What to Watch Next If You Loved Chernobyl

From AMC's The Terror to the documentary Citizenfour, here's what to watch after you've finished the addictive HBO miniseries.

by | June 14, 2019 | Comments

Chernobyl Jared Harris (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

The five episodes HBO’s miniseries Chernobyl — about the 1986 reactor explosion of the Soviet nuclear power plant, the disastrous fallout, and failed government cover-up — are at once addictive and engrossing, as well as bleak, violent, heartbreaking, and horrific.

If you’ve finished all of the series, which is currently Certified Fresh at 96% on the Tomatometer, and are searching for more entertainment to lose yourself in, Rotten Tomatoes has a few suggestions for your next binge.

Whether it’s a story about government cover-ups, a lone hero’s search for the truth, or humanity’s perseverance following a devastating disaster, let us guide you toward your next small-screen addiction.

IF YOU LIKE: Chernobyl‘s exploration of deep government cover-ups…

Citizenfour (2014) 96% 

One of the driving forces in the Chernobyl story is the enduring search for the truth amid a briar patch of lies perpetuated by the Soviet government. Mikhail Gorbachev’s administration did what it could to stop the news of the accident from spreading — everything from cutting phone lines to just not letting people leave — and of course, that plan failed. America has its own complicated relationship with government interference, which is something explored quite well in Laura Poitras’ documentary Citizenfour. Here, we get a profoundly personal look at Edward Snowden, the infamous whistleblower who released classified documents implicating the NSA in invading the privacy of unknowing Americans. In an era of so-called “fake news” and conspiracy theories, the film is an eye-opening entry that not only displays how those in power can misuse their privilege, but also shows how fragile our collective concept of law and order can be when giving in to blind trust and complacency.

IF YOU LIKE: Chernobyl‘s dramatization of environmental disaster…

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006) 94% 

Spike Lee attends Netflix Original Series "She'’s Gotta Have It" Premiere 11/11/16 in New York (Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Netflix)

(Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Netflix)

Spike Lee’s four-part docu-series When the Levees Broke gives a close-up look at the 2005 devastation Hurricane Katrina left in its wake. If HBO’s New Orleans–centered series Treme was way too long or dramatized for your liking, Lee’s documentary may be exactly what you’re looking for. Here, he gives a necessary perspective on how the category five hurricane damaged wreaked havoc on New Orleans, exploring the faulty nature in which the levees were built. The doc gives some well-educated reasoning behind the levees’ demise — thanks to a collection of news footage and interviews with politicians, journalists, and engineers who provide their recollections of the event and the fallout that followed. Both Chernobyl and When the Levees Broke walk viewers through mind-blowing catastrophes that, if the research and work had been done properly, could have been prevented, acting as a valuable lesson of preparation and accountability — and a reminder that history’s love of repeating itself should not be ignored.

IF YOU LIKE: Chernobyl‘s slow-burn horror…

The Terror 87% 

The big bad in Chernobyl is completely unseen, giving audiences a constant feeling of dread as the danger in question is just there, around every corner. That same, slow-burn sense of foreboding can be found in season 1 of AMC’s anthology horror series The Terror, which is Certified Fresh on 55 reviews. But while Chernobyl‘s threat is based on something completely real, The Terror takes the historical disappearance of The HMS Terror and HMS Erebus — two ships involved in Britain’s Arctic expedition of 1845 — and puts a supernatural spin on things. Based on Dan Simmons’ bestselling novel, season 1 of the program fills in the blanks on what happened, throwing in a hellish blood-thirsty monster for good measure. With a stellar ensemble cast of British actors, including Jared Harris (who stars in Chernobyl as Valery Legasov), we highly recommend that you don’t sleep on the series. (Expected August 12, season 2 of The Terror is set during World War II and centers on a series of bizarre deaths that haunt a Japanese-American community, and a young man’s investigation into the malevolent entity responsible.)

IF YOU LIKE: Chernobyl‘s exploration of a broken political system and its community impact…

The Wire 94% 

David Simon’s The Wire expertly explored how Baltimore’s political system, the city’s street-level community, and its criminal underbelly are all interconnected, weaving a narrative fabric that many programs are still striving to achieve. We’re not necessarily saying that Chernobyl did in five episodes what The Wire did in five seasons, but the storytelling similarities might appeal to you. Both programs shine a light on a deeper truths: that the actions of those up top are no better than those committed by the Avon Barksdales and Stringer Bells of the world. Both programs expose the faults in the bigger political systems at play, reminding viewers of the power of truth and the impact of those consequences.

