What to Watch in September

Dan Soles
Marley's Ghosts, Before I Kick the Bucket, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, and Chicago's Vietnam Stories.

There’s a huge amount of worthwhile TV out there nowadays, so it can be hard to choose what to watch. But who better to recommend shows than the person who programs them? Dan Soles, Senior Vice President and Chief Television Officer at WTTW, constructs the WTTW schedule by searching through offerings from many different sources which include the national PBS network, the BBC, and independent filmmakers to put together a varied and engaging broadcast schedule. Each month, he’ll recommend a few shows that he thinks you should watch.

Before I Kick the Bucket

Thursday, September 7 at 8:00 pm

Rowena Kincaid in Before I Kick the Bucket.Rowena Kincaid.

In Before I Kick the Bucket, Rowena Kincaid, a BBC reporter in her late 30s, discovers that she has terminal cancer and puts together a bucket list, trying to make it to her 40th birthday. Despite the seemingly hopeless subject matter, this is a very affirming documentary in which she accomplishes a great deal and has wonderful experiences with other terminally ill patients.

Marley's Ghosts

Begins Sunday, Sept. 10 at 10:00 pm

Marley's Ghosts.John Hannah, Sarah Alexander, Nicholas Burns, and Jo Joyner.

It’s been a while since WTTW has presented a British comedy, so we’re excited to have Marley’s Ghosts. Marley is a magistrate whose marriage is on the rocks – her husband drinks a lot, so she’s having an affair with a co-worker. In quick succession, her husband, her lover, and the local vicar all die – and return to haunt Marley. Her house gets crowded as the three ghosts all move in and her two partners fight over her. It’s a hilarious and entertaining series with some great British humor.

Frontline – Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Tuesday, September 12 at 10:00 pm

Thomas Sung in Frontline's Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. Photo: Sean LynessThomas Sung, founder of Abacus Federal Savings Bank. Photo: Sean Lyness

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a fascinating documentary that provides an intimate perspective of a Chinese family defending their reputation against mortgage fraud charges. Despite its small size, their Chinatown community bank was the only U.S. bank prosecuted after the 2008 financial crisis. Chicago filmmaker Steve James, who is known for the documentaries Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters, directs, and Abacus continues his tradition of telling compelling personal stories. Check back on September 12 for an interview with James on Playlist.

Chicago's Vietnam Stories

Friday, September 15 at 7:30 pm

Chicago's Vietnam Stories.Chicago area veteran Jim Zwit

This is a local addition to Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s monumental The Vietnam War. Produced by WTTW, it features the amazing stories of Chicago area veterans, who recount their first combat engagements, life at war, coping with their experiences upon returning home, and the comfort they have found in memorials. Every time I watch these, I catch my breath. The stories are also available on our Vietnam War site, and will air individually alongside The Vietnam War.

TV Highlights
Dan Soles