We did everything right…
BY Georgi R. Chakarov
The Control Room, Chernobyl
I guess everyone has now seen Chernobyl but I’m not going to talk about what makes this series so great and the types of records it has broken so far. I would like to focus on one of the main themes of the show – the reaction right after the explosion and the resounding conviction of the engineers: “We did everything right…” After all, “an RBMK reactor cannot explode”, especially when you have pressed the AZ-5 button.

Of course, none of them knew that this button acts more like a trigger… and of course, prior to pressing it they did indeed push the reactor to its limits, and then the inexplicable happened. Because it was simply impossible. Dyatlov continued to believe there was no explosion until Khomyuk showed him the photos several months later.

The moral lessons coming out of the series are hard-hitting on an individual and group level. Each and every one of us can relate to the story and “see” the warning signs which the producers have placed in the series. We are all pushing every aspect of our lives, trying to make the best of the 24 hours of the day that we have while ignoring everything else outside “our universe”. On a global level, we all see what is happening to the climate but a decisive effort to reverse the trend is still lacking as we continue to abuse the planet’s resources.

The same process can also be observed in television. The “TV reactor” is overheated already, producing enormous amounts of content which viewers/users find hard to keep track of. A recent study by Radio Times in the UK showed that 18% of respondents called in sick in order to be able to watch their favorite show; and 22% said “they lied about seeing a program to fit in because everyone else was talking about it.” Scientists are only beginning to uncover the hazards of binge-watching like no movement for hours, fast food binging, insomnia, etc. Obviously, people can’t keep up with this tempo and it affects them badly – socially, mentally and physically.

There are three foreseeable worst-case scenarios for the industry if these trends continue in the coming years: oversaturation (people will get sick of so much content and stop watching no matter how cool a show might be), implosion (offering too much content but not getting enough viewers), and collapse (overspending to produce content). TV and entertainment companies will get hit by such disasters in the future, but even then, we might as well hear their top execs saying “We did everything right…” ▪
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