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Episode four - that opening was brutal. The old lady who has lived in that village since the Romanovs were still on the throne, having to leave now because of the hubris of men who thought they could control nature. And the soldier who has clearly been ordered to let no one stay behind.

I still can't get my head around just how dangerous Chernobyl was. Standing on the roof in full protective gear for three minutes, and you're signing your death warrant. That we were stupid enough to mess with nature like this... it's yet another reason to think the planet would be much better off without any humans at all.

The hunting party scene was just awful, although I would have been more affected by it if they'd shown cats being shot as well as dogs. But I liked the complexity of the soldier in charge. He clearly liked animals, and didn't enjoy his job one bit, but it had to be done. Like everything regarding Chernobyl, it had to be done.

Just like sending men onto the roof to clear the graphite, when there were no other options left. That was a looong ninety seconds, for those guys on the roof, and a lot of graphite to clear.

And now we get to the scandal, and one of the many reasons for the cover up. A flawed reactor design, and warnings sent ten years earlier. Shcherbina as the ultimate Soviet realist and Legasov as the coward  are sadly going to win out over Khomyuk the idealist.

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17 minutes ago, Danny Franks said:

Shcherbina as the ultimate Soviet realist and Legasov as the coward  are sadly going to win out over Khomyuk the idealist.

There really are no winners.

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Made it to the last episode, and holy shit. I think this is the best one.

One thing I've not commented on so far is the music for this show. It's stark, minimalist and really effective. The synth track that plays over the opening montage of Pripyat before the explosion is really cool. Very 80s futurist, and it does evoke a sort of peaceful feeling, but with an undertone of tension.

So the reality of the Chernobyl cover up was just like every Cold War espionage story there is - lies, KGB coercion, broken promises and show trials to shore up national unity.

I know that Khomyuk is a fictional character created for the show, so I don't know if there were really people agitating for the truth this vociferously. But it seems like someone with the courage to say 'screw the Soviet Union, screw the KGB, tell the truth' is very much the wish fulfilment of people like Legasov, who didn't have the courage.

Shcherbina certainly set the scene well at the trial. His mic drop at "the fourth time they tried was April 26th, 1986" was wonderfully dramatic. And he does actually represent what the Soviets talked about as sacrifice for the good of all. He didn't know that he was signing his own death warrant when he went to Chernobyl, but he still stayed after he found out.

I really liked the framing of this episode, with the trial and then the flashbacks showing the lead up to the disaster. It was its own little disaster movie. Even though we've already seen what happens, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for it. Both the explosion and Legasov's moment of truth. But then... the gut-punch, provided by the KGB, that none of it matters.

The hesitancy and confusion of the staff makes so much more sense, now we learn that they were basically the night shift rookies, working without knowledge and clear instructions.  Dyatlov was so much more experienced than them, and a raging arsehole who clearly liked to make people feel stupid.

The writer of the show talked on the podcast about Dyatlov's cavalier attitude to nuclear power and radiation, and you can definitely see that here. How anyone can be so casual about something so dangerous is staggering.

Jared Harris deserves all the awards for this. His monologue describing the disaster was amazing. And any he doesn't get, Stellan Skarsgaard should get.

This show is pretty much the best thing I've watched in a long time. Absolutely tremendous piece of television.

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3 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

The writer of the show talked on the podcast about Dyatlov's cavalier attitude to nuclear power and radiation, and you can definitely see that here. How anyone can be so casual about something so dangerous is staggering.

Dyatlov seemed to expect to die from radiation in any event -- probably contributed to his bitterness.
  
  

3 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

This show is pretty much the best thing I've watched in a long time. Absolutely tremendous piece of television.

Yes.

Edited by shapeshifter
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On 6/6/2019 at 12:05 AM, Armchair Critic said:

On a lighter note, I love the name Toptunov. So fun to say.

Yes!

I just watched the series over the last week or so finishing yesterday and I have that name stuck in my mind.

Toptunov.

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14 hours ago, iPad said:

Yes!

I just watched the series over the last week or so finishing yesterday and I have that name stuck in my mind.

Toptunov.

Toptunov and Akimov sounds like a Soviet-era cartoon about animal friends who get up to all sorts of party approved, ideologically acceptable hijinks.

Edited by Danny Franks
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40 minutes ago, Titania said:

Craig Mazin is currently doing an AMA on the Chernobyl reddit sub. Here’s the link  in case anyone is interested.

A few tidbits (there are lots more worth reading, IMO):

[A REDDIT POSTER]: . . . I'm sure you know, many are now calling for more real life stories to be made in a similar fashion to Chernobyl (such as the Bhopal incident many want to see). If you could pick any real life event and make it into a series, what would it be?

