This Time It’s Televisual

TV | by Aidan Morgan

By the time this column goes to print, Game of Thrones will be over and the story of the Seven Kingdoms will be properly sorted and filed away, leaving nothing but a fiery tornado of hot takes and phantom Internet screams rotating around its absence from the Sunday night schedule. The hot take tornado will tear away at the crust of our culture, boring its way down until it hits the molten heart of our collective unconscious, whereupon it will erupt and blanket the psychosphere in a rain of ash and cinder.

Then they’ll announce the GoT spinoffs and the cycle will start whirling once more.

Into The Abyss

Never mind the throne-based game and its bloodthirsty rulebook: try Chernobyl, the five-episode miniseries that relives the disaster that befell the Vladimir I. Lenin nuclear power station in the Soviet Union’s last days. The inability of engineers, scientists and politicians to understand the scope of the disaster has an uncomfortable resonance with today’s climate crisis. A relentless focus on detail brings out every moment, every terrible decision and horrible radiation burn. There’s even a podcast.

Wait, did I say “even”? I meant “always”. There’s always a podcast.

The series also has a fantastic cast of British and European actors including Jared Harris, Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgard, all donning lengthy Russian names. Chernobyl airs Monday evenings on HBO.

Fourth Wall Patrol

As horrific as it is to watch people lose their skin to dragon fire or radiation poisoning, nothing beats the sight of a man retrieving and eating someone’s facial hair from a sink drain. That’s what you get with Doom Patrol (Crave), the second live-action series from the DC Universe streaming service. Infinitely stranger and better than Titans (unless you like the prospect of Robin beating up criminals solo and sneering “Fuck Batman”), Doom Patrol takes a relatively obscure gang of misfits and throws them into a gloomy mansion together. There they snipe at each other, take up hobbies and watch TV until their leader (Timothy Dalton) is kidnapped by Mister Nobody (Alan Tudyk), a hammy villain who’s also the narrator and a Doom Patrol superfan. And like all superfans, he loves and hates his obsession in equal measure.

The quest to locate their missing leader forms the season’s spine, but Doom Patrol is largely an excuse to dissolve superhero tropes in its acid bath of high weirdness. Plus there’s the guy who eats facial hair. Oh, and a sentient teleporting genderqueer street named Danny. Oh, and a man who can bend reality by flexing his muscles. Doom Patrol’s season finale airs May 24.