This is going to be a tough week — everywhere you turn, there’s a 9/11 special about those who died, those who survived, and all who grieve the over 3,000 lives lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center ten years ago Sunday. The number and kinds of specials are pretty staggering, so we’ve put together a completely non-glib listings guide — thanks to The Futon Critic — of which specials air which night, and how many boxes of tissues they’ll have you reaching for. (All times are EST.)
When Pop Culture Saved America (Biography, 8 p.m.)
A documentary looking at how the “non-news media” — celebrities, comedians, performers — used TV, film, theater, and other media to help the country rebuild and find security again.
Tissues: 2/3 boxes (We were going to say 1/3, but then we considered that some of the tears may be from laughter)
Children of 9/11 (NBC, 10 p.m.)
Narrated by Law & Order: SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay, this special looks at eleven children from six families, linked by the fact that they lost at least one parent to the 9/11 attacks. Their ages range from 20s — Thea Trinidad, barely 10 then, didn’t understand why her dad was calling to say goodbye — to 30s — one kid’s father was an IT specialist at the Pentagon.
I Survived… 9/11 (Bio, 8 p.m.)
Profiles of twelve survivors with jobs that put them in the path of the attacks (firefighters, defense officials, policemen) and how they rose to greatness.
Saved – 9/11/2001: The Woolverton Family/The Haskell Family (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.)
Another profile of families, but the twist here is the focus on how their pets (in this episode, it’s dogs) helped them cope during the tragedy and in the aftermath.
Tissues: 1/3, maybe 2/3 if you’re a big pet lover