If you have cable television, you've almost certainly seen the movie Outbreak. Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo as the estranged married couple both battling against an Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Southern California before it breaks containment and spreads across the United States. Morgan Freeman and Donald Sutherland play army generals, Cuba Gooding Jr. the newbie on the team, Patrick Dempsey is patient zero who dies a very sweaty, phlegmy, blood-dripping-from-his-eyes death. It's a time. And it's nominally based on the 1992 book The Hot Zone. "Nominally" meaning "the most basic idea is the same, but the characters and story were different."
And now finally, after a long adaptation process, the novel is getting a true adaptation, in mini-series form. The "long adaptation process" is no joke. We almost got a Hot Zone movie in the early '90s with Robert Redford and Jodie Foster in the starring roles, before Warner Bros. rushed Outbreak out to theaters. Now, 25 years later, it's Julianna Margulies leading the Nat Geo production of The Hot Zone. Twenty five years later, the spectre of a global pandemic of Ebola is still among the scariest things that could ever possibly happen, so at least the urgency is still there.
SERIES PREMIERE: The six-part Nat Geo adaptation of The Hot Zone will air two episodes a night on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week. In addition to Julianna Margulies, the cast includes Noah Emmerich (The Americans), Liam Cunningham (Davos in Game of Thrones), and Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3). 9:00 PM ET on Nat Geo
SERIES PREMIERE: Netflix drops the premiere season of their stand-up comedy series Historical Roasts, and as you might have suspected when you saw the word "roast" in the title, Jeff Ross is, in fact, the star and executive producer. It's a curious concept, with comics portraying famous (and infamous) historical figures offering themselves up to be roasted. Certainly this opens up the proceedings for a whole host of "politically incorrect" humor, but will it take the sting out of the roasters' barbs if the intended target is only an actor playing a role? Streaming on Netflix
TV MOVIE PREMIERE: Just in case you thought you were done with royals-related programming: you're not. Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal is a sequel to Lifetime's 2018 movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. Charlie Field and Tiffany Smith play the titular royals in their first year of marriage, and while you shouldn't expect it to get as juicy as some of the tabloid headlines, it may be perfect for a lazy Memorial Day evening. 8:00 PM ET on Lifetime
SEASON FINALE: We are living in incredibly fraught political times, so why wouldn't CNN air a comedy special with Colin Quinn using terminology that was at its most relevant during the George W. Bush administration? Colin Quinn: Red State, Blue State will present Quinn's one-man show which ran Off-Broadway this year. Quinn's always been an open-minded comedic presence, but it'll be interesting to see how it goes over in an era where both-sides-ism feels more like fence-sitting. 9:00 PM ET on CNN
Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.