Sunday night featured the premier of the two-hour docu-drama, American Blackout on the National Geographic Channel. The scenario presented is one where a cyber attack knocks out the nation′s electrical grid, throwing the whole country into the dark. American Blackout is told by the personal experiences of several groups of people using their camcorders and cell-phone cameras. Think Doomsday Preppers meets The Blair Witch Project as we see the faces of our chroniclers lit by weak flashlights. Even Barack Obama gets a cameo appearance! Can you survive the American Blackout?

american blackout
American Blackout will be repeated on Tuesday, October 29 at 7pm EDT on NatGeo. Image Credit: National Geographic Channel.

So its a wonderful day in the U.S.A., sometime in early summer. Suddenly, the power goes off in the Northeastern states. Fox News breaks the story that a cyber attack has hacked the electrical grid. Well, after all, NewsCorp owns NatGeo! Soon, the whole eastern seaboard is down and the cascade of failures spreads west. Within an hour or so, Texas goes dark followed by the West Coast.

The event is chronicled by a number of people. In Austin, a teenage Vlogger is ready to go with plenty of batteries and a small solar recharger for his iPhone as his single mom, a nurse, heads to work. In Phoenix, a group of college students get caught in an elevator. In the Big Apple, a yuppie couple quickly discover that their penthouse view of New York City from the 46th floor of their apartment building has dire consequences. In San Diego, a young family of three are awaiting the birth of a new baby. In Colorado, a Prepper family wastes no time in bugging out of Denver and heading for what the hope is safety in the hills.

Day One of the event is dealt with as an inconvenience by most people, until they start seeing electrical transformers blowing up from power surges. Emergency services are instantly swamped. By Day Two, it becomes clear that the situation is far more serious. The government assures citizens that everything is being done to restore power quickly. Meanwhile, the Red Cross and FEMA are mobilized. By Day Three, store shelves are empty and things go from bad to worse as looting begins.

Even the prepper family has problems early on, partly due to bringing the teenage daughter′s boyfriend along. He′s a Liberal-hippy type who feels too ′crazy generous′ giving away the family stash of food to neighbors. Daddy lowers the boom on the young bozo, threatening to exile him if he continues to give away their food. But its already too late. All the neighbors now know where to go.

America Blackout has its scary moments. There are deaths and other nasty business as society starts to unravel. Only two of the four college students trapped in the elevator manage to escape and survive. In New York, the man of the penthouse dies from dehydration and an infected wound, leaving his lady to be attacked by looters. The Vlogger in Austin tries to find his mother but with no success, though he does stumble on a make-shift morgue loaded with dead bodies. In San Diego, the family is sideswiped in a traffic accident while rushing to the hospital. The young mother gives birth to her new baby boy on the side of the road. Later, their house burns down while the husband is out foraging. They make their way to a Red Cross-FEMA camp only to arrive at the start of a food and water riot.

In the hills of Colorado, Night 9 becomes a nightmare as the prepper family′s bug-out home is broken into. The family retreats to an underground bunker and watches via CCTV a group of locals loot their property. Dad goes out the next morning with his AR-15 to challenge them but he is surprised and captured. The hippy boyfriend man′s up and grabs a semi-auto AK-47 to rescue his girlfriend′s father. The standoff ends when his cell-phone rings. His parents are calling telling him that the power is back on. The locals release the father and withdraw.

So, there is a happy ending to American Blackout, the National Geographic Channel two-hour docu-drama. Even the Vlogger in Austin is rejoined by his missing mother. Could you survive for ten days without electricity? Many experts do cite that a cyber attack on our electrical grid, as well as on other key utility systems, is very possible. Having gone through the 2003 Blackout, the three days that lasted were bad enough. American Blackout will be shown again on NatGeo tomorrow, Tuesday, October 29 at 7pm EDT.