Frontline (1983) IMDb

Viewing

Review refers to scattered episodes.

Categorization

PBS documentary series launched in 1983.

documentary series

Episode:

“The Merchants of Cool” (2001) IMDb

References here: Freddy Got Fingered (2001).

documentary episode

Episode:

“Growing Up Online” (2008) IMDb

Episode:

“Top Secret America: 9/11 to the Boston Bombings” (2013)

Viewing

Seen in 2017.

Subject

Black-budget US institutional responses and growth following 9/11, creating a “terrorism industrial complex”.

Commentary

Based on the series of investigative articles in The Washington Post in July 2010, by Dana Priest and William Arkin. It's got the generic ominous background “music”, but its a pretty good introduction to the theme, if not actually a factual overview of the various companies and other organizations. The level of opacity is suggestive for a contemporary Delta Green.

documentary episode

Sub-series:

United States of Secrets (2014) IMDb

Viewing

Seen in 2016.

Subject

The reaction to 9/11 in US SIGINT circles, projects THINTHREAD, PRISM etc., the consequences for phone and IT companies, instances of questioning the legality of these programs, and finally Snowden's whistleblowing.

Commentary

Overly dramatic and somewhat poorly filmed, including the dreaded “data beep” sound effect to superimposed captions, meaningless footage of some helpful technician running traceroute etc. There is little attempt to explain the technical nuances, but the human aspects of the story are well told.

documentary episode

Episode:

“Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA” (2015) IMDb

Viewing

Seen in 2015.

documentary episode

Episode:

Divided States of America - Part 1 (2017) IMDb

Viewing

Seen in 2017.

documentary episode

Episode:

“Divided States of America - Part 2” (2017) IMDb

Viewing

Seen in 2017.

documentary episode

Episode:

Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia (2018) IMDb

Viewing

Seen in 2018.

This seems to have been two hour-long episodes of Frontline (the second having IMDb ID 8070416), whereas I saw three hour-long episodes on SVT. Where SVT got the extra hour I don’t know.

Subject

The shared recent history of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other countries pulled into their religious conflict: Iraq, Syria, and, in 2018, Yemen.

Commentary

This paints the broad picture well, but prefer Bitter Lake (2015) for background.

documentary episode series