What to Watch in November

Dan Soles
Polar bear cubs playing together. Svalbard Islands. Photo: Roie Galitz / © John Downer Productions
Polar bear cubs playing together on the Svalbard Islands. Photo: Roie Galitz / © John Downer Productions

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.

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities

Thursdays beginning November 1 at 9:00 pm

This show, originally from the BBC, takes a look at three remarkable cities during three extraordinary years. Freud, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and musicians and architects produced seminal works in Vienna in 1908. European surrealists rubbed shoulders with American expats like Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, and Cole Porter in Paris in 1928. And Jackson Pollock, On the Road, and I Love Lucy all rocked New York in 1951. It’s an exciting series about exciting times.

Great Performances: John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway

Friday, November 16 at 9:00 pm

When the comedian John Leguizamo realized that his son wasn’t learning much about the contributions of Latino peoples to the history of America, he decided to educate himself about his own heritage and address that erasure through a stage show, Latin History for Morons. This hilarious and informative Great Performances presentation follows his path through creating the show and bringing it to Broadway.

The Mark Twain Prize: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Monday, November 19 at 9:00 pm

The awards ceremony for the Mark Twain Prize is always a riot, full of some of the funniest people in American show business. This year, the Prize was awarded to the outstanding Julia Louis-Dreyfus, of Seinfeld and Veep fame. She’s a Northwestern alum, so there’s a local connection, not that you need that to entice you to watch the antics of her and her friends.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Mark Twain Prize award ceremony. Photo: Scott SuchmanPhoto: Scott Suchman

Let’s Go Luna!

Premieres Wednesday, November 21 at 9:00 am

Every once in a while I like to highlight a children’s show because we have such a strong slate of PBS Kids programming. Let’s Go Luna! Is our newest addition. It’s a whimsical and educational animated show about the travels of three children whose parents are part of an acrobatic circus. As they traverse the globe with their parents, they learn about and explore the cultures they encounter with their friend, Luna the moon. It’s great for kids – but adults might find themselves enjoying it too!

Let's Go Luna! Image: LATW Productions Inc.Image: LATW Productions Inc.

Nature: Snow Bears

Wednesday, November 28 at 8:00 pm

People may love polar bears for their cuteness, but they’re also vital global symbols of the endangerment that comes with climate change, as their habitats melt. This Nature episode narrated by Kate Winslet offers a look at the journey of some young cubs and their mother as they travel hundreds of miles to the sea to feed. It may be humanizing and adorable – but it’s also a necessary call to action to save the habitats and ways of life of these creatures.