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Ladymia69's avatar

Can any of you recommend some great mini-series of the past or present?

Asked by Ladymia69 (6881points) April 14th, 2011

I have seen some good ones lately: Mildred Pierce on HBO, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles on BBC from 2008. I wish there was a comprehensive way to get a list of mini-series shown on channels such as HBO, Showtime, BBC, A & E, etc. in the past ten years, or even from the 1990s.

Are there any memorable mini-series you could recommend me? Much obliged!

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52 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

I don’t know how long ago it was, but I’m sure NetFlix would have Brideshead Revisited, and the BBC Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice is really marvelous.

Seelix's avatar

If you like fantasy, check out Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. It’s on Netflix Canada, so you can probably get it in your Netflix (if you have it). It’s a BBC series and it’s not all that high-budget, but I really liked it.

HBO’s Carnivale was only two seasons long, so it’s kind of like a miniseries… it’s super cool.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Here is a list of American-produced mini-series over the history of television, and here are some British ones.

I can suggest Downton Abbey (which has become a series) and The Borgias (which will probably become a series because everyone is swooning over this guy).

You might enjoy the 2003 version of The Forsyte Saga, and the 2010 version of Upstairs Downstairs, which is a continuation from the series shown from 1970–1974 (repeated in the US in 1974–1977).

And finally, if you’re willing to read subtitles, I’d highly suggest the Danish series Riget. It’s a suspense/horror series set in a modern Danish hospital.

KateTheGreat's avatar

Into the West was a very good historical mini-series.

janbb's avatar

Second vote for the BBC Pride and Prejudice.

knitfroggy's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Is right about Lonesome Dove. It’s a fantastic movie and the book is even better.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@janbb : KatawaGrey gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago and I rewatch it at the drop of a hat. Colin Firth is the definitive Mr. Darcy! <swooning>

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Band of Brothers

janbb's avatar

@JilltheTooth Girls’ marathon weekend with beer and pizza?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If you have time to sit through it Shaka Zulu(TV_series) might be a looker, or “Roots”.

Ladymia69's avatar

I am familiar with a lot of those, and thanks! Are there any that are more off-the-beaten-path? As in, not period drama/war/mystery….but more unusual?

And I will check out a bunch of these!

Ladymia69's avatar

Oh, and i am totally into non-fictional ones, as well!!

JilltheTooth's avatar

@janbb : I’ll bring Colin and a young, rather fetching Jeremy Irons! And snacks.

Ladymia69's avatar

By the way, did anyone catch the HBO mini-series of Mildred Pierce? If not, go and watch it on demand…it is outstanding!

creative1's avatar

I just watched the Tudors and absolutely loved it!! I highly recommend it, it was a miniseries on Showtime it was about the life and wives of King Henry the VIIIth. If you need a link to it to get the shows message me privately and I will happy to give you one.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@math_nerd : Early Meryl Streep and James Woods. Stunning. I need to find that and see it again.

Ladymia69's avatar

@creative1 Watched the Tudors and loved it also. But what I am talking about in this thread are mini-series, meaning a week or two of one-hour-or-so-long episodes, not a continual series. A mini-series is like a long movie broken up and aired in parts.

creative1's avatar

@filmfann I watched the entire series in a weekend

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Pillars of the Earth. OMFG, so good (and really great at answering a lot of things about the Middle Ages that didn’t quite make sense, or that you never really thought about, which might be more important to me than to you, since I’m taking 2 Middle Ages classes.)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The Kennedys is airing right now.

math_nerd's avatar

@JilltheTooth :: I remember my mom renting it from the video store one night. It was on four VHS tapes. I was pretty unhappy about this since we only had one TV in the house and I wanted to play The Legend of Zelda. The first couple hours killed me since it was boring. But then it got interesting. I was 8 or 9 at the time and didn’t really understand that the movies was based on real events.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Oh, oh, oh! Mists of Avalon and The 10th Kingdom. Two of my favorite shows of all time

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Black Adder

Seelix's avatar

Another that you might like if you’re into fantasy: Tin Man with Alan Cumming and (drool) Zooey Deschanel. It’s a retelling of the Wizard of Oz story.

