There was some interesting television on last night.
First, there was the live (fictional) presidential debate on The West Wing, wherein the two candidates tossed out the rules in an effort to give viewers the type of debate that they’ve yearning for since the last round of real presidential debates. And according to a MSNBC/Zogby poll (!), Rep. Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits), D-Texas, edged out Sen. Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda), R-Calif.
I’m not sure how viewer submitted questions worked into the show, but they did manage to field a few energy questions, which prompted a brief exchange on global warming. And speaking of global warming …
Afterwards, on CBS, Category 7: The End of the World was airing. Now I know I’m advocating for more enviro themes in television and film, but I expect such attempts to be well-produced. Sadly, I had to force myself to watch.
In Category 7, the world has suffered extreme weather events, including category six hurricanes (see Category 6: Day of Destruction). They seem to be getting worse, with no signs of abating, and some are converging toward the northeastern U.S. And while it is believed global warming is causing the storms to become more severe, one scientist enlisted by FEMA believes something else is making matters even worse.
Category 7 is a cross between The Day After Tomorrow, Twister, and what I expect from the big screen version of Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. In addition to the super storms, we of course have an administration unwilling to seriously address global warming (POTUS’s chief of staff is played by the same actor who played the veep in The Day After Tomorrow) and which severely edited a report predicting the very situation it’s dealing with.
And then there is Hall Ministry, which is capitalizing on the storms. It is headed by a couple comprised of one greedy wife, who released flies into the capitol so she could claim God has sent a plague, and her husband, who surprisingly admits that humans are the cause of the storm (not God). Her greed and tactics only encourage her assistant, who appears to be behind the kidnapping of a group of politicians’ children, which is somehow associated with an event foretold in the Bible.
At the end of part one (there’s more?), we learn that the cause of the intense storms is the enormous amount of heat released by major cities. As the storm passes over, it interacts with falling globs (seriously, they said “globs”) from the upper limits of the atmosphere and produces super storms. In the preview for part two, we learn a category seven (!) hurricane is inevitable.
Unfortunately, I think this silly and outrageous portrayal hurts us more than it helps. If anyone else watched it, leave your impressions in comments.