HBO's Chernobyl |OT| Do you taste something metallic?

R0987

Avenger
Jan 20, 2018
743
A shower thought but would this disaster actually have led to war if it was handled differently.
 

emesve

Member
Oct 25, 2017
538
Reactor contains radioactive materials.

Anything near it (or even within hundreds of kilometres in this case) becomes radioactive to an extent - whether delivered by sheer proximity or contamination by drifting radioactive material. (I’m not sure about your confusion between radiation and radioactive particles - it’s one and the same.)

In a person who has received a high enough dose it is damaging to those around them. And for a long time after they’re gone, hence the burial.

It’s hard to comprehend at first but it is true and not a dramatisation. It actually happened.
Well, your post proves why they should've cleared that up, because that's not how radioactivity works. Radioactive particles emit radiation. Things that have received radiation don't just become radioactive. It's purely the radioactive particles that will keep emitting radiation. So say if the firefighters were fully clothed and had a breathing apparatus so that they didn't inhale any particles from the air, they would still have been dying from overexposure to radiation, but they wouldn't have been radioactive themselves (and therefore wouldn't have needed to be buried in concrete).
 

NinjaGarden

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,487
Well, your post proves why they should've cleared that up, because that's not how radioactivity works. Radioactive particles emit radiation. Things that have received radiation don't just become radioactive. It's purely the radioactive particles that will keep emitting radiation. So say if the firefighters were fully clothed and had a breathing apparatus so that they didn't inhale any particles from the air, they would still have been dying from overexposure to radiation, but they wouldn't have been radioactive themselves (and therefore wouldn't have needed to be buried in concrete).

For the curious
 

ibyea

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,485
As for the documentary part, I just got out from watching When they see us and it's on a whole nother level "docudrama" wise. the faithfulness to the actual events makes it that much more impactful. All these changes to Chernobyl to dramatize it, they feel so unnecessary. There's enough actual stories with plenty of drama to tell, why shove in a bunch of fiction in there? Disappointed by that.
The only change that was bad in my opinion was the helicopter crash one. Otherwise, most of them were necessary for narrative purposes, which they explain in their podcasts. For example, convey how the Soviet bureaucracy worked, create full character arcs, or compress characters and events that couldn't be covered in 5 episodes. There are a lot of contradictory accounts, and events were shrouded in secrecy, so guesses have to be made. Hundreds of thousands of people over multiple years were involved, focusing how the disaster affected different sectors of the USSR, so compression was necessary. As for Legasov and Schervina, we can't get direct accounts from them, and not much is known about them. What is there, like Legasov's tapes, are recorded in Russian. Furthermore, they are the main characters of the show, but in reality, there is no clear main characters. But that doesn't work for a fictional story, so they were placed in events they weren't involved in. That it has been over 30 years since the event also doesn't help. So yeah, the best any docudrama producer can do is give out the emotional and abstract truth of the case, while making people aware as such, which they did with the podcast.

Also I would like to mention When They See Us had a lot of advantages in that Central Park 5 themselves worked closely with the film, and all the records of their cases are available. They were also the subjects of the case, so them being the main characters coincide very well with actual history. And of course, it probably did have dramatic license, just not as much as other docudramas because of the aforementioned facts.

Overall point: All docudramas are fiction, but based on reality. Hence, being obsessed with factual events without being thoughtful about it don't make for good screenwriting, are impractical, and may be detrimental to conveying emotional and abstract truths, which is the real purpose of docudramas.
 

ibyea

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,485
For the radioactivity conversation taking place, I would like to note, it's not just about breathing in. For example, neutron radiation means neutron absorption can take place, turning regular atoms into radioactive ones.
 

emesve

Member
Oct 25, 2017
538

KHarvey16

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,568
I thought it was very clear to anyone who didn’t go in trying to find reasons to think it wasn’t being accurate.

The equipment was covered with dirt and dust and water all contaminated with radioactive material. There’s a hospital basement still full of clothes untouched because the pile is still too dangerous.

There’s multiple times that people, equipment and even whole areas are scrubbed to remove radioactive material. One scene literally shows dust and ash falling on people. Dust is the entire reason the miners end up naked!

I just don’t see how any of it was poorly explained or done incorrectly.
 

