Sunday, July 26, 2009

NBC's "The Storm" slams Miami with a Cat 5; but it is a potboiler


Larry Levinson, NBC and I presume Universal Studios (Florida, I believe) are continuing NBC’s commitment to Sunday night mega-disasters, and this latest effort, 2 parts (starting tonight), “The Storm”, directed by Bradford May, doesn’t exactly do the Universal Valkyries global trademark any good (I’d go back to “Magnificent Obsession” to rebuild this studio’s pride). Nor does it recall the mood of Tchaikovsky’s late overture by that name.

As is so often the case, there is a renegade-refusnik government plot to win these wars like Afghanistan by using satellites to reflect laser beams to create storms. That’s the stuff of Dyson spheres in sci-fi – maybe concentrated laser beams in space could drill worm holes in space-time. But here the result is snow in the Mojave Desert (which may happen anyway – it was around 20 deg. Fahrenheit in Yucca Valley at night in February 2002 when I stayed there), and people freezing to death locally in the middle of highland heat waves. Pretty soon we have an accidental manmade hurricane, which turns into a Category 5 that destroys Miami (it could turn further north and aim at Universal studios instead). The whole idea now seems preposterous.

I you want a similar miniseries, try “Ice” on ABC in 2001 as I recall.

I must say, however, that in the early days of the Cold War, these kinds of miniseries actually worked. I remember, for example, “The President’s Plane Is Missing” around 1971. Now they seem like potboilers.

Picture: Art mural, Westover Market, Arlington VA (no storms!)

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