With Game of Thrones on its final episode of the entire series, HBO has had to scramble to find their next big hit. While there latest limited series in no way resembles the fantastical series it is arguably one of their best miniseries of the year as it tackles one of the biggest man-made disasters of our time: the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
HBO has spared no expense as usual as they cast some big-name stars like Stellan Skarsgard of Mamma Mia fame, Jared Harris of Mad Men and Emily Watson from the recent Apple Tree Yard. These actors have each done their time on the small and the big screen which is evident as they portray their characters during the disaster that was and still is Chernobyl.
The show itself centers on a variety of characters with the three played by the aforementioned actors in the key roles of Soviet government officials and nuclear physicists tasked with handling the utter meltdown of Chernobyl in 1986 and the nuclear fallout experienced in the region. One of the shining moments of the show is when Stellan Skarsgard’s character Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina realizes that the amount of radiation he has been exposed to will ultimately kill him within a five year period. The entire series is fraught with the terror experienced by everyone in the region and the fallout experienced by the world at the time. The dramatization truly encompasses the horror of the disaster. There is no hidden agenda in which the audience is made to feel like this disaster was done on purpose but instead ruminates on the fallibility of man. There is also a very insightful look at the comrade structure of Soviet Russia, and how that itself actually contributed to the lack of effective response right away to the point where denials were still being made about its occurrence.
The next awards season will undoubtedly flag the series as it is on par with any Oscar-nominated movie and one could argue better than some of last years choices. It would appear that the age of television is still very much alive and the next three episodes set to air on HBO will show a tragic conclusion to an event that is still affecting the world today.