Looking for some great shows to dig into this fall? GBH Passport is where you should be looking, and below I've put together some of my top selections for October. The member benefit that provides you with extended access to an on-demand library of quality public television programming, GBH Passport features current and past seasons of PBS and GBH shows — including drama, science, history, and the arts. Watch anytime on GBH.org or on the PBS App.

One of the more memorable scenes in the first episode of Cranford involves a group of women administering a kind of Victorian laxative to a house cat believed to have swallowed some lace. Small-town life in 1840s England can be thoroughly entertaining in this five-part BBC miniseries based on the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell, first aired in 2007. Even for a genre defined by mutton chops and carriages, the level of period detail is extraordinary. The cast is impeccable: Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Leslie Manville and Greg Wise. This is sure to appeal to fans of Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and all-things Jane Austen (BTW, did you check out our streaming collection of Austen adaptations?).

Watch the trailer:

Stream Cranford now on GBH Passport

Professor T: Season 2

If you enjoyed the backdrop of Masterpiece’s Van der Valk reboot as much as I did, look to this Belgian import for more high drama in the low countries. The titular character, an eccentric criminal psychologist, shares Dr. Gregory House’s irascibility and Adrian Monk’s germaphobia, but he’s his own man and the series’ skillful blending of comedy and drama does things I haven’t seen before on television. It’s a standout in the Walter’s Choice curated slate of international dramas and is even headed for a British makeover: ITV has started filming an English version starring Death in Paradise’s Ben Miller. Catch up on Seasons 1 and 2 now. In Flemish with English subtitles.

Watch the Season 2 preview:

Stream Professor T now on GBH Passport

Mark Twain: A Film Directed by Ken Burns

Understanding the contradiction between Mark Twain the writer, and Samuel Langhorne Clemens the man, is chiefly the focus of Ken Burns’ two-part portrait of the American iconoclast. It’s not one of Burns’ most extolled films and, at four hours, it’s also not one of his longest (depending on your threshold for documentary duration, that might be a good thing!). But the highs and lows of Twain’s extraordinary life at the nexus of writer and celebrity are revealed with illuminating detail, helped by a strong cast of contributors that include playwright Arthur Miller, actor Hal Holbrook, writer Russell Banks and satirist Dick Gregory, among others. Through Burns’ lens, we come to understand the gravity of impact Twain’s writing style had in his time and ours. “All modern literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn,” wrote Ernest Hemingway in 1935. Fans of both writers, rejoice: Hemingway gets the Burns treatment in a forthcoming doc set for release in 2021.

Watch a clip: Huckleberry Finn

Stream Mark Twain now on GBH Passport

The Widower

(Last chance!)
I have to put in a plug for this three-part drama about real-life convicted murderer Malcolm Webster (Reece Shearsmith, The League of Gentlemen). We know where this is going, but watching the soft-spoken Webster charm his second and third wives and evade capture is absorbing. Watch it before it leaves Passport on October 17.

Watch a preview:

Stream The Widower now on GBH Passport

American Experience: Freedom Riders

(Available now free on demand) Between May and November 1961, more than 400 Americans — black and white, young and old, northern and southern — took the fight for civil rights out of the courtroom and into the Jim Crow South. Calling themselves the Freedom Riders, the activists put their lives on the line as they traveled by bus and challenged the segregated interstate travel system with nonviolent protests. Stanley Nelson’s film was immediately acclaimed for its vivid sense of drama and inclusion of eyewitness testimonies when it first aired in 2011, and its power is no less gut-punching nearly 60 years after the freedom rides. This is essential viewing and a perfect companion piece to Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America, a new documentary premiering in October.

Watch the full episode:

View more selections for October and beyond in the GBH Passport collection.