Dramatic Sunday evenings with PBS

Dramatic Sunday evenings with PBS

It’s Sunday evening, almost 7 p.m. My excitement grows as I get cozy on the couch, pick up the remote, and turn on Chicago public television station WTTW. An episode of my favorite show, Call the Midwife, is about to start.

The program will be recorded on my TiVo and available on the WTTW website. As a WTTW Passport member, I could stream new episodes  before they air, even the whole eight-episode season. Instead, I tune in the scheduled broadcast, as if it were 1970 and I have no choice about when to watch.   

Spending Sunday night with a PBS drama is a ritual for me. As rituals do, it provides predictability, excited anticipation, and satisfaction.

I can’t remember when public television first claimed my Sunday evenings, but it was probably before there were VCRs. PBS dramas, which were often British period pieces, offered a gentle transition between the end of the weekend and the start of the workweek. 

As the PBS Sunday evening programming evolved, most of it imported from Britain and aired under the banner “Masterpiece,” contemporary and mystery dramatic series were added to the mix. British period dramas remained a mainstay, but no more could they all be stereotyped as gentle. 

One multiple-episode series followed another all year long, and popular series returned for new seasons the next year. I came to associate Sunday evening with drama on PBS the same way some people associate Sunday morning with churchgoing and Saturday night with dinner out and a movie. 

Even though I don’t have a workweek anymore, and scheduled TV is becoming passé with recorders and streaming, I continue the Sunday night ritual. To watch a PBS drama in midseason at another time would feel as off-kilter as would the weekend’s being shifted to Tuesday and Wednesday. 

I’m not unusual. According to the executive producer, younger newcomers to Masterpiece stream the episodes at a time of their choice, but the core audience — those of us who have been with Masterpiece for decades — still watches on Sunday nights.

I suspect we get a sense of connection knowing that we’re watching at the same time as so many others. My friends who are also Sunday-nights-with-PBS loyalists sometimes get an emailed commentary from me late Sunday or early Monday.

Occasionally the WTTW schedule lists a nondrama between the end of one series and the beginning of another. I’ll look for a movie, but Sunday evening then seems more like any other night in front of the TV.

If scheduled TV goes away during my lifetime, I can see myself streaming PBS drama series on Sunday nights, one episode a week, replicating a tradition that has brought me much pleasure.

Advertisement:
Advertisement:

Welcome to ChicagoNow.

Meet
our bloggers,

post comments, or

pitch your blog idea.

Subscribe by Email

Completely spam free, opt out any time.

Meet The Blogger

Marianne Goss

A retired university publications editor and journalist, I live in the South Loop and volunteer as a Chicago Greeter. Getting the most out of retired life in the big city will be a recurrent theme of this blog, but I consider any topic fair game because the perspective will be that of a retiree.

Recent posts

Dramatic Sunday evenings with PBS »

Marianne Goss on Retired in Chicago
Posted today at 8:25 am

Chicago history in small doses »

Marianne Goss on Retired in Chicago
Posted Monday at 8:43 am

Caffeine and tea: it’s complicated »

Marianne Goss on Retired in Chicago
Posted April 11, 2022 at 8:42 am

Still riding the “L” »

Marianne Goss on Retired in Chicago
Posted April 4, 2022 at 9:04 am

Where is the line between frugal and cheap? »

Marianne Goss on Retired in Chicago
Posted March 28, 2022 at 7:33 am

Recent Comments

In reply to Marianne Goss:
Thank you for your confidence, but I’m a native suburbanite! I did grow up talking about Chicago as “the city”…
Read the story | Reply to this comment
Like you, native Chicagoans probably know more of these details than transplants like me, even though I’ve lived here almost…
Read the story | Reply to this comment
Thank you for introducing another good book. This does sound like a good handbook for “What do I say when…
Read the story | Reply to this comment
Yes, I agree the buses seem to be a little bit better. And don’t forget your masks.
Read the story | Reply to this comment
In reply to Margaret H. Laing:
I ride the buses, too, and agree that they are more pleasant. Depends on how quickly I want to get…
Read the story | Reply to this comment

Monthly Archives

April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016

Categories

Uncategorized (256)
Current events and social commentary (118)
Life lessons (77)
Chicago (51)
Retirement (49)
Health and fitness (48)
Reading (38)
Entertainment (36)
Consumer matters (36)
Consumer and money matters (35)

Tags

Latest on ChicagoNow

Dramatic Sunday evenings with PBS

from Retired in Chicago by Marianne Goss
posted today at 8:25 am

Chicago Foreclosure Activity Returning To Pre-Pandemic Levels

from Getting Real by Gary Lucido
posted today at 7:30 am

Eastern Illinois offense in a hurry to put 2021 season behind

from Prairie State Pigskin by Barry Bottino
posted today at 6:17 am

With record-setting players gone, new Western Illinois staff focuses on rebuilding its offense

from Prairie State Pigskin by Dan Verdun
posted today at 6:00 am

How Does COVID Affect Mental Health?

from All is Well by twin
posted Sunday at 9:10 pm

Read these ChicagoNow blogs

Cubs Den

Chicago Cubs news and comprehensive blog, featuring old school baseball writing combined with the latest statistical trends

Pets in need of homes

Pets available for adoption in the Chicago area

Hammervision

It’s like the couch potato version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Advertisement:

About ChicagoNow

FAQs

Advertise

Recent posts RSS

Privacy policy (Updated)

Comment policy

Terms of service

Chicago Tribune Archives

Do not sell my personal info

©2022 CTMG – A Chicago Tribune website –
Crafted by the News Apps team

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.