Sunster

The Fallen
Oct 5, 2018
2,019
Well, your post proves why they should've cleared that up, because that's not how radioactivity works. Radioactive particles emit radiation. Things that have received radiation don't just become radioactive. It's purely the radioactive particles that will keep emitting radiation. So say if the firefighters were fully clothed and had a breathing apparatus so that they didn't inhale any particles from the air, they would still have been dying from overexposure to radiation, but they wouldn't have been radioactive themselves (and therefore wouldn't have needed to be buried in concrete).
but their clothes were radioactive right?
 

Einchy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
23,354
I just don’t see how any of it was poorly explained or done incorrectly.
Yeah, I really don't see it either. It sounds like someone got some wrong info from Forbes and then is trying to save face by admitting some info was room but, you know, that there's still room to critique the show for other reasons.
 

emesve

Member
Oct 25, 2017
538
Yeah, I really don't see it either. It sounds like someone got some wrong info from Forbes and then is trying to save face by admitting some info was room but, you know, that there's still room to critique the show for other reasons.
Eh I have more issues with the show than just that one point, I mean, duh? There's nothing wrong with being wrong, and I shouldn't have to defend admitting that I'm wrong, holy fuck. It's a show, opinions are going to differ. People are talking candidly to the positive as well as to the negative, learn how to read impressions on entertainment.

Either way, I don't see how you can say the explanations were done well . ELI5'ing takes a certain finesse, this show doesn't have it IMO. To me it comes across as if they're scared of explaining too much, too often. I'm not saying they're absolute shite, they suffice for the show itself. But current day context requires that we tackle the idea of nuclear power with care, there's too much fear mongering going on that is holding us back from using nuclear to combat climate change.

There's more that irked me though. For example, the incessant horror-like background noise, even during scenes without tension. The dilapidated look of everything -- the inside of the hospitals is what struck me, they look like they're falling apart. But "drama" right? The harsh color grading is too much for me as well. The show looks feels and sounds like a slasher horror almost, it's too much.
 

MechaBreaker

Member
Jun 26, 2018
1,426
Eh I have more issues with the show than just that one point, I mean, duh? There's nothing wrong with being wrong, and I shouldn't have to defend admitting that I'm wrong, holy fuck. It's a show, opinions are going to differ. People are talking candidly to the positive as well as to the negative, learn how to read impressions on entertainment.

Either way, I don't see how you can say the explanations were done well . ELI5'ing takes a certain finesse, this show doesn't have it IMO. To me it comes across as if they're scared of explaining too much, too often. I'm not saying they're absolute shite, they suffice for the show itself. But current day context requires that we tackle the idea of nuclear power with care, there's too much fear mongering going on that is holding us back from using nuclear to combat climate change.

There's more that irked me though. For example, the incessant horror-like background noise, even during scenes without tension. The dilapidated look of everything -- the inside of the hospitals is what struck me, they look like they're falling apart. But "drama" right? The harsh color grading is too much for me as well. The show looks feels and sounds like a slasher horror almost, it's too much.
Embarrasing, just take the L.
 

Cascadero

Member
Nov 8, 2017
540
It's such a well made show, only issue was that it ended up giving my girlfriend nightmares. But really one of the finest made mini series I have seen, even if maybe not 100 % accurate the writers did a fantastic job. And also the set designers, such a terrific depiction.
 

PC-Patriot

Member
Oct 27, 2017
124
The dilapidated look of everything -- the inside of the hospitals is what struck me, they look like they're falling apart.
That was the state of the Soviet Unions infrastructure in the 1980's I mean for god sake supermarkets in Russia never had anything on their shelves and had queues miles long just for the few scraps that were available. I mean you complain that the show wasn't authentic and too dramatic in some places then when they do show authentic stuff you complain it isn't authentic.

I remember watching a documentary about an American bone marrow specialist that was over there at the time of the accident and he was helping out in Hospital number 6 and he was shocked at just how basic everything was and how lacking in equipment the hospital was. Hell they didn't even have a damn blood centrifuge. The hospitals and infrastructure look like that in the show because that is how they looked in 1986 when the disaster happened.
 

