“What is the cost of lies?

  It's not that we'll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.”

( Jared Harris as Valery Legasov in Chernobyl )

 

 

   The quote above was told by Legasov at the opening scene in the first episode of the HBO television miniseries Chernobyl. He was readying himself to commit suicide when he was delivering these famous poignant lines. This heartrending scene drew me into the historical drama right away, but it was not very easy to keep on watching this highly acclaimed TV show. It was too realistic and extremely dark and grim. But it was based on the true event, so how can I dare to complain?

 

   I’ve heard about the Chernobyl disaster(April 1986) in my twenties, but it was just a tragic accident that took place in a remote country. I thought it had nothing to do with me. It would have remained so if I hadn’t read a non-fiction titled “Voices from Chernobyl” written by the 2015 Nobel Laureate, Svetlana Alexievich. The book consisted of a lot of vivid interviews conducted by the author over ten years. Alexievich also covered the aftermath of the accident, explored the experiences of individuals, and then showed the political and psychological aspects of the disaster. Reading that book was a terrifying and unforgettable experience for me, but it helped broaden my narrow perspective greatly.

  

   Actually, “Voices from Chernobyl” inspired this HBO drama, too. For it heavily relied on the recollections of Pripyat locals, which were painstakingly described in the book. So when I was watching the drama, it felt like I was witnessing the incidents told by interviewees scene by scene in virtual reality. It was very surreal yet incredibly heartbreaking at the same time, because I was right there with those suffering people. The story was so well dramatized that I cannot find the right words to do justice to the terrible beauty.

 

    We all make mistakes. We are human beings. But owning our mistakes is painfully difficult. What then? We lie. We lie to others. We lie to ourselves. We lie to each other. Until it’s too late. Until there is not a soul alive to tell the truth.

    This drama really hit me hard. Maybe I should have hanged myself with Legasov before watching all the five episodes. When will these stupid man-made disasters end? When, indeed? Will the day really come when we all humans recognize our stupidity and embrace each other’s limitations? I’m only dreaming this hopelessly recurring dream, with a heavy heart. Wishing it will never turn into a nightmare called “status quo.”

 

PS) Craig Mazin made the original scripts of all episodes available for free. If you want to download the scripts, click here.

 (https://johnaugust.com/library)

                                   

 

 

 

* 영어 등급 : I think I can.

* 내용 등급 : 콩어른

 

 

 

 


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    Friends... I love this American television sitcom. I’ve watched all episodes from the first season through the seventh season so far. Not just once, several times in the case of Seasons 1 to 3. I’ve also read all scripts from the seven seasons. That said, being a huge fan of “Friends,” I didn’t see the day coming when I say I want to stop watching it. All because of Season 7, the worst season ever.

 

     As everybody knows, the irresistible charm of “Friends” is the fantastic chemistry between the famous six characters, who are funny, clever, silly, witty, quirky, and downright hilarious. My favorite character is Chandler(Matthew Perry), who has a kind of twisted sense of humor with funny and sarcastic one-liners. Frankly, you could say he is the very reason I fell in love with “Friends.” However, in this seventh season, Chandler was not so brilliant as he used to be. I’ve heard that the actor Matthew Perry was in rehab due to his drug addiction during this season. Maybe for that reason, the writers decided to focus more on other characters, especially Joey, but I think it didn’t work out very well, because the main theme of the seventh season was the preparation for Monica and Chandler's wedding. So we needed Chandler in the forefront to make the season go smoothly, which nobody could replace in any way. He got a little better as the story developed, but he never became THE Chandler I loved so much until the whole season ended.

 

    Anyways, despite dull episodes mostly regarding Monica and Chandler's wedding, and Chandler in his worst form, this season sometimes had its moments, such as in the episodes titled ‘The One Where They're Up All Night,’ ‘The One with Chandler's Dad,’ and ‘The One with the Holiday Armadillo.’

    In ‘The One Where They're Up All Night,’ all six characters go up onto the roof to see a comet by Ross’s suggestion. It was not a perfect story, but it had the charming synergy between the characters I mentioned earlier. ‘The One with Chandler's Dad’ fascinated me for I finally met Chandler's drag-queen father for the first time. Interestingly, the father was portrayed by an actress(Kathleen Turner), making the episode funnier and more poignant. And I find ‘The One with the Holiday Armadillo’ the best episode in the seventh season. For the plot was beautifully structured and the theme of the two different religious festivals, Hanukkah and Christmas, was nicely described through Ross’s fatherly love towards his son, Ben.

 

    There are three more seasons to go, and honestly I’m not sure I’ll keep watching it after this huge disappointment. Sure, the ending was a clever cliff-hanger, still it didn’t intrigue me enough to rush me to the eighth season. I think I might try the first episode of Season 8 to see whether it’s worth it, and then I’ll make up my mind.

 

 

* 영어 등급 : I think I can.

* 내용 등급 : 콩어른

 

 

 


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Downton Abbey Script Book Season 3 (Paperback, Original)
William Morrow Paperbacks / 2015년 12월
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    I’m a great fan of this British historical TV drama, Downton Abbey. I’ve watched the first and second series so far, and I’ve also read the full scripts of both seasons. Sadly, the creator of this show, Julian Fellowes, has published only the scripts of the first three seasons(of the six seasons), so when I began to read this third script book, I felt torn between two contradictory feelings, one of which was that I was impatient to go ahead to see what happened at the end, but on the other hand, I didn’t want it to end because this book was the last one I could experience the whole series through detailed reading.

