Chernobyl: If you like the historical drama, you’ll love… The Salisbury Poisonings, The Terror and Band of Brothers

Looking for TV shows like Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl? From The Looming Tower to Narcos - here are seven shows similar to the Bafta-nominated series about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

By Sophia Moir Published: 19 June 2020 - 11.38am
Sky UK

Chernobyl Box Set is available to watch on Sky Atlantic with NOW TV.

It recently received a whopping 14 nominations at the 2020 Bafta TV Awards - the most of any TV show nominated.

And the popularity of HBO/Sky co-production Chernobyl shows no sign of waning, still ranking in the top five rated TV shows of all time on IMDB.

Rooted in extensive research, the five-part mini-series examines the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986 and the clean-up efforts that followed. 

But if you’ve already binge-watched the series, here are seven similar shows to enjoy next - from The Salisbury Poisonings to The Terror.

The Salisbury Poisonings 

Three-part historical drama The Salisbury Poisonings is already being compared to Chernobyl in the way that we witness the story unfold on-screen.

The series is based on the real-life case of the Novichok poisonings, which saw ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia targeted with a deadly nerve agent in Salisbury, back in March 2018.

Critics and fans were quick to draw comparisons between the two shows, although The Evening Standard highlights that the scale of Chernobyl is beyond that of what happened at Salisbury.

Catch up on The Salisbury Poisonings on BBC iPlayer.

The Terror

It might be billed as a historical drama, but Chernobyl becomes more like a slow-burn horror movie at times. There’s a constant feeling of danger - although the horror that’s to come is all real.

Like Chernobyl, both series of AMC’s anthology series The Terror are based on real historical events, but they add the fear factor with additional supernatural elements. 

Season 1 - which features Chernobyl's Jared Harris - tells a fictionalised account of Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition to the Arctic, while The Terror season 2 centres on a series of bizarre deaths that haunt a Japanese-American community during World War II. Scary stuff.

The Terror season 1 is available to buy on Amazon Prime Video.

BT TV customers can also buy seasons 1 and 2 in the BT TV Store.

Band of Brothers

If it’s the historical storytelling that gripped you in Chernobyl, it’s well worth watching the acclaimed HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers.

The masterful 10-part World War II mini-series is executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who also collaborated on the Oscar-nominated World War II film, Saving Private Ryan.

Like Chernobyl, the big-budget historical drama features the heartbreaking true story of extraordinary tasks that ordinary men were forced to do, and is one of the top recommendations on Reddit for fans of the show.

Band of Brothers Box Set is available to watch on Sky Atlantic with NOW TV.

Boardwalk Empire

Another big-budget HBO series for fans of Chernobyl is the American period drama, Boardwalk Empire. 

The multi-award winning series is set largely in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era of the 1920s, and stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson. 

Like the characters in Chernobyl, Boardwalk Empire character Nucky Thompson was based loosely on a real political figure - criminal kingpin Enoch Lewis "Nucky" Johnson.

Boardwalk Empire season 1-5 Box Sets are available to watch on Sky Atlantic with NOW TV. 

The Americans

The influence of the KGB - the Soviet Union's former secret police - is certainly part of the historical storytelling in Chernobyl, albeit hidden in the background.

If that's whetted your appetite for something in a similar vein, FX's spy-thriller The Americans centres on two undercover KGB officers in the United States.

Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell star as the seemingly normal husband and wife who struggle with their allegiances, giving a more personal take on the story of the Cold War.

The Americans seasons 1-6 are available to watch on Prime Video. Prime subscription required.

Narcos

Another thrilling TV series based on real-life history is Netflix's smash hit crime drama, Narcos. 

Set and filmed in Colombia, seasons 1 and 2 are based on the story of drug lord Pablo Escobar, who became a billionaire through the production and distribution of cocaine. 

Like Chernobyl, the supporting cast is also inspired by real-life figures, including DEA agent Javier Pena -  one of the lead investigators hunting for Pablo.

Narcos seasons 1-3 are available to watch on Netflix.

The Looming Tower

One of the top recommendations for Chernobyl fans on Reddit is The Looming Tower, a 10-part mini-series about the hunt for Al-Qaeda in the lead-up to 9/11.

Starring Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom, Steve Jobs), The Looming Tower takes a controversial look at how the rivalry between the CIA and FBI may have inadvertently set the stage of the tragedy of 9/11 and the war in Iraq. 

If it was the political drama element of Chernobyl that had you intrigued, The Looming Tower is definitely one to add to your watchlist.

The Looming Tower is available to watch on Prime Video. Prime subscription required.