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.
Fridays at 8:30 pm, beginning January 4
Your favorite shiny-headed Chicago WTTW personality is back with a new program – no, not Geoffrey Baer, but Jay Shefsky! Hear the stories of some of Chicago’s most fascinating, talented, wonderful, oddball people, as Jay meets and interviews people of all stripes with his trademark warmth and compassion: adults with intellectual disabilities cohabiting, a second-generation bait shop proprietor, a pioneering African American flight attendant met on a ride from O’hare, and more.
Saturdays at 8:00 pm, beginning January 5
If you like your mysteries with a bit of comedy, make sure to check out the new series Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators. While it does take place in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Shakespeare of the title isn’t the playwright – it’s a personable former hairdresser named Lu Shakespeare. She teams up with bumbling, down-on-his-luck private inspector Frank Hathaway to solve some cases and make some money. It’s a hoot – and if you want more humorous mysteries, season eight of Doc Martin is here, airing Saturdays at 7:00 pm, beginning January 5.
Tuesdays at 8:00 pm, beginning January 8
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is back with another round of genealogical and ancestral sleuthing, uncovering the family histories of celebrities including Michael Strahan, Marco Rubio, and PBS’s own Christiane Amanpour and Ann Curry. Maybe there will be another revelation like the one last season that showed Bernie Sanders and his comedic doppelganger Larry David to be distantly related.
And while you wait for the first episode to air, learn how the genealogists on the Finding Your Roots team spend more than 10,000 hours unraveling the stories revealed on the show.
Sundays at 8:00 pm, beginning January 13
It’s here: the third season of Victoria! We have now come to the late 1840s as we move through the extensive reign of the iron-willed queen. She’s no longer a political neophyte, and must face various crises: reformist revolutions sweeping England in 1848, a push for greater democracy in the United Kingdom, and, on a more personal level, her moody, stubborn husband Albert.
Immerse yourself in the world of Victoria with all of our content for the show, from episode recaps to features to recipes and quizzes.
Wednesdays, January 16 and 23 at 8:00 pm
In this beautifully shot, two-part Nature series, explore the evolution of one of humanity’s most important animal companions, the horse. You’ll learn surprising facts, like how horses have 360-degree vision and gallop on a single toe, investigate their relationship with humans, encounter racehorses and intriguing breeds, and, most of all, witness some stunning storytelling.