Horrifyingly tragic, visually stunning, incredible!
Stars: Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Jessie Buckley, Emily Watson
Creator: Craig Mazin
Synopsis: Based on events of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and the people who essentially sacrificed their lives trying to figure out what happened and how to contain the damage of the biggest man-made disaster in history.
Opinion: This…show…is…incredible!! Every single thing about it is just so brilliantly done that I haven’t stopped telling people to watch it since I finished. Literally from the first 10 minutes of episode 1 I was so hooked in that I am endlessly glad I waited until all episodes were out before watching. I couldn’t even imagine having to wait a week between each one because I wasn’t able to press next/play fast enough at the conclusion of each episode.
Based on the true story of the Chernobyl disaster, it essentially starts at the point of the explosion at the power plant and then works its way through the next 1-2 years showing the aftermath, sickness, evacuations, work to prevent further chaos and most importantly the sacrifices made by all of the people who worked together to help solve the problem. It is a very honest and very real telling of a horrific incident and while I was aware of Chernobyl and what happened it was very much an educational experience.
The cast do speak English throughout and there is no attempt at Russian accents at all which may be seen by some as less authentic but honestly it made it feel more real in a way. Every performance is fantastic and while yes Russian with subtitle may have been more authentic, the realism is so present everywhere else that the dialogue and accents because a very minor change. The sets, designs and fact that real audio, footage and recordings from the event were used in Russian with no subtitles brings on a powerful emotional reaction. It’s those details and actually the way the entire thing is filmed that make it so captivating to watch. There are so many scenes which are visually stunning and while the thing you will be watching may be something tragic (coffins being buried in cement) the way it is filmed and the haunting music over the top is honesty beautiful and very emotional to watch. These moments are throughout the series and in a way cause a break from the dialogue and allow you to absorb and ponder on the things that are happening. It’s a pause to catch the breath you’ve been holding and to appreciate everything that is happening to all of the people involved.
Obviously, I don’t need an overall or final thought here because if you can’t already tell, this show is one of the best things I’ve ever watched and I can’t recommend it enough. Performances are fantastic, visually its outstanding, the soundtrack is haunting and emotional and the final production is perfection. If you haven’t watched it yet, do yourself a favour and check it out if not for the show itself but to understand and appreciate the scale of the event and the people who were involved in all aspects.
Adult Content: This show is factual and therefore some of the scenes are quite intense and graphic. This is more so with the injuries sustained by the radiation and there are a couple of instances where they show people who are very obviously quite close to death while in the hospital. Yes it’s horrible to look at but it’s also not the type of show that really should have to sugar coat things but in case you shy away from such things, just have a viewing buddy that can tell you when it’s safe to look again.