What to Watch in September

Dan Soles
The Durrells in Corfu. Photo: Joss Barratt for Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE
The Durrells in Corfu. Photo: Joss Barratt for Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE

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.

Exit Zero

Monday, September 3 at 9:00 pm

This local documentary explores the effects, both economic and environmental, of the closure of the steel mills in Southeast Chicago by examining the story of one family over generations, from their arrival as immigrants through labor struggles and an industrial boom to the depression now. It’s a personal story that shows the implications of nationwide deindustrialization, and it’s a history that needs to be told.

Urban Nature

Fridays at 8:30 pm beginning September 7, and online all the time


Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco may be large concrete metropolises, but there are surprising natural oases and thriving ecosystems hidden in plain sight. The WTTW digital series Urban Nature features sixteen short episodes on everything from why different species of squirrels in Chicago seem to segregate to a deserted island off Manhattan that has been reclaimed by nature. The shorts have been packaged into episodes for broadcast, one on each city, but not all of them fit – so make sure to check out the website for more!

800 Words

Saturdays at 7:00 pm beginning September 8

800 WordsPhoto: American Public Television

This comedy-drama about a single father who moves to a small New Zealand town with his two children for a fresh start has quickly become a favorite, and it returns with a new season, its third, this month. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth a watch!

Amanpour and Company

Special premiere episode Monday, September 10 at 10:00 pm; weekdays at 11:30 pm

Christiane Amanpour. Photo: CNN InternationalPhoto: CNN International

We’ve been broadcasting the veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour’s nightly international affairs show for months now, and are excited to now have her new series. Amanpour interviews world leaders and agents along with a team of stellar fellow journalists: Walter Isaacson, known for his biographies of Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci among others; Michel Martin from NPR’s All Things Considered; the podcaster and Bustle editor Alicia Menendez, and PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan.

Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science

Tuesday, September 25 at 9:00 pm


The Mayo Clinic is a world-renowned medical center that is in the forefront of patient care. This documentary, executive produced by Ken Burns, mines the history of the Clinic for lessons on healthcare today. It features the incredible stories of various patients and includes interviews with such patients as the Dalai Lama and the late John McCain. It’s a really strong film about transforming lives, modern medicine, and America’s healthcare.

The Durrells in Corfu and Poldark

Sundays at 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm, beginning September 30


And finally, the return of two fervently awaited fan favorites from Masterpiece: the humorous tales of an oddball English family living in the paradise of the Greek island of Corfu, and the tempestuous history of the fiery Ross Poldark, his wife, rival, and everyone else in their circle in Cornwall in the late eighteenth century. If you need help remembering what has happened, we’ve got recaps for the third season of Poldark and recaps for last season of the Durrells.