What to Watch in December

Dan Soles
Fred and Violet Buckle and Reggie in the Call the Midwife holiday special. Photo: Neal Street Production/BBC
The Call the Midwife Holiday Special. Photo: Neal Street Production/BBC

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.

Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

Thursday, December 13 at 9:00 pm

Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

This is a fun, irreverent look at some of the most iconic popular Christmas songs and their unexpected origins from the pens of Jewish songwriters: Irving Berlin, Mel Tormé, Jule Styne. It’s not only a funny and engrossing documentary revealing some hidden history, it’s also a satisfying dose of nostalgia for the holidays, as it brings you back to the times in which many of these classic songs were written.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special

Tuesday, December 25 at 8:00 pm

The Call the Midwife Holiday Special. Photo: Neal Street Production/BBCPhoto: Neal Street Production/BBC

Airing the Call the Midwife holiday special, which also functions as the premiere of a new season, on Christmas has become a beloved holiday tradition. There’s so much humanity, humor, and compassion in this warm-hearted series, so it’s perfect for the holidays. Plus, it will sate your craving for more of the series for a while longer, before the new season appears in the spring!

NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission

Wednesday, December 26 at 9:00 pm


Next year marks a huge milestone in space exploration: the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing. Start the “lunar” year off a bit early with another major event, the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 8, which laid the groundwork for Apollo 11 by becoming the first spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit and orbit the moon. It also produced two iconic memories: a Christmas Eve television broadcast where the astronauts read from the Book of Genesis, and an unforgettable photo of the earth rising out of shadow beyond the moon.

Great Performances: Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood

Friday, December 28 at 8:30 pm

Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in a celebration of Leonard Bernstein's Centennial. Photo: Chris LeePhoto: Chris Lee

Last year was the centennial of one of the most engaging and famous musicians America has ever produced, the conductor, composer, and pianist Leonard Bernstein. The anniversary was marked by hundreds of outstanding concerts across the country over the course of the year; watch one of them, featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Thomas Hampton, Audra McDonald, and others, at Bernstein’s old stomping ground of Tanglewood.

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