Which leads me to the second example, a movie called "Contagion" starring Kate Winslet, Matt Damon and Jude Law (among others) from 2011. Here an unknown virus is causing an epidemic, which leads to a breakdown of life as we know it. In contrast to the aforementioned examples however this movie is quite accurate. It depicts the basic steps necessary in the isolation of an unknown virus, including setbacks during the isolation of a virus, basic epidemiology and moral dilemmas arising when making vaccines available.
I enjoyed both the TV series and the movie. Both have their merits. But from a scientific perspective I prefer "Contagion" since it describes what science is about: trials, errors and the importance of basic field work in tracing the origins of an unknown virus. My favourite scene is therefore when of one the protagonist explains the Reed number. Interestingly the infectious disease doctor didn't know what this number means.
Pathogenesis of the 1918 Influenza Virus
PLOS Pathogen 7:e1001218
Origins and evolution of the 1918 “Spanish” influenza virus hemagglutinin gene
Taubenberger et al. (1997)
Initial genetic characterization of the 1918 “Spanish” Influenza virus
Taubenberger et al. (2012)Reconstruction of the 1918 influenza virus: unexpected rewards from the past
America’s forgotten pandemic
Cambridge University Press