The Hot Zone is a new harrowing drama miniseries from National Geographic based on the 1994 book of the same name by Richard Preston, which shows true events involving the highly infectious ebola virus in 1989 America. At the time, there was no known cure.
Before the title card we see a man with a bloodied face on a plane vomiting into a sick bag. He vomits up some blood as well, as his internal organs have failed. Then he’s in the hospital and he bleeds out.
The virus is identified but some of the doctors don’t believe that it’s ebola as there had been no documented cases of it in America before. When one of the doctors says this it’s like you’re at the start of an episode of Casualty, you know where it’s going. The naivety is a classic set-up.
“The Hot Zone” in question is the area with a sample of the virus, which they have to enter with special suits on. Danger strikes as one of the doctors’ hands, Dr Nancy Jaax (Julianna Margulies), is cut. The episode ends with Jaax on the phone to Wade Carter (Liam Cunningham), warning of the possibility of the filovirus spreading.
Perhaps not one for squeamish viewers, but I enjoyed it for the most part. If more significant for the fact that it happened rather than how it’s stylised, it’s an interesting watch.
The first two episodes of The Hot Zone are on National Geographic on 27th May.