Louis Theroux - Altered States : Choosing Death

In Louis Theroux's new series 'Altered States,' the seasoned journalist and film maker documents the lives of three terminally ill Californian's in his inimitable style as they battle against their illnesses.  However, the unique perspective of this documentary is that each of the three people he talks to over a series of weeks have the option to legally end their own lives under the 'California End of Life Act.'


On the face of it this may seem the type of programme to avoid watching at all costs. Granted, it isn't perhaps essential viewing for the very recently bereaved and I must admit, given the choice between this and a box-set binge on 'Better Call Saul - series 2', I think that I would have gone for the Breaking Bad prequel - sadly though I had watched everything Netflix had to offer....


Louis Theroux has a style all of his own. He is a master at disarming journalism and once again manages to perfectly gauge the right questions to ask as he reveals the very personal thoughts and feelings of those involved as they come to terms with the power that they have over choosing their time to die. You might be forgiven for thinking that the choice that the ‘End of Life Act’ gives to those with less than 6 months to live would be empowering and for one of them it was, but the others found it a heavy burden, both for themselves and their families. Thought provoking and at times deeply moving, it is certainly worth watching, just keep the tissues handy.  


Jeremy Hodges