Series to Put You in the Mood for a Pandemic

Diseases are scary. As such, they are among the most beloved topics for horror and science fiction authors and screenwriters. As a result, we have many great series (and some that are not so great) to choose from if we want to be in the mood for the current coronavirus situation (or perhaps to sigh in relief saying, “see, it could be worse”). Thanks to the many streaming services around, many of them are accessible at all times…so let’s take a look at some of the best.

Honorable Mention: Helix (Season One – 2014)
Helix is less a medical thriller and more a horror series, but it deserves a spot in our list because of its topic: a deadly virus developed and let loose in a remote complex in the Arctic. Its first season follows a team from the CDC, led by Dr Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell), sent to Ilaria Corporation’s remote Arctic bioresearch station to handle a viral outbreak. There, they find out that there are two strains they have to face: a deadly one with no cure and another that turns the infected individuals into zombie-like vectors that seek out and infect everyone they can. As you might expect, there’s more to this story than just a viral outbreak – mystery surrounds station director Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the entire board of the corporation behind it.
Where to stream: Netflix, Hulu
Jump with me to read more.
ReGenesis (2004)
ReGenesis sheds some light on the life and work of a team of scientists at NorBAC (North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission), a fictional institution based in Toronto, Canada, that investigates scientific problems ranging from bioterrorism and mysterious diseases across the country. Peter Outerbridge (V-Wars, The Umbrella Academy) plays David Sandström, a molecular biologist fascinated by the Spanish flu and virologist Jill Langston (Sarah Strange). The series debuts with the team having to stop a deadly virus and then proceeds to touch on subjects ranging from cloning, politics, ethics, and everything in between, spiced up by the many epidemics – manmade and natural – the team has to investigate and defeat.
Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video
The Last Ship (2014)
The USS Nathan James is on a mission to the Arctic, seemingly to study the birds native to the area but in reality collecting samples of a deadly virus that runs rampant across the globe. The virus has spread all over the world, infecting 80% of the population. It’s up to the crew of the Nathan James – soldiers and scientists alike – to navigate through a world hit hard by the pandemic, find a cure, and stop the virus from killing the last human on the face of the Earth.
The series has some big names behind it – including Michael Bay – and is filled with quite a few feature-film-class action sequences to spice up the thrill and the drama.
Where to stream: Hulu, Amazon
The Strain (2014)
While this may seem the odd one out, it deserves your attention. In Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s series, Dr Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather comes face-to-face with a new type of pathogen, one that alters the genetic makeup of those infected, turning them into blood-thirsty zombies. The ominous “strain” turns out to be an ancient, evil being known as “The Master” (former Polish noble Jusef Sardu), who uses its/his healing power to bribe a dying businessman to use his financial power to help him establish a foothold in Manhattan.
Eph and his colleagues first treat the outbreak as a viral epidemic, but they soon realize that something’s amiss – instead of warning the population of a potential outbreak, the authorities are hushing up the spread of the virus. Their unlikely ally is Professor Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor who is not at his first encounter with this “disease,” and Fet, the rat exterminator with an affinity for explosives.
Where to stream: Hulu
Z Nation (2014)
The Walking Dead has proven that the zombie genre is viable on TV. Z Nation has proven that it doesn’t have to be taken too seriously for it to be successful. The series made its debut in 2014, dropping its viewers into the middle of a zombie apocalypse of unknown origin. A rag-tag team of survivors takes it on itself to escort Murphy, the only person to have survived being bitten by a zombie thanks to an experimental vaccine for the ZN1 virus, from New York to the last functioning CDC lab in California. The team has an unexpected ally – Citizen Z (DJ Qualls), stuck at an NSA listening post in the Arctic, who still has access to modern technology like satellites, computers, and a sizeable record collection.
The series is campy at times, bizarre at others, and quite often, it combines humor and scares. It doesn’t take itself too seriously – and this gives the show a great entertainment value.
Where to stream: Netflix

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