“The Storm”
Originally aired July 26 and Aug. 2
Watch full episodes on tinyurl.com/watchthestorm
NBC

Courtesy of NBC

2 out of 5 stars

The concept of the miniseries stemmed from a logical need. When stories are too long to be a movie, but too short to be stretched into a complete TV series, writers find relief in this hybrid genre. NBC’s “The Storm” is an odd exception and disgraces the miniseries concept. It consists of two 120-minute episodes — too short for television and too long for a movie — but the plot isn’t propulsive enough to fill even a short film.

With global warming as a major political issue, “The Storm” poses a frightening scenario where the weather becomes too severe for adaptation. The corrupt government attempts to create a machine that can control the weather — the phrase “If you control the weather, you control the world,” was dramatically uttered far too many times. Much to the government’s surprise, the machine doesn’t work and ends up making the weather unbelievably extreme creating numerous storms.

The first episode of “The Storm” establishes this premise to a redundant degree. For two hours the show focuses very little on any plot and builds upon the ideas of corrupt government and treacherous weather conditions.

The second and final episode should’ve then focused on the story and developed the numerous yet unimportant characters. Instead, it was a long sequence of chase scenes and a display of how much damage the crazy weather is causing using the same storm footage over and over.

Of course, there is one character who might be able to right these wrongs: Dr. Jonathan Kirk (James Van Der Beek, “Dawson’s Creek”). He spends the majority of the series in long chase scenes and awkward encounters with other characters. Each person’s role in the show is overemphasized, accounting for Kirk’s frequent pleas that “the machine isn’t ready yet,” “it needs more tests” and “we’re not taking side-effects into consideration,” which practically screams “I’m the good guy in a bad situation!”

“The Storm” boasts a cast full of Emmy nominees and winners, but the big names don’t propel the plot or give the series automatic acclaim. In fact, characters are an afterthought here, which is a shame with talented actors including Marisol Nichols (“24”), John Larroquette (“Boston Legal”) and Luke Perry (“Beverly Hills, 90210”). It would’ve been wise for the producers to put some of this talent to use and create interesting dynamics and interactions rather than relying on the show’s premise to carry it.

Though the miniseries is a useful tool for storytelling, “The Storm” abused the medium. The show could’ve easily been reduced to a made-for-TV movie or something even shorter and was drawn out to a painful length using side-plots about how the weather was affecting average civilians that seemed to serve as nothing more than a way to show how dire the situation is. Alternatively, the show could’ve developed the side plots and given the characters some depth if the series were longer.

In the end, “The Storm” is at the most awkward length imaginable for its content, making it difficult to enjoy.

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