Chernobyl (miniseries)

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Chernobyl 2019 Miniseries.jpg
GenreHistorical drama
Created byCraig Mazin
Written byCraig Mazin
Directed byJohan Renck
Composer(s)Hildur Guðnadóttir
Country of origin
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes3 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)Lithuania
CinematographyJakob Ihre
Editor(s)Jinx Godfrey
Running time60–72 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Sister Pictures
  • The Might Mint
Original network
Original releaseMay 6, 2019 (2019-05-06) –
present (present)
External links

Chernobyl is a five-part British-American historical drama television miniseries created and written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. It was a co-production between the American cable network HBO and the British television network Sky, and premiered in the United States on May 6, 2019, and in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2019. The series depicts the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that occurred in the Soviet Union in April 1986 and the unprecedented cleanup efforts that followed.


Chernobyl dramatizes "the true story of one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history and tells of the brave men and women who sacrificed themselves to save Europe from unimaginable disaster. The miniseries focuses on the heartbreaking scope of the nuclear plant disaster that occurred in Soviet Ukraine in April 1986, revealing how and why it happened and telling the shocking, remarkable stories of the heroes who fought and fell."[1]

Cast and characters[edit]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK airdateU.S. viewers
UK viewers
(millions) [2]
1"1:23:45"Johan RenckCraig MazinMay 6, 2019 (2019-05-06)May 7, 2019 (2019-05-07)0.756[3]TBA
On April 26, 1988, a distressed Valery Legasov records a few tapes, blaming Anatoly Dyatlov for the Chernobyl disaster and expressing his unhappiness with Dyatlov's light prison sentence. Legasov then packs the tapes, hides them in a ventilation shaft outside his building and hangs himself.

Two years and one minute earlier, a pregnant Lyudmilla Ignatenko wakes up in the middle of the night for a glass of water and witnesses the explosion. Meanwhile, Dyatlov, Akimov, Toptunov, Stolyachuk and a few others are on the control room trying to figure what happened while assessing the damages. A worried Lyudmilla watches as Vasily, a fireman, gets ready to attend the fire. Vasily calms her, saying that is just an ordinary fire and that he should be back in no time. Perevozchenko goes looking after Khodemchuk while sending Gorbachenko into finding Shashenok. Gorbachenko finds Kudryavtsev and Proskuryakov looking for the reactor and Perevozchenko encounters Yuvchenko on a staircase. Then, a face scalded pump operator is found by Yuvchenko, who notices the exposed core on the adjacent room.

The firemen arrive and Vasily watches a fellow fireman get a graphite block on his hands. Kudryavtsev and Proskuryakov crosses Yuvchenko's path and they ask him about the reactor room and the three of them go for it. Vasily gets distraught by seeing his fellow fireman's hand burnt by the radiation of the graphite block. Kudryavtsev, Proskuryakov and Yuvchenko finds the reactor room and Yuvchenko open and hold its door open for the two men, who see the burning exposed core.

Lyudmilla is invited by the neighbors to watch the fire by the Pripyat Bridge. Kudryavtsev goes back to the control room but cannot talk because of Acute Radiation Sickness (ARS). Dyatlov sends him to infirmary and then threathens a scared Akimov to comply with his orders. Viktor Bryukhanov and Nikolai Fomin get a report from Dyatlov about the ongoing situation and they report it as under control to Pripyat executive committee. A member of the comitee disagreees with them and Zharkov intervenes. After the meeting, Sitnikov meets with Bryukhanov, Fomin and Dyatlov and report that the radiation levels are high and that the core may be exposed. Dyatlov falls ill from ARS and Fomin sends Sitnikov to the roof adjacent to the explosion to see if the core is really exposed. Akimov and Toptunov go for the core water pumps and manually open them, already feeling the radiation exposure effects, while Sitnikov watches the core by himself and gets a very high dose exposure.

Legasov gets a phone call from Boris Shcherbina, who tells that a incident in Chernobyl has occured and that Legasov is being summoned to the Chernobyl committee as the RBMK reactor specialist by orders of Mikahil Gorbachev.
2"Please Remain Calm"Johan RenckCraig MazinMay 13, 2019 (2019-05-13)May 14, 2019 (2019-05-14)1.004[4]TBA
With untold millions at risk after the Chernobyl explosion, nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk makes a desperate attempt to reach Valery Legasov, a leading Soviet nuclear physicist, and warn him about the threat of second explosion that could devastate the continent.
3"Open Wide, O Earth"Johan RenckCraig MazinMay 20, 2019 (2019-05-20)May 21, 2019 (2019-05-21)1.063[5]TBA
Lyudmilla Ignatenko, a Pripyat resident, ignores warning about her firefighter husband's contamination; Valery Legasov lays out a decontamination plan, complete with human risks.
4"The Happiness of All Mankind"[6]Johan RenckCraig MazinMay 27, 2019 (2019-05-27)May 28, 2019 (2019-05-28)TBDTBA
Valery Legasov and Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina consider using lunar rovers to remove radioactive debris, while Ulana Khomyuk faces government hurdles in determining the truth about the cause of the explosion.
5"Vichnaya Pamyat"[7]Johan RenckCraig MazinJune 3, 2019 (2019-06-03)June 4, 2019 (2019-06-04)TBDTBA
Valery Legasov, Boris Shcherbina and Ulana Khomyuk risk their lives and reputations to expose the truth about Chernobyl.



