Time of Death

Each one-hour installment in Showtime’s six-episode documentary series Time of Death follows the final weeks, days and hours of life of a different person—e.g., a woman who worked as a death-and-dying counselor who has pancreatic cancer, a former “wild guy” completely crippled by the advanced stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease, etc. And running alongside the individual episodes is the extended story of Maria, a single mother of three with stage-four breast cancer. Each profile offers an unflinching look at a different manner of death and how the dying and their families and caregivers deal with it all—some embrace the pain and beauty of the ride, and some (especially Maria and her confused and scared children) fight it and each other along the way. Despite the fact that these stories are central ones in all of our lives—we all deal with death several times over—these tender, confusing, difficult and often intimate moments are not often the ones we share. Time of Death is right up there with A&E’s excellent Intervention as the most emotionally powerful TV programs I’ve experienced. The final episode airs Friday, Dec. 6, at 9 p.m., and all six episodes will be available On Demand through Jan. 14.