Everything coming to PBS in April 2024

John Lithgow in promo art for Art Happens with John Lithgow.
PBS
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April is Earth Month on PBS, and that’s why the Public Broadcast Service has an incredible lineup of nature programming lined up for the next 30 days. It’s a much larger schedule of originals than we’ve seen in the last few months. And it’s not all that PBS has to offer in April.

Among the highlights in the weeks ahead are the special Art Happens Here with John Lithgow, the third season of Guilt, the series premiere of Mr. Bates vs. the Post Office, and new specials for Frontline and Nova throughout the month.

If you missed the best shows on PBS from March, you can still stream those online. But you will have to wait for the premiere dates listed below to catch everything coming to PBS in April.

Independent Lens: A Thousand Pines

Premieres: Monday, April 1

Over the course of a grueling eight months, a crew of Oaxacan guest workers plant trees throughout the United States. This intimate portrait shows how hard it is to balance the physical demands of reforestation and extreme isolation while staying connected to the family back home.

Julius Caesar: The Making of a Dictator

Premieres: Tuesday, April 2

The Making of a Dictator tells the dramatic story of how nearly five centuries of ancient Roman democracy were overthrown in just 16 years by one man. This is the story of a brazen, ambitious power grab that saw Julius Caesar consolidate the vast power of Rome in his own hands.

Frontline: The Discord Leaks

Premieres: Tuesday, April 2

How a young National Guardsman leaked classified documents onto the Discord chat platform. With The Washington Post, Jack Teixeira’s alleged leak of national secrets, why he wasn’t stopped, and the role of platforms like Discord.

Nova: Great American Eclipse

Premieres: Wednesday, April 3

Explore the spectacular cosmic phenomenon of a total solar eclipse. In April 2024, the Moon’s shadow is sweeping from Texas to Maine as the U.S. witnesses its last total solar eclipse until 2044. This extraordinary astronomical event will plunge locations in the path of totality into darkness for more than four minutes–nearly twice as long as the last American eclipse in 2017.

Learn how to watch an eclipse safely and follow scientists as they work to unlock secrets of our Sun–from why its atmosphere is hundreds of times hotter than its surface, to what causes solar storms and how we might one day predict them.

A Brief History of the Future

Premieres: Wednesday, April 3

A Brief History of the Future is a unique six-part PBS documentary series about our futures and how we can reimagine them. Hosted by renowned futurist Ari Wallach, the show invites viewers on a journey around the world that is filled with discovery, hope, and possibility about where we find ourselves today and what could come next.

American Masters: The Incomparable Mr. Buckley

Premieres: Friday, April 5

Follow the personal and political journey of conservative writer, strategist, candidate, and provocateur William F. Buckley, Jr. See how one of the architects of the modern conservative movement rose to prominence as a public intellectual and influenced generations of politicians–including Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. As founder of the National Review and host of the public affairs program Firing Line for over 30 years, Buckley created new spaces for civic discourse that were accessible to the public.

Mr. Bates vs. the Post Office on Masterpiece

The cast of Mr. Bates vs. the Post Office.
ITV

Premieres: Sunday, April 7

Following one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history, Mr. Bates vs. the Post Office, starring BAFTA-winner Toby Jones, was created with direct input from the innocent–and indomitable–people caught up in it. When money seemingly disappeared from its local branches, the government-owned Post Office wrongly blamed its own managers for its apparent loss.

For more than a decade, hundreds were accused of theft and fraud, and many were even sent to prison–leaving lives, marriages, and reputations in ruins. But the issue was actually caused by errors in the Post Office’s own computer system–something it denied for years. Revealing a shocking David vs. Goliath fight for justice, this is the story of the decent ordinary people who were relentlessly pursued, coerced, and controlled by a powerful corporation, and their ongoing battle, against seemingly insurmountable odds, to right so many horrific wrongs.

Elton John  & Bernie Taupin: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Premieres: Monday, April 8

Elton John and Bernie Taupin, one of the greatest songwriting duos of all time, will be the 2024 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song recipients. John and Taupin will be honored with a tribute concert in Washington, D.C., on March 20 that will premiere on PBS.

Since meeting in 1967, John, then a young piano player, and lyricist Taupin, have forged a songwriting partnership that continues after over 50 years. Taupin writes lyrics and sends them to John, who goes to work at the piano and creates a song. The results of their enduring partnership have been simply incredible.

Independent Lens: Matter of Mind – My Parkinson’s

Premieres: Monday, April 8

In Matter of Mind — My Parkinson’s, three people navigate their lives with resourcefulness and determination in the face of a degenerative illness, Parkinson’s disease. An optician pursues deep brain stimulation surgery; a mother raising a pre-teen daughter becomes a boxing coach and an advocate for exercise; and a cartoonist contemplates how he will continue to draw as his motor control declines.

Nature: Raptors: A Fistful of Daggers

Premieres: Wednesday, April 10

An insightful and spectacular celebration of raptors, this two-part special explores what makes them some of the world’s most successful predators. United by a hooked beak, a taste for flesh, and a set of razor-sharp talons, these birds of prey have conquered the globe from the African savannah to the high Arctic.

