One looked forward to Floods take on the environmental disaster movie as it was a (predominantly) British view on the formula. British television has a reputation of making works with class, wit, intelligence and a whole lot of things that the American networks by large dont seem to get. Alas, such expectations are soon drowned and Flood turns out to only emulate the formula of its American models. The plot never does anything more than wheel out the cliches of the disaster movie a superstorm heading for a major population area; the authorities vastly underestimating the extent of the threat and/or covering up their own ineptitude and self-interest; a rogue scientist who is proven right with his theory that goes against the conventional wisdom; climactic scenes where lone heroes fight in a last ditch gamble to halt the disaster before military types take actions that could have drastic consequences.
The drama in Flood often feels contrived lots of fast-paced crosscutting between different running dramatic threads. One of the worst parts is the tiresomely repetitive score that seems to be constantly trying to pump a dramatic urgency into everything that is happening. And there is never anything interesting or terribly engaging to the various dramas. Indeed, the second half of the four-hour running time seems to consist of nothing more than scenes of various people trying to deal with flooding in different locations a parking garage, the tunnels beneath the London Underground, the tunnels beneath the Thames Barrier and so on and Flood eventually becomes repetitive in all the running around. The actors only ever seem to be reacting to various masses of water sweeping towards them rather than delineating their characters.
Certainly, the digital effects that represent all the flooding are perfectly competent and there is the appealing novelty of seeing various London landmarks under water and being flooded. To its credit, the script at least attempts to grapple with more than the dramatics of flooding water and occasionally see the disaster in terms of its much wider sociological impact the scarcity of drinking water, the overstretched emergency services or scenes where the commissioner has to make drastic decisions about which parts of the city to save and which to abandon, even in terms of the economic impact. The scriptwriters also show that they have done a commendable job in researching their meteorology and the causes and conditions of such a storm.
If nothing else, Flood does manage to corral an interesting cast, which includes an aging Nigel Planer, Neil the Hippie for those who remember that cult joy of 1980s television The Young Ones (1982-4), here playing a starchily serious Met Service bureaucrat; the very underrated Jessalyn Gilsig, who is never given much to do cast as a Canadian (which she is in actuality, no doubt because of Canadian co-financing deal) improbably in charge of the Thames Barrier. The best piece of casting that Flood manages is to bring back the lovely Joanne Whalley who has been absent from major screen roles for far too long a time and makes for an intelligent and serious-minded police commissioner.