|arts & leisure|
A Real Y2K Disaster
By Declan McCullagh
November 20, 1999
Terrifying the public can be a dodgy undertaking nowadays, and in fin de siecle America it's not hard to see why. After a formulaic procession of quotidian disaster flicks such as Asteroid, Deep Impact, and Volcano, audiences seem to be rendered catatonic by catastrophe.
NBC's Y2K, airing Sunday at 9 p.m., falls just as flat.
Technical glitches and Y2K woes are an unconvincing pretext for what turns out to be a rather pedestrian action movie, in which our Hero Designate (Thirtysomething's Ken Olin as Nick Cromwell) must pull the plug on a Seattle nuclear power plant before it vomits radioactive detritus over much of North America. Bonus incentive: His daughter and wife are downwind.
Sound familiar? It should. Anyone who's suffered through similar brink-of-the-apocalypse flicks knows what happens next. (It's no coincidence that the movie's executive producer is David Israel, creator of the even more banal viral-terror miniseries Pandora's Clock.)
In fact, the most interesting thing about Y2K might be the buzz. Can fictitious depictions of a jet screaming toward the Potomac River, blackouts spreading from Virginia to Canada, and cash machines not doing what they're told panic Americans?
Without even seeing the two-hour movie, industry groups have become as jittery as Bill Gates near a pie factory. The Edison Electric Institute -- a trade association representing the big power companies -- has repeatedly asked TV stations not to air it. "It is our hope that your station might be willing to consider alternative programming that evening," EEI wrote in a letter to all NBC affiliates.
The rest of the review can be found at http://wired.lycos.com/news/culture/0,1284,32578,00.html
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