Premiering on May 6, 2019, HBO’s Chernobyl follows the true events of the nuclear power plant disaster which occurred in the Soviet Union in April 1986. Written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck, the series follows lesser-known heroes during the incident as well as the extensive cleanup efforts in the wake of the power plant’s meltdown. The show has an ensemble cast featuring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, and Paul Ritter, and is praised for its dedication to historical accuracy.
Not long after its release, Chernobyl became IMDb’s highest ranked television show of all time. Out of about 140,000 IMDb users, the show had a reported 9.7-star average rating, the highest of any show.
Chernobyl had successfully topped other No.1 shows including Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers, Planet Earth II, among others, a feat that few believed Chernobyl would accomplish. Even more impressive, the miniseries only ran for five episodes, yet managed to nail the pacing and character development.
According to critic Caroline Franke, “[r]ather than bursting into shocking twists, writer Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck build a steadily creeping unease, allowing the scale of the atrocity to sink in with terrible, fitting gravity.”