On the HBO mini-series Chernobyl. Mark, Erica, and Brian first get into the various degrees of looseness in something’s being “based on a true story.” Does it matter if it’s been changed to be more dramatic? We then consider the show as entertainment: Why do people enjoy witnessing suffering? Why might a drama work (or not) for you?
We also touch on Game of Thrones, The Killing, God Is Dead, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Big Little Lies, Schindler’s List, Vice, Ip Man, and more.
Some of the articles we looked at to prepare:
- “HBO’s Chernobyl Isn’t Just Historical Drama, It’s Straight-Up Horror” by Renaldo Matadeen
- “Top UCLA Doctor Denounces HBO’s “Chernobyl” As Wrong And “Dangerous” by Michael Shellenberger
- “What HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ Got Right, and What It Got Terribly Wrong” by Masha Gessen
- “What Watching “Misery Porn” Shows Like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Does To Your Mental Health” by Louisa Ballhaus
- “The Misery Porn of Game of Thrones Isn’t Profound. It’s Just Miserable” by Sam Brooks
- The TV Tropes page for “Based on a True Story”
Our Lucy Lawless interview will be out next week! Thanks to Open Culture for curating this podcast.