TV Review: ‘Containment’

David Gyasi, Christina Moses, Chris Wood, Kristen Gutoskie, Claudia Black, George Young, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Trevor St. John

CW has enjoyed such an admirable run with its recent development that the network was probably overdue for a genuine clunker. And it gets one, big-time, with “Containment,” a thoroughly uninspired drama about a pandemic, focusing on the officials charged with controlling the crisis and those cordoned off in harm’s way. While anyone in TV can come down with a bad case of the blahs, for the network’s sake, let’s hope this one doesn’t go viral.

Exhibiting parallels to a long list of movies (“Contagion” and “Outbreak” come to mind) and adapted from a Belgian series, “Containment” has been entrusted to “The Vampire Diaries’” Julie Plec and director David Nutter, ostensibly a formidable tandem. But the resulting drama and cast simply fail to ignite, with the latter having seemingly been chosen more for their summer-catalog potential than anything approaching more helpful strains of chemistry.

The action opens on what a chyron notes is “Day 13” of the crisis, with all hell breaking loose. Flash back to “Day 1,” when the epidemic strikes, and authorities quickly move to mitigate the threat by isolating those who were potentially exposed.

The task of maintaining order, meanwhile, largely falls to a member of the Atlanta police, Lex Carnahan (David Gyasi), who must not only navigate the butt-covering antics of his superiors, but fret about his girlfriend (Christina Moses) and friend/colleague (Chris Wood), who are both confined within the quarantine area.

If the premiere provides a certain amount of tension in their predicament, the initial scenes of chaos and the search for “patient zero,” subsequent episodes do little to distinguish key players, among them a pregnant teenager (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) separated from her boyfriend, an elementary school teacher (Kristen Gutoskie) caught behind the cordon with her entire class, and a medical researcher (George Young) who is intent upon finding a cure.

Whatever progress the good doctor makes in discovering the right formula, the ingredients in “Containment” could hardly seem more generic, as the narrative oscillates between the two sides of the barrier. And while the barricaded population may not be able to escape, all viewers will need to escape a similar fate is a functioning remote control.

CW describes the show as an “event series,” and it’s leaving the door open for the program to continue if successful. The network also is providing “Containment” a plum time slot, scheduled after one of its biggest hits, “The Flash.” Then again, there’s a certain twisted logic to that: When faced with the prospect of watching beyond the half-dozen episodes previewed, the temptation is to run, not walk.


Popular on Variety

TV Review: 'Containment'

(Series; CW, Tues. April 19, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Atlanta by My So-Called Company in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Crew: Executive producers, Julie Plec, David Nutter, Matt Corman, Chris Ord; producer, Cyrus Yavneh; director, Nutter; writer, Plec; based on the Belgian series created by Carl Joos; camera, Nelson Cragg; production designer, John Kretschmer; editor, Paul Karasick; music, Michael Suby; casting, Greg Orson, Leslie Gelles-Raymond. 60 MIN.

Cast: David Gyasi, Christina Moses, Chris Wood, Kristen Gutoskie, Claudia Black, George Young, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Trevor St. John

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content