Silent Archimedes

Five can’t miss PBS programs – Frontline, NOVA, Nature, POV and Independent Lens

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 9, 2008

Even with all the hundreds of cable channels pushed upon us…not to mention Netflix and YouTube, some of the best programs are still on your local public broadcasting service (PBS). Here I list my top five favorite ongoing shows on PBS. What makes it great is that PBS also makes them accessible online if you missed them.

1. Frontline


is a public affairs television program of varying length produced at WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts. Marking its 25th anniversary season, FRONTLINE has built a reputation for powerful reporting that tackles the tough, controversial, and complex stories that shape our times. From Martin Smith’s probe into the decisions leading to the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to Michael Kirk’s investigation of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib; from Ofra Bikel’s examination of America’s racial divide over the O.J. Simpson verdict, to special reports like The Age of AIDS and provocative journeys like Hedrick Smith’s search for the answer to the question, Is Wal-Mart Good for America? FRONTLINE gives its award-winning journalists and filmmakers the time needed to thoroughly research a story and the time on-air to tell the story in a compelling way.



is a popular science television series from the U.S. produced by WGBH Boston. It can be seen on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States, and in more than 100 other countries. It has also won a variety of major television awards, most of them many times over. Nova often includes interviews with scientists directly involved in the subject, and occasionally footage from the actual moment of a particular discovery. Some episodes have focused on historical aspects of science. Examples of topics include Colditz Castle, Drake equation, elementary particles, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, Fermat’s last theorem, global warming, moissanite, Project Jennifer, storm chasing, Unterseeboot 869, Vinland, and the Tarim mummies.

3. Nature


is a long-running wildlife television program produced by Thirteen/WNET New York. It has been distributed to United States public television stations by the PBS television service since its debut on October 10, 1982. Nature is one of the most watched documentary series in the world. It is a weekly one-hour program that consists of documentaries about various animals and ecosystems. The series has won more than 400 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film community, parent groups, and environmental organizations – including 10 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and the first honor ever given to a program by the Sierra Club.

4. P.O.V.


is a PBS television series which features independent nonfiction films. P.O.V.’s films have a strong first-person, social-issue focus. Since 1988, P.O.V. has presented over 225 films to public television audiences across the country. P.O.V. films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues. The series has garnered both critical and industry acclaim over its 20-plus years on television. P.O.V. programs have also won major industry awards including three Oscars, 19 Emmys, 36 Cine Golden Eagles and 11 Peabody Awards.

5. Independent Lens
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

introduces new drama and documentary films made by independent filmmakers. Each episode introduces new documentaries and dramas made by independent thinkers: filmmakers who are taking creative risks, calling their own shots and finding untold stories in unexpected places. From a Texas drug sting, to a plane crash in the Andes, to a research lab where beleaguered physicists search for the “God particle,” Independent Lens takes viewers behind the scenes to discover untold stories. Step inside a boisterous courtroom with 1960s revolutionaries Abbie Hoffman and Bobby Seale, or sit down to an intimate dinner with Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf—let this season’s line-up take you across the span of history and around the globe. Learn more about the U.S. deficit, and dive into hot-button issues like gays in the military, Islamic extremism and gang strife in South Central L.A. Meet a trained kamikaze pilot and an inspirational Kenyan activist who is protecting human rights through the simple act of planting trees.

Watch them…

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