‘Chernobyl’ creator deemed deleted scene ‘too gruesome’ for show
HBO's historical drama miniseries Chernobyl, which documents the aftermath of the catastrophic 1986 explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reaction in Ukraine, and the heroic and tragic efforts of scientists, soldiers, and Soviet citizens, to clean up the contaminating fallout and prevent a catastrophe that could have left vast swathes of Europe uninhabited.
Critics have lavished praise on the show's cast, the scripts, and the directing, and the series now boasts the highest-ever rating for a TV show on Rotten Tomatoes. Indeed, many viewers have been left disturbed and upset by the show's nightmarish (and accurate) depiction of the effects of acute radiation syndrome, and the real-life events which really are freakier than fiction.
Take a look at the Liquidators scene from episode four of Chernobyl:
In fact, on a recent episode of the official Chernobyl podcast, showrunner and screenwriter Craig Mazin revealed that when he was researching and writing the plot, he always chose to go for the least dramatic narratives, out of fear that audiences would be incredulous. In episode four, entitled 'The Happiness of All Mankind', Mazin was forced to leave out one scene which he believed would be too disturbing for TV viewers.
The scene in question would have involved the liquidators charged with exterminating all the contaminated radioactive animals, (including the pets) in Pripyat and the surrounding environs. It would have then been revealed that one of the supposedly-dead dogs was still alive after being thrown into the mass grave. The liquidators would attempt to shoot it before it was engulfed in cement, only to find they were out of bullets.
Discussing his reasoning behind cutting the scene, which was taken from the book Voices from Chernobyl, Mazin stated: "The scenes with the liquidators and the dogs was really hard for a lot of people to watch ... We shot it, but it was just too much. It felt abusive, and there's a really weird line between, 'No, you need to look at this and see this and know that it happened', and [taking it too far] – and the line is different for different people."
For more information on the history behind the show, check out this article we penned all about all the differences between fiction and real life in Chernobyl.