[CRAIG MEZIN]: . . . I know that people want me to portray other disasters from history, and I understand why.
It's not something I am considering doing, because I don't want to simply repeat things. It's a bit creatively desperate to do something well, and then say "Hmmm.... how about I play that song again?"
That said, SOMEONE should tell the Bhopal story. It's terrifying and fascinating.
In terms of picking any real life event... well, you'll find out if and when it happens. I like sneaking up on people. Chernobyl just kinda snuck up on everyone that way. It's better. Hype can poison the joy of discovering something.

*********

[A REDDIT POSTER]: Why did you intentionally make it seem on the show like Antoshkin's helicopters heroically saved the day and put out the core, while in reality the air drops didn't do anything at all and were all in vain, and only trace amounts of boron and sand were found in the core room, when years later scientists were trying to uncover the secrets of the sarcophagus?

[CRAIG MEZIN]: I portrayed it as it was understood at the time. Regardless of the fact that it was later discovered that most of the drops missed... or that the entire airdrop operation was probably a bad idea to begin with... the heroism and sacrifice of those men is real.
It wouldn't have made much sense to flash words on the screen saying, "BTW THIS DIDN'T WORK."
Same with the miners. The fuel never melted through. The tunnel was for naught*

*********

[A REDDIT POSTER]: . . . any thoughts on your competition - the Russian “alternative version” of Chernobyl?

[CRAIG MEZIN]: . . . I've said this before: making television and movies is incredibly difficult to do, much less do well. So regardless of the content or purpose of that show they're making, as a fellow tradesperson, I wish the filmmakers and their crew a safe, easy shoot.

*****

* I didn't realize/think about the miners sacrifices being "for naught."

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1 hour ago, Quilt Fairy said:

Oy. It seems history repeats itself at Chernobyl with regards to lack of government oversight to protect the public. 
They ought to record visitors' passport IDs for future documentation of cancer rates; that requirement for that purpose might make the tourists sober up. 

rolleyes.gif

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I really loved the podcasts for this show.  They were so informative, including detailed reasons why some story was changed, and about the research done, and especially the information about details that had to be left on the cutting room floor.

Fascinating, and so well done.

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On 5/28/2019 at 8:50 AM, buttercupia said:

I love love loved River and especially him. Ripped my heart into tiny shreds.

Thank you Mamadrama and Buttercupia, I watched River over the last week and... just wow! I have a stone cold hard heart but this made me cry my eyes out.

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I've watched a ton of Youtubes about Chernobyl over the past couple of days.  Of all of them, this one explained the explosion in the clearest way, or maybe it's because I've watched the others but, as far as "getting it?'  Leaving aside personalities, the graphics on this one just landed for me.

There are some interviews with survivors, including a fireman in this, but the reason I'm posting it is for the clarity of the science behind the actual melt down and explosion, presented in an easily understood way.  That part is concentrated starting at about 27 minutes in, but of course, some stuff is detailed before that.  It's not the "best" of the videos out there, except for the clear and admittedly simplified explanations of science (not politics or human motivations/errors) in this.  This was uploaded in 2016.

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Chernobyl received Emmy nominations for Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, and the series itself. Other nominations were for writing, cinematography, directing, makeup, and music (which I really wanted - the "non" music was perfect for this series). 

I admit, I did a fist-pump to see all the appreciation for the best show I've seen in a long time. 

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1 hour ago, Ruprecht said:

Chernobyl received Emmy nominations for Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, and the series itself. Other nominations were for writing, cinematography, directing, makeup, and music (which I really wanted - the "non" music was perfect for this series). 

I admit, I did a fist-pump to see all the appreciation for the best show I've seen in a long time. 

They all deserve to win, particularly Harris. I don't know if the categories for a miniseries are separate from the categories for an ongoing series, but either way, Chernobyl should clean up.

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Very well deserved nominations for everyone involved! Its a great show and everyone involved deserves all the nominations and wins that they get!

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On 7/16/2019 at 6:08 PM, Danny Franks said:

They all deserve to win, particularly Harris. I don't know if the categories for a miniseries are separate from the categories for an ongoing series, but either way, Chernobyl should clean up.

They are in a separate category from Best Dramatic Series. This is "Best Limited Series" and yes, they should clean up. 

“Chernobyl” (HBO)
“Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime)
“Fosse/Verdon” (FX)
“Sharp Objects” (HBO)
“When They See Us” (Netflix)

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15 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

That doesn't look like a slam dunk to me.  It looks like really stiff competition.

Agreed. 

But I am reasonably confident that Chernobyl will at least win in a lesser category.

