Documentary series about prehistoric human evolution and the end of the Vietnam war are to air as part of PBS’ 2015 winter/spring line-up.
The U.S. pubcaster’s strategy of scheduling programming around different themes each night will continue into next spring, with drama programs ‘Masterpiece’ and Downton Abbey continuing to anchor Sunday nights.
Among the non-fiction highlights are the five-part series First Peoples, which will explore the evolution of prehistoric humans and premiere on April 29 at 10 p.m. EST; and Rory Kennedy’s feature documentary Last Days in Vietnam (pictured), which will air on April 28 at 9 p.m. EST to mark the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
Scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan will host Earth: A New Wild, which premieres February 4 at 9 p.m. EST as part of PBS’ ‘Think Wednesday’ science and nature programming strand. The three-part series Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies is billed as a “biographical” look at the disease and was executive produced by Ken Burns. It will debut on March 30 at 9 p.m. EST.
The 19th season of Antiques Roadshow will premiere on January 5 at 8 p.m. EST with the series’ first trip to New York City in 13 years. Meanwhile, season two of Genealogy Roadshow will air on January 13 at 8 p.m. EST.
Documentary strand ‘Independent Lens’ will air Evolution of a Criminal on January 12 at 10 p.m. EST. Exec produced by Spike Lee, the film follows filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe as he revisits his decision to rob a bank as a teenager in Texas. The doc A Path Appears, which will air in three parts beginning on January 26 at 10 p.m. EST, follows Mia Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Ashley Judd and other famous names as they examine gender oppression and human rights violations in the U.S. and around the world.
In addition to Last Days in Vietnam, the network will air a block of programming dedicated to the Vietnam War. The Day the ’60s Died premieres on April 27 at 9 p.m. EST and Dick Cavett’s Vietnam the same night at 10 p.m. EST.
Other non-fiction programs include The Italian Americans, a doc about the evolution of Italian-American culture in the United States that premieres on February 17 at 9 p.m. EST; and the three-part Miracle Baby Unit (working title), a series about innovations in fetal medicine that airs on March 31 at 8 p.m. EST.
Wildlife strand ‘Nature’ returns with the three-part Animal House Hunters, which looks at how animals build homes; The Nest, which explores how birds build nests; and Location Location Location, which uses tiny cameras to show how beavers, hummingbirds and other creatures build homes.
Finally, science strand ‘NOVA’ will devote episodes to Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia mosque, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, and Rome’s Colosseum.