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Titanic, 100 Years Later: Sinking's Centennial Spurs Film, TV Explosion

Whether you're captivated by the story of the Titanic or not, you can't avoid the avalanche of film and television offerings commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

 

When an anniversary as meaningful as a centennial comes around, you've got to expect a little fanfare and the inevitable TV special or two.

But the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic has brought new meaning to the term "commemoration." There's been hundreds of ceremonies in towns throughout the Eastern Seaboard, if not the country. There's been numerous Titanic-themed exhibits opening, at the .

But most conspicuously, the past few weeks have seen a flood of tributes, commemorations and investigations on cable television channels up and down the dial.

And, of course, the re-release of the James Cameron blockbuster "Titanic" in 3-D, which grossed more than $31 million in the first week of its release domestically (and a stunning $11.6 million on its opening day in China, the country's second-biggest opening day for a movie ever).

On the television front, there's numerous documentaries on channels such as NatGeo (National Geographic, which devoted its April issue to Titanic), PBS, the History Channel and TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Here's a partial list:

Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron (NatGeo) — Cameron assembles a Dream Team of Titanic researchers and enthusiasts to explore questions about the sinking and determine if his 1997 movie was true to how the ship went down. (Already aired, but is sure to be rebroadcast.)

Save the Titanic with Bob Ballard (NatGeo) — Ballard, who just opened his "Titanic — 12,450 Feet Below" exhibit Wednesday at the Mystic Aquarium, makes the case that the wreck site is being plundered and destroyed by tourists in submersibles and must be saved as a grave site and memorial. (Already aired, but is sure to be rebroadcast.)

Saving the Titanic (PBS) — This special dives into the untold story of what was happening in the engine and boiler rooms as the ship was sinking and engineers and furnacemen tried desperately to save it. (Already aired, but is sure to be rebroadcast.)

Titanic (ABC) — This partially fictionalized four-part miniseries, from one of the creators of Downton Abbey, weaves several narratives to tell the story of the night the ship sank. (Parts one through three air Saturday night from 8 to 11 p.m. and part four airs Sunday night from 9 to 10 p.m.)

Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved (History) — The History Channel convened scientists, engineers and Titanic experts to answer some of the mysteries o the Titanic sinking. A highlight is the first complete map, according to the History Channel, of the wreck site.

A Night to Remember (TCM) — OK, so this isn't a documentary, per se. But until Cameron's meticulous blockbuster in 1997, it was the last word in Titanic nostalgia, and Turner Classic Movies is replaying it at 10 p.m. Saturday. It's worth a watch.

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