As MASTERPIECE staffers, we often hear from fans about the particular shows you love. For the first time, we are turning the tables, and sharing some of the shows, seasons, and episodes we talk about at the lunch table, in the hallway, and with friends and family. Check out our picks below, then start binging all these staff-favorite shows when you watch with PBS Passport, an added member benefit.
Don’t see your favorite show on our list? We picked just a few of our favorites, so stay tuned for more staff selections coming soon. We have much more MASTERPIECE to swoon about!
To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters
I loved To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters so much that I recommend it everyone who loves the Brontës, novels, poetry, the English moors, or sisterhood. It tells the story of a brief period in the Brontë household – when money troubles and a ne’r-do-well brother drove Charlotte to persuade her sisters to try writing for money. What’s entrancing and unusual about this show is that it feels so real: the actors wear little makeup and use their own real Yorkshire accents. I felt I was in that house, on those moors, squabbling with my siblings, trying to accomplish something that no one believed I could do. And there’s a magical scene in which Emily stands on a hill out on her beloved moors and we hear her poetry as fierce music swells and the wind, well, wuthers. It’s incredibly powerful and makes you want to rush to that moor and stand on that hill declaiming poetry, RIGHT NOW.
– Erin Delaney, Senior Producer
Man in an Orange Shirt
I was profoundly moved by Man in an Orange Shirt. The story speaks as testament to the complex, tender, hard-to-hold experience of love made ever more heartbreaking in the throes of societal restriction and shame. The characters stayed with me for weeks and I adored them. There are no simple “good guys” and “bad guys” but rather decent, kind, human beings all doing their best to navigate their pain and authentic longings for love. The show offers heartfelt prose that will echo in your mind like a favorite song: “My love for you runs through me like grain through wood.” The type of love and connection we all aspire to experience in our lifetime. Beware: viewing this program near Valentine’s Day might prompt a full-on emotional eating binge of chocolate or pizza, depending on your preference.
– Kathleen DiPerna, Associate Producer
Grantchester, Season 3
Grantchester fans might struggle to pick a favorite season, but I can assure you right here — it’s the third. With all the intrigue, camaraderie, and charming 1950s-era British style (plus plenty of Dickens, the vicarage’s most important canine), the third season of Grantchester underlines everything MASTERPIECE fans love about the crime-fighting vicar and his policeman best friend. It gives Mrs. Maguire and Leonard their own fascinating backstories for a change, and extends the emotional tumult of the series to Geordie and Cath, as well. What’s more, the third season is an easy entry point for viewers who haven’t yet caught the Grantchester bug. I should know — when I first started at MASTERPIECE, the third season of Grantchester was the first show for which I produced MASTERPIECE Studio podcasts.
–Nick Andersen, Digital Producer
Downton Abbey, Season 2, Episode 7
I’d say the perfect episode for love– even if it is the Christmas episode – is Season 2 Episode 7 of Downton Abbey. I always remember the ending – Matthew and Mary finally kissing as the snow falls. But if you’re like me, you will have forgotten how much else got packed into this episode. Bates’ trial, Mary arguing with Richard, Daisy finding her place in the world, Mrs. Crawley and the Dowager Countess being all-knowing, remembrances of Mr. Pamuk — this episode has it all. Not to mention how good the zingers are coming from the Dowager. But I think it’s the tenderness that is so touching – Daisy’s time getting to know William’s father, Matthew being so attentive to Mary, Anna’s love of Bates – that is so indicative of Julian Fellowes’ incredible writing in this series.
– Julie Kahn, Editor
Unforgotten, Seasons 1 & 2
One thing I love about my job is the chance to work on all the great shows. Being a fan of our Mystery! Shows in particular, I was thrilled to be a part of promoting Unforgotten. It is by far one of my favorite mysteries due to the storytelling. When watching Unforgotten, you get perspective on all the characters affected by the crime, not only the victim and the criminal. I always recommend it to Mystery! Fans, and I love seeing people discussing this awesome show across our social platforms including the MASTERPIECE Mystery! Facebook group where people really get a chance to converse and share their excitement for Unforgotten.
– Willa Deneault, Account Executive
The Durrells in Corfu
As my friend Max will tell you, I never hesitate to insert into a conversation the fact that I was born in Paris, France. Memories of riding home with a baguette protruding out of my bicycle basket and running around the Luxembourg Gardens with my brothers still gently resurface in my days. Given all that, I was predisposed to adore The Durrells in Corfu, a series that tells the real-life story of Louisa Durrell (portrayed by the brilliant Keeley Hawes), moving her family from England to Corfu to start a new life. Hilarious, tender, and unflinching in its look at family dynamics, you will fall under the spell of the Durrells family and their colorful island mates. And, if you’re hankering for a Nature/MASTERPIECE mash up, then get ready for an astonishing menagerie of animals that make appearances throughout the series.
– Bruce Kohl, Senior Digital Producer
Sherlock, Season 4, Episode 3
My favorite is the last episode of the Sherlock series – “The Final Problem” – because it’s proxy of the entire 13-part Sherlock series that MASTERPIECE started airing in 2010. This episode is harrowing (truly), darkly funny, cerebral, gothic, melodramatic and a little witty. But at its core, it’s a story about family, repressed memory, and right and wrong choices. We see Sherlock in his most vulnerable role. And, Andrew Scott brilliantly played Moriarity as a vain rocker to Queen’s “I want to break free.”
– Steven Ashley, Senior Series Producer