‘8 Days: To the Moon and Back’ Among the Titles on PBS’s September DVD and Digital Slate

PBS Distribution’s September DVD and digital slate includes 8 Days: To the Moon and Back, Secrets of the Dead: World War Speed and Tiananmen: The People Versus the Party, among other titles.

Available now on DVD and digital is Tiananmen: The People Versus the Party, which explores the Tiananmen Square tragedy. The documentary features never-before-seen Chinese television archival materials and exclusive interviews with key insiders, from protest leaders and students to government insiders, to reveal the scale of the 1989 protest, its aims, its military crackdown and the aftermath.

Secrets of the Dead: World War Speed, also available now on DVD and digital, explores what one historian calls the first pharmacological arms race. Stories about drug use by Hitler and German forces during World War II have been widely told. What’s less well-known is how Allied commanders followed suit and embraced pharmacological “force enhancers” as well. Viewers follow historian James Holland on a journey that takes him from German bombers pulled from the depths of Norwegian fjords and obscure European museums, to a modern British military demolitions range and into the belly of a restored Sherman tank.

Narrated by actor Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hobbit), When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time, due Sept. 10 on DVD and digital, traces the origin stories of some the world’s most spectacular creatures. From Abu Dhabi to Argentina, Kenya to China, the program takes viewers on a global adventure as top scientists investigate clues from the fossil record and use 21st-century technology to unlock the evolutionary secrets of crocodiles, birds, whales and elephants. Using 3D graphics and CGI to bring ancient beasts to life, When Whales Walked offers insights into the evolution of these magnificent animals, exploding myths about the path these species took over millions of years.

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In the three-part program Ancient Skies, coming Sept. 10 on DVD and digital, viewers discover how centuries of knowledge, experimentation and engineering helped our ancestors explore outer space. With CGI, landscape footage and astronomical artifacts, the program looks at the universe through the eyes of our ancestors, charting our changing view of the cosmos throughout history. Viewers take a journey through past visions of the heavens from all over the world, from the dawn of civilization to the recent past. From hunter-gatherers to Edwin Hubble, viewers see the myriad of ways that we have observed and chronicled the movements of the heavens. With a cast of expert historians and astronomers, the science behind the phenomena that our ancestors sought to explain through mythology is explored.

Finally, 8 Days: To the Moon and Back, due on DVD and digital Sept. 25, takes viewers on the Apollo 11 mission with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Rare mission audio takes viewers inside the spacecraft on its historic journey. The film blends authentic mission audio, featuring candid conversations between Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, with newly shot studio footage, NASA and news archives, and CGI recreation of the journey and landing. Rufus Wright (“EastEnders”), Jack Tarlton (The Imitation Game), and Patrick Kennedy (Mrs. Wilson) star in a recreation of the first moon landing.

Season Three of ‘Jamestown,’ Woodstock Doc and ‘NOVA: The Planets’ Among August Titles Coming to Disc and Digital From PBS

American Experience: Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation, NOVA: The Planets and the drama Jamestown, Season 3 are among the titles coming to DVD, Blu-ray and digital from PBS Distribution in August.

Due Aug. 6 on DVD and digital is American Experience: Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation. Filmmaker Barak Goodman’s documentary, which revisits the 1969 Woodstock concert for its 50th Anniversary, explores one of the most influential concerts the country has ever seen. In August 1969, half a million young people from journeyed from every corner of the country to a dairy farm in upstate New York for a concert unprecedented in scope and influence. The film examines the tumultuous decade that led to those three historic days — years that saw the nation deeply divided by Vietnam and racial, generational and sexual politics — through the voices of those who were present for the event that would become the defining moment of the counterculture revolution. Focusing on individuals that were at the concert, including concertgoers, security guards, performers and local residents, the film expands understanding of the event as not only a musical milestone, but a cultural phenomenon that served as a coda to the sixties and a harbinger of the decades to come.

