I can also say that it will be exciting for both fans of the game (who arguably know a lot of talking) and newcomers alike, because I watched the first episode played out in a theater full of influencers and some know-it-all source material. This theater room was noisy at times.
But, just as importantly, I need to tell you about a show that I ended up watching immediately after my screensaver The last of us. I picked it because it’s the other show that The Last of Us co-creator and (show) creator Craig Mazin did before this series, and it’s the one that made me sure it was perfect for the job.
This show is Chernobyl 2019 (also on HBO Max (Opens in a new tab)), and it is one of the best shows that you may not have seen before. And having those two shows is a reminder that HBO Max is a show The best streaming service.
Why you should watch Chernobyl before The Last of Us
Chernobyl, much like The Last of Us, is not an “easy” show to watch. But unlike Last of Us, Chernobyl is hard to watch because it’s based on depressing real events. It tells the lesser-known stories about the April 1986 disaster that occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Grim from the start, with Jared Harris’s Valery Legasov making a ruthless decision early in the first scene, Chernobyl refers to the people who lived and died during the event. It shows the often impossible choices they had to make. Two main characters, Legasov and Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård), are real people. The former tried to help clean-up efforts, and the latter was a politician he initially questioned.
You will meet many people whose lives have been changed forever. A firefighter (Adam Nagetis) and first responder to the Chernobyl disaster, and his wife (Jesse Buckley), who tries to visit him in the hospital.
Later in the five-episode series, rising star Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin, Eternals) appears as a civilian volunteer brought in to help limit immediate and long-term damage.
All of these roles and facts tie together in Chernobyl to tell a story and convey a serious set of feelings and facts. It has made creator, writer and executive producer Craig Mazin a two-time Emmy Award winner, for Outstanding Limited Series Overall Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.
Chernobyl reviews: what the critics said
Let’s turn to the critical consensus, to make sure you understand that this isn’t just one person’s opinion about Chernobyl. First, he scores 95%. Rotten tomatoes (Opens in a new tab) Score from 104 critics reviews.
Emily St. James V Fox (Opens in a new tab) He called Chernobyl “always compelling and often terrifying.” Sonya Saraya V Vanity Fair (Opens in a new tab) He declared it “not just excellent television”, but “paradigm-shifting historical storytelling, the kind of tale that, with enduring subtly, alters the fabric of the real world.”
and Melanie McFarland on Salon.com (Opens in a new tab) He wrote, “Offers delivered [Stellan] Skarsgård, Emily Watson and Jared Harris are passionate and nuanced enough to force die-hard viewers to pull out the hypersensitive parts.”
Outlook: Chernobyl was proof that The Last of Us show is going to be great
Similar to Chernobyl, The Last of Us is a picture of loss during a massive disaster. And Chernobyl is such an emotionally powerful show, so great at telling personal stories, that it gave me confidence that The Last of Us wouldn’t be a sterile, jumbled remake of the video game on which it’s based. So far, for the first four episodes, I can say all of that with confidence.
Every character feels more alive and human than the game, and that’s not just because you get to watch the likes of Pedro Pascal (as Joel), Bella Ramsey (as Ellie) and Anna Torv (as Tess) play them on screen. The Last of Us reminds me of Chernobyl because it tends to dehumanize these characters during a crisis. I’ve never felt this way more than I did in episode 3, which I dare not spoil.
Chernobyl, which is worth a watch on its own, will give you an idea of just how strong Craig Mazin’s show really is, which is why you should see it before The Last of Us.
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