Learn more about eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons as well as the lesser-known hunters such as secretary birds, caracaras, seriemas, and others. Explore the question of what the future holds for these remarkable birds in a rapidly changing world due to habitat loss, climate change, persecution, and pollution.

Great Performances: Now Hear This (Season 5)

Premieres: Friday, April 12

Travel with host, Mexico City Philharmonic chief conductor Scott Yoo, in this special mini-series taking viewers on a voyage of musical discovery for aficionados and neophytes alike. Each episode reveals the creative process behind a diverse range of classical music in both historic and modern-day periods. This season explores themes and stories of gifted young artists, virtuosos, and even Scott Yoo’s own experiences as a composer.

Next At the Kennedy Center: Ben Folds Presents: Declassified

Premieres: Friday, April 12

Ben Folds invites the virtuosic Jacob Collier, rising jazz superstar Laufey, and chart-topping English singer-songwriter Dodie to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra. Challenged to reimagine their music through an orchestral lens, with a driving mission that every note played on the stage matters, they create exquisite new versions of their hit songs without a traditional rhythm section and only the Orchestra as their band.

Several of Folds’ longtime collaborators shed some light on the importance of his mission, including Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Regina Spektor, Tony Award-winning composer Alex Lacamoire, featured conductor Steven Reineke, and many more.

Frontline: Children of Ukraine

Premieres: Tuesday, April 16

How thousands of Ukrainian children were taken and held in Russia. The story of families searching for their missing children, authorities investigating alleged abductions, and teenagers who escaped and say they were subjected to Russian propaganda.

Next At the Kennedy Center: Joshua Redman, Where are We

Premieres: Friday, April 19

Renowned jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman performs songs from his new album, where are we, as he explores the myths and realities of life in America. He is accompanied on this journey by soulful vocalist Gabrielle Cavassa and an all-star ensemble featuring Aaron Parks (piano), Joe Sanders (bass), and Brian Blade (drums).

The group explores the duality of differing jazz standards interpreted with the improvisational brilliance and melodic invention that is a hallmark of Redman’s artistry. Shedding light on one of the most acclaimed and respected jazz artists of our generation, Joshua Redman provides insight into the making of his first album for the Blue Note label.

American Experience: Poisoned Ground: The Tragedy at Love Canal

Premieres: Monday, April 22

Revisit the story of the 1970s Love Canal disaster, one of the most notorious environmental and public health disasters in U.S. history. Unfolding like a mystery, the film begins in 1977, when residents in a small neighborhood on the east side of Niagara Falls first noticed pungent chemical odors in their homes.

Soon, dozens of families began to suffer abnormally high rates of cancer, asthma, kidney disease, miscarriage, birth defects, migraines and more. The battle for justice, led mostly by women, created the basis for the landmark federal Superfund program.

The Express Way with Dulé Hill

Dule Hill in The Express Way with Dule Hill.
PBS

Premieres: Tuesday, April 23

The Express Way is a premium documentary series that explores the power of the arts. Led by renowned actor, dancer, and singer, Dulé Hill, the series captures diverse artists’ stories from across America, celebrating community, humanity, and the transformative potential of creative expression.

Independent Lens: One with the Whale

Premieres: Tuesday, April 23

Hunting whales is a matter of life or death for the residents of St. Lawrence. When a shy Alaska Native teen becomes the youngest person ever to harpoon a whale for his village, his family is blindsided by thousands of keyboard activists brutally attacking him online—without full perspective on the importance of the hunt to his community’s well-being.

Changing Planet: Coral Special

Premieres: Wednesday, April 24

In the third year of this seven-year project examining the issues facing the planet’s most threatened ecosystems, Dr. M. Sanjayan visits the Maldives and the Florida Keys to take an in-depth look at coral reefs and the urgent efforts to help them survive climate change. Globally, coral reefs are at crisis point–warming seas cause corals to bleach and without action nearly all reefs could die off in the next few decades. There’s a race against time to help damaged reefs recover.

Art Happens Here with John Lithgow

Premieres: Friday, April 26

In this one-hour special, actor John Lithgow (Killers of the Flower Moon) shares his passion for arts education by joining students and teachers at four Los Angeles organizations, diving into four arts disciplines: dance, ceramics, silk-screen printing and vocal jazz ensemble. The program celebrates how arts education nurtures and inspires the hearts and minds of students of all ages.

Guilt on Masterpiece (Season 3)

The cast of Guilt.
BBC Two

Premieres: Sunday, April 28

The brothers are back together, but enemies old and new cause them to seek ever more desperate solutions to their problems. Digging deep into their past, Max (Mark Bonnar) and Jake (Jamie Sives) hope to finally find a future free of danger – and each other.

The Real Story of Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office

Premieres: Sunday, April 28

Hundreds of sub-postmasters were accused of crimes when the fault lay with the Post Office’s new computer for over 20 years -this documentary tells the true story of the widest miscarriage of justice in British legal history.

Frontline: Documenting Police Use of Force

Premieres: Tuesday, April 30

Investigating deaths after police used tactics like prone restraint and other “less lethal” force. The Associated Press, drawing on police records, autopsy reports, and body cam footage, the most expansive tally of such deaths nationwide.