Author Topic: HBO's Chernobyl  (Read 2467 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
That was a pretty good show.

It wasn't The Wire or Mad Men or even True Detective, but it was real good. I did think it suffered a little from TV Dialogue; a lot of the exchanges seemed to come from the 'what about the reinforcements? we are the reinforcements' school of nonspecificity, and the protagonist turning to the camera to deliver the show's moral at the end really put a button on that feeling. (Mad Men is a show I'd offer as a comparison that almost never fell into a dialogue rut; the exchanges were natural, but surprising.)

So, maybe a little too much Screenwriting, and the show smoothed over some interesting complexities from the real history — I read Midnight in Chernobyl during the show's run and it's full of extra depth, like Dyatlov as more than an obstructionist lump, Legasov's multiple suicide attempts, or Brukhanov literally building Pripyat out of nothing — but very good.

It's also fun to imagine as season 2 of The Terror.

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq

 
My meme-fu is too weak (esp. @work), but I still think it's worth some follow-up :)

"The reactor has not exploded. Change my mind."
"The other operators all caught a bad bug while applying too much suntan lotion. Change my mind."
"HBO/Sky's Chernobyl : not terrible, not great. Change my mind."
"A major nuclear disaster cannot happen in the Soviet Union. Change my mind (also send us a better robot)."


Now that that's out of the way, I've just finished watching the series & listening to the podcasts, and I've gotta say it's a great series. It knows what to (over-)dramatize and what to cut, the cast is rock-solid, the sets and scenes are breath-taking, and I think the first and last episodes are especially well crafted. I like how lengthy they made the epilogue, spending a not so insignificant amount of run time depicting the actual people involved and their fate, and additional details regarding the incident.

Also, by sheer coincidence I watched a very detailed 2006 documentary on the disaster about 6 months ago, completely unaware that this series was coming and did some follow up research back then and again now after watching all 5 episodes. While that spoiled the events a bit since it was still fairly fresh on my mind (and was one of the reason I post-poned watching the thing), it did highlight the extensive research the show makers have done.

tldr; Great series, would warmly recommend it.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

  • Makes General Discussion Make Sense.
  • Global Moderator
  • 210
  • Keyboard > Pen > Sword
    • Twitter
My wife and I watched this, and really enjoyed it.  I knew the story of Chernobyl reasonably well beforehand from a macro-perspective, but watching an (admittedly dramatized) version of the events unfold actually made me angry and appalled at what the USSR did.

At first the choice of opening for the series puzzled me, but in retrospect and with the neat wrap-out in the final episode, it was brilliant.
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move."  [Douglas Adams]

  

Offline jr2

  • The Mail Man
  • 212
  • It's prounounced jayartoo 0x6A7232
    • Steam
A couple of more technical videos explaining what happened (and different theories as to what happened when it's not certain):


What /Actually/ Happened at Chernobyl by vlogbrothers, 13 mins:



Why Chernobyl Exploded - The Real Physics Behind The Reactor by Scott Manley, 21 mins:


I enjoyed both.

 
A couple of more technical videos explaining what happened (and different theories as to what happened when it's not certain):

[...]

I enjoyed both.

I second that.

 

Offline Stealth

  • Braiiins...
  • 211
I actually visited Chernobyl near the beginning of July, just over a month ago.
Awesome experience - would definitely recommend.  Although I've read since that they are going to have to remove and repair the new containment structure, something which will likely take many years to complete, so not sure how open to tourists it will be within the next few months.

Still, one of the highlights of all my trips.

Watched all episodes of HBO's "Chernobyl" the week I visited, back to back.  Very cool show!

 

Offline Stealth

  • Braiiins...
  • 211
Also my above post was the first post in over a year. Hah.

 

Offline karajorma

  • King Louie - Jungle VIP
  • Administrator
  • 214
    • Karajorma's Freespace FAQ
BTW, if you were listening to the Chernobyl podcast, they actually did a sixth episode this week with Jared Harris as the guest star.
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

[ Diaspora ] - [ Seeds Of Rebellion ] - [ Mind Games ]

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Relevant video essay

Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline jr2

  • The Mail Man
  • 212
  • It's prounounced jayartoo 0x6A7232
    • Steam
What are your thoughts?   EDIT: Synopsis is specific examples of the public (even the semi-nuclear tech literate) falling prey to inaccuracies about the tech as portrayed in the series, even though the series purports to finger life in the USSR, which as the article points out is also inaccurately portrayed.

https://twitter.com/ShellenbergerMD/status/1136659996958109696?s=19
Quote
Chernobyl radiation did not crash a helicopter, was not contagious, and didn't kill that baby

Here's the science that debunks the sensational misrepresentations of nuclear in HBO's "Chernobyl"

Link: "Why HBO's Cherynobyl Gets Nuclear So Wrong"

Please share!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 02:38:29 pm by jr2 »

 

Offline Rhymes

  • Galactic Mediator
  • 29
  • Fatum Iustum Stultorum
My thoughts are that the author is so aggressively pro-nuclear (to the point of dragging other forms of renewable energy) that I find the source to be highly questionable. Furthermore, he ignores the fact that a lot of Lyudmilla Ignatenko's story in Chernobyl was taken directly from her own book--granted there was definitely some stuff she got wrong (her baby definitely didn't "absorb" the radiation, but she certainly thinks so, for example), that Vasily's body was deteriorating so fast that she almost certainly would have been exposed to the radioactive material in his body and bloodstream, and that the helicopter hit a crane and then ****ing disintegrated, which you can see in the show, which suggests that it was structurally compromised by the radiation hitting it.

