Skip to main content
Get a Sneak Peek at New Documentaries Coming to OETA/PBS
Email share

PBS has a slate of primetime specials related to the Vietnam War, and culminating in the 2017 premiere of Ken Burns’s and Lynn Novick’s THE VIETNAM WAR. The specials, airing this April, offer new perspectives on the tumultuous era and the endurance of the United States military during one of the nation’s longest wars. Oscar-nominated LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE anchors the week of programming on Tuesday, April 28 at 8 p.m., in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. The film, by award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy, chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War. As the North Vietnamese closed in on Saigon, an unlikely group of heroes took matters into their own hands in order to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. LAST DAYS is streaming free online from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 on all PBS/OETA platforms, including online at

One day earlier, on Monday, April 27 at 8 p.m., the premiere of THE DAY THE 60’s DIED chronicles the nation’s upheaval during May 1970, the month in which four students were shot dead at Kent State during an anti-war protest. The film marks the 45th anniversary of the tragedy. 

On Monday, May 15 at 9 p.m.Independent Lens: 1971 tells the true story of group of citizens who uncovered the FBI's illegal domestic spying programs. These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI's illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans and helped lead to the country's first Congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies. Never caught, 43 years later, these previously anonymous Americans – parents, teachers and citizens – publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary 1971.

Ken Burns’ Cancer: Emperor of All Maladies examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective and a biographer’s passion. The series artfully weaves three different films in one: a riveting historical documentary; an engrossing and intimate vérité film; and a scientific and investigative report. The three-part, six-hour event airs Monday, March 30 through Wednesday, April 1 at 8 p.m.

The Italian Americans, a two-part, four-hour series premiering Tuesdays, February 17 and 24 at 8 p.m. on OETA, reveals how Italian immigrants challenged the notion of the American “melting pot” — chronicling four generations of Italian-American lives, from the massive late 19th Century wave of immigration to today. From the importance of the family over an individual’s personal aspirations, to their distinctive, circular migration patterns, to the specter of the Mafia that still plagues Italian Americans today, this series peels away myths and stereotypes to reveal a world uniquely Italian and uniquely American. 


See more from PBS at TCA 2015: Day OneDay Two.