TIM FAN­NING MY VIEW

The sto­ries of 9/11 con­tinue to fas­ci­nate 12 years af­ter those hor­ren­dous events…

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - YOUR TV WEEK -

No mat­ter how many times you watch those planes fly­ing into the Twin Tow­ers, you can’t help but feel a sense of shock. Sim­i­larly, more than a decade af­ter the at­tacks on New York, there are still fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries emerg­ing about the events of that world-chang­ing day.

To be hon­est, flick­ing through the TV sched­ules pre­cip­i­tated a sense of déjà vu. How many more doc­u­men­taries can be made about 9/11? Bri­tish pro­ducer/di­rec­tor Steve Humphries has forged a ca­reer from mak­ing films about that aw­ful day, but, still, his The Lost Hero Of 9/11 (Mon­day, Ch4) was com­pelling, and showed that if the story’s strong enough, you don’t need to jazz it up with in­tru­sive trick­ery.

The hero of the ti­tle was Ja­son Thomas, a na­tive New Yorker who was drop­ping his young daugh­ter off at his mother’s on the way to law school when he heard what had hap­pened. In­stead of turn­ing on TV and watch­ing the aw­ful scenes on the rolling news chan­nels, Thomas, a for­mer marine, put on his uni­form, which he kept in the boot of his car, and drove straight to lower Man­hat­tan. What makes a hu­man be­ing run to­wards dan­ger, when our in­stinct is to do the op­po­site? One rea­son posited here was that Thomas had been taught by his par­ents to look out for his brother man.

When Thomas ar­rived at Ground Zero, emer­gency ser­vice chiefs were pulling out their crews be­cause it was deemed too un­safe for them to work on the de­bris field. But Thomas felt he could help and be­gan search­ing through the great mounds of ma­sonry, red-hot metal and dead bod­ies for any sign of sur­vivors. His ef­forts were re­warded when he heard the faint call of a hu­man voice; it was that of Port Au­thor­ity po­lice of­fi­cer Will Ji­meno, trapped deep un­der­neath the rub­ble in what had once been the con­course be­neath the Tow­ers.

Humphries let the in­ter­vie­wees tell the sto­ries against plain black back­grounds. The hellish im­ages of the re­mains of the Tow­ers were more than enough to fill out this sim­ple but ef­fec­tive film. Though the sub­ject mat­ter was de­press­ing, this was an up­lift­ing de­pic­tion of the tri­umph of the hu­man spirit over ad­ver­sity. A small town called Ch­ester’s Mill is in­ex­pli­ca­bly sealed off from the rest of the world by an enor­mous, trans­par­ent dome. That’s the start­ing point for this 13-part adap­ta­tion of Stephen King’s best­selling novel. While try­ing to cope with the con­se­quences of this fan­tas­ti­cal event, such as dwin­dling re­sources and iso­la­tion, the in­hab­i­tants of Ch­ester’s Mill try to dis­cover where the dome came from and when it will dis­ap­pear. Among them are ‘Big Jim’ Ren­nie (Break­ing Bad’s Dean Nor­ris, far left), a lo­cal busi­ness­man and politi­cian, and sher­iff’s deputy Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez, far right). At the same time, the mil­i­tary are sta­tioned out­side the dome try­ing to break in. A Lost-like su­per­nat­u­ral drama to get stuck into for the au­tumn.

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