What to Watch in January

Dan Soles
Ann Curry in We'll Meet Again; James Baldwin at the March on Washington; The Way to Andina. Photos: David Turnley; Dan Budnik; The Way to Andina
Photos (clockwise from left): David Turnley; Dan Budnik; The Way to Andina

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.


Sundays at 8:00 pm, beginning January 14

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert return. Photo: Gareth Gatrell/ITV PlcPhoto: Gareth Gatrell/ITV Plc

The fiery young queen is back for another season as she navigates being a monarch and a mother – and deals with her often-difficult husband Prince Albert. Want to catch up on the previous season, and everything else we have posted about it? Find our Victoria recaps and content here

I Am Not Your Negro

Monday, January 15 at 9:00 pm

Hosea Williams and John Lewis confront troopers on Bloody Sunday, in Selma, Montgomery in 1965. Photo: Spider MartinHosea Williams and John Lewis confront troopers on Bloody Sunday, in Selma, Montgomery in 1965. Photo: Spider Martin

Raoul Peck’s Academy Award-nominated documentary being broadcast by Independent Lens starts from James Baldwin’s unfinished book about the assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and continues into black history and the history of racism up until the present day. Baldwin’s words, spoken by Samuel L. Jackson, are powerful enough, and the film itself enhances their strength and echoes their resonance. When WTTW hosted a screening of I Am Not Your Negro at the Cultural Center, the packed house was amazed by this timely documentary. It airs on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – and it’s not to be missed.

We’ll Meet Again

Tuesdays at 8:00 pm, beginning January 23

Ann Curry in We'll Meet Again. Photo: Blink FilmsPhoto: Blink Films

If you’ve missed Ann Curry, you’ll be glad to see her return with this series. But We’ll Meet Again would be a wonderful show even without Curry. Its premise is simple: people who met during an extraordinary period of their lives are reunited for the first time with the person who changed their life. From a white girl who befriended a Japanese girl during Japanese internment in World War II to a woman meeting the pilot who saved her during the eruption of Mount Saint Helens, these stories tug on your heartstrings and show the intense connections people can make in spite of the harshest circumstances.

Lost Opera: The Way to Andina

Thursday, January 25 at 9:00 pm

This local documentary recounts the incredible story of a long-lost opera’s journey to the stage for a world premiere 80 years late in the hands of someone who knows nothing about music. The opera Andina by Eustasio Rosales, a Columbian immigrant who came to Chicago in the last decade of the 19th century, was never performed. But when Rosales’s great-grandson Arlen Parsa learned of his ancestor’s opera, he decided to restore it and grant it its first performance. There’s a lot of heart, and humor, in this unusual tale.

TV Highlights
Dan Soles