TNT (Sun., April 3, 8 p.m. ET)
Memo to producers on the lookout for material: Not every heroic action lends itself to an outstanding TV movie.
In June 2001 tropical storm Allison sent floodwaters pouring into Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital. The institution was forced to shut down, and more than 500 patients had to be evacuated, including a number of premature babies on ventilator support. A great local news story? No question. But this dramatization is only occasionally compelling.
Though the film sets up a personality conflict between a down-to-earth nurse (a well-cast JoBeth Williams) and an arrogant surgeon (a less convincing Rick Schroder), their differences predictably evaporate once the crisis situation becomes clear. There's only a token effort to depict patients in any depth, and Kris Kristofferson's performance as an emergency management official is a textbook example of "phoning it in."
Without minimizing the real-life difficulties faced by the hospital staff, the evacuation onscreen turns into a matter of head 'em up, move 'em out. The story deserves to be told, but maybe not in this form.—T.K.