The Public Broadcasting Service is not going to win you over with its name. It’s up there with CSPAN and NPR in terms of sleep-inducing station names.
But I promise PBS is cool.
Throughout this election, PBS has been criticized as an egregious example of wasteful government spending and praised as an integral part of American life. PBS is consistently ranked as one of the most trusted government-sponsored institutions in America, well above courts, cable TV and the entire federal government.
Now that President Obama’s re-election has secured at least four more years of PBS funding, here are some shows you might want to check out.
1. Downton Abbey
The British Aristocracy has mastered the art of saying the most awful things in the most polite and intelligent-sounding ways. Downton Abbey chronicles the lives of high-class British society during the early 20th century, starting with the sinking of the Titanic and progressing through World War I. If you like British drama and Professor McGonagall, the first season is available on Netflix and the third season airs in January.
Frontline is like MTV’s True Life, but with a more mature focus. They have produced over 500 documentaries highlighting various people and issues since the 1980s. All of their documentaries are available for free on their website and will leave you feeling more educated and aware.
Free from the pressure of ratings and entertainment that have reduced many news broadcasts to sensationalism and soundbites, PBS NewsHour is a news program renowned for its in-depth and impartial coverage of current events. Their website provides live streaming of this program.
4. Antiques Roadshow
That’s right. Antiques Roadshow. Random people bring in their junk only to find it’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Antiques Roadshow is a great bedtime program and is always an interesting watch.
Science is awesome. NOVA scienceNOW is an hour-long program on PBS where Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about science in an interesting, accessible way. Recent topics include “Can I Eat That?” and “What Are Animals Thinking?” Who doesn’t want answers to those questions?
PBS broadcasts on channels 2, 9 and 11 at Boston College. Be sure to check out these great shows now that the station is here to stay.Screenshots by Gillian Freedman