Vivendi and Sonar Entertainment have been putting together a set of disaster films, released under the umbrella heading of the Doomsday Series. (Since they come in two 90-minute parts, I guess they’re technically miniseries.) Eve of Destruction is the second, and it just came out on Blu-ray, after airing in the US on Reelz in April. (I wish they’d called it something else, since I kept getting the Barry McGuire song stuck in my head.)
Steven Weber and Christina Cox play scientists who claim to have discovered a new source of energy by drilling a hole in the universe. Treat Williams is the businessman running their development company and pushing for achievement regardless of safety. Of course, there’s a guy (Aleks Paunovic) trying to sound an alarm but not being listened to, since he previously saw something similar that destroyed his small Russian town and family. Of course, Weber has a daughter that he worries about but can’t connect with because he works too much. This is not a font of creative and unusual plot ideas.
Christina Cox and Steven Weber in Eve of Destruction
Eventually, there’s the point at which they decide to run their test, and the system overloads and starts blowing up houses. There’s also a group of “eco-terrorists” blamed for trying to destroy the system, causing an electrical anomaly that risks cities worldwide, but that’s very late in the series.
This is not challenging television. If you’re used to film pacing, you’ll be chomping at the bit for more to happen more quickly. But it’s great for putting on in the background while you read something else, for example. I did learn that purple isn’t a natural color for electricity, as that’s one of the warning signs.
The first in the Doomsday Series was titled Ring of Fire, which originally aired in March and starred Terry O’Quinn (Lost) and Michael Vartan (Alias). It’s also available on Blu-ray. The big danger here is volcanoes, after an oil rig blows up in the wrong place. It seems there’s a chain of volcanoes, connected underground, and if the wrong domino falls, they’ll all go off.
The main lesson carried by both of these projects: Don’t let businesses do science. Profit motives combine badly with cutting-edge research.
Next in the series is Cat.8, which airs starting tomorrow night on Reelz. It will be available on home video August 13. It stars Matthew Modine as a “renegade physicist”, the only person who can save the planet from “seething solar plasma heading towards Earth”. (The studio provided review copies.)