Chernobyl tells the story of the nuclear meltdown of 1986 and follows the devastating aftermath that followed through the eyes of a few people and the citizens of the world. It's an intense and emotional rollercoaster, to say the least, with top-notch directing and acting on all accounts. This 1080p Blu-ray release comes with a very good HD image, a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix, and several very short bonus features. Highly Recommended!
HBO tackles the unfathomable tragedy of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 through five episodes that follow the initial nuclear meltdown and explosion, followed by the many weeks and months of the aftermath that contributed to the numerous deaths and sickness of many people due to radiation poisoning. Not only is that element covered in this amazing miniseries, but the main focal point is that of the Soviet government trying to keep things under wraps and convince the public that it wasn't as big a deal as it was while trying to blame anybody but themselves - which is just as relevant today in the United States of America and hits all too close to home.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Chernobyl explodes to Blu-ray + Digital copy in the form of a two-disc set from HBO/Warner Bros. Both discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve featuring minimal artwork of a photograph of someone in a hazmat suit set against a black backdrop. There are inserts for the digital copy for Vudu and an episode list.
Chernobyl comes with a 1080p HD transfer with a 2.00:1 aspect ratio from HBO/Warner Bros. The miniseries was shot digitally and finished in 4K, but has been placed on these two 1080p HD Blu-ray discs that look great. The color scheme of this show is dour and grim for most of its runtime. There are a ton of greyish-blues, and greens that riddle the screen at all times. There are some smaller moments where a clear blue sky brightest up the exterior shots, complete with some formal suits and some quick flashes of red wardrobe and blood, but other than those few instances, the color palette is rather dismal by style and design.
The detail is sharp and vivid though in brother sequences, such as in interior rooms where men are meeting about the tragedy, however, a lot of the show is shot in low light settings or in darkness, which hinders the detail at times. Still, some great facial features and costume textures do show up in closeups under good lighting, as do the gory makeup effects of the melting citizens. There is some added digital grain for nostalgic and filmic effect too. The black levels are mostly deep and inky and the skin tones are on the cooler side of things if not a bit paler by realistic comparisons. Lastly, there are no big issues with any aliasing and banding of any sort.
This Blu-ray release comes with the same lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix that the 4K UHD version has. It would have been nice to have a new Dolby Atmos track included given some of the scenes are begging for height atmospherics, but this 5.1 option is just fine.
The beginning of the series has some of the largest sound effects, being the big nuclear meltdown and explosions. These sounds are boisterous, robust, and very loud that is packed with the dynamic low end of bass. Each sound effect of debris exploding in the air and hitting other metal is well-balanced and powerful with great directionality. The nuanced noises of people screaming, yelling, and alarms going off are also quite haunting and perfect on the rear speakers. There are some sequences with helicopters flying overhead that bring a natural rotation blade effect that sounds good too. Other than that, most of the series is a dialogue-driven drama that makes expert use of the large room settings, hospitals, and quieter locations with the necessary reverb and ambient noises.
It all sounds fantastic, although a better Dolby Atmos track could have enhanced this track a little bit. The score always adds to the suspense and drama of each situation without taking anything away from the other audio elements and the dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow along with, void of any audio problems.
Chernobyl is a pitch-perfect miniseries from HBO that not only educates about one of the biggest disasters in the history of the world, but also tells a captivating and enthralling story about a few people trying to do the right thing by informing the public that they are in danger, but are met by the government with roadblocks. It's a tale as old as time that is still relevant today. This 1080p HD image and the same DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix are both excellent. The bonus features are too short to be anything real informative or fun though. Highly Recommended!