By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
From the return of the world's best detective to the premiere of a hotly anticipated look at an iconic monarch, PBS launches the new year in style in January.
New episodes of our signature news show will return in January with "On the Lege," a discussion of state government issues with State Rep. Four Price, State Rep. John Smithee and State Sen. Kel Seliger, at 7 p.m. Jan. 12; and "Witness," the story of Maria Madi, grandmother of Amarillo man Steve Walton and a Hungarian woman who hid two Jews during the German invasion of Budapest, at 7 p.m. Jan. 19.
From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2017
Great Performances continues its tradition of broadcasting the Vienna Philharmonic’s holiday concert, featuring Strauss family waltzes accompanied by the beautiful dancing of the Vienna City Ballet. In addition to the opulent setting at Musikverein, the 6:30 p.m. Jan. 1 broadcast features a picturesque range of Vienna landmarks. Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns as host.
The great detective will return in "The Six Thatchers" at 8 p.m. Jan. 1 on Masterpiece, streaming simultaneously on pbs.org. The season will continue with new episodes at 8 p.m. Jan. 8 and 6 p.m. Jan. 15. The season begins with the mercurial Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) back once more on British soil as Doctor Watson (Martin Freeman) and his wife Mary (Amanda Abbington) prepare for their biggest challenge yet: becoming parents.
Best and Most Beautiful Things
This Independent Lens documentary, debuting at 9 p.m. Jan. 2, examines the life of Michelle Smith, a quirky woman on the autism spectrum who finds love and empowerment in a sex-positive community.
Sidney Lumet: American Masters
Film legend Lumet, who died in 2011, tells his own story in this never-before-seen interview from 2008, featuring clips from his 50-year history of making films like 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Network and more. The film debuts at 7 p.m. Jan. 3.
Command & Control: American Experience
In minute-by-minute detail, follow along as a single accident brought America to the brink of nuclear disaster in Damascus, Ark. What happens when the weapons built to protect us threaten to become the very source of our own destruction? The documentary, which made the shortlist for an Oscar nomination for best documentary, will premiere at 8 p.m. Jan. 10.
Bel Canto from the Chicago Lyric Opera
In this Great Performances special filmed in December 2015 and airing at 8 p.m. Jan. 13, Chicago Lyric Opera presents its adaptation of Ann Patchett’s bestselling novel inspired by the 126-day hostage crisis at the Japanese ambassador’s house in Peru. The opera, featuring a score by Jimmy Lopez and libretto by Nilo Cruz, explores the tensions and unexpected alliances between terrorists and their hostages.
Victoria on Masterpiece
Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) stars as the iconic monarch in this new series following her epic life from becoming queen in 1837 at age 17 through her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. The series premieres at 8 p.m. Jan. 15 on air and online. Plus, all Passport members (who donate $75 or more annually) can stream the entire series beginning Jan. 15.
Divided States of America
Days before the inauguration of the 45th American president, Frontline looks back at events during the Obama presidency that have revealed deep divisions in our country and examines the America the next president will inherit. The two-part special, airing at 8 p.m. Jan. 17 and 18, offers an in-depth view of the partisanship that gridlocked Washington and charged the 2016 presidential campaign, the rise of populist anger on both sides of the aisle and the racial tensions that have erupted throughout the country.
Allegiances blur, loyalties shift and the drama intensifies as Mercy Street returns for a second season at 7 p.m. Jan. 22. In the new season, the scope of the war pushes beyond Mansion House, the former hotel commandeered by northern troops to serve as a Union hospital.