Game of Thrones is over, but as proven by its excellent historical miniseries Chernobyl, HBO still has plenty to offer viewers. The show kicked off before Thrones was over, had excellent word of mouth, and according to Deadline, amassed a cumulative audience of 8 million so far. That’s just a hair under the 8.1 million cumulative audience amassed by the third season of True Detective, which is all the more impressive because Chernobyl had just five episodes and aired on Monday nights, traditionally a bit of a dumping ground for shows the network doesn’t have much confidence in.
What’s even more interesting is how viewers watched the show, with 52% tuning in via HBO Go, HBO NOW, and other over-the-top platforms. That breaks HBO’s record of 46% OOT viewership set by the final season of Game of Thrones. Obviously, we’re entering an era where watching new episodes of TV at the time they air on normal TV is becoming less important. Naturally, it took a show about a nuclear disaster that happened in 1986 to remind us.
It’s also important because it shows that HBO can still have hits in a post-Thrones world. “Chernobyl shows that a great series will find an audience,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys. “Could not be prouder and so happy the viewers seeked it out on our platforms.” And this show definitely has an audience. Over on IMDb, the internet’s infallible arbiter of what is good, the show has a 9.6 rating based on over 200,000 reviews. That makes it the highest rated show on the site, although for some reason it doesn’t appear on the collected rankings. Maybe not enough episodes?
And there’s been weirdness, too, like this widely shared tweet of “influencers” flocking to the site to share information and take pictures:
Now, it should be pointed out that this tweet, as popular as it became, isn’t completely accurate — not all of those pictures are new, nor are all of them disrespectful — but Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin still took to Twitter to warn people not to take their visits too lightly:
In any case, it’s great to see how much interest the show has stirred up. Also, did you know that before Chernobyl Mazin was best known for working on the Scary Movie and Hangover franchises? He’s got range, this one.