HBO’s Chernobyl has only been on air for one month and it already rates higher on IMDb than other historical dramas, as well as higher than IMDB's most popular fictional series. Chernobyl chronicles the true story of an explosion following a safety test at a nuclear reactor in Soviet Ukraine in April 1986, which became one of the world's worst man-made catastrophes, so much so that much of the surrounding area will be uninhabitable for 20,000 years. Harmful isotopes were carried by the winds as far as Ireland.
After the release of the finale, aired on Sunday, June 3rd, it is the highest-rated television series of all time.
Even other widely-successful historical drama series like American Crime Story trail Chernobyl in ratings.
I thought it'd be interesting to check out how interest in the Chernobyl fiasco has changed since the release of this documentary series. It turns out to be quite a spike. The graphs below show interest over time, specifically over the last 12 months. Google Trend numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for a term. A value of 50 means that a term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for a given term.
The graph represents searches for Chernobyl disaster in order to distinguish it from searches for the series itself.
Mapping out the above data, we see that there is significant interest across much of Europes, mostly in Scandinavia, with Ireland topping the search interest worldwide. Interestingly, despite the show being a product of HBO, there is (thus far) relatively little search interest in the US.