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Top 10 PBS Masterpiece Theater Series

Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff

April 10, 2012
Filed Under TV 

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A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater seriesContributed by Korina Rossi, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru

There’s no better accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea and scones than a Masterpiece Theater mystery or costume drama.

And for viewers without an appetite for eccentric detectives or parasols, PBS also presents gritty political dramas and crime procedurals set in the underbelly of modern London.

Here are my top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater Series:


10. The Hound of the Baskervilles

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

The most popular miniseries from the prodigious collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the Hound of the Baskervilles features the deerstalkered sleuth investigating a family curse that predicts that the inheritor of Baskerville Hall will be devoured by a supernatural dog. If you’re way beyond the ordinary fan, why not dress up like Mr. Holmes while you watch and try to follow the clues. Or at least spend some time playing the violin while you contemplate the suspects!

9. Prime Suspect

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

In this noir series about violent crime in London, Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison solves the most inscrutable crimes while fending off male chauvinism at her police station. Helen Mirren fans will especially savor seeing her in one of her most juicy roles before starring turn in The Queen made her famous on both sides of the Atlantic.

8. Cold Comfort Farm

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

From the debut season of Masterpiece Theater, Cold Comfort Farm followed the ordeals of a young city slicker, Flora Poste, who moves to her family’s ramshackle farm where she encounters a motley group of farmers, barkeepers, and townspeople. Between caring for baby calves and putting the farm in the black, Flora solves the personal crises of the villagers.

7. The Duchess of Duke Street

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

There’s more to running a bed and breakfast than fluffing a few pillows. The Duchess of Duke Street shows the heartwarming journey of turn-of-the-century cook, Louisa Trotter, who endeavors to pull herself up by her bootstraps by running a cozy bed and breakfast.

Tuck yourself into a comfy corner of the couch with lots of soft pillows and a hot cup of tea before you start watching. You’ll feel like you’re there in the B&B!

6. The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard is the ideal escapist drama for an election year. Mrs. Pritchard, a grocery store manager living a quiet life in the suburbs, despairs when both candidates for her constituency are exposed as incompetent. On a whim, she decides to declare herself a candidate and sweeps into Parliament as prime minister with her own Purple Party.

5. The Six Wives of Henry VIII

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

Though not recommended viewing for newly weds, this TV adaptation of Henry VIII’s marital woes might leave you wondering if there’s a return policy on wedding rings.

4. A Perfect Spy

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

This cloak-and-dagger tale of Magnus Pym, a double agent working for both MI6 and Czechoslovak intelligence, was inspired by the real life of author John Le Carre. Like 007 without spy gadgets, the film portrayed the less glamorous life of Cold War espionage.

3. Bleak House

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

Bleak House, the seminal society novel by Charles Dickens is about the inefficiencies and corruption of the court system, will soothe the nerves of anyone who’s been through even traffic court. Masterpiece Theater made two different iterations of Bleak House: the more modern 2005 production, boasting A-list actors, will appeal to younger audiences.

2. Cora Unashamed

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

Based on a collection of short stories by Langston Hughes, Cora Unashamed follows the baneful life of a housekeeper during the Great Depression. Lauded for its unsentimental depiction of the precarious lives of African-Americans in the Midwest, the drama is a fitting companion piece for other Great Depression stories like The Grapes of Wrath.

1. Jane Eyre

A list of the top ten PBS Masterpiece Theater series

Charlotte Bronte’s tale of a luckless orphan who finds romance when she becomes a governess is the perfect movie for a three-hanky audience.



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