Fire Next Time, The

Tagged: TV

Made-for-tv mini-series (1993; vt American Inferno). RIH Entertainment for CBS-TV. Produced by Edwin Self. Directed by Tom McLoughlin. Screenplay by James Henerson. Cast includes Bonnie Bedelia, Richard Farnsworth, Ashley Jones, Craig T Nelson and Justin Whalin. 195 minutes. Colour.

The Fire Next Time begins in 2005, moving to 2017 after a series of natural Disasters has broken out around the world due to Climate Change; America is devastated by drought and other weather-related catastrophes. The Morgan family from Louisiana – father Drew (Nelson), his wife Suzanne (Bedelia), Grandfather Frank (Farnsworth) along with their children Paul (Whalin) and Linnie (Jones) – struggles to survive the worsening conditions as wildfires consume much of western America and a hurricane floods their home city. The Morgans encounter the usual perils familiar from disaster films: environmental chaos, gangs of thugs and politicians who struggle ineptly to cope with the new world and fail to respond in time to a Katrina-like hurricane menacing New Orleans. The family finally manages to slip into Canada, which has closed its border with America, having so far escaped the worst of the disaster.

This mini-series appears to be one of the first produced in the US to address the issue of environmental disasters caused by human activity, although it perhaps erred by setting the story some years too near in time to the then-present of 1993. Unsurprisingly, climate-change deniers in America continue to disparage this modest if melodramatic production. [GSt/JC]

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