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chernobyl

Chernobyl: everything you need to know about IMDb's highest-rated show

Chernobyl is a HBO mini-series available for UK viewers on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.

The show has received a 9.7/10 rating on IMDb and 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. But is it really as good as critics are suggesting?

One of the most interesting elements of the show is the critique of communism. Set in Soviet Ukraine, the show outlines the events of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in five hour-long episodes. The final episode transports us to an epic courtroom drama depicting a final scene where Valery Legasov defies the KBG and tells the truth about why the disaster happened and why they are still in danger despite what the Soviet government insists to the public. Throughout the show, the public is oblivious to what is truly happening and the real danger the nuclear catastrophe has put them in, and certain characters end up even more hurt because of this. The attack on communism cannot be ignored and it is instantly brought into question whether communism can ever truly work. In modern-day politics, people are coming forward every day claiming to be communist; just last year Ash Sarkar came forward claiming she was communist while calling Piers Morgan an 'idiot'. While capitalism has it's own flaws, can communism be truly successful after years of disaster that history exemplifies?

The show exposes the political failures of the Soviet government. The final scenes are truly chilling; the real-life footage and what happened after is revealed to us. Legasov committed suicide two years later, which ultimately provoked other scientists to listen to him. This was a pivotal moment in history, soviet officials finally acknowledged the flaws in the design of the RBMK nuclear reactors.

The show has also evoked a controversial social response to the historical catastrophe. Many influencers have visited the exclusion zone, posing (some half-naked) in the eerily abandoned areas of Pripyat. This is quite insulting to those directly affected by the accident, and it can thus be argued that many have watched the show believing it is closer to fiction than reality. If only that were true.

More importantly, this series brings into question whether or not any country should possess nuclear weapons, as the disaster at Chernobyl could happen again. In 2011 Fukushima, Japan faced a similar disaster that almost had the same devastating consequences as Chernobyl. In an ideal world, every country would give up their nuclear power, although this is unlikely and in a world with leaders such as Trump and Putin, it gives every country a reason to hold onto them.

It is also difficult to ignore the relevancy to politics today with Donald Trump at large in America, having recently visited the UK. Trump shares the same qualities as the Soviet officials in this drama; his insistence on 'fake news' and stubbornness when he's wrong to mimic the way Dyatlov refuses to accept that the core exploded. Although a western, capitalist government, we can see politics take a turn down a road much the same as the Soviets; Trump ignores calls for a ban on guns and ignores science and reason regarding the progressively worsening climate change.

Hopefully we can continue to learn from the devastating history of Chernobyl as the show manages to successfully raise awareness to an event that many know little about. The show is a difficult watch, but one you won't regret.

Featured image: Hugh Mitton on Unsplash

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