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HBO's Chernobyl Promises to Make Your Monday Night Intense

ALSO: The Bachelorette, Shadowhunters, Into the Badlands, and more
  • Stellan Skarsgard in Chernobyl (HBO)
    Stellan Skarsgard in Chernobyl (HBO)

    The revolving door of 2019 television means a whirlwind of premieres and finales all month. While some shows will be tucking themselves away for the summer — or, in the case of shows like Shadowhunters and Into the Badlands, forever — others are premiering just in time to get that last gasp of Emmy eligibility (the official TV season ends on May 31st).

    HBO's Chernobyl doesn't quite line up with the recent Emmy success they've had with mini-series like Olive Kitteridge and Big Little Lies. Those were actress-forward literary adaptations, while Chernobyl is based on the true account of the worst nuclear accident ever to happen. Rather than Frances McDormand, Reese Witherspoon, or Nicole Kidman, they've got Stellan Skarsgard holding down the fort in the Ukraine. And while we are not here to bag on Stellan Skarsgard in any way, it would probably not come as a surprise to him to hear that his star power is not that of Nicole Kidman's.

    No, HBO's hopes for Chernobyl likely lie in the importance of the subject matter, the quality of the production, and honestly, the intensity of the subject matter. A movie about Chernobyl is never going to be fun, so you can bet they're going to try to blow you away (uh, no pun intended) with how close they can cut to the bone on this terrifying moment in world history.

    SERIES PREMIERE: As is the case with many prestige HBO productions, Chernobyl is a co-production between HBO and British television.  Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, and Emily Watson headline the 5-part miniseries about the 1986 nuclear plant disaster in Ukraine. It's the ultimate disaster movie — so much so that you rarely see actual disaster movies approach the spectre of nuclear explosion — but it appears to have been handled in as non-exploitative a manner as possible. 9:00 PM ET on HBO

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Fans of the Bachelor franchise are used to the show's historic hyperbole, but even they must be a bit thrown by the upcoming special that ABC is currently billing The Biggest Bachelorette Reunion in Bachelor History Ever! (exclamation point theirs). They're promising the largest gathering of Bachelorette alumnae as host Chris Harrison boards a double-decker bus and visits iconic Bachelor franchise locations, all culminating in a reunion that will bring together the likes of Trista Sutter, Ali Fedotowsky Desiree Siegfried, JoJo Fletcher, Rachel Lindsay, and many more. 8:00 PM ET on ABC

    SERIES FINALE: The two-part series finale of Freeform's fantasy adventure romance Shadowhunters will be the end of a three-season journey. The final two hours of the series will focus on a plan to bring Shadowhnters and Downworlders together, a possible wedding, and a sacrifice that could change everything. 8:00 PM ET on Freeform

    SERIES FINALE: The series finale of AMC's post-apocalyptic series Into the Badlands caps a three-season run for the show. In the episode, titled "Seven Strike as One," Sunny, The Widow, and Bajie summon up a charge to take down Pilgrim, who is close to gaining ultimate control of the Badlands. 10:00 PM ET on AMC


    • Vanderpump Rules The season 7 reunion kicks off tonight, and by the looks of the previews , there's going to be a LOT of shouting among the employees, ex-employees, and future employees of Lisa Vanderpump. 9:50 PM ET on Bravo
    • The Met Gala Red Carpet is the once-year occasion where the red carpet exists purely for its own purposes. Every year in New York City, the rich and famous converge to dine, donate money to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and get robbed by Debbie Ocean and her seven conspirators. But mostly they're there to wear the most outrageous fashion designs that their professional stylists can rustle up for them. And then the next day, we'll all agree Rihanna did it best. 5:00 PM ET on E!
    • The third season finale of Man with a Plan will surely be a crowd-pleaser, but can we all take a moment and marvel at the fact that Matt LeBlanc's Man with a Plan has already polished off three seasons?  8:30 PM ET on CBS
    • Desus & Mero is expanding to two nights a week! Starting tonight, Mondays and Thursdays will be the place to be for talk, politics, and comedy from two of the funniest, and most fun TV hosts around. 11:00 PM ET on Showtime

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Chernobyl, HBO, The Bachelorette, Into the Badlands, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments