I caught the last 40 minutes and must say I was surprised at how well they handled it. Here’s an eight-minute edit of the attack scenes; the boss says it brought her to the brink of tears. Much of the dialogue, including Betty Ong’s, comes straight from reality, as does the hijackers’ ceremonial garb; this was recovered from the wreckage at Shanksville.

We get only a few impressionistic glimpses of the cabin of Flight 93, an artistic choice I found effective. I remember Shelby Foote in Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary describing Pickett’s charge and how vividly it exists as a proving ground for valor in southerners’ imaginations. Flight 93 fills a similar space now in the American imagination, a fact the film’s elliptical treatment implicitly acknowledges. There are good reasons to dramatize it but also good reasons not to; the technique here trades brutal realism for greater exaltation. Not always the right choice, but not a bad one under the circumstances.

Congrats to ABC on an excellent job and for not backing down in the face of the nutroots’ moronic, bad-faith demands to pull the series. At least one Congressional candidate is trying to have them charged with violating McCain-Feingold for having aired it. He might have a case; lord knows, there are plenty of prominent people violating that particular statute these days.

Update: Here’s how the Truthers commemorated the attacks yesterday at Ground Zero.