Contagious fear: TV’s most thrilling epidemic episodes

Yahoo Contributor Network

When it comes to TV, there are few plots that can make audiences as scared as a good, old fashioned outbreak. Rare, exotic diseases are always a terrifying way to build tension, and these stories often become fan favorites. From epidemics to containment situations, these TV episodes force audiences to confront their fear of losing their favorite TV characters.

"Death is in the Air": "Psych"

One of the highlights of Season 4 was "Death is in the Air," an episode where Juliet is exposed to the deadly Thornberg virus. When a courier who was transporting a sample of the virus is robbed, he comes to Shawn and Gus for help.

As the bodies begin to stack up, Shawn had only hours to find a cure for the virus before Juliet would become its next victim. As one great review put it, "the character who's never at a loss for words wasn't able to find the right ones and declare his love for Juliet when everything was on the line."

"Airborne": "House"

Dr. House faced all manner of outbreak situations over the run of the series, including Season 7's "A Pox on Our House." But one of the most intense episodes was Season 3's "Airborne," which placed House and Cuddy on an airplane. The two were coming back from a conference in Singapore, where they were trapped with multiple patients suffering from what seemed to be meningitis.

In the end, it turns out that most of the "patients" on the plane were just suffering from mass hysteria, including Cuddy. It's a fantastically claustrophobic hour of TV that perfectly showcases just how dangerous a mob of people can become under the right conditions.

"The Man in the Fallout Shelter": "Bones"

While the show doesn't really hit its stride until the second season, the first season episode "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" is still a fan favorite. When Zack uses a bone saw to cut into a skeleton, he releases a fungus that causes Valley fever to spread throughout the lab, causing the Jeffersonian to lock down. Complicating matters further, it's also Christmas Eve. While everyone else tries to make the best of a Christmas in lock down, Bones uses the time to try and solve a decades-old murder (and unravel a love story). It's a bittersweet Christmas tale that has both heart-warming and spine-tingling aspects.
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