While some television audiences are still upset at HBO for Game of Thrones or have already cancelled their subscriptions following its end, those who have stuck around have been rewarded. Chernobyl quietly became television's highest rated show, and the mid '80s nuclear disaster is once again relevant thanks to the miniseries. For those wondering what message they should walk away with after the Monday, June 3 finale, executive producer Craig Mazin revealed what he thinks is important to note.
Those of us within the species that prize truth more than we prize comfort or narrative are going to have to fight. That's what [the miniseries] taught me. If you stop fighting, I can assure you Chernobyl happens again. I don't mean a nuclear plant blowing up. Nuclear power isn't the villain here -- it's the cost of systemic lies. Emily Watson's character in the series is an extension of my personal fervor when it comes to this. We must be free to disagree, free to express our dissent even when it's not popular.
While Craig Mazin doesn't necessarily believe there will be another nuclear plant explosion like what occured at Chernobyl, he does believe there will be another incident in which "systemic lies," as he puts it, will further exacerbate problems and make things worse. It's a sobering thought to hear, especially coming from the person who committed so much time bringing Chernobyl to television.
So what makes Craig Mazin so sure in his belief that a situation like that depicted in Chernobyl is possible? As he explained to THR, the issue is a bit more nuanced than ascribing blame to any one specific entity, which is what drew him into working on Chernobyl.
I had no interest in making a disaster show. That's not what is relevant or moving now about the Chernobyl story. To me, it isn't about an explosion or the specific evils of one government regime compared to another. It's about the costs of very universal human flaws, about our inability to accept difficult truths and our tendency to embrace the fiction we're told.
Heavy stuff, and even heavier for those who have been watching Chernobyl and understand where Craig Mazin is coming from. Mazin continued and said that Chernobyl's story is worth re-telling now more than ever as he explained there's a "war on truth" that's happening on a global scale. Chernobyl, in Mazin's opinion, is what happens when those in charge and the general public ignore facts in order to fit their own narrative.
We can argue about it all we want, but climate doesn't care. It will continue to do what it does. In Chernobyl, the nuclear reactor didn't care what the [Communist] Party wanted. It just did what it does. In the end, what happened wasn't because there was one person with an evil intention. That's fairy-tale stuff. When we leave that realm, there is no bad guy. It's not a guy at all, but rather a collection of human frailties and a system that requires us to examine ourselves.
The message of Chernobyl has not been lost on critics, many of whom picked up on the not so subtle parallels between the real-life disaster and the current debate around the world regarding climate change. While Craig Mazin didn't necessarily set out to create a disaster miniseries, the bleak nature of it has also seemed to resonate with many and help gain its status as television's highest-rated series.
Chernobyl is ending its miniseries with Episode 5, airing Monday, June 3 at 9 p.m. on HBO. The show is also available to watch on-demand and on streaming services for those with an HBO subscription. Stick with CinemaBlend for more on the hottest shows of the summer as well as the hottest movies coming to the big screen.