The five-part HBO series dramatises the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and of the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save not just the Soviet Union, but the whole of Europe, from unimaginable disaster.
Directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), Chernobyl stars Emmy nominee Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men) as nuclear physicist Valery Legasov; People’s Choice nominee Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia, Good Will Hunting) as deputy prime minister Boris Shcherbina; Oscar nominee Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie, Breaking the Waves) as nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk, and 2019 British Actress of the Year Jessie Buckley (Taboo, The Last Post) as Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the wife of one of the first firefighters to respond.
Rotten Tomatoes recently hailed Chernobyl as “TV’s most scary offering in years… where history and reality are more terrifying than zombies.”
The Chernobyl explosion was the result of a routine safety test gone wrong, but the series makes it clear the catastrophe was caused less by individual human error and more by the broader culture of fear within the Soviet Union at the time, where a culture of denialism and blame-shifting had become entrenched, and where, as executive producer Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch) puts it, “Everyone was afraid of the system.”
“When you start to look at all the different causes of this accident to happen, it’s an accumulation of that kind of a mentality, which is that it’s more convenient to believe comfortable truths and comfortable facts, than it is to face difficult choices and difficult realities,” says Jared Harris.
Or as his character Valery Legasov says in a key scene, “That is how a RBMK reactor core explodes – lies.”
But while South Africans may find some chilling parallels watching Chernobyl, they’ll also be inspired by the story of its heroic clean-up.
“The Soviets and particularly the people of Ukraine and Russia and Belarus threw themselves at this task in a way that is shocking and beautiful and terrifying and heart-breaking,” says writer and executive producer Craig Mazin, Chernobyl’s writer/executive producer. “We’re talking about 700 000 people sent to clean up this impossibly contaminated area.”
Many of these heroes did not receive a hero’s welcome. “These were scientists trying to solve a mystery within a system that did not want them to solve the mystery,” says Mazin of his lead characters. “They were put on trial. Scientists involved in this were threatened. Their families were threatened. But yet they did it anyway, because they understood as scientists that the truth was something that could no longer be hidden away.”
As he says about some of the other heroes at Chernobyl, “There was no expectation that they would survive. But they did it nonetheless.”
The show is now available to stream on Showmax.
New Borderlands 3 game modes announced
At Gamescom 2019 this week, Gearbox Software creative director Paul Sage, in conversation with Geoff Keighley, announced two new Borderlands 3 game modes.
Click below to watch the announcement and to read more about the game.
Vault Hunters, prepare for Borderlands 3. The game tests a player’s skills to score some top-tier loot in the crucibles of the new Proving Grounds and the returning Circle of Slaughter arenas.
Borderlands 3 is a story-driven, non-stop galactic thrill-ride, filled with colourful characters, epic enemies and boss fights, and billions of guns. In an all-new gameplay trailer released today, Gearbox and 2K show off the game’s unique brand of explosive, irreverent mayhem.
Borderlands 3 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on 13 September.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars trailer revealed at Gamescom 2019
A gameplay trailer for the new strategy game Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars has been revealed at Gamescom 2019 in Cologne, Germany.
Click below to watch the trailer and read more about the game.
Kalypso Media has released a new gameplay trailer for Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars. Palindrome Interactive’s upcoming strategy title is also available in playable form to the public at gamescom 2019 at both of Kalypso Media’s booths at Gamescon.
The news follows the recent launch of the closed beta, exclusive to all pre-purchase customers that order the Windows PC version of the game digitally through the Kalypso Shop ahead of its full release on 11 October 2019. As well as securing instant beta access, pre-purchase customers will also get a 15% discount, a digital soundtrack and bonus in-game content.
To ensure that all of our upcoming games run at their optimum quality, Kalypso Media is using CSL Boostboxx high-end gaming PCs with hardware from ASUS Republic of Gamers at Gamescom 2019.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is a strategy game set in a dark vampire world in turmoil, that combines empire management and turn-based combat with card-game elements. Discover the secrets of Nemire and experience an enthralling story from the perspective of four mighty vampire lords while commanding one of three vampire clans with distinctive units, powers, gameplay mechanics and characters. Players can make strategic manoeuvres in kingdom mode before switching over to combat mode to take on their foes in closely fought battles. Each clan and vampire lord has access to their own set of cards, which can be combined to powerful effect.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars will be released on PC on 11 October 2019, and on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2020.