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The wonderful thing about storytelling is that there are so many ways to relate a tale that there is a format available that appeals to just about everyone. When it comes to real life drama, there are those who prefer straight news with a series of facts and data. In contrast there are segments of the public who prefer to “feel” a first-hand witnessing of these occurrences. For the later, there are shows which use production techniques, directors, cinematographers, actors, and the like to allow a sense of real time immersion. A long running series of this format in Canada is Air Emergency. The program has covered many true life dangerous and compelling tales to allow viewers to be both entertained and educated. This Documentary/Drama/History program has won and been nominated for numerous Canadian Screen Awards, Gemini Awards, and Canadian Society of Cinematographer Awards. Air Emergency has eighteen seasons of proof (and still continuing) that what it offers is desirable to a great deal of TV viewers.

One of the most popular and riveting episodes of Air Emergency’s numerous seasons is “Hudson River Runaway.” The true life miraculous tale depicts the US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009 which suffered catastrophe as it left LaGuardia Airport in New York City. A flock of Canadian geese struck causing a twin engine failure (the same event would later be featured in the Clint Eastwood film Sully starring Tom Hanks in 2016) and Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger expertly maneuvered the plane onto the Hudson River without a single casualty. The Air Emergency episode reenacted the take-off and crash and continued throughout the investigation, delving into how the increasing bird population may pose a threat to aircraft.

A unique aspect of Air Emergency’s style is presenting the investigations of these incidents. Instead of simply focusing on only “what”, the “why” is presented to give greater depth to the story and perhaps inform/comfort the viewers as well. The reality aspect of the show and its accuracy is something that everyone involved takes very seriously. For actors, who are often given great creative license to interpret a character, portraying the real life men and women in these true-life stories carries a responsibility with it. Bruce Pringle appeared as NTSB aerospace engineer Harold Reichel in “Hudson River Runaway.” The award-winning actor portrayed Reichel whose investigation was key in discovering that the specific birds involved in this air disaster were migratory and exceeded the size that the planes had been designed to safely encounter. Pringle’s presentation of the real life investigator not only confirms this actor’s immense talent but the respect he offers to this real gentleman who was so pivotal in discerning why this unforeseen event occurred. The moment when the findings are discovered are what gives the viewers the release they have been seeking (courtesy of Pringle’s superb acting).

The wonderful aspect of modern entertainment is that it has become so segmented that there is an offering accessible to all interests. Air Emergency presents real world happenings with the feeling that we have been able to watch along and see every minute progression of dangerous happenings…from the safety of our couch.

Author: Kelly King

AIR EMERGENCY’S “HUDSON RIVER RUNAWAY” Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:06:00 AM Rating: 5
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