Carn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,297
The Netherlands
There's more that irked me though. For example, the incessant horror-like background noise, even during scenes without tension. The dilapidated look of everything -- the inside of the hospitals is what struck me, they look like they're falling apart. But "drama" right? The harsh color grading is too much for me as well. The show looks feels and sounds like a slasher horror almost, it's too much.
Its okay to not like certain aspects. I thought it looked great, the stylistisc choices helped with enforcing the feeling of dread and helplessness and almost 'cold' resolve of the whole situation (soviet style: throwing people at it), and from what I've been able to read online from people who are familiar with that time period; the production design was very well done.
 

emesve

Member
Oct 25, 2017
538
That was the state of the Soviet Unions infrastructure in the 1980's I mean for god sake supermarkets in Russia never had anything on their shelves and had queues miles long just for the few scraps that were available. I mean you complain that the show wasn't authentic and too dramatic in some places then when they do show authentic stuff you complain it isn't authentic.

I remember watching a documentary about an American bone marrow specialist that was over there at the time of the accident and he was helping out in Hospital number 6 and he was shocked at just how basic everything was and how lacking in equipment the hospital was. Hell they didn't even have a damn blood centrifuge. The hospitals and infrastructure look like that in the show because that is how they looked in 1986 when the disaster happened.
The outside is fine, check these pictures out https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/chernobyl-pripyat-before-disaster.

I just meant the hospital scenes that struck me -- but fake edit: scratch that problem though. I just watched some of the hospital scenes again and it's not nearly as pronounced as I remember. It's more the cinematography that gave it that feel to me perhaps, combined with my skepticism toward entertainment that deals with nuclear power contributing a negative bias toward small imperfections. Perhaps I was a bit too armed against cold war and anti-nuclear propaganda and unconsciously tried to attributed my dislikes too much to those things.

I'll tone my criticism down then, because I don't like it either when people shit on things I dislike without good reason, and it's way too difficult to go into detail on criticism, because it's too nuanced when a show is as good as this. That doesn't mean you can't still dislike it, however. So to come to the core of what I don't like about the show then - is the overall tone, it's much too much of a "horror" or dramatized vibe (and yes Solo that includes the color grading), tipping it just that tiny bit too much away from neutrality / documentary. It just doesn't feel right for me, given nuclear power fear mongering everywhere.

Especially after When they see us. Sure, they had a lot more info and focus to base the docudrama off of, but that's giving it way too little credit IMO. That show focuses on all the right things, they could have shown so many other things, yet they focused on exactly the right things to really give you the stories that matter, it shows us that you don't need to change or invent any sort of drama in order to tell the most engaging story. Reality is often better.
 

Dennis8K

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,075
The color grading was fucking amazing.

Got instant S.T.A.L.K.E.R chills in many places due to the look of the show.
 
Oct 27, 2017
778
Coworker was talking about the show today, so I joined the conversation, cause I was sure I knew the most about Chernobyl, and then he busted out his photos of when he worked as an engineer in Kiev, in 1989. Made the show that much more real for me.
 

Prinz Eugn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
631
Quick question, after this happened, was there serious discussions about banning nuclear reactors?

This might be my favorite TV series ever, i'm so hooked and i'm going down a rabbit hole on google trying to scrape every little crumb of information i can get about the reactor.
Kinda late but, banning them outright wasn't realistic because they were and still are a huge chunk of worldwide power generation, but had a very significant chilling effect on the construction of new plants. From wikipedia:

 

hendersonhank

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,083
I thought it was very clear to anyone who didn’t go in trying to find reasons to think it wasn’t being accurate.

The equipment was covered with dirt and dust and water all contaminated with radioactive material. There’s a hospital basement still full of clothes untouched because the pile is still too dangerous.

There’s multiple times that people, equipment and even whole areas are scrubbed to remove radioactive material. One scene literally shows dust and ash falling on people. Dust is the entire reason the miners end up naked!

I just don’t see how any of it was poorly explained or done incorrectly.

I think he's referring to how the wife wasn't allowed to be in the room with Vasily and couldn't touch him or spend more than 30 minutes with him etc. He was obviously not in his firefighting clothes at that point. He had been undressed, scrubbed, etc before being put in that hospital room. They were implying that he, himself, was radioactive and would somehow contaminate her by his mere presence.
 

