As the television gravy train known as Game of Thrones reached its final station stop this month, HBO didn’t seem to have another internet-shredding monster show ready to roll—no heir apparent to the Content Throne.
But then, oh hey: Chernobyl!
#ChernobylHive isn’t close to the scale of the GoT fandom, but the five-part mini series about the catastrophic 1986 nuclear accident near the city of Pripyat, Ukraine, has earned major critical acclaim since its May 6 premiere. Its short run has guaranteed it’ll be a smaller phenomenon, but the show has increased in viewership with each episode and is generating some serious buzz from word of mouth.
Ahead of Chernobyl’s June 3 finale, we’ve compiled some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits to dig into. Enjoy while you can—soon enough the great content churn will rumble on to Westworld season 3, or the latest A Dog’s Purpose movie, or whatever.
The Series Has a Surprising Connection to Madonna and The Hangover Part III
All five episodes of Chernobyl are written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. These names might not be familiar at first, but—WAIT A MINUTE:
The Casting Is Wildly On-Point
Folks on Reddit were quick to point out the marked similarity of some of the show’s actors to the real historical figures. From the casting directors to the costume designers to the makeup artists, this is impressive work.
The Historical Accuracy Is Staggering
There’s also been a ton of curiosity about the accuracy of the series. (Just look at this graph.) Slava Malamud, a journalist and math teacher who was born in the former Soviet Union, has provided some fascinating commentary around the show in several tweet threads, which you can check out below.
The Chernobyl Podcast Explains a Lot
If you’re looking for more in-depth details about the production of Chernobyl, the somewhat uncreatively named The Chernobyl Podcast is your one-stop shop to hear the inside scoop from Mazin himself. It’s even hosted by the GOAT Peter Sagal of NPR!
There's a Reason the Score Is So Haunting
Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir revealed on the Score podcast that she and her team made music for the mini-series using sounds they recorded in an actual decommissioned power plant in Lithuania.
OK, Time for the Chernobyl Memes
And, like anything, people made memes. About Chernobyl. Sigh.
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