The television has arguably been one of the most important inventions to ever enter the average home. Although it seems to be overtaken nowadays by the Internet, nobody can deny the importance the humble television has had on popular culture.

Neil Armstrong.

Every once in a while, an event is shown on television that changes the national landscape, and alters the way people look at the world. These events only come along every so often, so it is important to make sure that you won’t miss the next one. So, if you’ve missed any of these great television events, you can use your Direct system to record and playback these great moments. Here are some of the most important events that the television has captured in recent years.


The attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001 shook the world to its very core. One of the reasons that these terrorist attacks were felt so acutely across the world was the television coverage that was given to them.

The live footage of the second plane crashing into one of the towers, as well as shots of bystanders covered in ash and soot, are some of the most iconic images of the 21st Century. They were experienced by many people across the globe, thanks to the television.

Titcut Follies

This little-known documentary, made in the 60s, goes a long way to showing the power of television. The documentary was made by filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, who took viewers behind the scenes of the Bridgewater State Hospital for criminally insane patients.

It showed shocking footage of inmates being beaten and tortured, and was deemed so controversial that it was pulled from distribution. It was only years later, during a court case examining the death of an inmate who had been based at the hospital, that the film was once again allowed to reemerge and be shown.

Neil Armstrong

Very occasionally, there are events that take place which change the entire mental and emotional foundation of an entire nation. Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon was one such event.
Not only did his historical voyage boost American morale in the wake of the ‘space war’ with Russia, but it opened the nation’s eyes to what the nation could achieve if it put its mind to it, and once more firmly established it as the land of ‘The American Dream.’ The television broadcast this monumental event directly into people’s homes and made the moon landing a victory for the people—an idealistic completion of the goals and dreams of the American everyman.

The Times of Harvey Milk

This acclaimed documentary depicted in full the life story and struggle of Californian politician Harvey Milk.

Milk was a gay man campaigning for gay rights at a time when gay people were not fully, or even partially, accepted in society.

His life story was most recently made into a Hollywood film starring Sean Penn as the eponymous activist, although this piece of visual documentary first opened the eyes of many people who had no idea gay rights were such a tempestuous issue at the time.

Triumph of the Will

Of course, television can be used for evil as well as good.

This propaganda film from poverty-stricken Germany in 1935 is credited by many as being one of the driving forces that helped Hitler’s Nazi party take democratic control of the nation.

The issues and themes presented in the documentary went on to form many of the driving ideals of the Nazi party itself, as well as made it all the easier for the German people to swallow Hitler’s rhetoric.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The Thin Blue Line

This documentary actually ended up saving somebody’s life. This film from 1988 tells the story of Randall Dale Adams, a man held under the suspicion of murdering a Dallas police official.

Through the interviews and information unveiled in the film, legal authorities came to realize that many of the witnesses in Adams’ case who were responsible for his guilty verdict lied under oath. Eventually, the conviction against Adams was overturned and he was free to go.

For The Bible Tells Me So

This film deals with the controversial and emotional subject of the roles of homosexuals in religious communities. The film unearthed many of the prejudices that far-right Christians have against gay men and showed many cases of religious converts using Biblical scripture to justify their anti-homosexual feelings.

Indeed, the film was so powerful that many gay men found it supported them when it came to telling their straight Christian families that they were gay while the themes the film covered have been the subject of much exploration since.

An Inconvenient Truth

Originally released as a short film, this documentary features former Democratic politician and one-time presidential candidate Al Gore unearthing some of the common misconceptions and myths about climate change.

Although many scientists still debunk the claims Gore makes about the changing environment of the Earth, the film is widely regarded as an eye-opening masterpiece.

An Inconvenient Truth is taught in many classrooms today as a prudent warning about what we can do to save our environment.

Supersize Me

This film from 2004 follows documentary-maker Morgan Spurlock as he tackles one of the biggest corporations in American history – McDonald’s. The film shows Spurlock eating nothing but McDonald’s meals three times a day for one month to measure the negative effects the food has on his body.

Of course, when he is offered the chance to ‘supersize’ a meal, the rules of the film say he has to take it. Due to the shocking results of the film and the havoc McDonald’s food wreaks on Spurlock’s body, the chain ended up removing supersize meals from its restaurants permanently.


The television has been one of the most powerful instruments of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Frequently, events are broadcast on television that are important not only to individuals, but to the psyche and cultural build up of the nation.

Be sure that you don’t miss the next vital television event, as such events are often the defining characteristics of a lifetime and are something we all can share.