The history and aftermath of the Jonestown commune is still difficult to comprehend, whether you’re talking about it or trying to show the kind of devotion that would drive so many followers to lose their lives. Yet the new docuseries “Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle” will look to dissect as much of the tragic saga as possible in four parts, airing next month on SundanceTV.
The series follows eventual Jonestown leader Jim Jones from his origins as a civil rights-oriented preacher to the creation of Peoples Temple and through the group’s move to Guyana. It was there that over 900 of Jones’ followers died. Through archival footage and recently declassified federal intel, “Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle” outlines the deaths that happened both voluntarily and by force.
“Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle” features interviews with surviving followers and family members of the deceased, those with the kind of personal and emotional connections to the tragedy that you can hear in the final audio clip in the trailer. And through reenactments of many of the discussed developments — including a knife attack and the distribution of the poison-laced drink that led to many of the casualties — “Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle” will include a visual representation of what isn’t a part of the aforementioned video footage.
All four parts of “Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle” will air over two consecutive weekend nights, beginning Saturday, Nov. 17, and concluding the following evening. Directed by Shan Nicholson, the series is executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, “The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple” author Jeff Guinn, and Stephen David, who served in the same role on AMC’s “The Making of the Mob.”
Watch the exclusive trailer below:
“Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle” premieres November 17 at 9 p.m. ET on SundanceTV.