Welcome to this week’s TV Thursday! September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, so I though this would be the perfect time to share National Geographic’s “American Blackout” movie for TV Thursday.
Here is the premise of this 2013 made for TV movie:
A cyber attack causes a cascading failure of the entire American power grid, causing a coast to coast blackout for what turns out to be 10 days. The movie (which is fiction, but based on facts) is done as if it’s a documentary cobbled together from news reports and a variety of different folks (about 6 groups) cell phone video footage. Among them you follow some college students trapped in an elevator, a teen vlogger, a NY penthouse couple with very dubious coping skills, a pregnant woman and her daughter, and a prepared “prepper” family.
They chose for this movie almost the worst possible blackout scenario, which makes sense because of course you want an exciting movie with lots of problems and tension. The only way to make it worse would have been to have an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) because that would not only put the power out, but it would also fry all electronics. Of course then no one could have “taken” the videos with a cell phone and pretty much all cars made after 1980 wouldn’t work.
There are some things that are very unrealistic (wouldn’t those kids in the elevator have died without water for 10 days?) and the way the power comes back on all across the country at the same time is extremely unlikely (many of the parts you’d have to replace in the power grid like the huge transformers are manufactured one at a time in China and have an 18 month to 2 year lead time. . . ) but overall this hour and a half movie gives you a LOT to think about as far as emergency preparedness. What kind of items should you have on hand? What things that you rely on every day might not work? How might the people around you act if they are scared and stressed? What would be the best thing to do?
I think it is important to think about these things. While a country wide blackout is a rather low probability (but truly possible) event, if you were prepared for a blackout like these characters face, you would also be prepared to wait out a blizzard, handle a hurricane, or many other more probable events in life.
As a side note, that’s why folks in the prepper community tend to talk about the Zombie Apocolypse. It’s not because they actually think zombies are going to rise. Well, ok, there are always the fringe groups, I’m sure some of them think that there are really zombies. But overall, it’s used as kind of a shorthand for “really bad things happening”, because lets face it, if you are prepared for the zombies, you could probably kick butt and take names for any other situation out there.
Besides being an interesting, if scary, (and yes, somewhat violent) movie, National Geographic has a whole mini site dedicated to American Blackout that contains a variety of useful and interesting true life information on how to handle a blackout, EMPs, Solar Flares, Cyber Attacks, historical articles on previous blackouts and more. And there is a video of a live panel of experts talking about the reality of something like this happening.
Wondering what TV Thursday is all about, and how to best watch YouTube Videos on your computer or TV? Check out my post “TV Thursday & Tips“.