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21 April 2005
'Locusts': Get out the insecticide
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Who put the "B" in CBS?
Don't get me wrong: I applaud the once-stodgy network's unexpected embrace of "B" horror-movie fun. Unfortunately, fondness does not always translate into competence. CBS has yet to master the mad-camp flair the form requires — witness last month's Spring Break Shark Attack and Sunday's plague of Locusts.
As it turns out, the big problem with Locusts lies with, well, locusts: They eat farms, not farmers. They're an economic disaster, but unless you're a leaf, your life's not in danger. Sorry, but a monster that doesn't kill people isn't much of a monster.
About the show
CBS, Sunday, 9 p.m. ET/PT
* 1/2 (out of four)
True, people get hurt in Locusts. But up until a too-late final twist, it's only because they trip when they run away from the buggers or crash when the swarms surround them. Sit down or pull over and you're pretty much home free.
Our heroine is a very fetching Lucy Lawless as USDA bug expert Maddy Rierdon. You do have to wonder whether any government official would really conduct a top-level administration briefing in skin-tight black jeans. But she does look lovely in them, and it does momentarily take your mind off the bugs.
Rierdon's marriage is suffering because she's overwhelmed by the pressure and glamour of being an undersecretary of agriculture. (Um, OK.) Things only get worse when she discovers that her former mentor (John Heard) developed a genetically engineered, insecticide-proof super-locust that can reproduce faster, fly farther and live longer. "You screw with nature, and nature will screw with you," Rierdon yells at him — proof that she, at least, has seen a sci-fi movie before.
I'm beginning to wonder if anyone else at CBS has.