"Nine-eleven-eleven." Television will invoke that echoing date often in coming days as an array of special programming marks the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The themes are variously poignant, artful or newsworthy. Expect scientific explanations of what happened from Nova, investigative journalism from Frontline, musical and photographic treatments on Showtime, and more traditional documentaries on other networks. To avoid overdoing it, pick a couple and limit your exposure.
A FEW KEY PROJECTS
Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero. A positive, up-from-the-ashes account of the daunting and emotionally freighted construction job, from executive producer Steven Spielberg. First aired Aug. 25 and Thursday on Discovery; encore of parts 4-6 at 8 p.m. Sunday on Science; entire six-hour special airs at 5 p.m. Sept. 11 on Science.
Children of 9/11. Giving voice to the young people directly affected by 9/11, NBC followed 11 kids from six families for a year. 10 p.m. Sept. 5, NBC.
Frontline: Top Secret America. The investigative team that produced Bush's War, The Torture Question and Cheney's Law joins with Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Dana Priest to investigate the huge covert industry that has sprung up with America's "war on terror." 9 p.m. Sept. 6, KET.
CNN Presents: Footnotes of 9/11. Interviews with eight people who went to work on Sept. 11, 2001, and unexpectedly became part of history. Each of the eight is mentioned as a footnote, one of 1,742 footnotes, in The 9/11 Commission Report. All are haunted. They include ticket agents who checked in some of the terrorists, a maintenance technician who answered a call from one of the planes under attack and an air traffic controller. 11 p.m. Sept. 6, CNN; replay at 8 p.m. Sept. 11.
Nova: Engineering Ground Zero. Nova explores the science behind designing and building One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Most Americans are going to be stunned at the progress. 9 p.m. Sept. 7, KET.
Rescue Me series finale . Perhaps the most powerful American drama series in terms of the ramifications of 9/11 on the country's psyche, depicted in stories of New York firefighters, comes to an end. Co-creator and star Denis Leary said he planned from the start for the series to end about the 10th anniversary of 9/11. 10 p.m. Sept. 7, FX.
Rebirth. A decade in the making, the inspirational story follows the transformation of five people whose lives were forever altered on 9/11 — and simultaneously tracks via multicamera, time-lapse photography (accompanied by a musical score by Philip Glass) the minute-by-minute evolution of the memorial where the Twin Towers once rose over lower Manhattan. 9 p.m. Sept. 11, Showtime.
The Love We Make. Filmmaker Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens), who documented The Beatles' first trip to America in New York, chronicles Paul McCartney's journey through the streets of New York in the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11. The film, shot in 16mm black-and-white and in Maysles' signature cinema verite style, traces the planning and performance of the benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, "The Concert for New York City," which took place less than six weeks after the attacks. It's more a tribute to McCartney, who happened to be there, than to New York. 9 p.m. Sept. 10, Showtime.
Portraits From Ground Zero. Photojournalist and filmmaker Andrea Booher was one of only two photographers allowed unlimited access to Ground Zero after 9/11. This two-hour special features the subjects of Booher's harrowing photos, including a firefighter searching for the body of his lifelong friend, a teenage girl mourning her stepfather, a Franciscan friar ministering to the dead and the future FDNY chief worrying about a potential building collapse. 10 p.m., Sept. 10, A&E.
9/11: The Days After. From the producers of the Emmy-winning documentary 102 Minutes That Changed America, a look at a changed city and a changed country since the tragedy. 9 p.m. Sept. 9. History. (A replay of 102 Minutes is at 8:46 a.m. Sept. 11 — 10 years to the minute that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center — on History, Biography, A&E and Lifetime, with a repeat at 9 p.m. Sept. 11 on History.)
Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience. HBO and Time magazine present "transcendent stories of courage, survival and remembrance." This documentary focuses on previously untold stories, captured in words and images, of a group of men and women who led America, moved the nation and sacrificed for it, in the hours, days and months that followed 9/11. 8:46 a.m. Sept. 11, HBO.
Wendell Berry's Thoughts in the Presence of Fear. With footage of rural Kentucky as a backdrop, the Henry County author expresses his thoughts in the days after 9/11, in a repeat of the 2006 special. 5 p.m. Sept. 11, KET2.
Great Performances: The New York Philharmonic 10th Anniversary Concert for 9/11. The orchestra performs Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection," in honor of the victims of 9/11. Alan Gilbert conducts with soprano Dorothea Roschmann, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung and the New York Choral Artists. 9 p.m. Sept. 11, KET.