings viewers face-to-face with the most surprising characters in the cosmos and reveals how their fates are intertwined with their own.

Other titles due on the channel in October include:

  • 10 Buildings That Changed America
  • American Experience: A Class Apart
  • American Experience: The Poisoner’s Handbook
  • American Experience: Tupperware!
  • American Experience: War of the Worlds
  • American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller
  • American Masters: Lights, Camera, Acción
  • American Veteran
  • Constitution USA With Peter Sagal
  • Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in America
  • For The Left Hand
  • Frontline: Losing Iraq
  • Frontline: Taliban Takeover
  • Frontline: Rape in the Fields
  • Frontline: Shots Fired
  • Frontline: To Catch a Trader
  • Held Hostage
  • Nature: Animal Babies: First Year on Earth, Season 1
  • Nature: Leave It to Beavers
  • Nature: My Garden of a Thousand Bees
  • Nature: Season of the Osprey
  • Nature: Sex in the Wild, Season 1
  • Nova: Arctic Drift
  • Nova: Edible Insects
  • Nova: Nazi Attack in America
  • Nova: Particles Unknown
  • Nova: The Pluto Files
  • Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War
  • The Draft
  • VA: The Human Cost of War
  • Voces: Letters to Eloisa

Ken Burns Docuseries ‘Muhammad Ali’ Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Sept. 19

Muhammad Ali, a new four-part documentary directed by Ken Burns, will begin streaming on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Sept. 19.

It will be available in 4K Ultra HD.

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

The new series, which was in development for six years, was also written and co-directed by Sarah Burns and David McMahon, whose previous collaborations with Burns include The Central Park Five (2012), Jackie Robinson (2016) and East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story (2020).

The film follows the life of one of the most consequential men of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated billions with his combination of speed, agility and power in the ring, as well as his charm, wit and outspokenness outside of it. At the height of his fame, Ali challenged Americans’ racial prejudices, religious biases and notions about what roles celebrities and athletes play in our society, and inspired people all over the world with his message of pride and self-affirmation.

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Drawing from archival footage and photographs, contemporary music, and the insights and memories of eyewitnesses — including family and friends, journalists, boxers and historians, among many others — the docuseries is a sweeping portrait of an American icon. The series details the story of the athlete who called himself — and was considered by many to be — “the greatest of all time” and competed in some of the most dramatic and widely viewed sporting events in history, including “The Fight of the Century” and “The Thrilla in Manila,” both against his great rival Joe Frazier, as well as “The Rumble in the Jungle,” in which he defeated George Foreman to regain the heavyweight title that was stripped from him seven years earlier.

Muhammad Ali captures Ali’s principled resistance to the Vietnam War, his steadfast commitment to his Muslim faith, and his complex relationships with Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. While largely celebrated today as an icon of American sport and culture, Ali was not always embraced. At times he was reviled by many in America, especially white Americans and members of the media. Ali faced a firestorm of criticism when he said, “I ain’t got nothing against them Viet Cong” — a stance that would result in five years of legal jeopardy and a three-and-a-half-year banishment from boxing.

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Ali’s story is full of contradictions. Despite his ruthlessness in the ring, he was a symbol of peace and pacifism. Though committed to a faith that expected dignified conduct, he was notoriously unfaithful to his wives. A clever showman with unparalleled genius for promotion, he occasionally allowed partners and friends to take advantage of him. Endlessly trumpeting his own greatness, he anonymously donated much of his fortune.

Muhammad Ali includes interviews with Ali’s daughters Hana Ali and Rasheda Ali, his second wife Khalilah Ali, his third wife Veronica Porche, and his brother and confidant Rahaman Ali. Others appearing in the film include activist and former basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, sportswriter Howard Bryant, historian Gerald Early, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, friend and business manager Gene Kilroy, boxing promoter Don King, novelist Walter Mosley, long-time friend Abdul Rahman, and New Yorker editor David Remnick, among others.

Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in September include American Experience: Citizen Hearst, American Experience: Jimmy Carter, Season 1, American Experience: Reagan, Season 1, American Experience: Supreme Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor, American Masters: Raul Julia: The World’s a Stage, American Masters: Twyla Moves, Discovering Your Warrior Spirit with D.J. Vanas, Frontline: America After 9/11, Frontline: Boeing’s Fatal Flaw, Generation 9/11, Independent Lens: Harvest Season, Lives Well Lived, Nova: Bat Superpowers and Nova: The Cannabis Question.