IF YOU LIKE: Chernobyl‘s theme of a  life-threatening search for the truth…

Homeland 85% 

The quest for the truth in a wasteland of fear and deceit is a subject that will never go out of style. The truth simply doesn’t care about the lies people tell. In some way or another, it will find its voice. Sometimes, that voice comes from an underdog fighting through the mud all in the name of what is right and just. In Chernobyl, it’s Valery Legasov (Harris), Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgard), and Ulana Khumyuk (Emily Watson) trudging through the trenches, doing their part in getting the word out about what happened at the power plant while superseding the USSR’s faulty plan to keep everything a secret. In Homeland, that person takes the shape of CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), who, while struggling with the daily challenges of living with a sometimes debilitating mental illness, works tirelessly, regularly sacrificing her own well-being to ensure America’s safety against a whole cavalcade of outside threats.

IF YOU LIKE: Chernobyl‘s subtle take on the KGB…

The Americans 96% 

We see the KGB mostly lurking in the shadows of Chernobyl, but the organization is definitely there. Referenced as a “circle of accountability,” the series gives the Soviet Union’s security agency just enough screen time to portray just how sinister the outfit was. In FX’s hit spy-thriller The Americans, viewers get a more up-close-and-personal perspective of the notorious organization as it focuses on Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), two seemingly average American citizens raising their family in the suburbs. But an ordinary husband and wife they are not — Elizabeth and Philip are undercover KGB officers who struggle with their own allegiances to their country while also facing the daily challenges of maintaining a marriage and family during the Cold War ’80s.

