Chernobyl – TV Mini-Series Review

A TV mini-series review written by Lee Sonogan

1hr (2019) Drama, History, Thriller

Originally published on

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Legasov: It means the core is open. It means the fire we’re watching with our own eyes is giving off nearly twice the radiation released by the bomb in Hiroshima. And that’s every single hour. Hour after hour, [looks at his watch] 20 hours since the explosion, so 40 bombs worth by now. Forty-eight more tomorrow. And it will not stop. Not in a week, not in a month. It will burn and spread its poison until the entire continent is dead.

The Chernobyl explosion has its own place in real-life history. This show deserves recognition for being one of the best tv mini-series highly based on real-life events. It shows an attempt at a cover-up with a visually impressive production that is brutal and very suspenseful. Even though the cast for this show has only English men and women portraying Russians, realism is felt watching the acting in this show from HBO.

After finishing this mini-series I did not realise how important it was to the end of the Soviet Union and the world as a whole. As quoted in the show “There is nothing sane about Chernobyl. What happened there, what happened after… even the good we did… all of it… all of it… Madness.” said by Valery Legasov, this show goes deep into what happened next. The first episode documents the event and the following episodes get way more intense as the cover-up and aftermath creates some brutal/shocking scenes and moments.

“The truth doesn’t care about our needs or wants. It doesn’t care about our governments, our ideologies, our religions. It will lie in wait, for all time.” – Valery Legasov

More than thirty years after in real life scientists estimate the zone around the plant now will still not be habitable for up to 20,000 years. Chernobyl makes you think of the impact of radiation and the use of nuclear power. Like nuclear weapons and forms of nuclear power needs to be regulated as much as possible or we will get another nuclear disaster or we could get another radioactive disaster such as what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi powerplant in Japan back in 2011 which many speculated leaked and absorbed into the ocean.

As of right now, Chernobyl is the third highest-rated tv show on IMDB (Internet Movie Database website) and the popularity of the miniseries had been credited with a 30 to 40 percent spike in tourism to Chernobyl and Pripyat in the months following the premiere. I want to rate it very high as everyone else but in my opinion, it does not make it over a 8 over a ten. Maybe if they did more than 5 episodes I could rate it in the 9s like IMDB but otherwise, Chernobyl deserves the high rating in the eights I have given it and most certainly is in the top 5 shows to come out in 2019.


[April 26, 1988: Alone in his apartment in Moscow, Professor Valery Legasov replays his voice on a tape recorder]

“What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all. What can we do then? What else is left to abandon even the hope of truth and content ourselves instead with stories? In these stories, it doesn’t matter who the heroes are. All we want to know is: ‘Who is to blame?’ In this story, it was Anatoly Dyatlov. He was the best choice. An arrogant, unpleasant man, he ran the room that night, he gave the orders… and no friends. Or at least, not important ones. And now Dyatlov will spend the next ten years in a prison labor camp. Of course, that sentence is doubly unfair. There were far greater criminals than him at work. And as for what Dyatlov did do, the man doesn’t deserve prison. He deserves death. [Legasov stops the tape, sips a glass of water, and then starts recording where he left off] But instead, ten years for “criminal mismanagement”. What does that mean? No one knows. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that, to them, justice was done. Because, you see, to them, a just world is a sane world. There was nothing sane about Chernobyl. What happened there, what happened after, even the good we did, all of it… all of it, madness. Well, I’ve given you everything I know. They’ll deny it, of course. They always do. I know you’ll try your best.” — Valery Legasov (Jared Harris), Chernobyl, Miniseries: 1:23:45

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