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Chernobyl - 2019 HBO/Sky UK version

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    Chernobyl - 2019 HBO/Sky UK version

    Being that Russia is considering and/or in the process of their own Chernobyl series, I thought delineation is necessary for prosperity.

    Obviously includes incredible filmmaking and writing, acting of the highest pedigree, and core-blowing special effects. I still wonder how they were able to get that smoke billowing and blowing for as long as they did.

    ​​​​​​Stellan Skarsgård, Jared Harris, and Emily Watson make for a great team, and their relationships and scenes together are so great to watch. The character arc of Boris Shcherbina up against the bravery and conviction of Legasov's is very well written and acted. The helicopter scene, when Boris realizes how much Legasov knows what he's talking about, was the best part of the series. As a huge fan of Air Crash Investigation / Mayday, it has the payoff of the entire minute-by-minute reenactment of the "safety" test that led to the core explosion.

    But like the metallic graphite taste in the mouths of the plant technicians, the series just contained a toxic mix of horseshit and bullshit to be taken too seriously, or to be elevated to the pantheon of Traffik or Tinder, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or any of the Greatest Ever Miniseries.. What happened to the firemen and first responders was horrible enough, but did they really have to be shown like Sloth from Seven? Did they have to be shown as a 3rd degree nuclear bomb survivor only a few days after they were shown smiling in the hospital? Isn't being pale and emaciated enough? Was it really necessary to have fucked up science like radiation as a contagious virus? When reading up on survivors accounts and their impressions of the show, the whole thing feels a bit gross. Like how pulsating the end of Episode 2 was, which is right up there with the tension of Wages of Fear. Then reading how different; I mean like the final drive-in movie-of-a-movie scene of Pee Wee's Big Adventure different, it was in real life.

    ​​​​​​I was 12 when the real life Chernobyl happened, and it coincided with the return of Halley's Comet. A lady standing in line wondered to my father and I if we'd see "radio-ation" in the telescope. My father and I looked at each other and laughed.

    #2
    An instructive (and long) thread from a Russian who was alive at the time

    https://twitter.com/SlavaMalamud/status/1132029943297265664

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      #3
      Among the things that I really appreciated about the show was that there was no effort to put on silly fake-Russian-ish accents. The actors just talked normally.

      I thought the whole thing was great, and even the slight fabrications or elisions (the helicopter crash, for instance, was not as shown) didn’t bother me.

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        #4
        Great read, Ursus, thanks.

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          #5
          There was some discussion in the 'Current Watching' thread, but it certainly deserves its own.

          I was gripped by it, one of the best dramas I've seen in years. I only watch free TV, so that's a fairly small sample, but compared with recent disappointments like War of the Worlds or World on Fire, then Chernobyl was a whole different level of intelligence and painstaking professionalism.

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            #6
            Would love to talk at length about this...

            Did you lot listen to the accompanying HBO podcast also? Very well done, and will be of interest to anyone who liked the programme

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