The millennials have been a witness to it all – the invisibility, the rise, the anticipation and, in the end, the fall of Game of Thrones. But, right when the show’s final season left fans fuming over a poorly written ending after a two-year long wait, however, HBO’s peace offering in the form of Chernobyl worked well to appease the angry mob.
The latter trumped post-boom series like Breaking Bad (2008), Game of Thrones (2011) and the two part documentary series of Planet Earth to become the highest ranked television series ever made in the IMDb list of Top Rated TV shows. For the layman, Chernobyl is a docudrama that retells a simple human lapse that caused the massive nuclear fallout of April 26, 1986, engulfing a town in radioactive plumes, the effects of which made global headlines.
The world has always been fascinated by post-apocalyptic themes as games like Fallout series, and an umpteen number of nuclear holocaust fiction thrived in such a setting. As social media is rife with memes comparing both GoT and its successor Chernobyl, Shashank Kumar, a 22-year-old copy writer and an avid watcher of TV series, does not understand the root of it. “Except for the HBO par, there isn’t much that is common between the two. The purpose and genres are entirely different.”
However, one sensible factor that made the loyalists switch would be that Chernobyl is real and Game of Thrones, fictional. “When you watch a show like Chernobyl, you know the incidents are real, an error cascaded into a bigger mess due to government bureaucracy,” adds Shashank.
GoT’s fictional characters offered relatability in their own way, where viewers thought they reflected their own qualities in adversities. But, witnessing the role of common folk and bureaucrats to end the suffering in Chernobyl, intrigued people and struck chords better. “When I was watching the show, I felt like killing the scientist in-charge, Dyatlov, whereas even the vilest of characters of GoT, I admired,” he says.
Beyond the authentic and factual representation of the show — where the central characters were made to carry semblance to their real-life counterparts, any emotion you feel is real. Shows like these, again, have an effect similar to that of a biopic.
Making an observation, city student Arjun C says both the length and timing played a part in Chernobyl’s success. “It’s a good show, but it’s easier to maintain the quality of each episode in a five-part miniseries rather than a long one like GoT. Game of Thrones’ cold reception of the last season affected its rating, helping Chernobyl fill the vacuum.
Documentaries and docudramas make history and politics more accessible, as these are events that people are curious to learn about but do put efforts into reading and research. “So, when it comes in an attractive package, they grab it,” points out Arjun.