IF YOU LIKE: Jared Harris…

Mad Men 94% 

We already mentioned The Terror, which should definitely be on your to-watch list. Not only is season 1 of AMC’s anthology horror series supported by an epic ensemble cast of British talent — including Ciarán Hinds and Tobias Menzies — it’s fronted by Harris. If you’ve only recently discovered the actor’s work, you should know that Harris has been thriving in the world of prestige television for quite some time. His villainous portrayal of David Robert Jones on Fox’s sci-fi thriller Fringe, his noble King George VI in Netflix’s The Crown, and his insurgent Anderson Dawes in Amazon’s The Expanse are all worth checking out. That said, it was the actor’s Emmy-nominated performance as Lane Pryce in Mad Men — the financial officer who helped bring ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce into existence — that helped cement him as a powerful performer in the Peak TV game.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Paramount Network TruTV Musicals Western police drama television Character Guide Netflix YouTube Premium Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Calendar versus TCA spanish dragons festival screenings PlayStation political drama technology comic books 4/20 politics Amazon Studios Watching Series GoT Turner Classic Movies Pirates science fiction boxoffice Rom-Com period drama cats archives DirecTV comedies streaming renewed TV shows Spike directors rt archives 21st Century Fox Academy Awards medical drama Creative Arts Emmys binge mockumentary TCA Awards godzilla See It Skip It Holiday blockbuster Comedy cancelled television zombies boxing The CW 2017 Mary Tyler Moore dramedy cancelled TV shows Mary Poppins Returns Lionsgate BAFTA spider-man strong female leads children's TV MSNBC video rotten movies we love 2019 USA Network Television Critics Association rom-coms sag awards indie Paramount Nominations game show space Ghostbusters cars Disney Channel all-time Reality Competition ITV BET prank SXSW Certified Fresh foreign Rock Premiere Dates Lifetime Christmas movies OneApp psychological thriller tv talk dark VOD Amazon based on movie kaiju BET Awards comic Super Bowl RT21 Interview Quiz vampires dc HBO Arrowverse HBO Max witnail name the review HBO Go canceled 24 frames Crunchyroll Sundance cinemax Pop TV TBS Fox Searchlight australia Britbox American Society of Cinematographers quibi halloween President FXX Sci-Fi Superheroes crime thriller superhero popular stand-up comedy chucky harry potter Schedule 2018 2015 71st Emmy Awards TIFF National Geographic casting Exclusive Video USA crime Turner New York Comic Con BBC America Marvel reboot golden globe awards 2016 docuseries hispanic south america Oscars Musical cops 45 Freeform kong Apple The Academy Sony Pictures Pixar spy thriller historical drama First Look elevated horror GIFs free movies Reality movies Summer CBS All Access french Valentine's Day Vudu Binge Guide The Walking Dead ghosts SundanceTV parents spinoff Captain marvel sports TCA Winter 2020 Esquire what to watch Polls and Games E3 Funimation Superheroe VH1 Shondaland Kids & Family CBS batman Hallmark anthology asian-american Ellie Kemper aliens Set visit Universal CW Seed Toys docudrama Podcast christmas movies twilight Emmy Nominations jurassic park Women's History Month monster movies TCM canceled TV shows Holidays Film Festival Photos golden globes game of thrones toronto james bond Pop DC Comics BBC One award winner comics Tumblr Trivia Year in Review disaster Avengers criterion joker APB GLAAD A24 SDCC serial killer Comedy Central FX on Hulu scary movies true crime Broadway video on demand fast and furious blaxploitation cooking Brie Larson PaleyFest cults series thriller cancelled die hard worst movies screen actors guild Pet Sematary animated 72 Emmy Awards Cannes sitcom 99% venice Biopics Tubi concert japanese MCU movie richard e. Grant Comic Book king kong superman Pride Month E! Apple TV Plus miniseries Showtime Teen mission: impossible Infographic documentaries ABC Signature Travel Channel IFC TV Land satire Rocky reviews Drama scorecard hollywood a nightmare on elm street YA Emmys Fall TV deadpool cancelled TV series blockbusters Chernobyl Martial Arts Star Trek comiccon documentary Mudbound Cartoon Network halloween tv book teaser Winter TV best LGBTQ Fantasy Comics on TV italian trailers Baby Yoda Video Games RT History werewolf Ovation Elton John First Reviews fresh CMT AMC TV renewals Mary poppins slashers Black History Month crime drama talk show anime Animation ABC Family Acorn TV Writers Guild of America Nat Geo diversity biography Red Carpet DC streaming service romance Sundance TV Winners travel WGN Amazon Prime spanish language critics VICE Walt Disney Pictures MTV The Witch TV One Christmas Classic Film A&E romantic comedy Paramount Plus IFC Films Disney Plus Box Office Lucasfilm FOX Lifetime franchise X-Men Nickelodeon robots Alien jamie lee curtis Masterpiece independent adaptation Food Network DC Universe Country Columbia Pictures singing competition psycho Mindy Kaling rotten Endgame Black Mirror Best and Worst Election worst Adult Swim stop motion laika Family Horror doctor who nfl universal monsters Fox News Disney streaming service ViacomCBS Film finale toy story 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sundance Now Spectrum Originals facebook zombie classics YouTube Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Anna Paquin zero dark thirty TCA 2017 unscripted Awards emmy awards Logo Marvel Television composers DGA festivals Sneak Peek revenge football Legendary cartoon razzies transformers Countdown indiana jones ESPN Discovery Channel NYCC Cosplay Extras Dark Horse Comics sequels Marvel Studios 2020 child's play Disney+ Disney Plus films kids dceu pirates of the caribbean BBC Marathons TV mutant Trailer Opinion FX obituary women El Rey latino Stephen King TNT Song of Ice and Fire justice league 007 telelvision Disney crossover nbcuniversal green book The Walt Disney Company Awards Tour NBC natural history supernatural Heroines Syfy Hulu WarnerMedia ratings Starz Netflix Christmas movies CNN Spring TV Rocketman Television Academy theme song Amazon Prime Video Mystery OWN Tomatazos YouTube Red ID The Arrangement The Purge Crackle Shudder hidden camera ABC nature PBS Thanksgiving hist social media sequel news Bravo Peacock dogs Star Wars LGBT Tarantino Epix black Grammys Warner Bros. war Hallmark Christmas movies San Diego Comic-Con Hear Us Out Music spain breaking bad stoner discovery TLC adventure Trophy Talk remakes Action 2021 Apple TV+ History 20th Century Fox