As of Tuesday, “Chernobyl” had a 9.7-star (out of 10) average rating from about 140,000 users on the Amazon-owned IMDb site. The five-episode limited series finished its run on HBO Sunday, June 3.
For now, that puts the critically acclaimed “Chernobyl” ahead of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” (9.5), BBC’s “Planet Earth II” (9.5), HBO’s “Band of Brothers” (9.5), the original “Planet Earth” (9.4), HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (9.3) and HBO’s “The Wire” (9.3), according to IMDb’s ranking of TV shows. (Fandango’s Rotten Tomatoes currently doesn’t provide an Audience Score for “Chernobyl.”)
Variety TV critic Caroline Framke, in her review of the show, wrote, “Rather 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.”
“Chernobyl” dramatizes the story of the April 26, 1986, massive explosion of the nuclear power plant in the Ukraine that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. The limited series was shot on location in Ukraine and in a partly decommissioned nuclear power plant in Lithuania.
“Chernobyl” is created, written and executive produced by Craig Mazin (“The Huntsman: Winter’s War”) and directed by Johan Renck (“Breaking Bad”). It’s produced by Sister Pictures and the Mighty Mint as an HBO/Sky co-production, with executive producers Carolyn Strauss and Jane Featherstone and Renck and Chris Fry co-executive producing. Sanne Wohlenberg (“Black Mirror”) also produces.
The series stars Jared Harris as Valery Legasov, a leading Soviet nuclear physicist; Stellan Skarsgård as Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina, who is assigned by the Kremlin to lead the government commission on Chernobyl after the accident; and Emily Watson, who portrays Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed to solving the mystery of what caused the Chernobyl explosion.
HBO Home Entertainment will release “Chernobyl” on digital on June 24, which will include the companion bonus content piece “Pivotal Moment — The Trial” in which the show’s climactic trial scene is discussed in interviews with Renck, Mazin, Watson and Harris.