10 mini-series you can watch quick-quick

2017-09-08 13:54

Johannesburg - The Verge wrote that we're currently in “the era of peak limited series”, and we couldn't agree more.

FYI: “limited series” is pretty much what we’re calling miniseries these days - basically, any TV show whose storyline is completely self-contained within each season. Limited series are where it’s at right now because they allow networks to rope in big Hollywood names, and give them more creative freedom than traditional network series.

Behold: 10 of the best examples of the form, all available for snacking on Showmax, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

1. Big Little Lies (Showmax)

An addictive and suspense-filled series that reveals the dark underbelly that lies beneath the lives of three seemingly perfect moms and their perfect kids. This Emmy frontrunner (nominated for 16 Emmys and considered the top contender for the Outstanding Limited Series award) is coming to Showmax on Monday, 11 September. 

2. The Night Of (Showmax)

An Emmy-nominated mystery thriller (a rival to Big Little Lies for the Outstanding Limited Series award) about a naive student accused of a gruesome murder. But he can't remember a thing about the night in question. 

3. TUT (Showmax)

First on Showmax! Danger and seduction hides around every corner in the court of Tutankhamun, the all-powerful pharaoh and “boy king”. But that power comes with great cost, and many people want it.

4. Fargo, Seasons 1-2 (Showmax)

Another contender for the Limited Series Emmy this year, Fargo is an excellent example of the way a limited series can go onto a second (and third) season successfully, without maintaining any of the same stars, characters or storylines. Look out for Martin Freeman as a tightly-wound insurance salesman-turned-homicidal-maniac in Season 1, and Kirsten Dunst as a similarly ordinary-seeming resident of Minnesota who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants in Season 2.

5. True Detective, Seasons 1-2 (Showmax)

Another limited series that went on to release a second instalment or season, HBO’s True Detective remains one of the most gripping, intense, brutal and addictive crime dramas we’ve ever seen. Hollywood heavy-hitters Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in Season 1, and Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams in Season 2 don’t hurt one bit.

6. Roots (Showmax)

Did you know that the original Roots miniseries defined the genre when it was released in 1977? It was one of the most-watched TV series of all time on its release, and its finale still holds the title as the second-most watched final episode of any TV series that's ever aired in the States. The 2016 version was shot partially in South Africa and stars Forest Whitaker, Malachi Kirby, Laurence Fishburne and Anna Paquin (in a very different role to the one she plays in True Blood, also on Showmax). It tells the beautiful, heart-wrenching story of five generations of a family of slaves, starting with Kunta Kinte’s capture in Africa.

7. Band of Brothers and The Pacific (Showmax)

Having recently watched Christopher Nolan’s devastating Dunkirk on the big screen, we couldn’t wait to rewatch Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s miniseries set during World War II. Band of Brothers is the harrowing story of the American soldiers conscripted into the war in Europe, and, in The Pacific, in the Pacific Theatre (obvs). Both 10-part series deal with horrific subject matter and are captivatingly shot. The Pacific was the most expensive miniseries ever made, which gives you an idea of the slick, stunning production values.

8. The People vs OJ Simpson (Netflix)

True crime doesn’t get grittier - or truer - than this. This series reenacting the trial of football legend and movie star OJ Simpson for the brutal murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and a young man in her Beverly Hills home, makes the verdict (because we all know how this story ends) even more infuriating. It’s brilliantly cast - David Schwimmer as middle-aged Robert Kardashian is all innocence and anxiety with pitch-black eyes, and John Travolta as OJ’s defence lawyer rocks the world’s most unbelievable eyebrows.

9. Black Mirror (Netflix)

Not only are all three seasons of sci-fi horror series Black Mirror self-contained - each episode stands completely on its own. The only thing that’s the same from one episode to the next is the creepy familiarity of certain aspects of this dystopian, high-tech, hyper-connected, gadget-controlled future. Like all the best limited series, A-list stars feature heavily (we especially love Bryce Dallas Howard in Season 3, episode 1 as a woman whose social-media status ruins her life, and Jessica Brown Findlay - also in Downton Abbey and Harlots, both on Showmax - as a slave with one talent that might just save her in Season 1, episode 2). Look out for San Junipero (Season 3, episode 4), which was shot in Obs, Camps Bay and the Helderberg. 

10. The Night Manager (Amazon Prime)

This Emmy- and Golden-Globe-winning series stars Olivia Colman, Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston. It’s a white-knuckle thriller about a luxury hotel manager (Hiddleston), who also happens to be a former British soldier, recruited by an intelligence operative (Colman) to go undercover and infiltrate the life of arms dealer Richard Roper (Laurie). He’s got a personal vendetta against Roper and aims to expose all his dirty dealings, but Roper’s no fool - and nor are any of the deadly men who work for him.

Read more on:    netflix  |  amazon prime  |  showmax  |  tv  |  series

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