3.5/10 The timing of the release of this Netflix limited series (it came out January 22nd 2020) both bolsters and hinders this docuseries which ends up disappointing overall. One on medical glove covered hand, the discussion on how the next large pandemic will be massive, how countries won’t be prepared for it and how there is a large likelihood that it might come from China is both startlingly accurate and chilling in how it foreshadowed the current Coronavirus filled world that we now live in. On the other highly sanitized hand, since this came out before the Coronavirus pandemic really exploded, one problem this series has is low stakes. If this would have been filmed at the start of the current pandemic it would have been fascinating to see how no one initially took the Coronavirus seriously, how quickly it spread, how governments went into panic mode, the different methods different countries took, what we know about the virus and how to effectively combat it, etc. A timely and relevant documentary about the Coronavirus would be extremely interesting to see documented. Instead, this series doesn’t have a specific illness, disease or pandemic to be the show’s antagonist and no lifesaving cure to be discovered or created in the series finale. The show talks about the flu, the swine flu, Ebola and other illnesses/diseases as well as vaccinations vs. anti-vaccination debates, trying to prepare for the next pandemic and finally, the lives of these various doctors, nurses, experts, etc. in the medical field. The show is unfocused as it just jumps from person to person, story to story, illness to illness so quickly that you get lots of information but just before you feel you are starting to get a grasp on the issues, you are pulled away and taken to something different. Another problem the docuseries has is that there are some half-truths told (they will tell you some pertinent information but then leave out other relevant facts that the audience should be well aware of). Any documentary film or show is at its best when it gives you all of the information and both sides of the story and then lets the audience make up their minds for themselves. In the case of vaccinations vs. anti-vaccinations, the series overall does a really solid job of showing both sides to that debate, which was fantastic. Unfortunately, some of the other medical issues discussed in the show do not get the same equal treatment, which was disappointing. The series also does a bit of shilling for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO and the CDC, all of which are very problematic organizations which should not be put on a pedestal in any way, shape or form, as this show puts them on. The show isn’t particularly exciting or engaging as it meanders from episode to episode. I did appreciate the few people whose lives they focused closely in on, as I felt we as the audience really get to know them well, which was effective in setting up an emotional connection between us and these people. The diversity in countries and people documented here is a strength of the show. Overall though, if you are in the mood for some pandemic related viewing, you might be better off watching “Outbreak” or “Contagion” (the latter being the superior film of the two by far). If there is a follow up series on the current Coronavirus pandemic, I would be genuinely excited to watch it. However, this virtual pandemic may cause the viewer symptoms of boredom, a lethargic mental state and overall disinterest. Good thing you consulted your Top Pun Review website before deciding to watch or not.
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