“You are dealing with something that has never occurred on this planet before.”
Those are the chilling words that open the first trailer for HBO’s upcoming miniseries “Chernobyl,” which premieres Monday May 6 at 9/8c, the network announced Monday. (Watch the trailer above.)
Written by Craig Mazin (“The Hangover Part II,” “The Hangover Part III”) and starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Waston, the five-part series chronicles the catastrophic 1986 nuclear accident that devastated Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), diving into how and why it happened, and the men and women who fought to make sure it will never happen again. The short but tense teaser offers enough heartbreaking glimpses of the “before,” “during” and “after” of the disaster to definitely whet your appetite.
Harris plays Valery Legasov, the Soviet chemist tasked by the Kremlin to investigate the explosion; Skarsgard is Boris Shcherbina, the Soviet deputy prime minister and chairman of the high commission on the accident; and Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed to getting to the bottom of the disaster.
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“This is as close to reality as we can get and still be able to tell the story in five episodes,” Mazin said of the series at the Television Critic Association winter press tour last month. “It was our obsession, and certainly our intention all the way, to be as accurate as we could be. The simple rule that we had, if we were going to change something, it had to be only so that we could tell the story fully. We never changed anything to make it more dramatic than it was, to hype anything, to amp it up. For us, this is a story about truth.”
“Chernobyl” is currently in eighth place in our Best Limited Series Emmy odds, but you can probably expect it to rise in the next few weeks. The show is about a serious subject matter and HBO has the pedigree to get it into the lineup. The cabler has “Sharp Objects” and “True Detective,” in the mix, of course — and they’re both in our predicted top five — but “Chernobyl” has the advantage of airing closer to voting.
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