What is ‘the cost of lies’? A review of Chernobyl HBO Miniseries

There are many parallels between today’s politics and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown that caused worldwide shockwaves.

Written and created by Craig Mazin, the Chernobyl HBO mini-series captures the true “cost of lies,” showing us how the former USSR government mishandled the nuclear disaster, propagated lies, and twisted facts.

The world’s worst nuclear disaster

Chernobyl is the world’s worst nuclear disaster; that occurred on the 26 of April 1986 at the fourth nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in then-Soviet Ukraine.

A reactor design flaw and a protocol breach during a simulated power outage safety test set the power-plant ablaze, leading to its total meltdown.

The disaster killed 31 people instantly, displaced thousands, and led to thousands of radiation-related deaths in the following weeks and years.

How the HBO series portrayed Chernobyl

The 5-part series brilliantly captured the Soviet culture of secrecy, which exacerbated the problem as government bureaucrats stubbornly insisted on hiding the truth, downplaying the impact of the disaster, and issuing an evacuation order 36 hours late.

Directed by Johan Renck, the series also depicts the turmoil and emotional suffering of the people affected by nuclear radioactivity.

A world of secrecy

Chernobyl miniseries takes you into the world of secret conversations between officials in the former USSR and how their uninformed decisions eventually blew up in their faces as news of the disaster leaked and black nuclear clouds reached the rest of Europe.

From intricate meetings to inexperienced employees working at the fourth nuclear reactor, the Chernobyl miniseries takes you through a journey of personal turmoil. Starting from the power plant workers who followed orders for fear of being severely punished by their superior comrades to those who lost their lives.

Realistic Effects

The makeup and the realistic recreations of how the radiation affected young workers and many others are exceptional. It meticulously depicts the gruesome injuries caused by the radiation.

In one scene, a fireman dispatched to the damaged and contaminated site is being questioned by a scientist who is trying to figure out what happened on the night of April 26 at the nuclear reactor’s control room. The talented Emily Watson played the role of the scientist/investigator who tenaciously pursued the truth despite being bullied and arrested by secret policemen obsessed with secrecy.

This miniseries did not miss out on any of the nitty-gritty details. Director Johan Renck captured everything from the dark, infecter sky to the dying nature surrounding the Power Plant to the massive explosion itself. The intensely realistic graphics and pictures remarkably take you into the event itself as if it was being shot live when it happened.


The series has over 97% ratings on Google and 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This eye-opening miniseries deserves your attention. Having this trip back in history is sure to make you see a lot of resemblance between former Soviet propaganda and the world we live in today.

So, get your popcorn and start binge-watching!

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