Looking back in time: This mini-series was produced by HBO
**the top TV series in 2019 in the UK
It tells the true story of the Chernobyl (USSR) nuclear disaster in April 1986. The series focuses on the reason behind the events that spiralled into the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen, with tens of thousands of fatalities over the following decades; the night of the disaster, the following few days, and resulting trials. But not as boring as it sounds! One friend described it as “more edge-of-your-seat than Game of Thrones”. In brief, a safety check went wrong when it was subject to 10 hours delay because of “decisions from the top”. The delay meant those carrying out the test had no prior knowledge or training.
Pressured by the head man at the plant into carrying out procedures which the operators knew were unsafe, the reactor core basically exploded sending airborne radioactive contamination over USSR and Western Europe. We watch in horror as local firemen, called in totally unprepared, literally melt over the next few days after exposure. We watch while villagers, who where only evacuated 36 hours later to a mere 10km away, proceeded to die over time. To this day the village of Chernobyl remains unsafe for habitation and children are born with defects resulting from their parents’ exposure to off-the-scale radiation. We get to see how the system worked in the old Soviet Union where blame was placed on others and problems denied. Communism at its worst.
Looking back at history: This on-going 6 season series can be found on Netflix
This is a fascinating look at Queen Elizabeth and the British Royal Family starting when, on the death of her father, Elizabeth was crowned in 1952. In November 2019 Season 3 came out. But do watch the first two seasons, which focus on the early years of her reign and show how this young girl went from being a happy-go-lucky princess to Queen Heir Apparent and then Queen. Season 3 brings us into the 1960s and 70s with historical happenings that I can remember from my childhood and school books. It also takes us into the—what would have been then a very secret—world of the personal lives of the Royal Family. It’s an excellent look into British society too. To paraphrase the Queen in Season 3 (and the writers would not have predicted the whole Boris Johnston suspension of Parliament fiasco in September 2019), the Queen supports the post of Prime Minister, not the man, and the Queen supports and abides by the Constitution. So if you know your history and modern day politics, this is for you. Even if you don’t, it’s a lovely look at a living Royal Family. Constitutional Monarchy at its best.
Set in a fictional society: Shown on AXN India
Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, the Handmaids Tale takes place after the Second American Civil War results in a totalitarian, patriarchal society. Women in general have been rendered sterile by warfare. We also learn all individuality, independence, money, jobs and status are removed from all women. The ‘wives’ are those married to high level ‘Commanders’, and the ‘Handmaids’ are those remaining fertile women who are drafted into a life of child-bearing slavery. The rest of the women are then placed into various roles such as cooks, housemaids or sent for hard labour, depending on their age and skills. The Handmaids Tale follows the life of one Handmaid, Offred (women’s names are also taken from them) and shows what Handmaids have to go through in order to produce a baby for the Commanders.
A baby which is then handed over to the Commander’s wife and the Handmaid reposted to the next Commander’s household. Needless to say the Commanders enjoy in their private clubs forbidden fruits such as prostitutes, alcohol, etc that are banned for the rest of the population. This series demonstrated how those in power can take freedom from the masses by simply closing bank accounts, removing employment, and closing borders in a single sweeping move. Totalitarian, tyranny and patriarchy to be avoided.