Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

2020-04-07 16:48
 
Dr. Syra Madad in 'Pandemic: How to Prevent an Out

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

This six-part docuseries follows the lives of doctors and scientists around the globe who are working tirelessly to stop the spread of viruses like Ebola and different strains of influenza. But, more than that, they're gearing themselves up for the next pandemic, which they predict, is just around the corner.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

When I first spotted Pandemic on Netflix, I remember thinking: Wow, talk about timing. To release a show with the subtitle "how to prevent an outbreak" seemed in poor taste, considering we currently find ourselves slap, bang in the middle of one. Nevertheless, I ventured forward, adding it to my watch list. Not because I was falling into the very clear trap Netflix was setting for viewers – cashing in on fears amid the coronavirus outbreak – but because under "normal" circumstances, this show is something I would be drawn to immediately.

Now, of course, Netflix could not have predicted that by the time filming ended on this production, the world would be facing the biggest viral outbreak we have seen in years. In fact, the show's producers, Sheri Fink, said in a tweet that the series was meant to "inform before" an outbreak occurred. But even they must admit that the timing was all too perfect. And it would be naïve to assume that they were not expecting big ratings when they eventually dropped it. Whether they got it, I'm not sure. But as I write this, my app tells me that Pandemic ranks high on the streaming service's "most searched" list.

The six-part docuseries follows the lives of doctors and scientists around the globe who are working tirelessly to stop the spread of viruses like Ebola and different strains of influenza. But, more than that, they're gearing themselves up for battle, because, as is repeated by a number of people throughout the series, they know that the next pandemic is just around the corner.

Because filming took place before the Covid-19 outbreak, there are no talks of this particular virus. Instead, we are introduced to cases of Swine Flu, Bird Flu, and Ebola, which still claim thousands of lives around the globe each year.

It's an eerie feeling, sitting there and listening to someone tell you that the next pandemic will arise from a virus contracted from an animal, that thousands will die from it, and that the world and its leaders are not as prepared as they should be.

Trying not to draw parallels between what's happening in the world right now and the statements made in Pandemic is near impossible, and I guess that's the point. I found myself doing that from beginning to end.

So, I'm going to give it to you straight – if you have turned to streaming services as a means of escaping the harsh reality we are facing right now, then this series is not for you. With ominous music constantly ringing in the background, every episode is a reminder that what we're facing right now could have been avoided – or at least dealt with in a manner that could have resulted in fewer fatalities.

On the flip side, if, like me, you're interested in delving into the nature of viruses and outbreaks, finding out how and why they spread, and how they could be prevented, then maybe add Pandemic to your watch list as well.

Don't expect to binge it, though. The series was way too long, and the same result could have been achieved in fewer episodes, in my opinion.

Toward the end of the show, we're left with this note: "most countries remain underprepared and underinvested in measures to deal with" the threat of a flu pandemic. One final, gloomy reminder of the mess we find ourselves in.

But then the cameras cut back to those doctors, nurses, scientists, and state officials who have been putting everything they have into fighting this war, long before we even knew that it was coming. If we have to find a hero in this story, it's these people. 

I'm still torn when it comes to this show. It's a well-produced series which sets out to educate citizens on the never-ending battle against viruses. But, considering the state we're in, could it have waited? Right now, it just feels like a six-part "I told you so".

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

WATCH IT NOW ON NETFLIX

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