What to Watch in October

Lisa Tipton
State and Madison after the Great Chicago Fire. Image: Courtesy Chicago History Museum
WTTW's new 'Great Chicago Fire: A Chicago Stories Special' strips away some of the myths that have accumulated about the 1871 disaster. Image: Courtesy Chicago History Museum

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.

You can also now watch all of WTTW's programming via live stream 24/7 at wttw.com/live.

Flesh and Blood

Sundays at 8:00 pm beginning October 4 and available to stream on demand

This month is packed with new British dramas, including this unconventional mystery about the disruptions wrought when a widowed mother falls in love with a new man—and some of her children, who have their own troubled lives, don't trust him. 


Sundays at 9:00 pm beginning October 4 and available to stream on demand

Flesh and Blood is immediately followed by a very different sort of drama. "COBRA" stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, a special committee formed by the British Prime Minister to address a national crisis. (At least it's not an international crisis, like a pandemic!) While you get domestic drama in Flesh and BloodCOBRA moves onto a larger scale for political thrills.

Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground

Tuesday, October 6 at 9:00 pm

Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground. Photo: Mateo ZapataPhoto: Mateo Zapata

In a year of crises and endless political developments, this year's election is probably on most people's minds. Latinos are poised to be the largest non-white voting bloc this year, and this documentary looks at the intense efforts to mobilize Latino support and drive turnout. 

The Great Chicago Fire: A Chicago Stories Special

Friday, October 9 at 8:00 pm and available to stream on demand

An illustration of the Great Chicago Fire. Image: Courtesy of the Chicago History MuseumImage: Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum

You might think you know the story of the Great Chicago Fire that devastated the city in 1871, but this new WTTW documentary strips away the myths, about Mrs. O'Leary and her cow, the rebuilding of the city, and more. At a time of disruption and depression, it's worthwhile to look back at one of the great stories of recovery in the face of tragedy.

Plus, you can dive further into the history at wttw.com/chicagofire. And don't miss the producers of the documentary discussing how they shed new light on an old story. 

Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America 

Tuesday, October 13 at 9:00 pm and available to stream on demand

Driving While Black. Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty ImagesPhoto: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

Cars offered an expansion of freedom and mobility across America, but that freedom came with additional dangers and threats for African Americans, as seen for instance in Green Book. Those early dangers still inform the experience of driving while Black today.

The Trouble with Maggie Cole

Sundays at 7:00 pm beginning October 18 and available to stream on demand

In this amusing show about a small fishing village, Maggie Cole shares a few too many details about her community during a radio interview, and then has to deal with the fallout. Who doesn't need a lighthearted show these days?