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06th Jun 2019

Chernobyl writer lists all the great documentaries, shows, and books that influenced the show

Paul Moore

Essential for anyone that watched the superb show.

In terms of acting, writing, direction, and historical accuracy, HBO and Sky’s collaboration on Chernobyl is second to none because the drama felt like a show that’s unlike any other.

In many ways, it’s possible to view Chernobyl as a collection of different genres and tones.

For example, large parts Craig Mazin’s drama unfolded like a horror film because we all knew what was happening, and yet, it still didn’t reduce the horror of what unfolded. A prime example of this was the scene involving the brave soldiers that had to clear the poisonous graphite from the roof following the reactor exploding.

Elsewhere, the heroism of the miners and those divers that had to reduce the water levels was extraordinary, however, these incredible acts of bravery and sacrifice were extremely difficult to watch because you knew that these men and women were absolutely doomed.

In terms of a tonal shift, you could argue that the season finale saw Jared Harris (Valery Legasov), Stellan Skarsgård (Boris Shcherbina), Emily Watson (Ulana Khomyuk) acting in a courtroom drama as the pursuit of justice was paramount in the wonderful final episode.

If you’re looking for straight-up drama though, it’s arguable that the scenes where Barry Keoghan’s young soldier had to shoot those contaminated dogs, and Lyudmilla Ignatenko (Jessie Buckley) comforting her dying husband Vasily Ignatenko (Adam Nagaitis) won’t be beaten.

Simply put, there isn’t a facet of the production that wasn’t flawless but as is the norm with any production, it all starts with a script and the research, writing, and respect that Craig Mazin showed to all those who had their lives changed by this horrific accident deserves massive respect.

Aside from writing every episode, Mazin also participated in a wonderful podcast series that answered all the major questions and narrative decisions that he made. In fact, he specifically asked for this podcast to be made because he knew that people would have questions.

Like any adaptation of an historical event, not everything is going to be 100% accurate but to his immense credit, Mazin explained every step of his creative process and handled the story with the respect, truth, and care that it required.

At present, Chernobyl is the highest-rated show on IMBD and if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the tragic accident, Mazin has recommended the following.

He has also made every single script of the show available for the public to read, for educational purposes.