Sunday, July 19, 2009

NBC airs miniseries "Meteor" -- pretty stereotyped


NBC is promising a series of disaster miniseries, and “Meteor”, directed by Ernie Barbarash, started last Sunday and concluded tonight, thankfully. Although the issues are serious, the disasters are so exaggerated and the scripts have so much false melodrama that they are hard to take seriously. It’s interesting how these are made for TV and not theatrical release. (Although there will be Roland Emmerich’s 2012 from Columbia this November. And ABC made its "Impact" interesting with the stuff about a brown dwarf.)

Apparently our efforts to blow up an incoming asteroid just break it into many more dangerous “pieces”. It’s pretty amazing who the remnants of the rock pick out the most spectacular targets on earth.

There is some of the usual stuff – the president declares martial law, and there is, my goodness, rationing as well as an economy. In a parody of the generational wars, an elderly woman is told she can’t have any fresh fruit (a pear); it is saved for the kids who still have their lives ahead of them (it’s no longer her turn, I guess). They say it will take decades to rebuild basic infrastructure.

The real question is whether the world really could get ready to deflect a big asteroid, and whether we really can see all of them in near-Earth orbits. Could we do multiple launches to hit multiple pieces, or to bump one super piece out of trajectory?

“Thinks will get back to normal – until next time” (2027, according to the film, which happens in 2010).

There was a film by the same name in 1979 from American International (of course! – that studio gave us “Born Losers”), with Sean Connery. It gets aired now and then.

Attribution link for USGS picture of Meteor Crater in Arizona.

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