Specials & Documentaries

Actor Mark Rylance’s Grandfather Osmond Skinner (pictured) was held as a POW in Hong Kong for nearly four years during World War II. FAMILY ARCHIVE.
Specials and one-off documentaries were at the heart of The WNET Group productions this past year.

Audiences traveled back in time with British actors Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas and Carey Mulligan as they discover the extraordinary impact of World War II on their families in My Grandparents’ War.

With three-part documentary Inside the Met, viewers subject to a rare, behind-the-scenes look at The Metropolitan Museum of Art — the largest art museum in the Americas — as plans for the institution’s 150th birthday were uprooted when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Met was forced to close its doors indefinitely; the institution had not been closed for more than three days in over a century. The documentary also captured how The Met was forced to confront its historical record on inclusion, exclusion and diversity in art and staffing as urgent demands for social justice swept the country.

“Please keep up the very valuable educational, entertaining, news broadcasts, children’s programs, dramas, comedies and documentaries. Life would be so dull and flat without [The WNET Group]!” — Beverly J.

The Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the most horrific incidents of racial violence in American history, was explored 100 years later in Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten. The documentary not only looked back at the explosion of violence in 1921, but contextualizes it in terms of the present-day calls for social justice and race equity in America.

The hanging of Jacques Louis David’s Portrait of Antoine-Laurent and Marie Anne Lavoisier at The Met. Eddie Knox © Oxford Films, 2021.