World Trade Center in Popular Culture - Television


  • In the first episode of the seventh season of Coach, (1994) the New York City skyline is shown with the Twin Towers visible.
  • The towers are used extensively in The Simpsons episode The City Of New York vs. Homer Simpson in 1997. Because of the World Trade Center's central role, the episode was initially taken off syndication in many areas following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but has come back into syndication in recent years.
  • The 2003 HBO miniseries Angels in America (which takes place in the late 1980s) is noteworthy as being the first major post-9/11 production to digitally insert the towers in the New York City skyline.
  • It was shown briefly in Code Lyoko episode 74 when Jim talks about being a secret service agent.
  • Beginning with the second season of the sitcom Barney Miller, the opening credits include a shot of the New York City skyline, with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center prominently featured. Coincidentally the first episode of the season aired on September 11, 1975 and is entitled “Doomsday” and the plot centers around a suicide bomber who wants to destroy the 12th Precinct if his issues with New York State & City government are not addressed.
  • From 2007–present, 7 World Trade Center's facade is used as the preface to scenes in ABC's Dirty Sexy Money for the office of Patrick "Tripp" Darling III.
  • The Twin Towers made a brief appearance in the Family Matters (1989–1998) episode "Fa La La La Laagghh!" After Carl turned on the Christmas light decorations on the Winslow's house, a malfunction (thanks to Steve?) results in a power outage. First, the Winslow's home goes out, then a row of family homes, then Lower Manhattan, and finally, the entire world. Steve then says "Look what you did."
  • Several shots of the Twin Towers appear in the introduction and several establishing shots of New York City, some episodes, all including the Twin Towers, for Friends (1994–2004) over the first seven seasons (1994–2001). Pictures of the Manhattan Skyline featuring the World Trade Center also feature on many DVD cases, and DVD box set cases. Every season had a slightly different opening sequence. A new shot of the skyline was shown with the title card; some seasons showed the Twin Towers, others the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building. Later seasons after 9/11 still briefly showed the Towers. The original and main title card used for later seasons has a portion of both towers visible, yet they are not very obvious. The last episode (2004) even included one of the most commonly seen pieces of stock footage, a shot of Lower Manhattan in the late afternoon under the Brooklyn Bridge, panning as far as the South Tower. As of 2007 the Twin Towers are still being shown in establishing shots throughout earlier seasons in reruns, and have not been edited out.
  • On Fringe:
    • During the final scene of the season one finale of Fringe, the World Trade Center is seen intact in a parallel universe of New York City. The main character, Olivia Dunham, is revealed to be in an office in the South Tower in an alternate reality of 2009, in which the World Trade Center was not destroyed on September 11, 2001. A newspaper headline reading "OBAMAS SET TO MOVE INTO NEW WHITE HOUSE" suggests that the White House was destroyed on September 11 in this alternate timeline instead of the Towers, and has just recently been rebuilt.
      • The pan shot uses both real footage and CGI. As the shot pans out, it is visually clear that the Twin Towers are CGI, as the darker "bands" (the Skylobbies) are not visible. After sun flashes onto the screen, the Towers are less dark and have darker "bands."
    • Following that episode, the show uses the Twin Towers as a frequent point of reference to indicate when a certain scene takes place in the parallel universe.
    • 2011 - Peter Bishop appears 15 years into the future in Season 3, standing outside of One World Trade Center.
    • From 2008–present, Fringe depicts the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center as the headquarters of commercial conglomerate Massive Dynamic, and the Twin Towers still standing as of 2011 (Season 4) in a parallel universe.
  • In an episode of the sitcom Full House, (1987–1995) Stephanie is at home waiting for her date for a school dance to pick her up. She suddenly starts playing with some building blocks and eventually makes the Manhattan skyline. When Danny (Bob Saget) enters and sees what she's made, he comments' "The New York skyline. Wow, the World Trade Center looks as tall as ever."
  • In Futurama, there is a future WTC in New York, with its appearance very similar to the old one, except with skybridges. In the art for the Volume 1 DVD collection, they are shown as similar to the Petronas Towers.
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Married", Helga has a dream about her future life with Arnold. One scene included them having breakfast atop a luxurious skyscraper north of Central Park. The Twin Towers are prominently seen in the distance, along with other landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Chrysler Building. The episode first aired March 2002, but the view of the penthouse and New York City skyline were not cut out until later airings. The tops of the two towers can still be seen while the two characters converse.
  • In a first season episode of Journeyman the Twin Towers are seen in picture on the front page of a San Francisco newspaper when the main character goes back in time before the terrorist attacks.
  • Late 1980s airings of Late Night with David Letterman featured an opening helicopter shot with the camera view flying into the facade of one of the towers, inside and through the offices of one floor, then back out. The Twin Towers were also prominently featured in the intro of the Late Show with David Letterman up until September 11. Afterwards, shots of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building were used.
  • The Twin Towers appear in the opening title for early episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–present). The sequence is replaced after 9/11 with generic shots of the city.
  • In 2008, early in the pilot episode of ABC's drama Life on Mars, the World Trade Center buildings are shown as the series is set in 1973. The premise of the show is that the main character is a detective from 2008 who has been transported in time back to 1973.
  • The pilot of the TV series The Lone Gunmen, first aired March 4, 2001, had the gunmen thwarting a plot to fly a jet into the World Trade Center. In the episode, a faction of the U.S. government is behind the plot; they hope to blame the attack on another country's dictator and use it as an excuse to start a war with him.
  • In a 2005 episode of Lost the Twin Towers are seen out of the window of a New York solicitor's office. They were digitally inserted to show the time frame of the episode.
  • McCloud - in several episodes throughout the series, the World Trade Center can be seen in various stages of construction. During a scene on a ferry in the season three episode titled "A Little Plot At Tranquil Valley", a completed North Tower and a partially constructed South Tower can be seen in the background. The towers also appeared in the opening credits of later seasons when McCloud was carried by a helicopter across Manhattan.
  • In the Northern Exposure episode "The Quest", Dr Joel Fleischman returns to New York. He's standing at the rail of the Staten Island Ferry which is covered in fog. As the fog clears, the Twin Towers become visible in the distance. Cable channel A&E aired this episode (the second-to-last NX episode A&E aired) on Thursday, September 13, 2001.
  • NYPD Blue, a police drama from the mid-1990s, featured the World Trade Center in many of the introductions to the show.
  • In the first season of Rescue Me (2004 – present), the main character of Tommy Gavin has several flashbacks to 9/11, both before and after the towers fall. 9/11 is mentioned through the entire season featuring four firefighters who were lost on that day. One of them appears in almost every episode as a vision to Tommy. Rescue Me was the first TV show to show a dramatized depiction of the events of 9/11.
  • Sex and the City, another HBO original series, showed a quick shot of the World Trade Center in its opening credits (with the name of its lead actress, Sarah Jessica Parker). For seasons 5 and 6, shown after 9/11, the visual was changed to a stylized shot of the Empire State Building.
  • The opening credits of the first three seasons of the HBO mob drama The Sopranos (1999–2007) featured a shot of the World Trade Center as seen from the rear view mirror of Tony Soprano's SUV, as he enters the New Jersey Turnpike. In later seasons, after 9/11, the sequence was replaced with a new view of the Manhattan skyline in which the World Trade Center is absent. Among the things Tony later discloses to his psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi as contributing to his depression is "this whole 9/11 thing."
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise (2001–2005), an image of the Twin Towers burning was visible in a panorama of historical images present in the timestream, when Daniels informed Jonathan Archer that time had been altered and set back on course. The episode is a two-parter called "Storm Front."
  • Stick Stickly special: Oh Brother Stick Stickly goes to the Twin towers to try to find his twin brother.
  • The 2005-2006 Portuguese soap opera Tempo de Viver devoted its entire first episode to a diamond heist in a South Tower corporate office. A subsequent confrontation as the would-be thief is caught is violently interrupted by Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower. The characters involved then scramble to leave the South Tower after it is also struck. Fictional footage of the attack as seen from the interior of the office was digitally created, but stock footage was also used for other scenes and later flashbacks.
  • The TV series Third Watch (1999–2005), set in New York, featured many shots of the Towers during the show's first 2 seasons. One final shot appeared in the episode September 10, set the day before the attacks.
  • During the last two seasons of the sitcom The Wayans Bros., shots of each cast member are shown with images of various New York landmarks in the background during the opening sequence, including the WTC, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty (with Shawn's face imposed on the statue). In one episode of the first season, "Afro Cab", an Arabic looking man gets in a cab driven by a Wayans Brother and demands, "Take me to the World Trade Center!" (alluding to the WTC bombing of 1993).
  • In a December 1991 episode of the game show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, the Double Trouble twins steal the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.
  • The ABC series Sports Night (1998–2000) often used an establishing shot of the New York skyline in which the Twin Towers were the focal point, though the show was not set in the World Trade Center, as established in the season one episode "The Quality of Mercy at 29K," in which Isaac Jaffe says that he comes to work every day in a "54-story, glass high-rise." (The Towers were each 110 stories).
  • As construction of the World Trade Center progressed, it began appearing in later seasons of the Marlo Thomas series That Girl.
  • In the Penguins of Madagascar episode, Operation: Big Blue Marble, the skyline of New York is seen, showing the new 1 World Trade Center and Battery Park.
  • The third season of NBC's The West Wing was postponed; instead; a special episode called Isaac and Ishmael was run. The episode started with the main characters paying tribute to the victims of 9/11, and dealt mainly with terrorism.

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