Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve likely heard about Chernobyl, this miniseries has taken the world by storm, and has subsequently become the highest rated TV series ever on IMDb. So, is it as good as everyone has been saying? Quite simply, yes. This is one of the best pieces of television I’ve ever seen, hands down.
Chernobyl tells the story of the horrific nuclear disaster in April 1986, and the aftermath. The first thing I will say about this five-part series is that it is paced to perfection, the first episode throws us straight in to the action and it doesn’t let up from that point on. I was completely engrossed from the first minute and I didn’t once find any part of this series dull or boring, in fact, I couldn’t take my eyes off of what was happening.
Although I know a bit about the Chernobyl disaster, I was impressed with how detailed this series was and I learnt so much about the events that occurred, it works brilliantly as a drama and as an education piece, after I finished the series I did a bit of research to see how historically accurate Chernobyl is, and I was happy to see that the majority of it is extremely accurate and although there are a few tweaks made in the interest of storytelling, it’s nothing that will take away from the facts of the event, so will appeal to those that have a general interest in the disaster, and you’ll come out with a lot more knowledge than you had before, you’ll feel like a nuclear scientist after the credits roll and you’ll be impressing your friends with nuclear jargon and facts.
So we know that Chernobyl works as an education piece, how does it work as a drama and a piece of television? Just as brilliantly. The entire cast are incredible, boasting some huge names, with not a single poor performance throughout all five episodes. It is shot beautifully, cleverly written and I appreciated how it didn’t only focus on the main investigation, but it also gave ample time to the lesser known figures in the story and their involvement. It gives the audience another level of investment and it is a tasteful tribute to those who have since been forgotten, but whose contribution was just as important as the big-shots who took the headlines. Chernobyl isn’t afraid to hold back either, and will shock and horrify you, with graphic depictions of radiation injuries that will likely give the squeamish nightmares. It’s all done respectfully, and never feels like it’s being exploited for viewing figures, however. Another testament to how well executed this series is.
You’ll feel a huge range of emotions throughout the five episodes: Anger, horror, sadness, admiration… Those are a few that spring to mind. I felt rather overwhelmed when the series finished and just sat in silence reflecting on everything that I had just seen. If you watch one series this year, it needs to be Chernobyl, it is an unprecedented achievement in television and, I must emphasise again, one of the best series I have ever watched.
I give Chernobyl a 9.5/10.