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Time of Death TV Series

Posted 10/31/2013

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  Have we, as a nation, as a culture, as a community, completely gone nuts? Thanks to Barbara for sending me this review of a ShowTime  television series, beginning tomorrow night, that follows eight people and their families through the end of life. Reality television taken to cult status. Or something. In all honesty, I hardly know how to turn on our fancy television and rarely watch it, but I am both fascinated and mostly horrified by this series.

It is called:

Following the Grim Reaper, Equipped With a Camera
‘Time of Death’ Tracks Terminal Patients to the End

  After reading the review from The New York Times, my first inclination was to immediately delete and just shake my head. Then I thought a bit more and wanted to share it with you and hope, very much, that you will share your thoughts in the comments section or directly with me. Personally, I cannot begin to imagine what would motivate anyone to invite a TV crew into their lives, into their bedrooms, at the most intimate and difficult time. Since I spend my days with people who are dying, or who are worrying about dying, I think a lot about this, and I consider this period of life to be sacred.

  Here is the start of the review and then a link. Please let me know what you think. I am surely willing to consider the possibility that my reaction is not the usual one.

If there was ever an argument against binge viewing, it’s “Time of Death,” a documentary series beginning on Friday night on Showtime. Over the course of six hours we watch eight people sicken and die, succumbing to cancers and other diseases at ages ranging from 19 to 77. For the viewer, some recovery time between episodes is probably a good idea.

Made to examine how people handle the last months or days of their lives, “Time of Death” has an odd structure. One story, that of Maria, a 48-year-old in Santa Cruz, Calif., with terminal breast cancer, runs through all six episodes. But each episode also tells at least one other self-contained story, cutting back and forth between Maria and a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease or Maria and a woman with lung cancer.


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