ZERO HOUR dramatizes the hour leading up to some of the most memorable historical events as they unfold minute by minute. Using a real-time clock and a split screen to follow key players, the series reveals the compelling and exciting minutes leading up to events that changed the world. The focus of the series isn’t the event itself, but the individual moments that culminate in the actual event. By following numerous theatres of action as the clock winds down to zero hour, viewers are put right into the moments leading up to major historical events. Most history programming is done with 20/20 hindsight. The aim of ZERO HOUR is to experience history just before it became history.
S01:E01 - Disaster at Chernobyl
At precisely 01:23:48 on a spring morning of April 26th 1986, the world changed forever. In Pripyat, Ukraine in the Soviet Union the largest nuclear reactor of its kind exploded at the Chernobyl Power Station. Disaster at Chernobyl uses previously undisclosed facts and eyewitness reports to reconstruct the events of the last fateful hour. It creates the most accurate and thrilling account ever produced of this world-shattering event. Shot on location inside Reactor Number 3 at the remains of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station, separated by only a few feet of concrete from deadly Reactor #4, it uncovers key secrets lying at the heart of the tragedy. Deputy Chief Engineer Anatoli Dyatlov, the man in charge that night, was driven by a private grief to impose his will on the immense nuclear reactor. Dyatlov’s human failings are more than matched by the reactor itself – there is a secret, unknown fatal flaw in its original design. In this episode of ZERO HOUR, viewers witness the 60-minute countdown to the fatal clash of these two, unstable forces – one human, the other machine. It is a confrontation that will destroy thousands of lives and help cause the downfall of the Soviet empire.
S01:E02 - The Last Hour of Flight 11
ZERO HOUR: THE LAST HOUR OF FLIGHT 11 dramatically recounts the final sixty minutes of American Airlines Flight 11 – an hour, and a flight, that changes the world forever. At 08:46 on the morning of September 11, 2001, Flight 11, a fully fueled Boeing 767, explodes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. It is the first terrorist strike on that day of infamy. On the fateful morning, Mohammed Atta and a small army of hijackers take thousands of lives, all in the name of God. The sheer number of dead makes it easy to forget that the day’s very first victims are the pilots, flight attendants and passengers aboard Flight 11. The Last Hour of Fight 11 chronicles their story. Using a real-time split-screen format, the viewer experiences these 60 critical minutes as they happen to the key characters: the terrorists, the flight crew, Air Traffic Control in Boston and New York, and a mother-to-be as she makes her way from her Brooklyn home to her office in the Tower. Interviews with key anti-terrorism experts and relatives of the victims are inter-cut with the main theatres of action, offering new information and detailed insight into the story of Flight 11.
S01:E03 - Massacre at Columbine High
MASSACRE AT COLUMBINE HIGH chronicles the final hour that saw the worst high school massacre in American history. On the morning of April 20, 1999, in the affluent suburban town of Littleton, Colorado, Columbine High students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 12 students and one teacher, injured 23 others and then turned the guns on themselves. Based on diaries, recordings, official documents and eyewitness accounts, MASSACRE AT COLUMBINE HIGH is a faithful, multi-faceted reconstruction of this fateful hour. The film conveys the grim intensity and shocking horror of this iconic event, without depicting the killings luridly or explicitly. The massacre convulsed America and set a new benchmark for violence in schools. However, mystery still lingers around Columbine. How could two teenagers have carried out a massacre with such premeditation and cold ruthlessness? Using the latest evidence, MASSACRE AT COLUMBINE HIGH demonstrates an extraordinary and unparalleled combination of circumstances which created a modern American tragedy.
S01:E04 - Terror in Tokyo
During a busy rush-hour morning, Tokyo’s elaborate underground Metro system is packed with commuters. All are unaware that it is about to become ground zero for an attempted mass murder. The attackers, members of a Japanese religious cult, Aum Shinrykio – or Aum the Supreme Truth - release the nerve agent Sarin in five separate train cars. Sarin is a chemical that, in its purest form, is 26 times more lethal than cyanide. This event marks the first time a weapon of mass destruction is deployed in an act of terror. For the group behind it, the potential murder of thousands is no mere attempt to gain notice – it is a religious vendetta…a spiritual act. ZERO HOUR: TERROR IN TOKYO reconstructs minute by minute the events from 07:46 to 08:46 as five men set out to poison the Tokyo Metro system. In doing so it reveals the bizarre motivations that led to the murder and permanent injury of so many innocent people. It uncovers a carefully coordinated plan of mass, indiscriminate killing. The episode analyzes both the structure and psychology of Aum as a movement. It offers personal testimonies of individuals caught up in events beyond their control – victims whose lives were irrevocably changed by the terrible effects of the Sarin as well as cult members who, until the attacks, were devout followers of Aum’s guru, Asahara.
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