Medical TV dramas and films skyrocket in popularity amid coronavirus outbreak

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/11 19:01:15

Promotional material for ER Doctors Photo: Weibo

Many medical dramas and movies that were released several years ago have recaptured Chinese audiences amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia, with some audiences taking them as instructions on how to fight the virus. 

The views of ER Doctors, a Chinese TV drama that was released in 2017, surpassed that of some newlyproduced TV programs, allowing it to break into the Top 10 list of the most-watched TV dramas on Monday.

Chinese netizens said that the 26th episode of ER Doctors tells a story that bears a striking similarity to the current situation in China - an outbreak of coronavirus. 

"Doctors in the TV drama quickly recognize the virus and then they take immediate measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Their decisive attitude and instant reactions are worth learning from," a Sina Weibo user commented.

"Art comes from life and sometimes it can also instruct real life. I am so surprised that the 26th episode of ER Doctors almost predicted what is happening in this epidemic," another netizen wrote.

Besides this Chinese TV drama, some foreign films and TV series with similar themes including Grey's Anatomy, The Hot Zone and The Flu have also returned to Chinese audiences' watch lists while they are cooped up at home to prevent the spread of the virus.

"I watched the South Korean movie The Flu several times. I had not heard of it before, but I was drawn by its name when I saw it on the website," Fang Chao, a programmer living in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"The epidemic has made me interested in medical and virus-themed movies and TV series."

Fang said that he wanted to learn more about how other countries portray an epidemic. 

"Art is from life. Sometimes these dramas can reflect true stories," he added.

The Flu is a 2013 South Korean movie about an outbreak of a deadly strain of H5N1 that kills its victims within 36 hours, throwing the district of Bundang in Seongnam, which has a population of nearly half a million people, into chaos.

It is not just TV and film that has benefited from the epidemic. According to the best-seller list on Chinese online bookstore Dangdang, The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story, a 1994 nonfiction thriller by Richard Preston, has become the Top 2 best-seller of the social science books.

"I can comprehend the plots in The Hot Zone better amid our country's novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak," another employee of a public relations company told the Global Times.

She said that she told her parents to watch The Hot Zone together with her so they can understand how serious the situation is. 

"It worked," she said.

Posted in: TV,ARTS FOCUS

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