TTLG|Thief|Bioshock|System Shock|Deus Ex|Mobile
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 66

Thread: Chernobyl

  1. #1
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo

    Chernobyl

    I just watched the last episode of Chernobyl and am still worked up. I wasn't sure if I should post about it. But it's getting listed in IMDB as the highest ever rated TV series (mini as it is), so it's not just me who thinks it's a big thing. Whether it deserves the title of best ever or not, it's certainly a great show and in the very top tier.

    It's an inherently great drama just by itself. I actually studied the social effects and regulation and mistakes of Chernobyl for my big report on the Fukushima disaster and a lot of the botched recovery for that. So I knew a lot of things already, but seeing it dramatized of course gives a human face to everything. Great disasters call for great sacrifice and heroism, but also countless little human-sized disasters that you wouldn't even think about but are their own little tragedies.

    It's especially timely now though. The subtext of the whole show is that ideology and ego lead people to live in delusions, but the truth doesn't care. And if you don't tend to the truth at the end of the day, that's how disasters happen and humans suffer. I don't like to see humans suffer because of bad ideas and ego, so I'm especially sick of the lying and delusion. This show really brings that point home.

    In our era, it reminds me of that average atmospheric carbon sensor sitting on the top of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. There are all these delusional people hemming and hawing about whether climate change is real or not, and whether you can trust the elites and scientists not to have some secret agenda. The sensor doesn't care. It steadily climbs up year after year after year, dispassionately and inexorably. No matter how deeply you believe the lies and mythologies, at the end of the day one has to reckon with the readout on that sensor and the toll of human suffering it foretells.
    Last edited by demagogue; 5th Jun 2019 at 12:08.

  2. #2
    Is this the latest show that I'm supposed to obsess over in order to fit in as a trendy urban white person?

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    No. Just go back to sleep, Tony.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    Dema. I have been tempted to watch that but I am not sure if I can handle the gravity at the moment. It does look intense.

  5. #5
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    Great disasters call for great sacrifice and heroism, but also countless little human-sized disasters that you wouldn't even think about but are their own little tragedies.
    A friend of mine was one of the people who was ordered there to clean up the mess. Messed him up for life as well. Nobody gave a damn about the consequences, the Soviet go-to solution was always to just throw people on (and in front of) any problem they encountered.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    In our era, it reminds me of that average atmospheric carbon sensor sitting on the top of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. There are all these delusional people hemming and hawing about whether climate change is real or not, and whether you can trust the elites and scientists not to have some secret agenda. The sensor doesn't care. It steadily climbs up year after year after year, dispassionately and inexorably. No matter how deeply you believe the lies and mythologies, at the end of the day one has to reckon with the readout on that sensor and the toll of human suffering it foretells.
    It's not a delusion, it's wilful ignorance. And business:


  8. #8
    So is there anything to this that I wouldn't already know from having read a massive amount of Soviet History?

    To me what was interesting about this whole incident is that it repeated the standard pattern of Soviet behavior: bureaucrats insulated by the system escaping responsibility by pushing the blame onto hapless underlings. Like any socialist culture the Soviets cultivated a ruthlessly Darwinian bureaucracy where the survivors were extremely good at pushing the blame for failures onto other people (example: the mass arrests and torture of "agricultural wreckers" to prevent those making the agricultural directives from having to admit their raging incompetence). It was the same way here where everyone is terrified of ever saying anything other than "The motherland, in it's infinite wisdom, has guided us to a state of affairs where everything is perfect" so problems are swept under the rug.

    A lot of the time these problems can be pushed downhill. Peasants can be made to do with starvation rations by keeping them at the point of a gun, military defeats can be passed off by shooting the lower level commanders for "deliberately handing terrain to the Germans"......but every so often you get a massive disaster such as this where the people you would normally blame are dead or the sheer scale of the event is too much to cover up the failure.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2005
    Location: Watching the puppets thrash.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    Is this the latest show that I'm supposed to obsess over in order to fit in as a trendy urban white person?
    No, but but posting like this helps let people know how cool you are, while statements like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    So is there anything to this that I wouldn't already know from having read a massive amount of Soviet History?
    remind them of how intelligent and cultured you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    To me what was interesting about this whole incident is that it repeated the standard pattern of Soviet behavior: bureaucrats insulated by the system escaping responsibility by pushing the blame onto hapless underlings.
    It seems to me like that is a big part of the storyline.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    A lot of the time these problems can be pushed downhill. Peasants can be made to do with starvation rations by keeping them at the point of a gun, military defeats can be passed off by shooting the lower level commanders for "deliberately handing terrain to the Germans"......but every so often you get a massive disaster such as this where the people you would normally blame are dead or the sheer scale of the event is too much to cover up the failure.
    I am not sure that you can blame all of this on "socialism" as it seems like it has been a problem at some point or another in almost every society under all kinds of political systems.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    According to the Moscow Times, NTV is producing its own Chernobyl series that features the theory that CIA spies were sent to sabotage Chernobyl:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/...ernobyl-a65866


  11. #11
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    Loving it. Decided to watch one episode a day to savor it more; tomorrow I will watch the finale.

    OHBOI.

    <3

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Third grave from left.
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    A friend of mine was one of the people who was ordered there to clean up the mess. Messed him up for life as well. Nobody gave a damn about the consequences, the Soviet go-to solution was always to just throw people on (and in front of) any problem they encountered.
    One of our relatives also went there - was the one who leaked us to stay indoors when it rains etc well before other sources. He died shorty after returning. Cancer (something typical in throat/neck region that i cannot remember atm). Were not allowed to talk about it. Consequently - we know almost nothing of the details. He was wary to tell when he had the chance. However, at least one relative he almost certainly told about some details - who obviously was not willing to fight against the hushing. You do not pressure the grieving to talk about it either - so, the memories faded (the one to likely know more also died before the iron curtain fell).

    Best guess based on the little we know about it: He was well educated and certainly knew what was happening. He had some rank (ie. slightly above absolute 0. Some electric/engineer/comms stuff on the field). Was not on the roof, but was traversing in the area doing whatever. He possibly just got unlucky doing that whatever. Nobody knows.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2005
    Location: Not Kansas
    I found one of the scariest things about the Chernobyl disaster was how far that radiation extended, how it managed to settle in hot spots across Europe. At first the Soviets wanted everyone to believe that the disaster was contained locally, but decades later the truth came out as to how many places in Europe were affected by the radiation released during the Chernobyl incident. Scary indeed.

    https://ratical.org/radiation/Cherno...fC25yrsAC.html

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    According to the Moscow Times, NTV is producing its own Chernobyl series that features the theory that CIA spies were sent to sabotage Chernobyl:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/...ernobyl-a65866

    Sounds about par for the course:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ine-disrespect

    Russia’s parliament has approved a controversial law that allows courts to jail people for online “disrespect” of government or state officials, including the president, Vladimir Putin.

    The law, which critics say is reminiscent of Soviet-era legislation used to target political dissidents, stipulates fines of up to 100,000 roubles (1,155) for “indecent” online posts that demonstrate a “blatant disrespect for society, the country, Russia’s official state symbols, the constitution, or the authorities”.

    Repeat offenders can be hit with fines of up to twice this sum, or 15 days behind bars.

    [...]

    Parliament also approved separate legislation, likewise authored by Klishin, that will give the authorities powers to block webpages that publish “disrespectful” material or “fake news”. Klishin insisted, however, that the law would not be used to target independent or opposition websites, saying it would not affect “traditional media”.

    The laws come after Putin’s trust ratings hit a 13-year low of 33% in the wake of a vastly unpopular move to increase the national retirement age by five years. The results of January’s poll, carried out by the state-backed Public Opinion Research Centre, represented a decline of 37 percentage points from 2015.

    Putin is thought to be extremely sensitive to perceived insults. One of his first acts when he came to power in 2000 was to target a satirical television show called Kukly (Puppets) that was broadcast by the NTV television station.

    In one episode, aired in January 2000, Putin was depicted as an evil, infant gnome muttering obscenities. Within months, the NTV channel was taken under state control, and jokes about the ex-KGB officer quickly disappeared from Russia’s television screens.

  15. #15
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by TTK12G3 View Post
    I am not sure that you can blame all of this on "socialism" as it seems like it has been a problem at some point or another in almost every society under all kinds of political systems.
    I've been seeing these arguments a lot surrounding the show.

