The Hot Zone Anthrax Where To Watch: It was odd to be entering adolescence around the time of September 11, 2001, particularly when I look back on it as an adult. Like I can pinpoint the precise time when I realized what “anxiety” was. As a result, when anthrax began to be delivered to random individuals — or at least that’s what I recall being told — my level of fear increased by a factor of 1,000. As for whether they ever identified the perpetrator, I’d presume they never did, as well as that they never had a suspect in the first place and that the individual just disappeared into thin air as if he or she were the Zodiac himself.
Because Ryker represents the government, there are numerous repetitive sequences of persons sitting and talking about how horrible things are. However, because we don’t get to meet the victims or learn about them as individuals, the film seems quiet, sluggish, and dour at times. This isn’t a high-octane action-packed production like “Outbreak.”
Ryker is well aware that he is on the correct track, but the program places a strong emphasis on establishing the possibility that a renegade link to the anthrax strain may have contributed to the Iraq War without explicitly stating so. “The Hot Zone: Anthrax,” like previous programs that have tried to look back at historical events with today’s knowledge, doesn’t really have anything to say about how this panic affected our approach to people of color, the war, or our present epidemic.
The Hot Zone, a National Geographic television series in its second season, aims to answer that issue, or at the very least reproduce what occurred in the weeks, months, and years after September 11, 2001, when anthrax began spreading via the United States mail service. Starting three weeks after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the season’s style and structure are reminiscent of “Zero Dark Thirty,” with most of the series jumping between locales and periods with nothing to distinguish them other than onscreen text.
It’s strange to see this after viewing “The Hot Zone: Ebola.” Perhaps it was because the first season was based on the gripping novel of the same name by Richard Preston. Or is it because Ebola is such a scary virus in and of itself that this is the case? ) (Preston’s portrayal of what happens to Ebola patients is particularly chilling). However, the whole story of “The Hot Zone: Anthrax” is about the dread of contracting the virus in the first place. In fact, the sickness itself seems to have been relegated to the background.
Sure, we watch a guy get sick with it, which manifests itself onscreen as a loss of awareness and excessive perspiration, and we see other victims be afflicted with big lesions, but there is no feeling of horror in the film. In this scene, there are numerous government officials telling the public how terrified they should be, especially in light of the events taking place so close to September 11, 2001, and it is at this point that the more complicated elements of the story emerge, or are completely dropped from consideration.