7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16

Perhaps having tired of destroying major segments of the U.S. with storms, earthquakes and tornadoes, RHI Entertainment shifted its attention to drowning Great Britain. The result is "Flood," loosely based (very loosely) on a Richard Doyle novel, which offers some of TV's soggiest and sorriest hours.

The most surprising aspect of this slavishly stereotypical disaster movie is the solid cast that was assembled for it. Tom Courtenay plays Len Morrison, a professor whose doubts about the effectiveness of the water barrier on the Thames River have been roundly ignored, especially by his son, Rob (Robert Carlyle), whose engineering company maintains the barrier. Then there's Jessalyn Gilsig, who plays Rob's ex-wife, whose job is to manage the barrier. Together, they save as much of London as they can when a huge storm and high tides send a surge of water upstream. (At least they purified the flood waters. There isn't a spot of trash to be seen.)

The four-hour telefilm, shot mostly in South Africa except for two weeks in England, is as bloated as the corpses floating down the Thames. Special effects are, at times, interesting, but rarely convincing. The score is puzzling, filled with eerie choir sounds instead of heart-pounding rhythms. The genuinely fine performances of David Suchet as the deputy prime minister and Joanne Whalley as police commissioner are mostly squandered in this waterlogged blockbuster.