TL; DR: Source ****.
If you don't have Knossos, you need it.

“There was a button," Holden said. "I pushed it."
"Jesus Christ. That really is how you go through life, isn't it?”

 

Offline jr2

  • The Mail Man
  • 212
  • It's prounounced jayartoo 0x6A7232
    • Steam
If there was enough radiation to structurally affect the chopper 6 months after the incident, I'm thinking perhaps anyone getting anywhere near it would be essentially under a death sentence?  Seems kind of a stretch, in fact, a rather stupendous stretch beggaring the imagination.

I think the problem is the facts on the ground aren't salacious enough to feed sensationalism (read: how you make lots of money).  Why all the hyperbole?  The incident was bad enough, you don't need to bring Michael Bay in.

Also, his Bio suggests one cannot lightly propose his being a pro-nuclear shill:

Quote
Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and Green Book Award Winner. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and other publications. His TED talks have been viewed over three million times.

 

Offline Rhymes

  • Galactic Mediator
  • 29
  • Fatum Iustum Stultorum
If there was enough radiation to structurally affect the chopper 6 months after the incident, I'm thinking perhaps anyone getting anywhere near it would be essentially under a death sentence?
YES.

I think the problem is the facts on the ground aren't salacious enough to feed sensationalism (read: how you make lots of money).  Why all the hyperbole?  The incident was bad enough, you don't need to bring Michael Bay in.

That's an incredibly unfair characterization, especially when the creative team has been very forward about what they deliberately changed for dramatic license. They're not making a documentary, they're telling a historical drama.

Also, his Bio suggests one cannot lightly propose his being a pro-nuclear shill:

Quote
Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and Green Book Award Winner. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and other publications. His TED talks have been viewed over three million times.

His twitter feed very much says otherwise.
If you don't have Knossos, you need it.

“There was a button," Holden said. "I pushed it."
"Jesus Christ. That really is how you go through life, isn't it?”

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Also, his Bio suggests one cannot lightly propose his being a pro-nuclear shill:

Quote
Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and Green Book Award Winner. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and other publications. His TED talks have been viewed over three million times.

In a world where a former head of Greenpeace is making money from oil companies by telling lies about climate change, a bio like the above says exactly nothing about anyone's attitudes towards nuclear power.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 
And the nuclear power lobbies like to present themselves as champions of the environment. And oil companies claim that they are among the most environmentally respectful corporations out there, that they are the ones that make the most efforts or stuff along those lines.

As others have said, the showmakers have been pretty transparent as to what they deliberately changed for dramatic reasons, both in interviews, their own podcasts and the epilogue of the series, including the helicopter crash incident. And while they have been accused of perpetrating some unverified myths like the "bridge of death"'s deaths, they've also been careful not to weigh in on the veracity of these claims and outright debunked others like the bubbler divers. And, most importantly they have been extremely careful to avoid making an anti-nuclear power message. On the contrary, their message seem to be more that "western nuclear power is pretty good since we are not as corrupt and morally bankrupt as the Soviet Union was" (at least with regards to nuclear power plants).

So yeah, some of the stuff in the series is factually incorrect and was obviously tweaked for increased drama, and there are a few things here and there that weren't as thoroughly researched as the rest. But honestly, given the usual quality and often laughable accuracy of historical dramas, they've done a pretty damn good job overall.

If there was enough radiation to structurally affect the chopper 6 months after the incident, I'm thinking perhaps anyone getting anywhere near it would be essentially under a death sentence?
YES.
I mean, it's not as if they included a whole subplot regarding the use of robots, and how the radiation was affecting them, and how human couldn't safely spend more than a couple minutes on the roof with protection and should absolutely not look down into the core...

Sarcasm aside, I don't think we know for sure the exact circumstances of the IRL crash (and I'm not an expert on helicopter crashes), but I seem to recall reading that radiation was indeed hard on the helicopters' avionics over time, so it doesn't seem too far-fetched to claim that radiation damage played a role in that crash.

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Steam
    • Twitter
I don't think that a show like Chernobyl will seriously change anyone's mind about nuclear power. If you're already anxious about it, you're not going to be less anxious after watching it; If you're on board with the idea that nuclear power is a useful tool if used responsibly, you're not going to go full anti-nuclear. All this whining about how the show isn't 100% factually accurate in every aspect is, IMHO, just that: whining. The same kind of whining people with no understanding of how stories work engage in when they watch Battleship and then complain that, no, you cannot "drift" an Iowa-class by dropping one anchor.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 
If you're already anxious about it, you're not going to be less anxious after watching it; If you're on board with the idea that nuclear power is a useful tool if used responsibly, you're not going to go full anti-nuclear.

I'm more worried about people in between, or people who don't really think about nuclear power.

 

Offline Det. Bullock

  • 29
  • Madman in a box.
I think that the main problem is that the Chernobyl incident doesn't really work as an anti-nuclear story.
The cause of the incident wasn't the inherent danger of nuclear power plants (Fukushima would be better, everything was done correctly yet it all went down the drain anyway) rather the general stupidity of the Soviet system in general at least the way I understand it.
"I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
"People assume  that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,  but *actually*  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more  like a big ball  of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

 

Offline karajorma

  • King Louie - Jungle VIP
  • Administrator
  • 214
    • Karajorma's Freespace FAQ
I wouldn't call building a nuclear power station at 10m above sea level in a country so famous for tsunamis that we stopped using our own word for the phenomenon "everything done correctly" :p
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

[ Diaspora ] - [ Seeds Of Rebellion ] - [ Mind Games ]