Chernobyl: Breaking down fact vs. fiction in the HBO series

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Photo Credit: HBO

The Soviet environment, culture, and people

The biggest part of a series retelling an actual story is getting all the details right. Whether that’s the actual event it’s covering, depicting the environmental surroundings accurately, or making sure the culture and people are portrayed properly, it’s a lot to pin down. Chernobyl, however, does a stellar job of making sure it got everything right.

If you’ve listened to the Chernobyl podcast with showrunner Craig Mazin, then you already know how much research went into making everything as accurate as possible. It’s one of the biggest compliments the series has received which is largely in part due to the production team behind the series.

A lot of time and research went into examining what 1980s Pripyat, the Chernobyl plant (before and after), and the Soviet people looked like at the time. I have to say that this is one of the strongest and most on-point elements of the series versus real life. The attention to details on everything from the clothes to the various locations to the weapons used and even the people was unbelievable.

It was clear how much effort was put in to make everything authentic, and I have to commend HBO and Mazin for really bringing their A-game to telling the story as genuinely as possible.

Photo Credit: HBO

The courageous divers

Yes, that actually happened. Based on various accounts, men dove into the depths of the plant underground and just as the series illustrated, two of them are STILL alive. I’m not sure how that happened, but that’s a very jarring, celebratory fact. According to an interview Mazin did with Vox, he found out right before the shooting began that two of the three divers were still alive.

Initially, he planned on narrating that all three divers died weeks after they went underneath the plant, but when he learned this was not the case, he opted to tell the most accurate version of history. Bravo, Mazin! He really didn’t leave anything out, did he?

Next. HBO’s Chernobyl: Planned Russian series and the rise of nuclear tourism. dark

And there you have it! We’ve covered a fairly big chunk of the facts vs. fiction debate of HBO’s Chernobyl but I’m sure we’ve overlooked many others. If you spot anything missing, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments below! We’d love to learn more about this unfortunate incident and see what the series got right, wrong, or omitted entirely.

Catch the entire season of Chernobyl on HBO, HBO Go, and HBO Now!