CBS (Sun., Nov. 14, 9 p.m. ET; Wed. Nov. 17, 8 p.m. ET)
All disaster miniseries seem to go by the same theory: No matter how dire the big picture, the audience won't care unless the principal characters have some extra problems in their personal lives.
In the totally typical Category 6, three weather systems bearing down on Chicago threaten to combine in a cataclysmic superstorm just as the city is suffering a power failure that could spread nationwide. Does Midwest Electric's chief of operations (Thomas Gibson) have enough trouble? No, his wife realizes he's carrying on with the flack for evil Lexer Energy Corp., and his daughter's new boyfriend turns out to be a gun-wielding criminal. Meanwhile, a crusading TV reporter (Nancy McKeon) has lots to warn the public about—but look, her pregnant sister-in-law is trapped in an elevator!
Except for Randy Quaid as a yahooing tornado buff, no one here has time for fun. Still, I got a small kick out of Brian Dennehy as a gruff government meteorologist who finds monster storms even more irksome than bad office coffee.