The HBO show is boring, there is no actual story and the characters are irrelevant.
So, why is the second episode a must see?
For me, its basic interest relays upon the lurping experience of being able to do an urban exploration from under my duvet. It is no surprise that the creator of the series is Craig Mazin, who relaxes from the unease of Chernobyl, and, based on the videogame, creates something pop, beautiful, poetic and also (a little) uncomfortable.
The episode cherrypicks key elements directly from films like I Am Legend, Blade Runner 2049, The Zone, Matrix, Stranger Things, The Road and Children of Men, to mention some. So, in a way, it is like watching all of them at once, and feeling -again- the pleasure of the first time.
The show is simply a videogame in film that uses powerfull resources from the most important sci-fi movies in history. Its abandoned settings are magnificent and they go from dark humid places to sunny and green urban landscapes. It shows all the existing types of urban exploration environments, both aesthetically but also from a sensorial and emotional point of view.
The mind blowing element is that all the decayed places shown in the episode, exist. They are surprisingly close to our reality. It is not sci-fi, not a distopic unreal place. These spaces are everywhere in our countrysides, cities, in our neighbourhoods. That decayed beauty exists beyond fiction because somehow we got to the point that the next level videogame is life itself.