The Vietnam War, the 18-hour documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, will premiere on WLIW21 on September 18. The ten-episode series will broadcast at midnight on WLIW, Monday through Friday, through September 29. Set your DVR or watch during primetime on THIRTEEN.
For more Vietnam-related content and new programs like American Medevac and Legacies of War, see our Vietnam page.
Beginning Sunday, September 17 at 8pm, the first five episodes will be released. All will stream on the web (desktop or mobile) and THIRTEEN Explore and PBS apps for smartphones, tablets, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Viewers can choose from four streaming options: English broadcast version, English explicit language version (not edited for TV; adult language), a Spanish-language version, and a Vietnamese version with subtitles. The last five episodes will be available to stream starting Sunday, September 24.
Broadcast Schedule (Midnights)
Episode One – Déjà Vu (1858-1961)
Premieres September 18, 2017 at midnight
France first attacked the city of Danang in 1858 and by 1887 Vietnam was part of its colony called Indochina. In 1954 after a long and brutal war, Vietnamese revolutionaries led by Ho Chi Minh, French-educated and a Communist, end nearly a century of French occupation. With the Cold War intensifying, Vietnam is divided in two at Geneva. Communists in the north aim to reunify the country, while America supports Ngo Dinh Diem’s untested regime in the south.
Episode Two – Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)
Premieres September 19, 2017 at midnight
As a communist insurgency gains strength, President John F. Kennedy wrestles with American involvement in South Vietnam. To protest the Diem regime’s persecution of Buddhists, the 73-year-old monk Thich Quang Duc sets himself on fire at a major traffic intersection in Saigon on June 11, 1963. The monk’s self-immolation makes news around the world in photographs and television footage.
Episode Three – The River Styx (January 1964–December 1965)
Premieres September 20, 2017 at midnight
With South Vietnam near collapse, President Lyndon B. Johnson begins bombing the North and sends US troops to the South.
Episode Four – Resolve (January 1966–June 1967)
Premieres September 21, 2017 at midnight
US soldiers discover Vietnam is unlike their fathers’ war, while the antiwar movement grows.
Episode Five – This Is What We Do (July 1967–December 1967)
Premieres September 22, 2017 at midnight
This episode hones in on just six months of the Vietnam War. President Johnson escalates the war while promising the public that victory is in sight.
Episode Six – Things Fall Apart (January 1968–July 1968)
Premieres September 25, 2017 at midnight
This episode covers seven months of the Vietnam War era. Shaken by the Tet Offensive, assassinations and unrest, America seems to be coming apart.
Episode Seven – The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968–May 1969)
Premieres September 26, 2017 at midnight
After chaos roils the Democratic Convention, Richard Nixon, promising peace, narrowly wins the presidency.
Episode Eight – The History of the World (April 1969–May 1970)
Premieres September 27, 2017 at midnight
President Nixon withdraws troops but when he sends forces into Cambodia the antiwar movement reignites.
Episode Nine – A Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970–March 1973)
Premieres September 28, 2017 at midnight
South Vietnam fights on its own as President Nixon and Henry Kissinger find a way out for America. The POWs return.
Episode Ten – The Weight of Memory (March 1973–Onward)
Premieres September 29, 2017 at midnight
Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, falls in 1975 and the war ends. Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for reconciliation.