And these days, with so much competition, just being nominated is a badge of honor.

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I wish there was a category for background people.  One thing I notice more as I have re-watched is the spot-on acting by people like the other committee members when Legasov and Khomyuk deliver their everything-is-going-to-blow-up news, or the various official looking people during the trial trying to shield themselves from the fallout of Legasov's revelations.  They convey so much with so little, just a slight turn of the head or a hand raised to cover the eyes, arms moving just a bit - really, really good stuff.  

The overall attention to detail in this series was beyond outstanding, and this is just more of it.  I'm very happy to see it get the recognition it deserves.

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On ‎07‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 6:28 PM, meep.meep said:

That doesn't look like a slam dunk to me.  It looks like really stiff competition.

When They See Us and Fosse/Verdon are definitely competition.  Sharp Objects was mediocre, and based on what little I read about it, Escape At Dannemora wasn't particularly good either.

Edited by proserpina65
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4 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

based on what little I read about it, Escape At Dannemora wasn't particularly good either.

Don't know what you read or where you read it, but that's not true.  Escape was very good with some knockout performances by Patricia Arquette and Benicio Del Toro. Here's the USA Today review: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2018/11/15/escape-dannemora-review-prison-break-drama-ben-stiller/1977339002/

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18 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

Don't know what you read or where you read it, but that's not true.  Escape was very good with some knockout performances by Patricia Arquette and Benicio Del Toro. Here's the USA Today review: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2018/11/15/escape-dannemora-review-prison-break-drama-ben-stiller/1977339002/

I read some online reviews.  They were lukewarm about it.  But I didn't see it, so I'll take your word for it.

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I've seen all of them and stand by my previous statement.

They are each strong in their own ways.  I'd say Fosse/Verdon is the weakest of the bunch.

It is interesting that Sharp Objects is the only true fiction - the others are dramatizations of actual events.

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3 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

I read some online reviews.  They were lukewarm about it.  But I didn't see it, so I'll take your word for it.

Seconding the Escape at Dannemora recommendation. I kept passing it up on my streaming service until a friend recommended it. Starts off a bit slow (it's a grim setting which makes the very beginning a bit of a slog), but it becomes quite gripping, with excellent performances - especially from Patricia Arquette - she really knocks it out of the park.

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On ‎07‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 5:02 PM, meep.meep said:

It is interesting that Sharp Objects is the only true fiction - the others are dramatizations of actual events.

I thought Sharp Objects was terrible.  For me, it's definitely the weakest of Chernobyl's competition.

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I finished it last night, and I have to admit that it was amazing. The best show of the year so far. I wish it was GoT, but that was a complete shitshow. 

Edited by MoPett · Reason: typo
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PSA:

Still craving some Soviet-Era Nuclear intrigue? A documentary called City 40 is streaming on Netflix Canada.

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16 hours ago, marinw said:

PSA:

Still craving some Soviet-Era Nuclear intrigue? A documentary called City 40 is streaming on Netflix Canada.

More info? Can't seem to find anything.

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12 hours ago, marinw said:

Maybe it's not on the US Netflix?

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2721744/

It is on Netflix in the US.  You have to search for "City 40", the entire name, just "city" won't bring it up for some reason.  I just watched it and it's definitely something you'll want to see if you liked Chernobyl. 

Thanks for the recommendation, @marinw.

BTW, Netflix also has the PBS special called "Building Chernobyl's Megatomb".  While you may not be interested in the details of the steel arch they built and put over the sarcophagus, it does have a lot of archival footage from the days right after the explosion.  And somehow they have footage from inside the building.  I don't know how they did it, a person couldn't be in there.  Definitely worth seeing. 

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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Thanks MARINW for the recommendation to watch CITY 40 on Netflix which I did tonight and it was really informative.  I learned so much about Closed Cities of which I knew nothing even though I knew Mercury, NV, existed in the United States; I just didn't realize that it was a Closed City.  Hopefully, the Russian Human Rights Specialist, Nadezhda Kutepova who had to flee to France after she was accused by the Russian government of "Industrial Espionage" in 2015 will not suffer the same fate that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia when they were poisoned by the Russians.

Here's a good article about Nadezhda Kutepova which details some of the things discussed and shown in the documentary.  

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/20/russia-activist-flee-nuclear-tv-witch-hunt

I see Netflix also has the PBS documentary, Building Chernobyl's Megatomb which I've never seen; that's next on my viewing list!

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7 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

Thanks for the recommendation, @marinw.

You're welcome 😀.

4 hours ago, dbklmt said:

Thanks MARINW for the recommendation to watch CITY 40 on Netflix which I did tonight and it was really informative.  I learned so much about Closed Cities of which I knew nothing even though I knew Mercury, NV, 

I thought of this forum when I saw it! 

