Sometimes you want more than a movie, but you also don’t want to commit to a series that might go on for several seasons, and not necessarily all of them good. This is where the art of the miniseries comes in.
It allows the creators to explore stories in more depth than they would in a movie, but the finite timeframe means that storylines get planned and tied up, and you never see your favorite characters doing something completely contrary to their personality just to open up new storylines.
In short, miniseries rock.
And here are ten of the most rocking miniseries currently available to watch on Netflix.
Based on a Margaret Atwood novel (author or The Handmaid’s Tale) this is a fictionalized retelling of the 1934 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy. A man and a woman named Grace were convicted on the murders, but there were many powers at play in the process. Here is one version of what might have happened.
Black Earth Rising
Featuring the rising taken Michaela Coel, this is a thriller about a young woman living in London after being rescued from the Rwandan Genocide. But while she is building her life, she also needs to find her roots, and so decides to discover the truth of her dark past. Also starring the always excellent John Goodman.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Based on the excellent novel, this story takes us to early 19th century, but in a world where magic, while not commonplace, is not uncommon. It is used in politics and war to turn the tides of battle. But what is the price to pay. We follow two rival magicians, frenemies vying for power. It has a delightful steampunk setting.
Though quite a bit longer that your standard miniseries, this standalone series tells the story of the FBI hunt for the Unabomber. It dives into the motivations of the man himself, from a notably sympathetic point-of-view, and also looks at how this, the most expensive manhunt in history, also shaped the future of the FBI.
Michael C. Hall stars in this British set drama as a father and surgeon trying to hold his life together in the wake of the death of his wife. When one of his two daughters goes missing from a party, he embarks on a mission to find her. Along the way, he learns many secrets about the people closest to him, which throws what he believed about his wife’s death into question as well.
Anything starring Octavia Spencer is going to be worth watching. This miniseries sees her taking on another strong characters, C.J. Walker, a real-life black hair care entrepreneur who became the first African American self-made millionaire (back when a million was a lot of money).
Sacha Baron Cohen flexes his serious acting chops as he takes on the role of a Mossad-Israeli spy Eli Cohen who is undercover in Syria. We see how he infiltrated the new Syrian government in the 1960s, and even rose to the rank of Deputy Defence Minister, before the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and Syria.
Based on a true story, a young girl reports that she was raped, but the police do not believe her, and she becomes the criminal. But two detectives team up to solve a series of similar cases, which also strongly resembles this original case. What is the truth, and how do you decide who to believe when the evidence is somebody’s word?
The Valhalla Murders
Because who doesn’t love a bit of Scandinavian noir? Set in Iceland, a cop returns to her hometown to help investigate a grueling murder at a state-run institution for boys. The investigation reveals the dark past of the institution, the town, and her own family, and the race to stop a very present threat.
When They See Us
This harrowing miniseries is based on the true story of a woman who was beaten and raped in central park, and four young black boys who were sent to prison for the crime and turned into monsters by the media, despite there being very little evidence to suggest that they were responsible. Years later, when their lives were already changed by prison, they were disoriented. The series digs into the details of this miscarriage of justice.