Hyun Sai

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,722
I think he's referring to how the wife wasn't allowed to be in the room with Vasily and couldn't touch him or spend more than 30 minutes with him etc. He was obviously not in his firefighting clothes at that point. He had been undressed, scrubbed, etc before being put in that hospital room. They were implying that he, himself, was radioactive and would somehow contaminate her by his mere presence.
So it didn't happen in real life ? The hospital section, what happened to the baby ? I didn't check the real wife testimony on those events.
 

KHarvey16

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,568
I think he's referring to how the wife wasn't allowed to be in the room with Vasily and couldn't touch him or spend more than 30 minutes with him etc. He was obviously not in his firefighting clothes at that point. He had been undressed, scrubbed, etc before being put in that hospital room. They were implying that he, himself, was radioactive and would somehow contaminate her by his mere presence.
He ingested all kinds of dust and ash and other material that was radioactive. They were running around completely unprotected and breathing everything in.
 

UnluckyKate

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,384
Rewatching first episode. My god.

Even better on the second watch. Interesting the way the control room scene circles back from the finale
yeah, masterful storytelling and editing.

I love how minimalist the approach is to the disaster in the opening, to reflect their lack of awarness and the slow input of information coming back to the command center and how its mirror in the final with the investigation piecing everything together with almost blockbuster level of cinematography (my gods the rods jumping up and down)
 

Tainted

Member
Oct 25, 2017
378
Australia
Were the firemen going into the actual area with the core, or just going into the facility?
They went to the roof adjacent to the exposed core (presumably the same roof you see later on where they were manually clearing the graphite). At that early stage, they didn't know the risks of doing so and those who went to the roof were all dead within weeks.
 

mf.luder

Member
Oct 28, 2017
595
I watched this while I was visiting Lithuania last week. Holy. Wow.

Also got chills from the Museum of occupation (Soviet and KGB).
 

Candeldandel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
63
Pacific Northwest
Alrighty ERA I'm not a huge meme'r, but, honestly these are of the very very few that occupy that space between 'this is serious and unfunny' and 'yeah ok yeah, heh' for this show... also this is the internet, can it really be avoided



(three more lovingly rendered classic memes here)
 

Rosenkrantz

Member
Jan 17, 2018
1,511
Russian media is so butthurt about the show it's friggin laughable, it's literally "Dumbass westerners don't understand why we are always ready to die!!! WE ARE HEROES!!! IT"S IN OUR BLOOD!!! ARGHHHHHH!!!".

Meanwhile, one of the channels prepares a Russian answer to this travesty, behold the might of glorious Russian TV:



The story of the heroic KGB officer stopping machinations of insidious CIA agent who could've made Chernobyl disaster even worse!
 

Buzzman

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,332
This show is so unrealistic with it's depiction of radiation sickness treating the victims as infecte-



oh
 

Subutai

Member
Oct 25, 2017
480
Russian media is so butthurt about the show it's friggin laughable, it's literally "Dumbass westerners don't understand why we are always ready to die!!! WE ARE HEROES!!! IT"S IN OUR BLOOD!!! ARGHHHHHH!!!".

Meanwhile, one of the channels prepares a Russian answer to this travesty, behold the might of glorious Russian TV:



The story of the heroic KGB officer stopping machinations of insidious CIA agent who could've made Chernobyl disaster even worse!
That's not their "answer", it's from 2014. Gonna take them some time still to put out whatever they're making.
 

Rosenkrantz

Member
Jan 17, 2018
1,511
That's not their "answer", it's from 2014. Gonna take them some time still to put out whatever they're making.
The promo maybe from the 2014, can't say for sure, but the show is in post-production now. I think they changed the gender of Petrenko's kid and the actress who plays his wife. The concept itself remains the same.

 
Jun 12, 2019
16
binged on this last night. give this show all the awards especially Jared Harris who was criminally snubbed for Terror. Though if there's a way to share the win with Stellan Skarsgaard whose character arc was fantastic. Also, big shut out to Paul Ritter's villain (best "Power" meme since Chancellor Palpatine) and cast of mostly unknowns that filled the roles of brave, sympathetic Soviets so well.