Fingersmith is one that I’ve seen on Netflix that I haven’t gotten around to watching yet.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Seelix Not as much into fantasy as I am into literary adaptations and such…wish they would do a mini-series of a Kurt Vonnegut book!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Seelix Fingersmith is quite good. Tin Man was a bit intense for me, but I was also in a bad place, so maybe I’ll give it another chance – I love both Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cummings (and the guy who plays Tin Man, whose name I’m blanking on).

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ladymia69 If you’re into adaptations of classics, there’s tons of those – Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights, Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers, several Alice in Wonderland miniseries, etc.

Seelix's avatar

@ladymia69 – I hear ya for sure on the Vonnegut. I’d be a little leery that they’d get the wrong idea of a lot of it (like parts of Breakfast of Champions with Bruce Willis), but if they got the right director, I’d love to see Cat’s Cradle.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Seelix I really liked the entire cast for Tin Man even their acting in it, there was just some problems with the story I couldnt get over. Like I liked how they tried to re-envision it, I just dont think they pulled it off very well.I feel the same way about the Alice mini series that was on SciFi

Earthgirl's avatar

I loved Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein! This is my favorite version. It stars Leonard Whiting as Frankenstein. He is the one who plays Romeo in Franco Zeffirelli’s version of Romeo and Juliet. Hot! And he gets to start out handsome before he gets grisly! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein:_The_True_Story

and I also loved Sons and Lovers. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/archive/69/69.html
here is a more descriptive account of Sons and Lovers from the NY Times review
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/13/arts/dh-lawrence-novel-sons-and-lovers-on-pbs.html
It’s one of my favorite books. The series was very well done IMO..

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I, Claudius

Poldark

ddude1116's avatar

The Kennedys was really good. Greg Kinnear has a startling likeness to JFK..

filmfann's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs and @ddude1116 Kinnear was amazing in The Kennedy’s, but Katie Holmes just stunk up the screen, and the screenplay was so bad I wondered if it was written by Perez Hilton.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@filmfann Really? I’m only half way through the 2nd one, but I’m liking it so far.

filmfann's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Barry Pepper as Bobby was pretty good too, but Katie? Wow, she was bad.

by the way, all this time I’ve been reading your name as My New Boobs. i wasn’t sure if there was a surgery involved or what

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@filmfann No, just a bad pun

Sunny2's avatar

“I Claudius” was wonderfully evil, dramatic and well done. The actors looked so much like the original characters that when my 10 year old walked into the museum in Rome with all their statues, he recognized them from the series.
The original “Upstairs, Downstairs” was also terrific. The updated version seems to be equally fascinating.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Sunny2 – Indeed, I, Claudius was 12 episodes of awesome. Derek Jacobi and Si├ón Phillips were terrific.

Sunny2's avatar

@aprilsimnel I think it’s time for them to run it again. It’s a great picture of the corruption and fall of the Roman Empire. I must admit, I never checked the accuracy of the details, have you? I certainly enjoyed it and its nastiness.

Sunny2's avatar

Ooh, yeah. Roots was Great! Should be required viewing for every American.

ucme's avatar

The best part being…...i’m an englishman.

Sunny2's avatar

I don’t know how much the British Empire was affected by slavery, but it’s still and issue for some Americans, unfortunately.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@filmfann Yeah, ok, just finished watching The Kennedys. Enjoyable, but also really bad.

Ladymia69's avatar

@filmfann I read her name as “minute boobs”.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ladymia69 Blush. You get it…

Miniseries are really big in Britain, but they aren’t called “miniseries”, they’re called “serials”. It’s just this kind of fundamental component of British telly. There’s a small difference, sometime serials go into larger shows – like there’s a serial of Torchwood, which is basically the season 3 to the show, but in a very condensed, packaged version, whereas we normally think of miniseries as really long movies made to air an hour or so at a time on tv over several nights. But they’re very, very closely related, and it gives them an oppurtunity to do some very cool, avant garde things in the genre.

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