July 24, 2024

The Days Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

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The Days Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

It feels borderline immoral to criticise The Days, a serenely measured and thorough dramatisation of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and its aftermath. The resourcefulness and courage of the men on duty at the power station at the hideous moment when calamity struck, who stayed for a week afterwards working to avoid a much worse catastrophe, deserves our deep respect. But as a drama, The Days is too respectful: its desire not to leave anything out might result in tired viewers abandoning their posts.

One of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history took place under the sea off Japan’s east coast on 11 March 2011, rupturing the mains electricity supply to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. When a subsequent tsunami flooded the station – situated only 10 metres above sea level – it nullified the site’s emergency diesel generators. Now completely without power, the plant’s reactors could no longer be cooled – only an improvised damage limitation exercise would avoid a total meltdown.

Fukushima was the worst nuclear accident since Chornobyl, and The Days is the first true-life dramatisation of a nuclear accident since Chernobyl, the deservedly acclaimed miniseries aired by Sky/HBO in 2019. That show was a stunning re-creation of specific events with a thick layer of more universal drama on top, as it explored not just the culture of lying and cover-ups that riddled the failing Soviet Union, but the tendency of hierarchical institutions everywhere to stifle the morals and independent thinking of individuals working within them.

The Days, unfortunately, only really has the “stunning re-creation of specific events” part. Yes, there are scenes where senior managers and politicians give bad instructions because they are afraid of political blowback, concerned with their public image or too wedded to normal protocol, but they are few in number and don’t offer any surprising insights. Instead, many lengthy sequences recall the moments in Chornobyl when men volunteered to complete essential tasks, knowing that doing so would expose them to potentially fatal levels of radiation.

Once the tsunami has arrived – the awesome destructive power of the sea crashing incongruously through dry-land structures is superbly rendered, and prompts a haunting miniature disaster movie featuring men stuck in a rapidly filling basement – the plant manager, Yoshida (Koji Yakusho), has to perform a terrible plate-spinning feat. He has several reactors that require ventilation, the pumping in of water, or both. As quickly as he and his team conjure a clever scheme to avert an explosion here, the readings are hitting the red zone there.

Yakusho is excellent as a man who morphs slowly from a happily pottering pen-pusher, triple-checking everything with calm dedication, to a stubbly firebrand kicking over waste bins and disregarding direct orders because he can see what needs to be done, hasn’t slept for 80 hours and no longer has time for anyone’s bullshit. He is trapped in a steadily deteriorating nightmare, but the nature of it – more or less the same thing goes wrong, over and over and over, a little bit worse each time – kills The Days as a drama.

Episode two centres on valves that need opening by hand, deep in the innards of a pitch-dark, increasingly irradiated building littered with debris and mud. “Please, select the staff members who will go inside,” says Yoshida to the control room supervisor, both of them tacitly aware that what he means is, decide which of your men might die. The scene where this choice is made is starkly moving, but that impact lessens as we see variations on the same scenario: something very similar takes place in episode seven, and in virtually every instalment in between. After a while it’s hard to keep track of which characters are stoically, heroically donning hazmat suits and stepping into the darkness – some of them ought to have been ruthlessly edited out.

The Days also becomes a drama by numbers: much turns on this gauge not going above 600 kilopascals, that device requiring 125 volts, these dosimeters reading 85 and 97 millisieverts when a minute ago they were below 20 and so on, rather than a well-drawn human making the decision that defines them. The script is too busy ensuring it dutifully notes all the relevant facts to create any memorable characters outside Yoshida himself – evidently the show is meant as a tribute to the man, who died of cancer two years after the disaster, and on that level it admirably succeeds. It also has the feel of paying homage to the prime minister, Naoto Kan (Fumiyo Kohinata), whom we see in the grip of table-slapping frustration at waffly answers from nervous underlings. It’s an emotion that could be directed at The Days itself: when something is this important, ditch the fine details and get to the point.

The Days Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online