The five-episode HBO miniseries also received a 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

By Claudia Harmata
June 06, 2019 10:16 AM
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Step aside Breaking Bad, another show has claimed the top spot on IMDb.

Just days after its series finale, HBO’s Chernobyl became the top-ranked TV show on IMDb’s all-time TV rankings. According to Variety, as of Tuesday, the show achieved a 9.7-star average rating out of 10, from the nearly 140,000 users on IMDb.

The gripping five-episode miniseries concluded on Monday after retelling the catastrophic nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, on April 26, 1986. The explosion — which occurred during system testing — killed an estimated 4,000 to 90,000 victims, according to reports obtained by TIME, and left horror in its wake, with some areas of Eastern Europe heavily affected by radiation to this day.

Liam Daniel/HBO
HBO

The series follows nuclear physicist Valery Legasov, played by Jared Harris (Mad Men, The Crown), as he works with the Soviet Union government — who controlled Ukraine at the time and wanted to hide the truth about the disaster — to manage the nuclear crisis and save the country from extreme repercussions.

The show’s first episode begins in the early hours of April 26, when the explosion erupts but goes almost unnoticed by those not near the actual plant. In the following episodes, it depicts the weeks after the disaster and what the affected citizens had to endure to survive.

Chernobyl beat out AMC’s critically acclaimed Breaking Bad, which scored 9.5/10 stars, as well as HBO’s other shows, Band of Brothers (9.5), Game of Thrones (9.3) and The Wire (9.3), in addition to BBC’s Planet Earth II (9.5) and the original Planet Earth (9.4).

Liam Daniel/HBO

However, the show did not claim a higher Rotten Tomatoes score. It received a 95 percent from the Fandango site, while Breaking Bad sits with a 96 percent.

Variety TV critic Caroline Framke attributes the show’s success to writer Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck’s (who also directed Breaking Bad) steady story arc.

“Rather than bursting into shocking twists, writer Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck build a steadily creeping unease,” she wrote in her review. “Allowing the scale of the atrocity to sink in with terrible, fitting gravity.”