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What are your top 5 favorite miniseries of all time?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by benbess, May 24, 2014.

  1. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    The Moneychangers - Prior to this past Wednesday this was one of my "Grail" Shows. :D

    Roots/Roots 2

    The Stand

    The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake

    The Martian Chronicles
     
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  2. Roy Wall

    Roy Wall Supporting Actor

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    I forgot all about that one. Ray Bradbury...given the show's quality and editing...he had to have been rotating having his chest stuck out and then sighing a resounding "Ouch" and so on. :) I like it...gave my copy to my son.
     
  3. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Lonesome Dove
    Rich Man, Poor Man
    Band of Brothers
     
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  4. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    Okay, here's why I love Backstairs at the White House: as a history buff, I love this story which is based on the biography of Lillian Rogers Parks, who, along with her mother, Maggie Rogers, worked at the White House from the Taft through the Eisenhower administrations. It was well written and literate, and people who loved The Butler might be surprised to find that it was done 35 years before (and better, imo).

    Lastly, the cast was INCREDIBLE. Particularly, the First Families. If you need proof, check out the opening credits...

     
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  5. DisneySwan1990

    DisneySwan1990 Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh, I would put Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, Roots, and 10.5
     
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  6. dana martin

    dana martin Producer

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    Jesus of Nazareth

    Centennial

    Shogun

    Masada

    Salem's Lot
     
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  7. JMas

    JMas Stunt Coordinator

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    UniversalPhan Stunt Coordinator

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    Mine?

    1. V The Original Mini Series
    2. V The Final Battle
    3. The Fire Next Time
    4. Category 6: Day of Destruction
    5. Hatfields and McCoys
     
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  9. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Cinematographer

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    1.) Lonesome Dove (1989, CBS)
    2.) I, Claudius (1976, BBC)
    3.) Band of Brothers (2001, HBO)
    4.) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981, BBC)
    5.) Day of the Triffids (1981, BBC)
     
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  10. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    My favorite American miniseries

    1. Lonesome Dove
    Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones both give the best performances of their careers in this at times emotionally moving adaptation of Larry McMurty's wonderful novel. The only tiny flaw in it that I ever found is that Angelica Huston is at one point holding a "baby" that is actually a doll. I know babies are tough to work with, but I wish they'd tried a little harder for just that one scene. This is another show where for the blu-ray they've reframed the OAR from 1.33 to 1.78, and yet I really like it.

    2. Shogun
    Richard Chamberlain, called the king of the miniseries for a while, is terrific in this impressive adaption of James Clavell's huge novel set in Japan. Movie-quality production values throughout. Toshiro Mifune and the rest of the cast are also great.

    3. Pillars of the Earth
    Ridley Scott was the executive producer of this epic adaptation of Ken Follett's sprawling novel of the building of a fictional cathedral in England in the late Middle Ages, and it shows, for it too has movie-level production values. Excellent cast. Terrific music score by Trevor Morris:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqlgSfgsA7Y&list=PLD1B95619595F0794

    4. Rome
    HBO's brutal and sprawling miniseries gets you up close to the the fall of Caesar, the fall of Anthony and Cleopatra, and the rise of Octavian into Augustus. Almost like a big budget prequel to I, Claudius.

    5. There are a large number of miniseries that I haven't seen since they were first shown 30 or more years ago, and so it's hard for me to analyze how good they would be today. I'll just list some of them as ties for 5th place: Roots + Roots Next Gen, The Holocaust, Masada, The Thorn Birds, etc.


    Back to the British: I forgot about Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Loved that one. Good music.
     
  11. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    From the Earth to the Moon
    Band of Brothers
    Frank Herbert's Dune
    Farscape: The Peacekeepers Wars
    Das Boot

    Honorable menitons:
    Jesus of Nazareth
    Battlestar Galactica
    The Mists of Avalon
    Frank Herbert's Children of Dune
     
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  12. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    79 Park Avenue (1977) with the lovely Lesley Ann Warren, remember liking that one too. One of those early TV crushes...
     
