“Containment,” which will occupy 13 weeks of CW real estate beginning Tuesday, tells a story of an American city in the grip of a fast-spreading fatal virus. It is something like Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film “Contagion” and even more like “Cordon,” the 2014 Belgian series on which it is closely based. It has been adapted, fittingly in a way, by Julie Plec, co-creator of “The Vampire Diaries,” another tale of blood and infection.
That the new Black Death is considered by epidemiologists a matter not of “if” but “when,” combined with the human tendency toward hypochondria on the one hand and to ignore actual symptoms on the other, makes such stories evergreen. (We have met the zombie apocalypse and it is a bird flu.) They are also overly familiar; though all may not be exactly as it seems, it will eventually be suggested, this is — chaos and corpses included — routine stuff.
After a brief moment of administrative calm, as residents are advised to stay indoors and maintain a distance of “four to six feet” from one another — a strange instruction, if you think about it — quarantine turns inevitably into chaos: masked motorcyclists, price-gouging shop owners, gun-toting thugs, the walking as-good-as-dead. Small groups represent mobs, as in Shakespeare.
Undemanding viewers (not a judgment) may find “Containment” diverting nonetheless. If nothing here seems the least real, the series’ flaws, from its underpowered budget to its overripe dialogue, are those of innumerable, sometimes beloved B-, C- and D-grade pictures before it — not excluding the high-toned epigrams, from Socrates and Matthew and such that introduce each episode with a sheen of classy meaning.
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday
Rating: TV-14-LV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14, with advisories for coarse language and violence)