FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Cherry Jones, Cornelius Smith Jr., Robert Pine, Jessica Greco, Adepero Oduye, Julie Ann Emery, Michael Gaston, and Molly Hager
Creators: John Ridley and Carlton Cuse
It’s a tad structurally unsound, especially with the editing in the seventh episode and some plot placements, but Five Days at Memorial is nevertheless a thoroughly engrossing story, particularly for those unaware of its lesser known aspects. Those who remember Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath will be familiar with many of the newsworthy elements, but this series succeeds by focusing on the human elements that we didn’t witness. Standout performances from a terrific ensemble (notably Cherry Jones, Jessica Greco, and Robert Pine) elevate the series beyond simple dramatization into something truly special, and I would recommend it to anyone asking.
Five Days at Memorial is a tough miniseries to review without sounding slightly heartless. The writers make Hurricane Katrina (and its aftermath) the star of the show over actual characters, attempting to appeal to viewers’ lowest common denominator of humanity; however, by telling the story through virtually nameless and undeveloped characters, it’s hard to make personal connections outside of recognizing the tragedy of it all. It’s too matter-of-fact, like a Wikipedia article come to life. Questions about medical ethics and morality are certainly interesting, but in being more about “general people” than “specific persons,” it didn’t move me as much as it probably should have.