Monday, December 10, 2007


Coming to ION (formerly the PAX network) on December 16th, "Flood" is a disaster mini-series from the UK. It's about the consequences suffered by London when it's flooded by a rogue hurricane.

And by disaster I only mean that it follows in the grand tradition of epic movies like 'Earthquake', "Deep Impact", and 'The Day After Tomorrow" - the personal lives of several characters (many of them inter-connected) are played out against the backdrop of a natural disaster... in this case, a massive flood that might dwarf the after-effects of Katrina for devastation.

As it was made originally for a British audience, O'Bviously London was chosen as the focal point - and for this American viewer, it served as a welcome relief from the usual locations like New York City. All but one of the main characters is British; and while there are many famous names among the cast (and several excellent actors of note), they soon become one with their roles and make us care about their fates.

The locations may have been novel, but American tradition holds true with the lives of these people. They're a bit cliche - the estranged father and son, the former couple brought back together because of the disaster, one who makes the noble sacrifice and another who falls on his sword, a couple of workmen just this side of R2D2 and 3PO, the government funtionary not used to the limelight but who rises to the challenge of command and the police emergencies strategist who has to make decisions that could cost lives - all the while as her own children are caught in the maelstrom. You've probably seen their stories plenty of times before, but these are actors who make it work: David Suchet, Robert Carlysle, Tom Courtenay, Joanne Whalley, Tom Hardy, and Jessalyn Gilsig.

This mini-series also marks the last screen performance of Moira Lister, of whom I only learned two weeks ago with news of her passing. From what I read, she was well-liked in her TV roles, so I can see why she was cast - for the impact of her role at the beginning of the film.

(Back in the eighties, I was a big fan of 'The Young Ones' so when I saw that Nigel Planer was in the cast, I was excited for the chance to see how Neil had fared over these years. Had to remind myself that while Time was frozen in the show, it marched on for the rest of us - it had to be over half an hour of watching him before I realized which one was Planer!)

And the special effects are pretty good, all thanks to the computer, I'm thinking. All they needed to show the after-effects of the flooding were overhead shots of recognizable districts in London and then the computer was able to fill in the flooding.

So I enjoyed it. My plan was to watch the screener over two nights at work during the long slow hours in the middle of the night. (Might as well get paid to watch it as well as get the screener!) So I watched the first disc on a Friday night and left the set there at work to watch Part Two the next night. And all day long Saturday I wished I had it so that I could watch it at home. So yeah, I guess that means I did like it.

"Flood" has already aired in the UK back in August, so it's already a part of Toobworld, but where exactly? It's definitely not the main Toobworld, as we saw the Prime Minister as an elderly man - so it's neither Blair or Gordon Brown. Yet the events take place two years after Katrina struck. Therefore, an alternate TV dimension.

I'd say that it should share the same Toobworld in which we'd find the TV movies "Category 6: Eve Of Destruction" and "Category 7: The End Of The World". Combined, the "trilogy" makes a more convincing lead-up for Doomsday than was presented in the limited time-frame of "The Day After Tomorrow".

So "Flood" didn't happen on Earth Prime-Time, but it lays out a very convincing argument that it could happen. And that was the most gripping aspect of the production.

Check it out for yourself when "Flood" airs December 16th on ION starting at 7 pm EST (6 pm Central). Best part of all for you - this is a mini-series that runs straight through the evening, heightening the urgency of their '24'ish timeline.

Toby OB

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