CATEGORY 6: DAY OF DESTRUCTION
The one thing you cannot accuse the show of being is ill informed about its various subjects. It even offers up several info dumps about the Fujita or F-scale for measuring tornado intensity, about the vulnerabilities and problems of running power systems, and some entry-level discussions on Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect. Where the mini-series is quite interesting is in its discussion about the politics of power grids, providers and governmental regulators in the USA. It is here that the writer has clearly done his research, if not had some background in the field themselves. The second part of the show less interestingly dissolves into stock disaster movie clichés and dramatics. The climax hangs on the hard to accept scheme of the pregnant womans Air Force husband landing a plane in the eye of the storm to rescue the various characters. Also the hackers scheme is really hard to believe that the whistleblower is in fact the one behind the hack-in in order to alert people to the flaws in the system.
All the drama is populated by cliché characters the slick and ruthless yuppie CEO villain; the pregnant woman who goes into labour in the midst of the disaster; the person responsible for the disaster who redeems himself for his mistake by sacrificing his life; the teenager who goes out of control with a gun; the reckless old timer chasing the disaster yelling Yee-hah. Its all a very nice production, one that appears not to ever have the heart to approximate the true loss of life that extreme weather does the only characters that are killed throughout are the villains or those who have erred on the side of bad and are bound to pay by sacrificing their lives. (Randy Quaids mad tornado chaser disappears up into the tornado in his SUV but the series is so nice that his actual fate is never specified beyond seeing his vehicle flying off).
The show reaches a passover ending where we realise that the entire disaster has come with a redemptive effect for all concerned new life has been brought safely into the world; the bad corporation responsible has been exposed; hero Thomas Gibson gives up his mistress to return to his family; the characters who strayed from the path of good managed to redeem themselves by sacrificing their lives; and the US government agrees to change power regulations to ensure this never happens again.
The major problem with the series is that it only offers up mass destruction on a B-budget. The special effects are not that special especially unconvincing is a CGI sequence where the propeller of a wind turbine comes loose and crashes onto a very obviously computer-generated truck.
Category 7: The End of the World (2005) was a much superior sequel.