Sept. 11 anniversary: a list of documentaries and specials airing this week

In the days (and even weeks) leading up to this Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, there have been and will be broadcasts of nonfiction specials and documentary films that tell the story. Some of them remind us of what we already know; others introduce us to new stories. Some have been broadcast throughout the past 10 years and are being re-aired or updated for the anniversary, while others are new.

This list highlights some of those that air between now and Sunday. Times are in ET; check listings and/or network web sites for rebroadcasts and other specials.

Showtime will air Rebirth [Sept. 11 at 9 p.m.], Jim Whitaker’s film about that follows five New Yorkers by checking in with them every year for 10 years, which Showtime says gives us “a tangible snapshot through the stages of grief to recovery and sometimes, back again.” Watch the trailer.

9/11: Ten Years Later [CBS, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m.] is an update of the Emmy award-winning, Robert De Niro-hosted film that came about by accident: filmmakers followed a fire engine company and happened to be filming in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2011. CBS says it “contains the only known footage of the first plane striking the World Trade Center and the only footage from inside Ground Zero during the attacks, will also include footage from events marking the 10th anniversary, as well as new interviews with many of the firefighters who were featured in the original program.” Watch a preview.

The Love We Make [Showtime, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m.] is a documentary that uses footage shot by Albert Maysles of Paul McCartney’s post-Sept. 11 benefit “Concert for New York.” Watch the trailer.

Saved [Animal Planet, Sept. 7 at 9 p.m.] This episode of the series focuses on families whose lives were affected by Sept. 11, and found support from their dogs.

102 Minutes That Changed America [History, Sept. 11 at 8:46 a.m. and 9 p.m.] This Emmy award-winning documentary uses raw footage, mostly from regular people, to tell the story of the attacks in real time. It reairs starting at 8:46 a.m. this Sunday, exactly 10 years after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center.

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience [HBO, Sept. 11 at 8:46 a.m.; HBO2 at 7 p.m.] is produced by Time magazine and, HBO says, “focuses on the previously untold stories, captured in words and images, of a group of men and women” including “U.S. leaders, firefighters, flight attendants, veterans, family members and, for the first time, survivors.”

Frontline: Top Secret America [PBS, Sept. 6] This documentary follows Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and William Arkin as they investigate the not-so-public effects of and responses to Sept. 11, which resulted in this multimedia report that says our “government has built a national security and intelligence system so big, so complex and so hard to manage, no one really knows if it’s fulfilling its most important purpose: keeping its citizens safe.” Watch an extended preview.

Portraits from Ground Zero [A&E, Sept. 10 at 10 p.m.] follows photographer and filmmaker Andrea Booher, one of two photographers who had full access to Ground Zero after the attacks. A&E says the special “will feature the subjects of Booher’s harrowing photographs including: a firefighter searching for the body of his life-long friend; a teenage girl mourning her stepfather; a Franciscan friar ministering to the dead; and the future FDNY Chief of Department worrying about a potential building collapse,” and she “gets them to tell, for the first time, the riveting personal stories behind the photographs.”

HBO re-airs three documentaries In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01 [HBO, Sept. 11 at 7:15 a.m.], which is described as “a uniquely personal collection of video and still photography shot by New York City residents” that “follows the mayor and his staff”; Telling Nicholas [HBO Signature, Sept. 11 at 10:30 a.m.], which “looks at Sept. 11 through the eyes of seven-year-old Nicholas, whose mother, Michele, worked in the World Trade Center” and whose family struggles to figure out how to tell him; and Nine Innings from Ground Zero [HBO, Sept. 10 at 8 a.m.], which focuses on the World Series played a month later between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

9/11: Day That Changed the World [Smithsonian Channel, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m.; Sept. 6, 5 p.m.; Sept. 10, 8 p.m.]. A Martin Sheen-narrated documentary that includes interviews with Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Clarke, Andrew Card, and others as it covers the behind-the-scenes events all day on Sept. 11. Smithsonian Channel says that “the decision-makers tell their story, hour-by-hour, and their words are woven with real-time audio, recordings from flight control centers, and archival footage shot on the day itself–including Air Force One.”

George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview [National Geographic Channel, Sept. 11 at 9 p.m.] A documentary based on a two-day interview with George Bush in which he shares, according to the network, “never discussed on camera what he was thinking and feeling, and what drove his real-time, life-or-death decisions in the first minutes, hours and days after the attacks,” including what he was thinking when in that infamous moment when Andrew Card whispered in his ear while he was in a classroom.

9/11: Where Were You? [National Geographic Channel, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.] The network says this documentary “captures the life-and-death decisions people made amid the chaos of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath,” including an FAA operations manager who grounded all planes and a paramedic who went to the crash site in Pennsylvania.

9/11: Heroes of the 88th Floor [TLC, Sept. 11 at 9 p.m.] uses interviews and reenactments to tell the story of two men who helped rescue 77 people from the 88th floor of the north tower.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.