New Year brings new seasons of your favorite shows, including Downton Abbey

What better way to kick off a new year than with new seasons of some of your favorite shows on NPT. We’ve got five premieres to help chase away the post-holiday blahs, including the start of Downton Abbey: The Final Season and Mercy Street, PBS’s first original American drama in more than a decade.

NPT SherlockScene WEB596x342BSherlock: The Abominable Bride, a 90-minute standalone special set in Victorian London, kicks things off New Year’s Day at 8 p.m. In the story, Holmes and Watson (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, respectively), investigate a spectral presence observed by a new widower. If you miss the premiere, be sure to watch the encore presentation Sunday, Jan. 10, at 9 p.m.

By the way, if you really love Sherlock and want to delve deeper into his world, enter our contest to win a Sherlock-inspired coloring book adventure through the Nashville Scene’s Free Stuff promotion.

Sunday, Jan. 3, at 8 p.m. Downton Abbey has become a cultural touchstone since its January 2011 debut on PBS; that’s one reason we’re presenting an evening of #DowntonPBS programming to launch the new season. The viewing party starts at 7 p.m. with Countdown to Downton Abbey hosted by Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, followed by the Downton Abbey: The Final Season premiere at 8 p.m. Then, stay tuned for Celebration of Downton Abbey, a look back and ahead, at 9:30 p.m.

Downton Abbey: The Final Season airs 8 p.m. Sundays on NPT through March 6. And, yes, we’re throwing a bash to mark the end of this unbelievably popular series. Join us March 6 for A Finale Affair.

Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. Season 3 of Finding Your Roots investigates the family trees of 28 more celebrities. The Stories We Tell, the first episode, examines how the legacy of slavery has shaped the identities of political consultant Donna Brazile, actor Ty Burrell and artist Kara Walker. Other episodes will feature TV producers Norman Lear and Shonda Rhimes; actors Dustin Hoffman and Julianne Moore; cultural figures Gloria Steinem and Bill O’Reilly and others. Finding Your Roots airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on NPT.

Thursday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m. Loveable grouch Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) is back in the long-anticipated seventh season of Doc Martin. The series features the doctor and his neighbors playing out their eccentricities in a picturesque Cornish setting. At the start of this new season, Martin faces therapy and life without his wife Louisa (Caroline Catz) who has decamped to Spain for a break from their relationship. Doc Martin airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NPT, with a repeated weekly dose Sundays at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 17, at 9 p.m. Mercy Street is PBS’ first original American drama in more than a decade. The six-part series is inspired by real people and follows the lives of two volunteer nurses – New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate belle Emma Green – working in Mansion House, a military hospital based in the Green family’s luxury hotel in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va. The show’s scripts were vetted by a team of experts in Civil War medicine, military history, African American history, women in the Civil War, etc., led by Civil War historian James McPherson.

As you’d expect from a PBS-worthy period drama, Mercy Street showcases beautiful costumes and lavish interiors (contrasted with images of appalling injuries and breakthrough medical procedures) with complex characters in a plotline touching on familiar aspects of Civil War-era stories.

Mercy Street airs Sundays at 9 p.m. through Feb. 21 with encore presentations Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Find our complete programming schedule at

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