Network: National Geographic
Release Date: May 27
Starring: Juliana Margulies, Liam Cunningham, Topher Grace, et al.
The Ebola virus is one of the deadliest viruses to hit the human population in recent years. Every new appearance is always more devastating than the previous one.
In 1989, the Ebola virus appears in chimpanzees in a research lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and there is no known cure; a U.S. Army scientist puts her life on the line to head off an outbreak before it spreads to the human population.
The show is a true life story based on the 1994 best seller of the same name by Richard Preston, and is one of three shows based on real events to hit viewers’ screen this season – enter Chernobyl and When They See Us.
Julianna Margulies stars as Dr. Nancy Jaax, a military infectious disease expert who becomes concerned about a mysterious outbreak at a primate research facility in Reston, Va. Her husband, Jerry Jaax (Noah Emmerich), also works for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, but is less concerned about the possible virus and more concerned about his wife.
The show juggles between two timelines – present day 1989, where Dr. Jaax has her hands full, and 1976, where her colleague and teacher, Wade Carter (Liam Cunningham), first encountered the deadly virus. Throw in politics and some family drama, and you get yourself an explosive TV drama to binge. But The Hot Zone isn’t just a TV show.
Some elements of realism is lost along the aisle of production, and it’s heavily reflected in some parts feeling cheeky and riddled with unnecessarily accentuated dialogues even when it makes little to no sense. Almost every scene between Carter and Trevor Rhodes (James D’Acry) really fall into this category in the present timeline. And the explanation provided in the sixth episode for this acrimony didn’t cut it for me, thereby making everything that came before it fall flat.
In time of great crisis there’ll always arise a few willing to put their lives on the line for the multitude; Dr. Jaax stands to fill that gap for the people of the United States during the events of this film. We’ve seen this happen multiple times over the years, some lucky and others not so much, like in the case of Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh of the 2014 Nigeria outbreak. Fortunately for Dr. Jaax, she fought the good fight and lived to tell the story, and America will continue to be indebted to her.
Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5