‘Chernobyl’ is a historical drama television miniseries that is the product of a partnership between HBO and Sky Atlantic. As a result, it aired on both channels in the USA and the UK respectively. The show has been made by Craig Mazin, who is known for having made the second and third parts of the ‘Hangover‘ movies, and ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’. Johan Renck, who has worked on ‘Breaking Bad‘ and ‘The Walking Dead‘ is directing the series.
‘Chernobyl’ has Sister Pictures and The Might Mint as production companies, while the executive producers include Mazin himself, and Carolyn Strauss and Jane Featherstone. Mazin spoke about how pivotal it was for the series to have Featherstone on board, saying, “From a creative point of view, for me and for Carolyn Strauss, we knew we needed a European partner, we were telling a European story. Carolyn said we need a Jane Featherstone type and we figured Jane Featherstone would be the best Jane Featherstone type and we sent her the script and she was really excited about it. We immediately fell in love with her, she was very much the third part of our triumvirate. She has a wonderful team that works for me and has been invaluable”.
If the name of the show was not a clear hint in itself, the plot centers around the April 1986 explosion in the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, which eventually went on to become one of the worst man-made catastrophes of all time, due to the fallout and resulting damage. However, ‘Chernobyl’ takes a much deeper look at the accident and try to piece together what actually went down that fateful day.
Chernobyl Cast: Who is in it?
‘Chernobyl’ has a stellar cast which includes Jared Harris, famous for his role as King George VI in ‘The Crown‘. Harris plays the character of Valery Legasov, a prominent physicist in the USSR and a member of the response team sent to Chernobyl. Legasov, who was chosen by the powers that be at Kremlin, was among the first to truly comprehend the magnitude of the effect of the explosion. He is be accompanied by Emily Watson of Lars Von Trier’s ‘Breaking the Waves’. Watson appears as Ulana Khomyuk, a fellow scientist who is determined to get to the root of the cause of the explosion.
Stellan Skarsgard, who movie lovers might recognize as Dr. Erik Selvig in the MCU or as Bootstrap Bill Turner in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies, plays the role of Boris Shcherbina, the deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers and the head of the Bureau for Fuel and Energy of the USSR. He was also the head of the commission sanctioned by the government to investigate the Chernobyl accident. Skarsgard’s character brings his own agenda in the show. Barry Keoghan of ‘Dunkirk‘ and Jessie Buckley of ‘Beast’ are among the other talented actors who round up the cast for ‘Chernobyl’.
Chernobyl Plot: What is it about?
‘Chernobyl’ tells a dramatized tale of the April 1986 explosion and how it could have easily turned into a catastrophe for all of Europe if not for the sacrifice on part of the men and women who bravely assessed and contained the situation. The five-part miniseries focuses on the heartbreaking scope of the explosion in Ukraine while highlighting the bravery of those who stood up to face the situation.
For those unaware of what went down on the fateful day of the explosion, you should know that it occurred during a routine safety test at the Chernobyl power plant that was located near Pripyat in Ukraine. While the test was carried out late at night, the safety systems of the plant were deliberately turned off but the design flaws triggered an explosion thus releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere. Needless to say that the uncontrolled nuclear fallout was massive and its effects were felt across Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and even went as far as Scandinavia and some parts of Western Europe as well. Soon the effects of the nuclear radiation began to show and over the next few weeks 134 servicemen were hospitalized since they showed signs of acute radiation sickness. 28 of them died in the months that followed. Till date, the complete damage caused by this explosion has not been comprehensively assessed.
What ‘Chernobyl’ does while portraying the explosion, is look at the aftermath of it from an overarching viewpoint. Thus, we get to see the politics of the USSR and how the government deals with the issue of a nuclear explosion which is always a sensitive and potentially panic-inducing topic. Soviet politicians, physicists, and nuclear plant workers all have their own angles and versions of what happened on the fateful day of the accident. As the show’s creator has promised, it is an amalgamation of the drama surrounding it, with everyone trying to contain the situation in the best way possible, even if it might mean that the actual truth never gets out.
However, ‘Chernobyl’ is also looking to make the show extremely poignant since it takes a look at the families of the victims of the accident and how they deal with the loss of a loved one. Mazin summed it aptly, saying, “You think you know what happened at Chernobyl, but you have no idea’. Simple question: everybody knows it exploded but no one asks why. Chernobyl will be a horror movie, it will be a war movie, it will be a political thriller and a courtroom drama. You know how bad you think Chernobyl was? It was hours away from being much worse.”
Chernobyl Season 2 Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘Chernobyl’ Season 1 premiered on May 6, 2019 on HBO in the US and on Sky Atlantic in the UK. The show ran for five episodes and ended on June 3, 2019 becoming one of the highest rated shows ever. As far as the next season goes, we don’t have an official announcement yet. Though since the show was conceived as a mini series, it is highly unlikely that it will see another season.
Having said that, stranger things have happened in the TV world. If another season gets commissioned, it might focus on repercussions of ‘Chernobyl’, including the end of Cold War. Our best guess is that in the unlikely scenario of the show getting renewed, ‘Chernobyl’ Season 2 can release sometime in 2021. We will update this section as soon as we hear more.
You can check out the chilling trailer for ‘Chernobyl’ Season 1 below.
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