Travel through time and around the world with PBS historical dramas! In Part I, explore dramas ranging from the 1600s to early 1900s. Stream our best recommendations with PBS KVIE Passport, a member benefit that unlocks even more shows to watch on the PBS Video app.
Be on the lookout for Part II covering the 1920s – 1960s.
Travel to the 17th century, on the edge of the untamed Virginian wilderness, to the English colony of Jamestown. The settlement barely survived its first decade but is on the brink of change with the arrival of a new governor and 90 so-called “maids to make brides.” From the makers of Downton Abbey on Masterpiece, this stunning series follows the lives of three women as they wrestle with the challenges of creating a new life.
The Miniaturist on Masterpiece
The year is 1686, and 18-year-old Nella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy) arrives in Amsterdam to meet her wealthy merchant husband Johannes Brandt. Nella is a fish out of water, navigating a strange new city fueled by the sugar trade, shaped by Calvinism, and cloaked in secrecy. When Johannes appears, he presents her with a wedding gift: a cabinet that is a miniature replica of their home – which seems to predict the future with unsettling precision. Filled with suspenseful twists and turns, The Miniaturist on Masterpiece is an unmissable 3-part thriller.
Beecham House on Masterpiece
Travel to Delhi on the cusp of the 19th century – before British rule – on Beecham House on Masterpiece. Tom Bateman steps into the role of enigmatic, soulful John Beecham, a handsome former soldier who has purchased the magnificent mansion to begin a new life with his family. Despite harboring a shocking secret, John is determined to leave the past behind and start a new life, but at what cost?
Poldark on Masterpiece
After fighting in the American War of Independence, redcoat Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) returns home to Cornwall to discover that his father is dead, his lands are ruined, and his beloved is engaged to another. In this swashbuckling adaptation of the hit 1970s series, follow Poldark as he grapples with his new circumstances, while finding love and hope in the most unexpected places.
Around the World in 80 Days on Masterpiece
London, 1872. Phileas Fogg (David Tennant) is inspired to take on an almost impossible wager – to circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. He will need all the resilience he can muster and the assistance of quick-witted Frenchman Jean Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) and headstrong journalist Abigail Fix (Leonie Benesch) in this thrilling adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel.
The Long Song on Masterpiece
Based on Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel, the series follows July, a young, indomitable enslaved woman on a sugarcane plantation in the final days of slavery in British-ruled Jamaica. The story unfolds at the Amity sugar plantation, where the strong-willed July is working as a lady’s maid for Caroline Mortimer. When Robert Goodwin, a new overseer at Amity arrives, both July and Caroline are intrigued by his revolutionary spirit and intent to improve the working conditions on the plantation. But the winds of change across the hot plantation fields end up not being without consequences.
Go beyond the front lines of the Civil War and into the lives of Americans on the home front. Set in Virginia in the spring of 1862, and inspired by real people and events, Mercy Street follows two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict: Nurse Mary Phinney, a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green, a naïve young Confederate belle. The two collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army hospital in Alexandria.
Miss Scarlet & The Duke on Masterpiece
With her inquisitive mind, Miss Eliza Scarlet (Kate Phillips) has always been more interested in running her late father’s detective agency than behaving like a proper lady, much to the chagrin of family friend Inspector William Wellington of Scotland Yard, a.k.a., The Duke (Stuart Martin). But nothing has prepared her for the dangers she is about to face as a woman in the murder investigation business. Mixing mystery, romance, and a series of thrilling crimes, follow Miss Scarlet as the headstrong, first-ever female detective in Victorian London.
Sanditon on Masterpiece
Be transported to Regency England of the early 1800s in this bold and lavish adaptation of Jane Austen’s final, unfinished work. Meet Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), Austen’s spirited heroine, who travels to the newly renovated Sanditon, which has been transformed from a once-sleepy seaside town to a fashionable spa resort full of intrigues and dalliances. Interweaving the wave of social change and modernization with romance and fun, follow Charlotte’s journey of friendship, love, and self.
Victoria on Masterpiece
In 1837, a diminutive, neglected teenager is crowned Queen Victoria. In this ambitious drama that follows the early years of the spirited monarch, follow a young Victoria (Jenna Coleman) as she navigates the scandal, corruption, and political intrigues of the royal court, and rises to become the most powerful woman in the world. Stretching from the upper echelons of the court to the below-stairs staff, this is a story of passionate affairs, power struggles, and unrequited love, at the center of which stands a complex and willful woman who becomes an enduring icon.
Based on E.M. Forster’s 1910 novel of the same name, Howards End depicts England at the turn of the 20th century – an evolving landscape of social and class divisions – told through the lens of three families: the wealthy Wilcoxes, the intellectual Schlegels, and the lower-middle class Basts. The series tells the story of the two independent Schlegel sisters and the men in their lives as they seek love and meaning in an ever-changing world.
Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece
In 1909 London, an American retail tycoon arrives at the unfashionable end of Oxford Street to jettison fusty British tradition and open one of the finest department stores the world has ever seen. Three-time Emmy winner Jeremy Piven stars as Harry Gordon Selfridge, the flamboyant entrepreneur and showman seeking to provide London’s shoppers with the ultimate merchandise and the ultimate thrill.
Vienna Blood on Masterpiece
Return to the Golden Age of Vienna, a hotbed of philosophy, science, and art – and a tangled web of crime exacerbated by dark conspiracies, simmering ethno-nationalism, and rising anti-Semitism. Diving headfirst into Vienna’s most mysterious and deadly cases are Max Liebermann, a junior doctor and disciple of Freud, who brings his extraordinary skills of perception and forensics, and world-weary DI Oskar Rheinhardt. Together, this odd couple is a detective duo to be reckoned with, solving the city’s most baffling cases.
Be on the lookout for Part II covering the 1920s – 1960s.