HBO’s Chernobyl is horrifying, binge-worthy and brilliant
With a 9.7 rating, HBO’s prestige hit Chernobyl is one of the highest rated shows of all time on IMBD – if not the highest. In fact, it even beat out acclaimed frontrunners Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones with ratings of 9.5 and 9.4 respectively.
On the surface, it would seem Chernobyl brings to the table the same level of misery as The Handmaid’s Tale. In way, it does. On the other hand, HBO has managed to create a story that not only hooks its audience but keeps them coming back for more – even in the face of enduring tragedy.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the show is its ability to break the mold without severing the attention of its audience as well.
The actors, for the most part, seem to rely on their own accents when delivering dialogue. While the alternative may have been more historically accurate, allowing the actors to speak naturally brings an unexpected layer of authenticity to their individual performances.
On top of that, differing accents makes it easier to tell characters apart from each other. (Imagine a Stephen King novel where you don’t need a glossary to remember who everyone is.)
Chernobyl diverges from the unexpected in other ways, too. Unlike shows of the same caliber and acclaim, it lets cinematography do the heavy lifting when needed. The result? A distinct lack of expository dialogue.
In fact, the show goes so far as to include conversations that routinely leave the audience in the dark – unless they have a solid grasp of nuclear science. While fans of traditional, expository narratives might not embrace this type of cryptic storytelling, others may find it even more engaging.
After all, isn’t it more satisfying to figure things out on your own than to receive the answer on a silver platter?
In the end, Chernobyl is much more than a horror flick. It’s an expansive narrative for people who love chaotic disaster stories as well as thrillers and – most importantly – human drama.