When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, it left a path of destruction in its wake. In the ensuing chaos, many patients at Memorial Hospital were left stranded without power, food or water. This new Apple TV series (Five Days At Memorial) chronicles the events of those five days and the difficult decisions that the staff were forced to make.
The miniseries is based on the book of the same name by Sheri Fink, and it does a great job of bringing the events of that fateful week to life.
It's dark and compelling. Set almost entirely within Memorial hospital — the series starts as Hurricane Katrina makes landfall — staff race against time to prepare the hospital for the onslaught.
The following four episodes cover the harrowing days that followed. We see the hospital slowly start to crumble under the strain, as power and water supplies dwindle.
The staff are forced to make impossible decisions, as they try to balance saving lives with maintaining some semblance of order.
Is Five Days At Memorial Worth Watching?
The cinematography is excellent, and the acting is top-notch across the board. Although the sheer number of characters means that no one gets to shine as much as they perhaps deserve.
The series does a great job of exploring the ethical dilemma that the staff at Memorial faced. Should they prioritise saving those who are most likely to survive, or should they focus on giving everyone a fighting chance?
The final few episodes are particularly tough to watch, as they focus on the police investigation into possible euthanasia at the institution.
If you like medical dramas, especially ones based around real events, then Five Days at Memorial is definitely worth watching. It's not an easy watch, but it's a very rewarding one.
The series is anchored by an excellent cast, including Vera Farmiga, Adepero Oduye, Cherry Jones and Cornelius Smith Jr.
Vera Farmiga plays Dr. Anna Pou and she is best known for her work on The Conjuring and her role in the drama series Bates Motel.
Adepero Oduye stars as Karen Wynn. In 2013, Oduye starred as Eliza alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen's historical drama, 12 Years a Slave, which won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Picture.
Cornelius Smith Jr. plays Dr. Bryant King, a doctor who is trying to keep the hospital running during the crisis. Smith Jr. is best known for his work on Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.
Where Can I Watch Five Days At Memorial?
You might be wondering where you can watch this series. Five Days at Memorial is only available to stream on Apple TV+, which is a relatively new streaming service.
If you don't have an Apple TV, don't worry, you can sign up for a free trial of the service. Just remember to cancel if you don't want to continue after the trial period.
Compared to many platforms, Apple TV is inexpensive. It currently only costs $4.99/month, or $49.99 for a year-long subscription. Although Netflix and Amazon indeed have more content, Apple TV focuses on quality over quantity.
If you're thinking about signing up for Apple TV+, then Five Days at Memorial is a great place to start.
The critical response to Five Days at Memorial has been overwhelmingly positive. The series currently holds a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with audiences giving it 87%.
IMDB rates the series at 7.9/10 with 6,000+ votes cast.
The Guardian Newspaper called it “utterly brutal and utterly compelling” giving the series four out of five stars.
Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions, on over 1 billion screens, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac and popular smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, and others.
You can also get it on Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast with Google TV, PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles, and at tv.apple.com, for $6.99 per month with a seven-day free trial.
For a limited time, customers who purchase and activate a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy three months of Apple TV+ for free.*