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Top 6 Depressing Shows like Chernobyl

Updated on December 22, 2019
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Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror".

Whar Shows Are Like Chernobyl?

Chernobyl is 2019’s most talked-about series, depicting the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in painstaking detail. Some things may have been dramatized for TV, but the raw emotional distress felt throughout the series takes you back to this horrific time period.

Based on the book, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Laureate Svetlana Alexievich, Chernobyl is a terrifying tale of suffering and tragedy. It’s sad that people only come together during times of public distress, but one couldn’t possibly imagine facing such a disaster alone. If it wasn’t for the firefighters, volunteers, and other unsung heroes who risked their own safety, the outcome could’ve been far more devastating.

Chernobyl also shows people trying to cover up their mistakes, making the situation grimmer. They put countless lives in danger, just to save their own skin. This just goes to show that humans still have a lot to learn in terms of morality. The more advanced we become, the less we seem to care about others.

Chernobyl only utilizes five episodes to tell a soul-stirring story, so stay home this weekend and start this heartbreaking series. As for the rest of us who have already finished, here’s a list of similar TV shows to Chernobyl.

Series Like Chernobyl

  1. The Society

  2. Sick Note

  3. Euphoria

  4. Corporate

  5. When They See Us

  6. Russian Doll

1. The Society

Based on the novel, Lord of the Flies, by Nobel Prize-winning British author, William Golding, The Society is a gripping tale of a handful of teenagers. After some high schoolers return home from a canceled camping trip, they find all of the town’s adults absent or missing. It seems like a fun life at first, but after the dust settles and the parties are over, these reckless teenagers start coming to their senses.

They realize, perhaps for the first time, that the adults are needed in society. It's hard to survive a single day without them being around. With everyone gone, these teens will have to take charge of the situation. Things, however, don't go quite as planned.

It’s not like our protagonists are starting a society from scratch; everything is set up and ready to go because modern-day machines have made things so much easier. They just have to learn to control themselves and maintain order in a way that accommodates everybody.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds, because things tend to go wrong more often than not even in a well-run system like ours. Can these young people who have never even experienced the brutality of the real world face this unusual storm? Watch these boys and girls turn into men and women right in front of your eyes, as they learn the weight of maintaining a civilized group.

2. Sick Note

Unlike other shows on the list, Sick Note is a comedy about a 'serious subject matter'. Daniel’s entire life is falling apart before his very eyes and there’s very little he can do to get out of this situation. To make matters worse, his doctor gives him some more bad news - he has cancer, which later turns out to be the best thing that has happened to our protagonist in years. Everyone starts treating him better after hearing about the diagnosis, but the universe could only let him have a good time for so long.

It turns out Daniel doesn’t have cancer which would be a good thing to hear for most of us, but sadly, it isn’t the case here. He falls back to the same routine he had before the advent of cancer, descending further down the road of irrelevance and depression.

Popular child actors Rupert Grint and Lindsay Lohan work on this 2017 Netflix project alongside one of the best British comedians, Nick Frost. Watch the most incompetent doctor and his miserable patient try to cover up a lie, which could further ruin their lives.

It’s not yet confirmed if Sick Note will return for a third season, but two seasons are available to binge on Netflix. If you're looking for a show like Chernobyl, but with a lighter tone, Sick Note should be your best bet. I know it's an unusual suggestion, but you're here to find shows you haven't already heard about, right?

3. Euphoria

Drugs are a convenient way to keep your issues at bay but once the high starts wearing off, you’re left with one of two choices - deal with reality head-on and try to fix everything that’s bothering you, or take more drugs and let the cycle repeat itself. Sadly, most people choose the second one because it’s easier, and it temporarily stops your inner demons from shouting at you.

The story revolves around Zendaya of Spiderman: Homecoming fame, who plays Rue, a drug addict. She doesn't want to let go of her “high." Each episode introduces a young character dealing with their own set of problems, unable to find lasting peace. It’s not uncommon for a bunch of 17-year-olds to go through an existential crisis, but the way they deal with it will eventually determine their future.

Only one season of this American drama series has been released as of now, with no confirmation of a second season. While HBO remains tight-lipped about the future of this gripping series, it's not unreasonable to assume that there will be more to come. Decide for yourselves if this new series portrays a realistic view of the modern millennial psyche.

4. Corporate

If you’ve seen or worked in a cubicle, you know how people stuck in there feel. Another dark comedy on the list that revolves around the soul-sucking “corporate” life, this series follows Matt and Jake who are always at the mercy of their superiors.

The idea of anti-capitalism has been portrayed in various movies and TV shows like Fight Club and Mr. Robot, but it's Corporate’s added comic relief that separates it from others mentioned above. The series has an uncanny ability to make you laugh at something most of us have been through at least once in our lives - losing ourselves to the fast-paced inhumane workforce.

Not everybody gets to do what they love and some people don’t even know what they love, which is even sadder. Watching the characters in the show expressing serious mental agony in a funny way lets you enjoy it instead of getting disheartened.

5. When They See Us

How would you feel if you or someone you knew was falsely imprisoned for almost 25 years, with no hopes of making it out? Based on the true story of The Central Park Five, When They See Us is the story of a group of young African-American teenagers who were accused of raping a jogger. This case is seen by many as a typical case of racial profiling and discrimination since there was no concrete evidence against the accused individuals. The only thing different about them from the rest of the people in the park was the color of their skin, which is not a parameter to judge someone.

With only four seasons on the menu, it shouldn't prove too difficult to churn through the whole drama. I would, however, recommend you to go slow as the story takes its toll on you. When They See Us will surely make you hate the fabric of our corrupt system but it will also give you some hope at the same time.

If you're looking for a show like Chernobyl that's just as morbid and depressing, When They See Us should fit the bill.

6. Russian Doll

Have you ever heard the phrase, “never-ending night?". Nadia, the protagonist of the show, is literally going through this very experience, with no hopes for an escape. She dies at the end of the night, only to relive the entire day again and again, as she slowly learns the reality of her situation.

Everyone would live differently if they thought it was the last day of their lives. Nadia knows for a fact that it is, but even if she manages to have the best day, she’ll have to do it all over again. It’s just like the story of poor old Sisyphus who carried the boulder all the way to the top of the mountain, only to see it roll down again and again for eternity.

If this doesn’t prove that immortality is a curse, I don’t know what will. Watch Russian Doll and witness an individual who has somehow broken the space-time barrier to experience an endless moment.

Comedy moguls Natasha Lyonne and Amy Amy Poehler co-created this series, so the whole affair, as expected, is a meticulously crafted piece of art. While we're hopeful for the announcement of a second season, you can find the first season on Netflix.

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