 

    As everybody who watched the third season knows, this series begins with Mary and Matthew’s wedding and its frantic preparation. Like the previous series, the third season depicts the real historical events such as the Irish War of Independence, the rise of the working class and modernization by the development of technology. Thus, the familial events and the societal change affect both classes, the aristocratic family upstairs and their servants downstairs.

 

    Especially, in this season, there are two tragic deaths of the main characters, which caused a huge uproar with fans all over the world. I’ve heard there are still many fans who cannot accept the last scene of the third series and are lamenting the devastating conclusion. I really feel for them, for now I know what happens at the problematic scene. However, I believe that the scene was necessary for the whole show to develop dramatically, even though the killing-off of the most beloved character cannot be forgiven so easily. I also believe that the author planned the last scene from the beginning, not just killing off the used-up characters he couldn’t deal with any more. As we see in the case of “Game of Thrones,” the death of the main characters can bring about the effective tension for the drama, if the author uses the card wisely. Therefore, I embraced the author’s decision and let my favorite character go. Of course, that scene really broke my heart, and I’m still picking up the pieces here and there.

 

 

 

* 영어 등급 : I think I can.

* 내용 등급 : 콩어른

 

 

 


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London Spy (Paperback)
톰 롭 스미스 / Simon & Schuster Ltd / 2016년 11월
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  London Spy’는 영국 BBC Two에서 방영했던 5부작 드라마로, Child 44’의 영국 작가 Tom Rob Smith가 대본을 맡아서 화제가 되었었다. 나는 주인공 Danny역을 영국배우 Ben Whishaw가 맡았다고 해서 관심을 갖게 되었는데, 드라마를 보기 전에 먼저 대본집을 읽고 싶어졌다.

 

   대본집을 읽으며 제일 먼저 놀랐던 점은 고도의 심리 스파이물로 여겼던 작품이 사실은 두 남성의 러브스토리라는 사실이었다. 자유분방한 청년 Danny가 사랑에 빠지는 미지의 인물 Alex(Alistair)가 스파이인 셈인데, 그를 둘러싼 미스터리를 풀어나가는 것이 드라마의 핵심이긴 하지만, 사실상 이 작품은 그들의 사랑에 더 깊은 무게를 두고 있었다. 그래서, 4부의 하이라이트 장면을 읽으면서 어찌나 가슴이 아리던지...

   

   작가 Tom Rob Smith 본인 역시 동성애자이므로, 어쩌면 자전적 체험을 통해서 두 남성의 아픈 사랑이야기를 이토록 절절하게 표현할 수 있지 않았을까 싶다. 대본이 너무 좋아서 막상 드라마를 보려니 조금 두려운 느낌... Ben Whishaw의 명연기가 정말 기대되는 작품이다.

 

 

* 영어 등급 : I think I can.

* 내용 등급 : 콩어른

 

 

 


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  시트콤 드라마의 대명사라 해야 할지... 미국 NBC TV 드라마 ‘Friends’는 재미있기도 하지만 우리나라에서는 영어학습용으로 인기가 많아서 더 사랑 받은 드라마가 아닌가 한다. 내가 1, 2시즌을 열심히 보는 걸 지켜보던 남편이 올 시즌 풀박스 세트를 사주었는데, 조금 있으니 Netflix에서도 시청할 수 있게 되어 약간 당황했었다.^^ 어쨌거나, 어느 날 이 흥미진진한 드라마의 대본을 읽어보고 싶은 생각이 들었고... 일단 1-5시즌까지 대본을 전부 인쇄하여 책처럼 묶었다. 한 주일에 한 시즌씩 읽기로 하여 현재 2시즌까지 읽었는데, Rachel이 웨딩드레스를 입은 채 Central Perk 커피숍에 등장하던 그 유명한 첫 장면을 읽을 때 어찌나 가슴이 뭉클하던지...

 

   Rachel, Monica, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe... 이렇게 여섯 친구가 벌이는 인생 드라마는 지켜보는 우리들에게는 코믹하고 재미나지만, 우리가 정말 그 입장 한가운데 있다면 어떤 느낌일까 찡한 순간도 참 많았던 것 같다. 내가 가장 좋아하는 캐릭터는 블랙 유머로 무장하고 있는 상처 입은 영혼^^ Chandler이다. 개인적으로, 감정이입이 몹시 어려웠던 인물은 엉뚱하고 괴이한 성격의 Phoebe였는데, 이상하게도 대본으로 꼼꼼하게 읽어 내려가니 참으로 사랑스런 캐릭터라는 느낌이 들기도 하였다. 대본을 다 읽고 나면 전 시즌을 처음부터 다시 주욱 보고 싶은 생각이 든다. 언제 또다시 이렇게 멋진 드라마를 만날 수 있을지, 여섯 명의 배우를 그대로 다시 출연시켜서 중년들의 ‘Friends’를 새로 제작했으면 좋겠다.

 

 

 

* 영어 등급 : I think I can.

* 내용 등급 : 콩어른

 


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