What to Watch in October

Dan Soles
Photos: Joan Marcus, Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE, Liane Brandon

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.

Frontline: North Korea's Deadly Dictator

Wednesday, October 14 at 10:00 PM

Frontline’s fall season is full of timely investigations, and North Korea’s Deadly Dictator is no exception. It investigates the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in a Malaysian airport in 2017. Providing in-depth coverage of a top-of-the-mind issue, it tries to better understand the current ruler of North Korea and what motivates him. With the current nuclear tensions, North Korea will remain an important subject, so this is a necessary documentary.

Durrells in Corfu

Sundays at 8:00 PM, beginning October 15

The Durrells in Corfu. Photo: John Rogers/Sid Gentle FilmsKeeley Hawes as Louisa Durrell. Photo: John Rogers/Sid Gentle Films

Poldark will get all the attention, but this Masterpiece dramedy is more than worth your time. It’s a charming series about an English family living on a Greek island in the 1930s, negotiating culture clashes in their new home. It’s a bit lighter than some other Masterpiece shows, and it pushes all the right buttons: funny, touching, exciting. Check back every Sunday night for recaps on Playlist.

Live From Lincoln Center: Falsettos

Friday, October 27 at 9:00 PM

The cast of 'Falsettos." Photo: Joan MarcusThe cast of 'Falsettos.' Photo: Joan Marcus

We have a whole slate of Broadway-themed programming this fall, but Falsettos is a standout. Nominated for five Tonys, this is a top-of-the-line production of a musical about a gay man’s struggles with family – including his wife, lover, son, and psychiatrist – right before the AIDS crisis.  

American Masters: Edgar Allen Poe – Buried Alive 

Monday, October 30 at 9:00 PM

Denis O'Hare as Edgar Allen Poe. Photo: Liane BrandonDenis O'Hare as Edgar Allen Poe. Photo: Liane Brandon

What better way to spend the night before Halloween than exploring the life of a master of horror stories? Edgar Allen Poe led a short but extraordinary life, inventing the detective genre, refining science fiction, and popularizing short stories before mysteriously dying of an unknown cause. Denis O’Hare plays Poe and reads from his works in this spooky American Masters.

TV Highlights
Dan Soles