    My take away from it is that it cronyism, willful ignorance, killing the messenger, and sweeping everything under the rug in an attempt to save face was practically an institution in the Soviet Union, deeply ingrained in the very heart and soul of the country. Chernobyl was practically fated to happen to them, simply because they merrily fostered an environment broken enough to allow it to happen.

    ..but it's hardly endemic to them. These very same issues could infect any ideology or economic model. Glory seeking individuals in positions of power putting petty concerns and ladder climbing above all else isn't something that's exclusive to capitalism, socialism, or anything in between. It could happen in Europe. It could happen in China. It could happen here.

    That's what I believe the moral of Chernobyl to be. We can laugh at the Soviets for being cheap, stupid, and inept, but it's not exactly like we're immune to the problems they were saddled with. Hell, something similar has already happened here. Just look to Flint, Michigan. It's the same story, writ on a small scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    According to the Moscow Times, NTV is producing its own Chernobyl series that features the theory that CIA spies were sent to sabotage Chernobyl:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/...ernobyl-a65866

    And hey, the more things change, the more things stay the same.
    Last edited by Renzatic; 10th Jun 2019 at 00:40.

  16. #16
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Three episodes down, and I've got to say, this isn't a drama series. It's horror that cuts right down to the bone. You know that helpless feeling you get when you watch someone do something terrible out of ignorance or good intentions or political necessity, and you just want to reach through the screen and stop them, but you can't?

    Yeah. That's every episode of this show so far. Good god.

  17. #17
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    And the worst is yet to come. The 4th episode is one extended punch in the gut.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Third grave from left.
    Hm. Would someone give me an elevator pitch about the show? What .. Is .. It ?

    What i gather is that it tries to be constrained to real events ... is it? Is it successful? How much of it is made up? How much of it, while made up, is still a realistic substitute? It is honest? Why and for who has it been made?

    What i hope is that it is a honest dramatization of the real events constrained by what is known and the gaps there filled with believably true stuff (believable to former USSR citizen - not some usual yahoo idiocy). Major penalties for ANY unnecessary body-horror / misery / etc. When i first noticed the show - i rejected watching it because it felt too likely that they would try to capitalize on that (they likely do - but is it still watchable?). My second reason, of it being some made up shit anyway (just exploiting the name), is a bit wavering.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    Like any docu-drama, it takes some liberties. Here's a review that will give you some idea:

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-c...terribly-wrong

  20. #20
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    The heart of the show is the stories of all the unsung heroes, the people fighting to do the right thing and save lives in a system that makes it hard. Aside from the lead characters, often they're embodied into one or a few people, the whole science team trying to understood what actually happened and prevent it from happening again, the bureaucrats obstructing every step of the way, the miners that kept radiation out of the ground water, the liquidators that were doing clean up work in an unreal world, and the families of the victims. That part of the show is like character sketches; simplified fiction and dramatization, but the kind of fiction that you feel is honest to their experience.

    It has some effects and horror movie beats, also just some great cinematography and imagery. Parts of the first two episodes have a bit of body horror, but they didn't strike me as gratuitous & exploitative, just honestly what the family members were faced with. Radiation sickness at that level really is that gruesome; there's not any way around it short of hiding it altogether. (One little nit pick, the radiation wasn't "infectious" once they got out of their clothes. They were kept behind clear wrap because their immune system was gone and any little nick or virus would destroy them. But I think a lot of people had that fear, so portraying it that way was probably accurate to people's fears.)

    One thing of value I got out of it is understanding how something that disastrous can really happen through just the right combination of ego, impatience, criminally skimping to save money, wanting to hide vulnerability, and just plain incompetence... But also how, even under the worst of conditions, people will rise to the occasion to do the right thing. I was actually a bit struck that the Russian government is so critical about it and wants to focus on blaming someone. The show applauds the Russian (edit: and Ukrainian, Belarusian, and other) heroes that saved countless lives every chance it gets.
    Last edited by demagogue; 11th Jun 2019 at 21:49.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Third grave from left.
    Scanned the review diagonally ( i don't live in a skyscraper :P ) - seems to have some typical wokeyness (ex: "The fact of the matter is, if he didn’t know how it worked, he would never have had a lab."). However, to an extent, i am fine just ignoring that kind of nonsense. Writing big real world foregin events into couple of hours is rather difficult without something going wonky.

