South O’ the Highway

Alessandro Nivola’s Fake News Thriller ‘Chimerica’ Earns Raves in UK

The four-part series kicked off on Britain's Channel 4 on April 17.

Amagansett resident Alessandro Nivola‘s new four-part series Chimerica aired on Britain’s Channel 4 last night, April 17, and it’s already getting rave reviews. The series, which Americans will likely have to watch later on Netflix or another streaming service, adapts Lucy Kirkwood‘s 2013 play to tell the story of an American photojournalist fighting to salvage his credibility in the age of “fake news.”

Nivola plays fictional photojournalist Lee Berger who was made famous after photographing the iconic “Tank Man” image—actually shot by Jeff Widener—of an unidentified activist standing in front of Chinese tanks during the tragic Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Set years later, during the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Berger’s career is called into question when it’s revealed that he doctored an image in an attempt to re-bottle the lightning that established his name in the business.

In order to prove he’s not a total fraud, Berger sets out on a quest to identify and find the Tank Man from his most celebrated photo, who he believes to be alive and living in New York, but he runs into resistance and intrigue, and finds himself allowing everything else in his life to fall away. An experienced photographer of war zones who’s seen terrible trauma and death firsthand, Berger suffers from PTSD and his single-minded effort to find his subject leads him to descend into a sort of madness.

The series also stars Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale,Transparent) as Mel Kincaid, a friend and fellow war correspondent suffering from alcoholism; Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Undercover) as market analyst Tessa Kendrick; and F. Murray Abraham (Homeland, Amadeus) as Berger’s mentor, news editor Frank Sams. Other actors include Terry Chen of Netflix’s Jessica Jones, Katie Leung (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Strangers) and new actor Jay Yu.

Chimerica earned five stars from The Guardian, which called it a “strikingly intelligent drama,” while Britain’s iNews gave it four stars and described the series as an “atmospheric adaptation of a thought-provoking play.” The accolades seem fairly universal from critics, so keep it in mind for the show’s inevitable appearance on Amazon, Hulu or Netflix.

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