I grew up watching PBS. Back then, there weren't so many channels, and I think we were better off. Moma and Daddy loved Masterpiece Theatre and Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops. You can still watch some of the episodes of the latter on You tube, including an evening with The Carpenters. Alistaire Cooke was the host when I first watched the show, and we have seen many others fill that role over the years. I thought Diana Rigg did a great job. She introduced a remake of Daphne de Maurier's Rebecca in which she starred, playing the mysterious and dark Mrs. Danvers.
Among my parents's favorites were The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R. Our kids have grown up with these classics and others from the program. We have come home many a night from church, grabbed our supper, and sat down to watch Poldark, Downton Abbey, and most recently, Victoria. I love Wolf Hall (although I question the historicity of some of it, as with Victoria--it's no fun living in the house with 4 historians). I love the original Poldark, and the remake was good as well. I am currently watching The Pallisers. There are quite a few available on YouTube. By the way, in a survey taken to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Masterpiece, Upstairs, Downstairs was rated #1. I tell our kids that there would have been no Downton had there not been an Upstairs, Downstairs. In fact, there were many story lines and characters that seemed very much like those in the Jean Marsh series.
Michael really likes some of the older Masterpiece Mystery: P.D. James and Lord Peter Wimsey in particular. We love Foyle's War and Lewis now. You have to be careful because some of the mysteries can be harsh. The Cadfael Mysteries are really good--especially the first series with Sean Pertwee as Hugh Beringar. When he leaves the series, it loses quite a bit of its character.
I told Michael I want a "Masterpiece" shelf--the videos and DVDs we have collected over the years, the books they represent, and a couple of used book store Masterpiece Theatre book finds we have.
These programs and the literature and history upon which they are based have added a lot to our lives.
Here is a favorite of our family's: Upstairs, Downstairs with an introduction by Alistaire Cookie.