10. North and South (1985)
This epic Civil War-era miniseries is one of the best in the entire decade. The theme here are families torn apart and love lost, as an all-star cast of the era battles their way through turmoil on and off the battlefield.
9. V (1983)
In the 1980’s TV and movies fell in love with aliens once again. One of the better works of the decade was “V.” The story isn’t too unusual. Aliens come in “peace,” but are soon discovered to be a much bigger threat than previously thought. The paranoia here is palpable, which makes the series all the better.
8. Generation Kill (2008)
Unfortunately, most modern war films haven’t lived up to the hype. “Generation Kill” is certainly a positive outlier. The HBO miniseries deftly captures the complexity of the modern Iraq war and the diversity of the combatants. This one is gritty and captivating.
7. John Adams (2008)
John Adams was one of our founding fathers and even died on July 4th. His life was the subject of an outstanding HBO miniseries starring Paul Giamatti. There are so few GOOD movies or series about the American Revolution, making “John Adams” an absolute treat. The acting is superb and the story is really fascinating, even if you’re not a history buff.
6. The Winds of War (1983)
The 1980’s were undoubtedly, the decade for miniseries. There were SO FREAKING many, but a good number of them were quite excellent. One of the best, was “The Winds of War.” This one tracks a family, led by Robert Mitchum, as they navigate the complicated waters, both literally and figuratively, of this massive conflict.
5. Lonesome Dove (1989)
Ok, ok…”Lonesome Dove” was actually a TV miniseries. Nonetheless, it’s one of the greatest short-form series of all-time. Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones are phenomenal as the show’s leads. The amazing performances and top-notch writing make for one of the most enjoyable viewing experiences you’ll ever have.
4. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Biblical epics have never been a stranger to film or television. A number have been quite good, but few have been as visually-stunning as “Jesus of Nazareth.” The story is, of course, the same, but the viewing experience here is much richer and more powerful.
3. Roots (1977)
When you think of television miniseries, you can’t help but remember “Roots” and its many unforgettable moments. The miniseries truly was a monumental achievement in television and led the way for the many successful entries in the 1980’s.
2. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016)
Nobody really knew what to make of this one when it was announced. After seeing its mastery, you can’t help but conclude that the show is one of the greatest miniseries of all-time. The complexity is spot-on and the performances are otherworldly.
- Band of Brothers (2001)
Simply put, Band of Brothers is the greatest miniseries of all-time, bar none. The series is about more than just D-Day and Easy Company’s role in the invasion is a little different, as they are Army Airborne. Thus, we get another interesting perspective on one of the most significant days in modern history. Band of Brothers is as much character study as it is war story. At the end of the miniseries, we as viewers, begin to see that war is as much about mental and physical endurance as anything else. Overall, this is one of the truly great achievements in television.