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How Accurate Is HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’?




In only a few short weeks, Chernobyl has become one of the most talked about shows in the world.

And for good reason: the five-part HBO mini-series tells the chilling true story of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and its devastating explosion in 1986. Even though the confirmed death count from the Soviets remains at 31, the WHO estimates the death count to be in the tens of thousands. This is due to the number of people who died of cancer while being exposed to its radiation.

In the week it was first broadcast, the show scored an impressive 9.6/10 on IMDb. In a week, it became the highest rated show of all time.

However, not everyone is so impressed with the portrayal of the Soviets and some of the more hot-headed characters seen on screen.

Sergii Parashyn was the then chairman of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s Communist Party Committee. He spoke with Reuters about some of the misconceptions pushed by the show.

“I did not understand what was happening until dawn, until I saw with my own eyes that everything was destroyed,” he explained. The show highlights how a botched safety drill in the middle of the night caused instant damage and chaos among the community.  

“The plant workers are shown as though they are scared of everything… This does not reflect reality,” Breus insisted. “In reality, they were quite decisive, very decisive, not one of the operators fled after the explosion.”

Is Criticism Fair?

Chernobyl’s creator, Craig Mazin, insists that the show was created in good faith. It has been praised by Parashyn and other survivors for being shown as a global (not regional) tragedy.

Despite taking some artistic license in character development, generally, the show has impressed fans and critics from both sides of the Atlantic. Since airing in June 2019, worldwide attention has been turned to the small ghost town of Pripyat.

People are already starting to bag their bags and book a tour. So, now’s your chance to go visit the Nuclear Plant if you want to visit part of history.

Have you seen Chernobyl? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

James Spiro is the Head Writer and Editor at Editor Choice. His passions include comic book movies, tech, politics, and Twitter.