This Is What Chernobyl Looked Like On HBO Versus In Real Life

On April 27, 1986, disaster struck at the Chernobyl Power Plant. Nuclear reactor number four had a massive and sudden power increase that led to multiple explosions at its core. The results of the accident left the city of Pripyat bathed in radiation and in shambles. In 2019, HBO turned these events into a critically acclaimed and commercially successful mini-series. Shortly after its final episode aired Chernobyl was named the highest rated television program of all-time. To make the show, HBO had to recreate several scenes from the real-life disaster. Here is a side by side comparison of what ended up on the screen and what it looked like in reality.

The Beginning

chernobyl tv vs reality compared side by side
Thomas Flight/YouTube/HBO
Thomas Flight/YouTube/HBO

When recreating catastrophic events like what happened at Chernobyl, it’s important to start at the beginning. Here we see communications relaying what was happening inside the power plant to someone on the outside. HBO did a great job recreating this exactly, even if the two translations appear slightly different.

This scene continues in this exact manner for several more seconds as more communications are made. The authenticity used by HBO for this small but vital moment helps the audience know that what they are about watch has not been sensationalized and is grounded in as much reality as possible.