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What to Watch in March

Lisa Tipton
Geoffrey Baer riding a CTA heritage train in Chicago by 'L.' Photo: Kristan Lieb
Geoffrey Baer riding a CTA heritage train in Chicago by 'L.' Photo: Kristan Lieb

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? Lisa Tipton, WTTW’s Head of Programming and Pledge, 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, she’ll recommend a few shows that she thinks you should watch.

Chicago By ‘L’ with Geoffrey Baer

Premieres Wednesday, March 4 at 7:30 pm

Board the ‘L’ with Geoffrey Baer and discover Chicago one stop at a time in his newest special. We always love when Geoffrey finds another part of Chicagoland to explore, and his latest is a great way to navigate the city to its vibrant neighborhoods while also learning about the fascinating history of the ‘L’ and the places it runs through.

Don’t miss even more ways to explore the city and the ‘L’ at, launching March 4, where you can dive into a neighborhood guide, enjoy the art of the ‘L,’ learn about its history, future, and how it got its colors, and more!

Niall Ferguson’s Networld

Tuesday, March 17 beginning at 8:00 pm

“Social network” might only call to mind Facebook or Instagram, but it can describe so much more, including analog relations between communities and how they spread information. In this three-part series, Niall Ferguson explores the history of networks with the help of social scientists and data analysts, from the Reformation to the American Revolution and the dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984. We live in an era of social media, so it’s an timely thing to understand.

East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story

Tuesday, March 24 at 8:00 pm

East Lake Meadows was a notorious public housing community in Atlanta that became swept up in a drug epidemic and was eventually torn down. This documentary by Sarah Burns and David McMahon, presented by Sarah’s father Ken Burns, investigates the limited housing opportunities for African Americans and the concentrated poverty that has accompanied it. It’s a story that will be familiar to Chicagoans, and is important to understand for a city that has torn down many of its own trouble-ridden projects.

Stories of Survival – Final Transports: Holocaust Stories of Magda & George and Childhood Lost: Holocaust Stories of George & Steen

Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 and 8:30 pm

These two documentaries come to us from the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. They tell the stories of several Holocaust survivors—Magda Brown, George Brent, George Mueller, and Steen Metz, all of whom were just children during World War II—and their and their families’ lives in the face of Nazi tyranny.

Somewhere South

Fridays beginning March 27 at 9:00 pm

Chefs Mashama Bailey and Vivian Howard in 'Somewhere South.' Photo: Josh Woll/Markay MediaChefs Mashama Bailey and Vivian Howard in 'Somewhere South.' Photo: Josh Woll/Markay Media

Most people have a very narrow view of Southern food: fried chicken, grits, collard greens. But there’s so much more variety to be found across the American South, as innovative chefs create new traditions and share their own heritage through their food. In Somewhere South, Chef Vivian Howard, whose previous show was the popular A Chef’s Life, meets some of those chefs and discovers the new Southern cuisine.

Call the Midwife

Sundays beginning March 29 at 7:00 pm

Call the Midwife season 9. Photo: BBC / Neal Street ProductionsCall the Midwife season 9. Photo: BBC / Neal Street Productions

There’s a reason Call the Midwife keeps coming back (this will be its ninth season): it takes on so many issues that are little-discussed, from women’s health to disability to cultural differences, and it does so with such warmth, humor, and humanity. Season 9 opens with the funeral of Winston Churchill in January of 1965, and moves on from there.