In the wake of Game Of Thrones failing to stick the landing with its final season, another HBO show has stepped up and acted as the perfect palette cleanser to wash our mouths clean of the bad taste that Season 8 left. That show is Chernobyl. Aptly named after the 1986 tragedy that it’s plot centers around, critics have been ranting and raving about this 5 episode mini-series for weeks now. Well their wailing message was finally received by me, and I got around to watching it this past weekend. “Lazy Sunday” was in full effect, and while in my advanced hungover and stoned state, I finished the entire thing in one sitting.
To put it as succinctly as possible, the show was awesome. My only knowledge of The Chernobyl Incident prior to this show was based on the Call Of Duty 4 campaign, so it was cool to see this historical event laid out and dissected the way that it was. Being a mini series, it only had 5 episodes. But similar to what I wish girls would say to their friends after sleeping with me, I thought that the length was perfect. Not too short and not too long. This + Good writing + Good acting = No complaints from me, which is rare because I’m such a cynical prick.
But then I came across a tweet that rubbed me the wrong way, like a guy with Parkinson’s Disease applying my back with sunscreen. Here is the tweet
Now this is big, if true. Did I bother to fact check this? Of course I didn’t. If it’s on the internet it must be true, so why waste 5 seconds checking IMDb to see if these scores are true? I’ll just take this non-verified twitter account’s word for it. Should be fine.
As much as I truly did enjoy Chernobyl, I can’t sit back in good conscience and let it outrank the other shows listed in that tweet. This is a classic case of Recency Bias, and I think people are forgetting how great the other shows listed are. While on the topic of Recency Bias, I might as well address the elephant in the room and start with Game Of Thrones. Everybody on Earth, and probably even some alien species, are still upset with how the show ended. Due to this, it’s become a lot easier for people to think about Game Of Thrones in a negative light rather than a positive one, simply because a bad ending happened more recently than when it was kicking ass at the show’s peak. Admittedly, I have come under the Recency Bias’ spell regarding Game Of Thrones as much as anybody. I’ve talked before about how I think the ending sucked a sweaty pair of balls after a gym session. But even with admitting that, I still think Game Of Thrones is way better than Chernobyl. Despite having a more unfortunate ending than the life of Chris Farley, Game Of Thrones will go down as one of the greatest shows of all time, whereas the hype of Chernobyl will most likely die down in a few months.
Probably the most comparable show on the list is Band Of Brothers. I say that because both of them are HBO produced miniseries’ about historical events, so they are pretty much in the same league. One could argue that Band Of Brothers had the slight advantage of having a little more to work with, both in the number of episodes and in the content that it was portraying, but that just makes all the more convincing argument for why it is more superior. D Day is more interesting than a nuclear power plant exploding, and Band Of Brothers told the story of Easy Company beautifully. Gun to my head with Band Of Brothers and Chernobyl in front of me, I’m picking Band Of Brothers every day and twice on Sunday.
“I am the danger”. Personally, I don’t even think much of an explanation is needed here. Breaking Bad was a show that dominated regular TV during it’s run, and for good reason. I mean, a show about a cancer ridden high school chemistry teacher that starts cooking meth? Count me in. Vince Gilligan introduced us to one of the greatest anti-heroes in TV history, and the writing was awesome. Breaking Bad was also a show that I watched while it was on, so I know all too well about the anticipation of waiting for each new episode to drop. I just did a makeshift experiment to determine this, and turns out Breaking Bad is better than Chernobyl. Don’t blame me, blame science.
Lastly, Planet Earth 2. Now I’m no hippy that fucks trees, but I love me some Planet Earth. We tend to hyperbolize a lot when describing things like TV shows, but Planet Earth really is fascinating. I’m a firm believer that there is no more relaxing thing than to get baked out of your mind and watch Planet Earth. It’s not only mesmorizing enough to make you become so entranced in the nature footage that you start drooling on yourself, but it’s also informative so you actually feel like you’re doing something with your life. Did I know what the length of a wombat’s penis before watching this show? Nope. Will I be able to apply this knowledge anywhere? Probably not, but it’s possible. I would rather be safe than sorry. I’ll have the last laugh when the bar trivia question asks me to do just that, and I know the answer because I smoke and watched a ton of Planet Earth. Plus David Attenborough’s narration is the GOAT, maybe even better than Morgan Freeman. There, I said it. It didn’t feel good typing it, but honesty is the best policy. If Attenborough narrated a video of kittens and puppies being chucked into shark infested waters, I would probably still watch it just because of his calming voice. Having said that extremely fucked up thing, if he narrated Chernobyl I might have been able to make a case otherwise, but I think Planet Earth is better.
I’m sure there are many other better shows that Chernobyl has surpassed on IMDb, but being the lazy blogger that I am, I’m not gonna dig any deeper than the surface. Let’s just leave it at those 4 shows in the tweet and call it a day. As I said before, I liked this show, I really did. But I just can’t help but feel like people are overhyping the shit out of it, to the point that it’s almost making me dislike it. At the end of the day it was only 5 episodes, so how are you possibly gonna say it was better than shows that went on for entire seasons and had dozens of fantastic episodes? That would be like me making one song that happens to be a fucking jam, and then turning around and saying I’m the best musician to ever live. Comparing a mini series to a series is like trying to compare a song to an album, and with the exception of Band Of Brothers, it just isn’t fair to throw this mini-series into the running for “Best Show Ever”. Just my thoughts, and if you disagree and think Chernobyl is better than these other shows, I suggest you stop drinking so much radioactive water.
PS: If I ever meet anybody that says this show was better than The Sopranos, my brain will explode with more force than the Chernobyl Reactor.
PPS or PSS(?): Did anybody else get really thrown off by the British accents? I’m glad they didn’t do the whole show in Ukranian with subtitles because that would have sucked, but why not just have them speak English with Russian sounding accents? I think it would have made way more sense and made the show more authentic, but whatever.
If you are able to do so, try and catch the BBC drama Years and Years. It’s a story about the world in a dystopian future but in an “Oh my God, that could ACTUALLY HAPPEN NOW” type of way.
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I’ll add that to my list
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I don’t know what it was about Chernobyl, but I lost interest really quickly. I was hooked by the first episode and couldn’t wait to get to the second. But then the second was pretty meh, and the third even more so, and then I lost all enthusiasm for it and stopped watching. I really can’t put my finger on why it couldn’t hold my attention. It just didn’t deliver on the promise of the premise for me. Maybe it was too focused on large scale political stuff? I’d much rather have seen more of the everyday people coping with the disaster.
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