    Dema, your elevator pitch skills are admirable. That first section alone was very helpful.

    Ok. I'll give the show a go - as soon as i can.

  22. #22
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    If you'd like the perspective of an actual (former) Soviet person on each episode, here ya go:
    https://twitter.com/SlavaMalamud/sta...29943297265664
    Last edited by ZylonBane; 11th Jun 2019 at 17:05.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I watched the first episode and it really is amazingly authentic to the degree that I was having flashbacks constantly. And what's even more mindblowing is that this is completely unexpected from a Western TV show, which would usually get it cartoonishly wrong to the degree of bears in fur hats drinking vodka out of the bottle and playing the balalaika. This isn't authentic enough for just a Western movie, it would be good enough for a Soviet movie made in the 80s and filmed on location.

    As for the drama part, it's also very good. The first episode was thick with dramatic irony as you watch the events unfolding and people scrambling to make sense of the situation. I think they did a fairly good job in letting actions and events speak for themselves. The only thing that I thought was too much over the top was a couple of people randomly starting to bleed though their skin. Radiation is not a magic death ray.

  24. #24
    Found this while looking up for more info... An interview of Anatoly Dyatlov, who was in charge that day. I honestly didn't feel like it was one hour long, but there it is.



    No doubt HBO characterized its characters in a classic villains/bad guys fashion for narrative reasons and there was more to the real story than the show. It is, after all, a show and not a documentary, and they make no pretense otherwise. But for all his flaws, real or imagined, Dyatlov ultimately comes across as a pretty tragic figure. I can't imagine what it must be like to live with the knowledge you're responsible for a disaster of this magnitude...


    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    This isn't authentic enough for just a Western movie, it would be good enough for a Soviet movie made in the 80s and filmed on location.
    Apparently they filmed at a power plant in Lithuania that was pretty much a copy of the Chernobyl plant. It's actually where the design flaw regarding the graphite was found in the first place.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Anyway, I continue to be impressed by the show. It's nearly unbelievable how they not only captured the physical material aspects of Soviet life, but also the interpersonal relationships and especially how the society and the state were interacting with each other. There really was an active rumour mill and many people learned to take precautions by having their neighbours warn them about it while the state did their best to suppress and discredit.

    Also, one thing that they got absolutely right (and something that many shows portraying Soviet life miss) was the sheer chutzpah exhibited by certain characters: if you wanted to get ahead in the life, you had to have a certain amount of impudence. For example, if you wanted to get somewhere you weren't allowed to be, you just lied to get in or bribed someone or went there anyway and played stupid if you were caught.

    If you want to get a glimpse of the Soviet mentality and the machinery at work, Adam Curtis has an excellent hour-long documentary that I thought captured it really well. It's called The Engineer's Plot and it's episode 1 of the series Pandora's Box.

    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    Like any docu-drama, it takes some liberties. Here's a review that will give you some idea:

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-c...terribly-wrong
    I thought she had a point at first, but now having watched two episodes of the series, I don't agree with her criticisms at all. The things that she saw as follies, I thought were depicted entirely plausibly in the show, even accurately. Some of the apparatchiks really were that stupid and boorish and boastful and not all scientists were subservient to the regime. People like Shcherbyna and Legasov and Khomyuk really did exist. There were even people like Sakharov who went far beyond what the apparently unbelievably rebellious scientists in the show did. As for the scene with Shcherbyna and Legasov in the helicopter, he is just trying to intimidate someone who he sees as an annoying pencil-pusher who is giving him lip. He's not seriously suggesting he will have Legasov executed when he says he'll throw him out of the helicopter, he is simply getting some payback for Legasov's dismissive attitude when he said that a nuclear reactor is too complex to understand for someone like Shcherbyna. This is a development of the relationship between these characters, not a comment on how the Soviet power structure worked.

    Yes, of course the series takes some liberties. It dramatises the events and fictionalises some characters and facts. For example, there's an helicopter crash in the show that didn't happen until way later in real life, but it did pretty much happen the way it was depicted (the helicopter clipped a crane cable). But I found that at the core if it, it stays remarkably accurate to the spirit of things and the events that happened. And no, it's not a documentary or even pretending to be one. It's simply a historical drama with an extraordinary attention to detail.
    Last edited by Starker; 12th Jun 2019 at 06:04.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •