The camera is discreet, cutting away at the very end, giving privacy when taste requires. The families involved are brave in ways not required of ordinary "reality TV" subjects. Even when they appear to be speaking for the camera, the situations are not manipulated. The impact is quite powerful.
Although some viewers will find it difficult to watch the stories of real people in their last months and moments of life, there's an uplifting quality to the series because of the sheer humanity on display.
Presumably the producers’ realization of what they had in Maria and her bright, gorgeous, unfettered children led to the bifurcated structure of the series, and it’s the ups but mostly downs of her last eight months on earth that make Time of Death worth watching.
While it's not always easy to watch Time of Death, which is bound to trigger memories for those who've logged time with the dying, it's a gift to spend time with its highly individual subjects, who resist a one-size-fits-all approach.
Part of that shortcoming relates to the structure, which deals with one story unfolding across all six hours, with a self-contained “B” player in each. Ultimately, the series is worth a look if not necessarily worthy of the whole journey, as Death doesn’t completely become Showtime.