8 PBS Book Adaptations Worth Watching

We love watching TV—you know this. We’re always telling you what to watch, how to watch it and when, but DID YOU KNOW when we’re not binge-watching our favorite programs, you might find us at the library or curled up with our tablet reading. We grew up on “Wishbone” and “Reading Rainbow” so of course we love to immerse ourselves in a good book from time to time. It just so happens there are a lot of PBS programs out there that have been adapted from books. Here are a few of our faves we recommend you check out (library joke)!

1. To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters

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In the Masterpiece special “To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters,” viewers see their rise from secluded, dutiful clergyman’s daughters to authors of the most controversial fiction of their time, which, BTW, still makes top novel lists.

2. Anne of Green Gables

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For many, Anne of Green Gables was a childhood heroine. In 2016, PBS debuted a new adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic novel. If you’re not familiar with the story of Anne, there’s no better time to get acquainted with her. The latest adaptation features acclaimed actor Martin Sheen as one half of the brother-sister pair that cares for Anne Shirley and is a heart warming must-see.

3. Sherlock

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Totes my fave on this list. From our friends at Masterpiece, “Sherlock” is a fast, funny and modern spin based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes.” Starring the lovable Benedict Cumberbatch (*googly eyes emoji*), it’s impossible not to like it. If you haven’t seen it, get out from under your rock and move to your couch.

4. Call the Midwife

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Because babies…and babes. If you’ve seen “Call the Midwife” you totally understand why this show rules (girl power!) and the book it’s based on—”Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times” by Jennifer Worth—also rules. Season six is ramping up, so get caught up!

5. Wolf Hall

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Co-produced for BBC Two and Masterpiece, this adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels tell the story of the rise of Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) during the reign King Henry VIII (Damian Lewis!). We love it and we’re not alone!

6. Slavery by Another Name

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Produced by Twin Cities PBS, “Slavery by Another Name” is based on the book by Douglas A. Blackmon which challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. This incredibly powerful doc brings this little-known history to life through artistically shot reenactments and gives voice to those forgotten victims and perpetrators of forced labor through interviews with their living descendants.

7. Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

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In 2015, Ken Burns released “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.” Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, this six hour film artfully weaves history, science and human stories to tell an informative yet uplifting story of cancer.

8. Arthur

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“Arthur” is the second longest-running TV show on PBS Kids behind “Sesame Street.” Based on the best-selling children’s book series by Marc Brown, “Arthur” made his television debut in 1996—I remember it! I was eight and it was a wonderful kind of day!

Maribel Lopez

Maribel is a lifelong public media fan and as director of Rewire, oversees the site’s strategy and operations. When she isn’t catching up on the latest digital publishing trends, she enjoys traveling, flamenco dancing and going on adventures with her doggos.