  13. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    Well... I was going to come back and edit my original post to add comments but it appears I waited too long... so... here it is again with comments:

    From the Earth to the Moon - This really captures the feel of the times. I had just turned 6 when President Kennedy issued his challenge to put a man on the moon, but even at that young age I was totally captivated by the space race. Just weeks before we had seen Alan Shepherd orbit the earth, which was incredibly cool! I *loved* rockets and the NASA programs. Like many boys of my age I wanted to be an astronaut. The series brings back memories of those missions and, from what I recall, it's very accurate. Absolutely one of the best historical documents out there even if it *is* a entertainment based package.

    Band of Brothers - I was totally blown away by this one! In a incredibly realistic manner it tells a story that's gripping, exciting, and heartbreaking. It should be required viewing in HS History classes to help the upcoming generations truly appreciate what happened in WWII. While that war ended well before I was born, it, along with Korea, was still very much in the consiousness of the US public when I was a kid. Even so, many of the kids of my age truly didn't understand what the world had done in those years. We saw *lots* of war movies but nothing is like this one. I've not yet seen its companion piece, The Pacific, but fully expect it to be of a similar calibre.

    Frank Herbert's Dune - If all you've seen is the David Lynch film then you need to find a way to screen this version. Not that the Lynch version is "bad," as it's actually farily faithful to the novel, but the miniseries is able to flesh out parts of the novel the film had to ignore or compress for time. It *still* had some of the same issues as the Lynch film, mainly lots of exposition, but in fairness there's *lots* of dialog in the novel and it's hard to ignore it when adapting the story for film. It really serves as a good companion piece to the Lynch film. The visual effects can be a bit cheesy at times but that's to be expected with a TV miniseries done for Sci-Fi Channel (*not* SyFy and before they got *really* bad).

    Farscape: The Peacekeepers Wars - For a miniseries that contained a full season's worth of content in its running time it's a fairly good wrap up for the Farscape series. Yes, I'd have liked to have seen a full season end the series but I can live with this. It's one of the few Sci-Fi Channel productions that's more than watchable (although they were the reason it's a mini-series instead of a full season).

    Das Boot - One of the *best* submarine films I've ever seen. It truly brings out the claustrophobia, tension, and realism of submarine life. By showing part of WWII from the perspective of "the enemy" you see that war is truly the same for both sides, something you normally tend to ignore. I've read the U-Boat crews were perhaps the least "pro-Nazi" of all the German service men and this is born out by the film. The "Uncut" version is about 90 minutes longer than the "Director's Cut" and is worth the investment. I rank it up there with The Enemy Below (1957) and Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), two of my favorites.

    Honorable menitons:
    Jesus of Nazareth - Another good adaptation of a book, it's a distillation of key gospel stories told in a literate manner. While there are some issues it's very well done. One of the better intrepretations of Jesus' life.

    Battlestar Galactica (2003) - While I *do* like the original series *this* one ramped it up a notch. Normally when I see the word "reimagined" I cringe (you can blame Tim Burton and his Planet of the Apes for that). However, I was ready for a reinterpretation of BSG as I'd stopped watching the original series when it became "kiddified" in many ways. I've since watched the original again and found it's not as bad as I'd recalled. BUT - Things feel more realistic in the new version and there are consequences to actions. It's a better story and the new Cylon types add depth. I fell in love with the update and rank it as one of my all time favorite SF series.

    The Mists of Avalon - Another adaptation of a novel (by Marion Zimmer Bradley - a favorite). Again, it's done fairly well and I've always had a soft spot for Arthurian tales. This one is more a feminist reinterpretation of the Authruian legends. It's refreshing in that the story is told from the women's viewpoint and brings out more of the pagainistic elements which are somewhat hidden in other films based on the legends. It has good acting, costumes, story, and special effects.

    Frank Herbert's Children of Dune - The sequel to Frank Herbert's Dune it tells the story found in Herbert's next two novels, "Dune Messiah," and "Children of Dune." It keeps the elements that made the first series good while telling the next part of the story. It's not as good as the first film but is worth a viewing, especially if you're a fan of Herbert's novels.

