This HBO Show is Officially More Popular Than ‘Game of Thrones’

The medieval fantasy-drama Game of Thrones has entertained and entranced viewers for nearly a decade, until the untimely release of a largely dissatisfactory final season. Before that, however, Game of Thrones was the gem of HBO. While the final season was busy disappointing fans and creating a seriously polarizing ending, one of HBO’s newest miniseries was taking its place on center stage. 

Kit Harington
Kit Harington | HBO

The network’s miniseries Chernobyl has gained traction as one of the most popular and most widely acclaimed series on television. In fact, the miniseries managed to overthrow Game of Thrones’ eight seasons with five short episodes in more ways than one. 

What is ‘Chernobyl’ about? 

Chernobyl is a five-part miniseries about the real-life explosion of a nuclear power plant in the USSR in 1986. The show revolves around the incident itself, the actual heroes of Chernobyl, and both the consequences and controversy of how the Russian government handled it. The show remains as true to life as possible, only making creative decisions to better tell the stories of the real-life heroes who saved the continent from radioactive destruction. 

The show was released on May 6. The miniseries stars Jared Harris as Valery Legasov, Stellan Skarsgård as Boris Shcherbina, and Emily Watson as the fictional Ulana Khomyuk. In just five short episodes, Chernobyl has managed to absolutely dethrone Game of Thrones in more ways than one. 

Adam Nagaitis
Adam Nagaitis | HBO

‘Chernobyl’ has surpassed ‘Game of Thrones’ in viewership 

Over the course of five episodes, Chernobyl has taken over 52% of its total viewership from HBO Go, HBO Now, and other digital streaming platforms. In other words, Chernobyl has taken Game of Thrones’ place as the record-holder for consistent, dedicated viewership through HBO’s many streaming services. Previously, Game of Thrones Season 8 had 46% of its total viewership from HBO’s digital streaming services.  

With rumors of HBO potentially losing subscribers and traction after the end of Game of Thrones, it’s particularly good news for the network that it can continue to attract audiences without dragons or sword-fighting, especially considering the fact that Chernobyl is a miniseries with no place for spinoffs or follow-up seasons. 

The miniseries has also begun to surpass True Detective, placing it right behind Big Little Lies in terms of viewership rankings. 

Chernobyl
Chernobyl | HBO

‘Chernobyl’ has inched past ‘Game of Thrones’ in ratings

According to Forbes, Chernobyl is officially the highest fan-scored TV show on IMDb with a score of 9.5/10. The show earned an impressive score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes (and a 98% from audiences) with viewers commending the miniseries for its overwhelming sense of dread paired with a poignant, wistful tone. The miniseries just barely defeated Game of Thrones, which has a rating of 9.4/10 on IMDb and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s interesting to note that Chernobyl writer, Craig Mazin, was not particularly successful before this project. Mazin’s past projects include The Hangover 2 & 3, Scary Movie 3, and Superhero Movie — all of which were not exactly box office superstars. 

Nonetheless, Mazin went on to create one of the most popular miniseries to date and it will definitely be a saddening shock to all Chernobyl fans if the show does not get some sort of recognition at the Emmy Awards in September.