Chernobyl 4K Blu-ray Review

Chernobyl made its 4K UHD Blu-ray debut at the beginning of December. However, as Lethal Weapon character Martin Riggs would say “It’s the silly season” and with my day job and other commitments keeping me busy I wasn’t able to watch thee miniseries as quickly as I’d like. But no worry, as I have for you here my in depth look at Chernobyl. Be sure to check for the paid link below to order your copy


On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. This gripping five-part miniseries follows the tragedy from the onset of the early-morning explosion through the chaos and loss of life in the ensuing days, weeks and months.

Jared Harris portrays Valery Legasov, a leading Soviet nuclear physicist who was one of the first to grasp the scope of the unparalleled disaster that occurred. Stellan Skarsgård plays Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina, who is assigned by the Kremlin to lead the government commission on Chernobyl in the hours immediately following the accident. Emily Watson portrays Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed to solving the mystery of what led to the Chernobyl disaster.

All I can truly say about the mini-series Chernobyl is WOW. In all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the show except for keeping myself in the dark about a lot of the events and facts.  This was to keep myself in the mindset of surprise for the duration.  I was treated to a lovingly created work of television art.

Craig Mazin isn’t the name I’d commit to something like this.  His credits are most notably for Scary Movie sequels and Identity Thief.  This though, is a horse of a different color.  Dense with details, storyline and major depth, this is a HUGE departure for the writer and former Disney exec.  Jared Harris, Stellen Skarsgård and Emily Watson fill out their roles with an understated passion as well.  The individual stories here are huge.

Admittedly, I didn’t read up on the disaster before diving into this show.  I chose to keep myself in the dark and I think I did the right thing, personally.  Every event unfolding was one after another a surprise that often shocked me to my core. I found myself jaw-dropped and gobsmacked for a good chunk of each episode.  Whether it was the brave miners sacrificing their lives to stop the core from burning, or the Russian government trying to cover up the whole thing… I was never not predicting what would happen next. I was totally taken in for each episode.

I will also admit that the pacing of the show won’t be for everything.  Events unfold in such a way that there is a slow-burn feel to the production. That’s not to say this is a problem, as you get as much of the true story as you can in 5 episodes.  The trial scenes are just as gripping as each lead gets to deliver some strong work there.  Music is menacing and appropriate and the way that we get the actual play out of what caused the explosion is something unexpected. Rather than lead with that, Mazin has it happen much later. We are still shocked by the cause when we finally find out why the accident happened.


  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 2160p
  • Dolby Vision: Yes
  • HDR: HDR10
  • WCG: Yes
  • Size: BD-66
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
  • Clarity/Detail: At first glance, Chernobyl has the look of a soft, 80’s era film. The color palette is grey-ish and muted and details have a softness that is meant to evolve into something more focused. Once I figured out that the style was intended that way, I went with it and was treated to a lovely transfer overall.  Details become evident after the first few moments.  Apartments, labs, control rooms and and more display excellent clarity and the look is that of a tack sharp new film or show after the fuzziness that usually begins each episode.
  • Depth: Depth is evident especially in outdoor scenes. Foreground and background are nicely rendered and take you right into 80’s era Russia. Each season that comes and goes looks amazing, notably with winter and summer being the most sumptuous.
  • Black Levels: This is a darker coded transfer, so blacks are spot on with no crush evident.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors are not of the hot variety too often. The explosion is a blinding bright HDR showcase with muted blues and greys being a big part of the look of the series, and other colors like greens and browns popping when able too.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are of the naturally pasty variety. Nobody looks like they have a tan and they definitely shouldn’t either.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Clean


  • Audio Format(s):English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 2.0
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Dynamics: The mix for Chernobyl is perfect for this type of show. Dialogue rules the day, with ambient surround usage throughout, channels used for music and LFE all get appropriate use as well.  This isn’t the mix to show off your setup to anyone, but for the Miniseries, it’s perfect.
  • Height: N/A
  • Low-Frequency Extension: LFE is subtle here. Even the explosion that we hear two times isn’t the loudest, most thundering thing. But to me, subtlety is key here.  When we hear a rumble or grumble, it’s appropriate and fitting, so I have no complaints.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surround work is mostly for outdoor sounds, plant and hospital ambience and some of the music cues. The score is one that would be fitting in a horror film too, so it makes sense that rear channels get some of that music.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Clean, intelligible and just right.


Extras for Chernobyl  are slim. The set comes with a slipcover and a digital code.  If you’re a steelbook fan, Best Buy has an incredible looking one available as well.  Extras are:

  • Inside the Episode: (1080p, Times vary) There is one short segment for each episode and they are short, usually comprised of an interview with cast or crew.
  • Behind The Curtain – Jonah Renck: (1080p, 1:37): A short interview with show clips interspersed.
  • Script to Screen – The Divers: (1080p, 1:23) – A look at some of the selfless heroes in the show. One of the scariest scenes of the series too!
  • Pivotal Moment: The Trial – (1080p, 2:12) A Look at the trial and how it could’ve gone if things went right.


In a nutshell, Chernobyl is one of the finest miniseries’ I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.  The subject is grim, and shocking but you have a genuine care for the people who went through all this.  Their stories are important and are presented here with a care that you wouldn’t expect from a former comedy writer.  Outstanding on all counts including a stellar 4K transfer, Chernobyl is a must for a history or a drama fan in 4K!

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