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TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Chernobyl TV Poster Image
Drama based on Russian disaster is brutal but relevant.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It's pretty bleak overall, but also about men and women who work through incredible odds and great personal sacrifice for the greater good.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It focuses on the people who have the expertise and fortitude to work solve a seemingly insurmountable problem that is putting millions of lives at risk.


There's little person-to-person violence, but the effects of radiation are often shocking and gory. There is a suicide (not shown on screen) that takes place in the opening minutes of the show.


There is no sexual content. There is, however, non-sexual full frontal male nudity in one episode.


"Damn," "s--t," "bastard," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters frequently drink and smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chernobyl is based on the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, which involved a nuclear explosion at a Russian power plant that caused many radiation-related deaths. The series focuses on the details of how the disaster happened, how it affected the area, and how it was ultimately dealt with. The show is particularly demanding of its viewers, both because of the subject and its deliberate pace as it depicts the explosion and its aftermath. This miniseries is at its most explicit when showing the effects of radiation and radiation poisoning, and the symptoms can be difficult to watch. Mature teens may be interested in learning about this dark moment in history, and families can discuss how governments and citizens face these kinds of challenges, as well as what people have learned from a catastrophe of this magnitude. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 15 years old Written byAhsan Ataa June 17, 2019

Amazing show!!!

There's non-sexual male nudity for a few minutes, some swearing, and some graphic radiation burns. Should be fine for anyone 15 and up
Teen, 15 years old Written byLincolndb June 13, 2019

Best Television To Emerge For Years

Although it may stary from the truth in some ways it is still an extremely important narrative that needs to be presented. HBO wrote and produced this show impe... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 1986, a large nuclear explosion took place at a power plant CHERNOBYL in the Soviet Union. This series recounts this historical event, beginning with the immediate reactions by those in the plant and the surrounding areas and telescoping out to see how the disaster was dealt with by scientists and government agents, as well as how it effected the general population of Russia. Jared Harris (The Terror) plays a nuclear expert brought in to assess the situation, assisted and hindered by officials (Stellan Skarsgard) and other scientists (Emily Watson)

Is it any good?

This is a taut, disciplined miniseries where nearly every decision made by its characters is meaningful and suspenseful, and the magnitude of the real life events is always looming. With historical dramas, it's always important to ask: why are we seeing this now? With Chernobyl, it's not difficult to see parallels between the show and modern American life: scientists attempt to deal with a monumental environmental disaster that could kill millions of people, and at every step they encounter roadblocks stemming from the egos of the men in charge. That said, shows that are "capital-I Important" are not often this dramatically satisfying. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the history of Chernobyl. When did the events dramatized on this show take place? Why do you think they're important or relevant today?

  • Once the disaster has happened, what are the different ways the characters deal with the nuclear explosion? What methods are effective? Which are harmful?

  • What are the obstacles in the way of the Russian government attending to the nuclear disaster? How do individuals work to surmount those obstacles? How do characters work together or against one another?

TV details

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