‘American Experience: Tesla’ Headlines Titles Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August

American Experience: Tesla, The Botany of Desire and Doc World: Cocaine Prison headline the titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August.

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

Due Aug. 6 is American Experience: Tesla. The documentary chronicles the life and influence of Nikola Tesla, dubbed the “patron saint of geeks.” Tesla has had electric cars, rock bands, a unit of measurement, a minor planet, and a lunar crater named after him. Still eclipsed however by contemporaries such as Edison and Marconi, Tesla, the visionary scientist died impoverished and largely forgotten. During his lifetime, he gained international fame for his invention of a system of alternating current that made possible the distribution of electricity over vast distances and is the basis for the electrical grid that powers 21st century life. But the visionary Tesla imagined much more — robots, radio, radar, remote control, the wireless transmission of messages and pictures, and harnessing the wind and sun to provide free energy to all. As a showman, he dazzled his scientific peers who flocked to see him demonstrate his inventions and send thousands of volts of electricity pulsing through his body. His fertile, yet undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius and also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a “mad scientist” came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator. It is his exhilarating sense of the future that has inspired renewed interest in the man, as his once scoffed-at vision of a world connected by wireless technology has become a reality.

Doc World: Cocaine Prison, coming Aug. 15, follows the lives of three Bolivians who work at the lowest levels of the cocaine trade: two prison inmates who film their daily experiences and an inmate’s sister who must decide whether to traffic cocaine or pursue a college education. The film bridges the ever-widening gap between the North and the South and brings a new perspective to the war on drugs being waged in the Andes.

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The Botany of Desire

Based on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book, The Botany of Desire, brought to life through narration by Frances McDormand, is coming Aug. 27. The film focuses on four species of plants that we’ve all interacted with and details how humans have completely shaped these plants’ evolutions and destinies. The documentary takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world — seen from the plants’ point of view. The program shows how four familiar species ─ the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato ─ evolved to satisfy our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control. The Botany of Desire shows how human desires are an essential, intricate part of natural history. It begins in Michael Pollan’s garden, and then roams the world from the corn fields of Iowa to the apple forests of Kazakhstan, from a medical marijuana hot house to the tulip markets of Amsterdam. One of the great conceits of human civilization is to put ourselves outside nature — constantly shaping and re-shaping the wild for our own purposes. Taking the plants’ view of the world pushes viewers to understand Pollan’s call to restore human activity to its proper place in the matrix of nature.

‘Hemingway’ Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel April 5

Hemingway, a documentary from filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick chronicling the life of literary icon Ernest Hemingway, will be available to stream on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel on April 5.

The channel will also be streaming a 4K Ultra High-Definition version of the program beginning April 11. The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

The title will come out on Blu-ray and DVD May 4.

The three-part, six-hour film examines the life and work of Hemingway, one of the most influential writers America has ever produced. Narrated by long-time collaborator Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast of actors bringing Hemingway (voiced by Jeff Daniels), his friends and family to life. Through letters to and from his four wives — voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson — the film reveals Hemingway at his most romantic and his most vulnerable, grappling at times with insecurity, anxiety and existential loneliness.

Burns and Novick paint a picture of Hemingway, who captured on paper the complexities of the human condition in profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential around the world. Informed by interviews with celebrated writers, scholars and Hemingway’s son Patrick, the filmmakers explore the painstaking process through which Hemingway created some of the most notable works of fiction, in novels such as The Sun Also RisesA Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea; short stories “Hills Like White Elephants,” “The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “Up in Michigan,” “Indian Camp” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro;” as well as the nonfiction works Death in the Afternoon and A Moveable Feast.

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His relationships with women — his mother, sisters, wives and the World War I nurse who broke his heart — profoundly affected his work. Yet for all his bravado and hyper-masculine posturing, Hemingway wrote about relationships between men and women with sensitivity, nuance and clarity.

The filmmakers were granted unusually open access to the treasure trove of Hemingway’s manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks and photographs housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The film also explores Hemingway’s limitations and biases as an artist and a man of his time.