This is coming from someone who lived through the Second Cold War. I was born in the ’60s … grew up in the ’70s … and came of age in the ’80s, when Ronald Reagan branded the USSR “the evil empire” and I was fully convinced World War III would break out in the days following Leonid Brezhnev’s death.  I still miss the future that I was promised as a child, with the overall acceptance of differences from the original Star Trek, the fully occupied moonbase from Space: 1999, and the sheer wonder of exploration from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But I also remember The China Syndrome, happening almost in conjunction with the Three Mile Island accident. And I have very vivid memories of Saturday Night Live‘s satire of that, back when SNL was actually funny.

And I remember Chernobyl. It was a sobering real life experience, happening a few years after the one-two television punch of The Day After and Threads.

But apparently, I was never told the whole story.

The HBO/Sky miniseries about Chernobyl is fantastic. The first two episodes play out like a suspense thriller … and then the third episode turns it all around … and makes you realize you’re actually watching a five-hour horror film.  Except it’s all true.  Yes, certain characters have been created as compromised characters, being an amalgamation of real life people that were involved in the accident, the attempt at resolving it, and the subsequent investigation … but from the research I’ve done, the miniseries depicts situations that actually happened … and what actually happened … was downright horrific.

After seeing three of the five episodes, I can’t recommend this highly enough.  This is extremely compelling storytelling, and I am both eagerly anticipating and dreading how the final two episodes will play out.