Containment- It had the potential to be great and failed.
By Mumbua Nzula Nzyoka.
There’s something to be said about Julie Plec and her work. There are names you can believe in when it come to TV. Aaron Sorkin – Great dialogue, Kevin Williamson – Dark stories told wonderfully, J.J Abrams – Great Sci-Fi. Watch enough TV and you’ll be able to tell. Julie Plec tells amazing stories, but some of her shows eventually suffer from convoluted story-telling and unfortunately, “Containment” is one such show.
The premise of “Containment” is great – a town about to be ravaged by a deadly virus. This premise has proved successful for shows such as “The Walking Dead” and movies such as “World War Z”, but in the case of “Containment”, its not working as well as it should. The biggest problem with a life-threatening virus being the focal point of a TV show is that all the key players must be in clear and immediate danger at all times. On “Containment”, the story moves in slow motion as the story swerves from Lex – the officer in charge outside of the cordon, to Chris – the officer stuck inside the cordon, and the panic that erupts after the news of the virus breaks. The reason “The Walking Dead” works so well is because at every turn a character we care about is more-often than not about to die.
The first episode starts on day 13 and the city has descended into chaos. The military is moving in, and the civilians are doing what they always do when the world is about to end on TV, they’re looting. It’s anarchy. Then the screen cuts back to day 1, and the rest of the pilot and the following episodes are count downs to day 13. The problem with focusing on day 1-12 is that it lacks the urgency required to keep viewers sitting on the edge of their seats. Its the same problem “Fear of the Walking Dead” is facing. If we already know what’s to come, why should we watch how we got there? It is easy to see what they were going for with the flash forward. “How to Get Away With Murder” does it successfully, but then again on HTGAWM we’re trying to figure out ‘whodunnit’ so the stroy of how we get to the end is important.
It would have worked out differently if the show had started with day 13 and continued on instead of going backwards. And by differently, I mean more engaging, interesting and intriguing. There is an urgency and danger that is present in day 13, and that’s what makes the opening scene (a few seconds) of “Containment’s” pilot exciting. However, the rest of the show (the flash back to day 1-12) is unnecessary and boring.
NOTE: The show has since been cancelled by the CW.