Craig Mazin’s limited series Chernobyl took home another slew of Emmys on Sunday, following its success last weekend in the Creative Arts categories. Mazin won for writing, director Johan Renck collected for directing and the show itself won best limited series after its previous seven below-the-line wins. It had a total of 19 nominations and Sunday’s wins helped HBO top the charts with 34 overall wins.
However, Mazin reiterated that they will not revisit Chernobyl for a follow-up season.
Speaking backstage, Mazin said the show —which details the tragic events of the Soviet Union’s 1986 nuclear plant meltdown—is definitely over for good. “We will not be doing that,” he said. “We told a story of a place in time and we did it pretty darn well, and it’s time to start thinking about other places and other times… whatever we look at, whether it’s fiction or based on history, it’s relevant to who we are now and what we’re facing.”
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Mazin also pointed out how especially pertinent the show feels now. “For me as a writer, I became a lot more connected with how similar we all are,” he said. “Even two traditional enemies. In 1986 and 2019 it’s not that different. The problems then are the same problems now. The consequences now are similar, if not worse.”
In his onstage acceptance speech, Mazin thanked the country of Lithuania in which they filmed, and its government “who were amazing.”
And he paid tribute to the power of storytelling, especially when it comes to referencing real-life events. “I hope that in some small way our show has helped remind people of the value of the truth and the danger of the lie,” he said, going on to give props to Chernobyl‘s limited series category mate When They See Us. “I’d like to think in television we can do that with stories like When They See Us. We can make stories be known and that’s an incredible power and responsibility for all of us.”
Backstage Mazin also offered an accolade to Game of Thrones, which later won for best drama series. Having been one of the few people to have ever seen the original pilot, Mazin was asked if he’d called it “a piece of s–t”—a comment he denied. He admitted the show had been “troubled” when he saw that pilot, but said watching the final show had been “one of the most amazing moments of my life, just watching something that I thought was irreparably damaged and then (eventually) seeing the new episode,” he said. That new pilot was “mind-blowingly good” he added. “It’s the most remarkable turnaround in Hollywood history. It became, rightfully so, a legend of television.”
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