Closed Cities are such a fascinating places. They both do and do not exist.

Edited by marinw

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There was an nuclear tinged incident in the extreme northwest corner of Russia late last week, that apparently did involve a radiation leak that was measured in the atmosphere from an explosion on a Russian naval base facility that is involved in the development of nuclear powered rockets which among others, killed five of the leading Russian nuclear scientists. A lot af secrecy in this as the Russian government refuses to confirm or explain what happened but the five deaths (among others plus injured) are confirmed by public funerals held today for the five scientists. Sound a tad familiar doesn’t it? Does this mean the Russians haven’t learned a thing three decades plus after Chernobyl? 

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23 hours ago, theschnauzers said:

Does this mean the Russians haven’t learned a thing three decades plus after Chernobyl? 

It doesn't sound like it.  Rachael Maddow spent the first 20 minutes of her show today on the ever-changing story of this accident, including the transfer of the injured - and the medical staff who treated them - to a Moscow hospital.   There was even a video of a stream of ambulances going by on a street just like in the show.  Ambulances with the back doors sealed with plastic.  It gave me goosebumps.

Chernobyl 2.0. 

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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6 hours ago, theschnauzers said:

And I saw an article in my online news feed this a.m. that residents of nearby villages are being urged to evacuate.

Oy. I guess the spokespeople for the Russian government aren't focusing anymore on the negative impressions of their government in the Chernobyl series.

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On ‎08‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 10:59 AM, theschnauzers said:

And I saw an article in my online news feed this a.m. that residents of nearby villages are being urged to evacuate.

And then they were told not to.  Sounds like a massive screw-up again.  Maybe not on the level of Chernobyl, but still.

7 hours ago, larapu2000 said:

And everyone said that a second season was just a pipe dream.  

Too soon?

A commentator on CNN the other night referred to it as "a flying Chernobyl" - god help me, I laughed out loud.

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The official podcast dropped a bonus episode today in which Peter Sagal and Craig Mazin are joined by Jared Harris(!). Before that segment begins, Craig addresses the recent incident in Russia.

Edited by lurkerbee
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36 minutes ago, lurkerbee said:

The official podcast dropped a bonus episode today in which Peter Sagal and Craig Mazin are joined by Jared Harris(!). Before that segment begins, Craig addresses the recent incident in Russia.

Do you have a link?

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The current news, and lies, and cover-ups, are being compared to this show on most news stations now.

It sure seems like Russia has learned absolutely nothing since their USSR days.

I wonder if the timing of this is still going to be good for the show?  I realize that's shallow when we are talking about possibly huge contamination, this time in the ocean, but still, I think it might make people who didn't watch Chernobyl yet?  Decide too.

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On 8/13/2019 at 1:33 AM, theschnauzers said:

There was an nuclear tinged incident in the extreme northwest corner of Russia late last week, that apparently did involve a radiation leak that was measured in the atmosphere from an explosion on a Russian naval base facility that is involved in the development of nuclear powered rockets which among others, killed five of the leading Russian nuclear scientists. A lot af secrecy in this as the Russian government refuses to confirm or explain what happened but the five deaths (among others plus injured) are confirmed by public funerals held today for the five scientists. Sound a tad familiar doesn’t it? Does this mean the Russians haven’t learned a thing three decades plus after Chernobyl? 

I heard about that, and just saw another article about it. Terrifying.

I'm still afraid to watch the rest of this show. I watched the first episode. People keep saying that it's the best thing they've watched (or close to it), but I can't handle it right now.

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3 hours ago, Anela said:

I heard about that, and just saw another article about it. Terrifying.

I'm still afraid to watch the rest of this show. I watched the first episode. People keep saying that it's the best thing they've watched (or close to it), but I can't handle it right now.

I couldn't stop watching this show, but I think I understand how you feel, because I couldn't go back to When They See Us after the first episode.

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That Family Guy sketch is what reading Voices from Chernobyl is like. But without the funny. I highly recommend it if you want to get a fuller picture of the incident and its aftermath, but it actually gave me nightmares when I started reading it -- I had to put it in the freezer for awhile before taking it up again. It has all of the despair westerners associate with Eastern Europe plus the terror of radiation. When reading the section about the woman living in her abandoned village with nothing but her rat-killing cat to keep her company, and then the cat dies, I couldn't help but think of this little nugget from Cheers:

I am a bad person.

Edited by MJ Frog · Reason: Hyphens can be useful.
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Emmy win!

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie

Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More)

Outstanding Special Visual Effects In A Supporting Role

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie

Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special

Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie

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