On July 26, 2017, it was announced that HBO had given a series order to Chernobyl, their first co-production with Sky UK. The five-episode miniseries was written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. Mazin also served as an executive producer alongside Carolyn Strauss and Jane Featherstone, with Chris Fry and Renck acting as co-executive producers.[1][8] Mazin's interest in creating the series originated when he decided to write something that addressed "how we're struggling with the global war on the truth right now".[9] On March 11, 2019, it was announced that the miniseries would premiere on May 6, 2019.[10]


Simultaneously with the initial series announcement, it was confirmed that Jared Harris would star in the series.[8] On March 19, 2018, it was announced that Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson had joined the main cast.[11] In May 2018, it was announced that Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Adrian Rawlins and Con O'Neill also had joined the cast.[12]


Principal photography reportedly began in April 2018 in Lithuania.[8] Initial filming started on May 13, 2018 in Fabijoniškės, a residential district in Vilnius, Lithuania, which was used to portray the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, since the district maintained an authentic Soviet atmosphere. An area of densely built panel housing apartments served as a location for the evacuation scenes. Director Johan Renck heavily criticised the amount of diverse and eye-catching modern windows in the houses, but was not concerned about removing them in post-production. At the end of March, production moved to Ignalina, Lithuania, to shoot both the exterior and interior of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, a decommissioned nuclear power station that is sometimes referred to as "Chernobyl's sister" due to its visual resemblance to the nuclear reactor design used at both Chernobyl and Ignalina (an RBMK nuclear power reactor). In early June 2018, production moved to Ukraine to shoot minor final scenes.[13] The filming of Chernobyl took 16 weeks.[14]


Critical response[edit]

Chernobyl has received acclaim from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 96% approval rating with an average score of 8.87 out of 10, based on 45 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Chernobyl rivets with a creeping dread that never dissipates, dramatizing a national tragedy with sterling craft and an intelligent dissection of institutional rot."[15] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[16]

Reviewers from The Atlantic, The Washington Post and BBC have noted that the series successfully draw parallels to their contemporaneous society by focusing on the power of information and how dishonest leaders can unintentionally make mistakes beyond their comprehension. Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic hailed the series as a "grim disquisition on the toll of devaluing the truth"; Hank Stuever of The Washington Post praised it for showcasing "what happens when lying is standard and authority is abused".[17][18][19]


No. Title Air date Rating
DVR viewers
Total viewers
1 "1:23:45" May 6, 2019 0.2 0.756[3] TBD TBD TBD TBD
2 "Please Remain Calm" May 13, 2019 0.3 1.004[4] TBD TBD TBD TBD
3 "Open Wide, O Earth" May 20, 2019 0.3 1.063[5] TBD TBD TBD TBD


  1. ^ a b Petski, Denise (July 26, 2017). "'Chernobyl' Miniseries Starring 'The Crown's Jared Harris Set By HBO & Sky – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  2. ^ "Weekly four-screen dashboard – BARB".
  3. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (May 7, 2019). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.6.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (May 14, 2019). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.13.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (May 21, 2019). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.20.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "Chernobyl 04: The Happiness of All Mankind". HBO. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Chernobyl 05: Vichnaya Pamyat". HBO. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Littleton, Cynthia (July 26, 2017). "HBO Sets 'Chernobyl' Miniseries to Star Jared Harris". Variety. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  9. ^ Topel, Fred (May 6, 2019). "'Chernobyl' Creator Craig Mazin on His New HBO Miniseries and the Debt We Owe to the Truth". /Film. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Dela Paz, Maggie (March 11, 2019). "HBO Miniseries Chernobyl Sets May Premiere Date". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 19, 2018). "'Chernobyl': Stellan Skarsgård & Emily Watson To Star In HBO & Sky's Miniseries". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (May 23, 2018). "'Chernobyl': Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Adrian Rawlins & Con O'Neil Among Cast Additions For HBO/Sky Miniseries". Deadline. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  13. ^ Lapienytė, Jurgita (May 13, 2018). "Fabijoniškėse filmuojamo „Černobylio" režisierius pakeitė požiūrį į branduolinę energiją: tai pabaisa, kurios negalime suvaldyti". (in Lithuanian). Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Prodiuserė: HBO projektas Lietuvoje paliks ne mažiau 7 mln. eurų". (in Lithuanian). July 27, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  15. ^ "Chernobyl: Miniseries (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  16. ^ "Chernobyl". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Gilbert, Sophie (May 6, 2019). "Chernobyl Is a Gruesome, Riveting Fable". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  18. ^ Stuever, Hank (May 5, 2019). "A grim 'Chernobyl' shows what happens when lying is standard and authority is abused". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  19. ^ Saunders, Emmma (May 6, 2019). "Chernobyl disaster: 'I didn't know the truth'". BBC News. Retrieved May 7, 2019.

External links[edit]