    In spite of being a *huge* TV fan, I'm generally not a fan of the mini-series as most "made for TV" productions are often lacking in storytelling, effects, acting ability, set design, photography, directing, and more. Things I can overlook in a weekly series I find fault with in mini-series, mainly because they typically have higher budgets and should be able to just be "better." I've always felt that's because most are filmed with a TV production mentality rather than a feature film production mentality which makes them play out like extended TV shows. Not that that's necessarily bad but somehow it's never worked for me in longer format product. The ones I listed here mostly transend those limitations and deliver a quality product but, other than Jesus of Nazareth, they were *not* produced for traditional network television. IMHO The mini-series format has improved over the past dozen or so years with the competition cable provides with many of the better ones now showing up on "premium" or cable networks. Of course some of the worst ones also appear on those same outlets. Today, I'm far more likely to watch a mini-series produced for a "cable" channel than one produced for ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX.
     
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  14. EdG

    EdG Stunt Coordinator

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    Shogun
    Centennial
    The Martian Chronicles
    Roots
    The Winds of War

    Honorable Mention:
    Noble House
    John Adams
    From the Earth to the Moon
    The Blue and the Gray
     
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  15. Carabimero

    Carabimero Producer

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    Winds of War
    War & Remembrance
    Blue & The Gray
    Earth to the Moon
    Martian Chronicles
     
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  16. TV_Fan

    TV_Fan Second Unit

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    V (1983)
    V: The Final Battle (1984)
    Marco Polo (1982)
    Ellis Island (1984)
    Under Siege (1986)
     
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  17. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I have watched very few mini-series but these three are in my DVD collection:

    Centennial - storytelling at its best; magnificently done
    Band of Brothers - powerful and emotional
    Adams Chronicles (watched it as a kid b/c I was a history buff and rediscovered it as an adult after the DVD came out)
     
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  18. cherisland

    cherisland Stunt Coordinator

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    The Awakening Land (1978) Elizabeth Montgomery

    Scruples (1980) Lindsay Wagner

    Deceptions (1985)

    From The Dead Of Night (1989)

    Salem's Lot (1979)

    Honorable Mention:

    I, Claudius (1976)

    Tales Of The City (1993)

    Fresno (1986)

    Rich Man Poor Man (1976)

    Last Frontier (1986)

    V (1983)

    V The Final Battle (1984)
     
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  19. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Cinematographer

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    The Count of Monte Christo .. French mini-series starring Gerard Depardieu and the very interesting Ornella Muti

    Brideshead Revisited .. BBC series with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. I always thought Anthony Andrews could equally well have been cast as Charles Ryder; to go from effeminate Sebastian to the dashing Scarlet Pimpernel around the same era showed his versatility.

    I Claudius BBC with Derek Jacobi ... The adapation served the original Robert Graves novel really well. So did my favourite SF author A E Van Vogt's adaptation 'Empire of the Atom' Van Vogt also wrote the wonderful novel 'Slan' which deserved a mini-series of its own.

    'Luther' .. a top British police series featuring Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson.

    Wuthering Heights .. the 2004 BBC adaptation featuring Ruth Wilson

    And can't forget the BBC Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth Ehles and Colin Firth.

    And that makes me remember the great Camomile Lawn, also with Jennifer Ehle, though the smaller budget is revealed when you notice they couldn't always afford blouses for Jennifer Ehle. Hope it wasn't too cold when they shot those scenes!
     
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  20. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Sandburg's Lincoln

    Gore Vidal's Lincoln

    Eleanor and Franklin

    Dr Syn alias The Scarecrow of Romeny Marsh

    Rome

    HM Salem's Lot made by Peyton Place creator Paul Monash

    Jesus of Nazareth Band of Brothers the Pacific Ken Burns The War all of thes I own and would like to own the Civil War when it comes out on BD I also watched Winds of War and it's follow up.
     
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