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Also on tap Aug. 6 on DVD and digital is Jamestown, Season 3. From the producers of “Downton Abbey,” the dramatic series follows the lives of three women who decide to leave their dark pasts behind in England and journey across the ocean for a new life in 17th century America. In Season 3, it’s boom time in Jamestown, but success brings the scrutiny of the crown and there are few in the settlement who have nothing to hide. Relations with the Native Americans offer hope and advancement for the settlers until greed for land and a desire for power corrupts those with influence. What ensues is devastating conflict, the fallout of which will shape the New World for centuries to come. The ensemble cast includes Naomi Battrick, Sophie Rundle and Niamh Walsh as the leading female roles. The male leading roles include Max Beesley, Jason Flemyng, Stuart Martin, Kalani Queypo, Abubakar Salim and Raoul Trujillo.

Coming Aug. 27 on DVD, Blu-ray and digital is NOVA: The Planets. Narrated by Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), the series takes viewers on a 4.5 billion-year journey through the story of our solar system, brought to life in new detail revealed by the latest space missions. In five, one-hour episodes, The Planets combines CGI imagery, the latest planetary science research, and footage captured by orbiters, landers and rovers to reveal each planet like never before. Each planet has a unique landscape — from the rocky inner worlds of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, to the massive gas giant Jupiter to the mysterious, ringed Saturn to the cold, remote ice worlds of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The program explores how these extreme features reveal how our solar system formed.

Frontline: Sex Trafficking in America will be released Aug. 6 on DVD and digital. The documentary tells the stories of young women coerced into prostitution and follows one police unit that’s committed to rooting it out. In the film, award-winning director Jezza Neumann and producer Lauren Mucciolo (Poor Kids) immerse themselves with the Phoenix police unit that’s tackling child sexual exploitation, offering an inside look at the lucrative industry through unique access to a series of undercover, high-stakes police operations. They also film with young women who have escaped the trade. What’s revealed is a crime that’s both hidden in plain sight and growing — due in part to social media, where traffickers often start to groom and recruit young women and girls. With extensive and intimate access to local law enforcement, prosecutors, service providers and the women themselves, the film shines a light on the hidden reality of sex trafficking in America.

Aug. 13 comes the “NOVA” production Lost Viking Army on DVD and digital. Forty years ago, a sleepy village in the heart of England was the scene of a gruesome discovery when nearly 300 skeletons were unearthed in a mass grave. No one has been able prove who they were — until now. Bioarchaeologist Cat Jarman believes these bones are the last remains of the “Great Heathen Army,” a legendary Viking fighting force that invaded England in the 9th century and has long been lost to history. Armed with the latest scientific methods, Jarman’s team uncovers extraordinary human stories, including evidence of women warriors and a lost king reunited with his son in death. Filmmakers also use pioneering technology to hunt for the army’s lost camp.

Coming Aug. 6 on DVD and digital is State of the Art, a journey of 100,000 miles and 1,000 destinations in the search of 100 under-recognized American artists for an exhibition. The curatorial team of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., crisscrossed the nation to find contemporary art happening in unexpected places: the woods of North Carolina, the deserts of Nevada, the backstreets of Pittsburgh, the foothills of Arkansas and the riverbanks of New Orleans. The art and artists found by the team led to a groundbreaking exhibition of 227 works of contemporary art, many of which might otherwise have never been seen. The program captures the personal stories of seven of the diverse artists from this extraordinary exhibit.

Also due Aug. 6 is Tom Lehrer: Live in Copenhagen. Lehrer spent his brief, yet remarkable music career writing and performing satirical songs. Biting, intelligent, and socially conscious, his songs were accessible and intimate commentaries on society and politics in the 1950s and 1960s. Originally filmed for Danish television in September 1967, the film captures a rare concert recording and features many of his best-known songs, including “I Wanna Go Back to Dixie,” “MLF Lullaby,” “We Will All Go Together When We Go,” “When You Are Old And Gray,” “I Hold Your Hand In Mine,” “Send the Marines,” “The Irish Ballad,” “The Elements,” “Smut,” “The Hunting Song,” “My Home Town,” “Who’s Next,” “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park,” “National Brotherhood Week,” “Wernher Von Braun” and “The Vatican Rag.”