A list of mini series i never get tired of...

by longbar-934-470648 | created - 26 Dec 2010 | updated - 27 Dec 2010 | Public

I can watch and rewatch these endlessly. Enjoy! And please let me know of any gems out there I have missed!

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1. First Among Equals (1986)

60 min | Drama

Political drama about the parallel careers of four MPs who all join Parliament in the mid-1960s.

Stars: Tom Wilkinson, James Faulkner, David Robb, Jeremy Child

Votes: 78

Fun and engaging with great performances and a typically ingenious Archer plot

2. Vanity Fair (1998)

Not Rated | 50 min | Drama, Romance

An adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic story of parvenue Becky Sharp's rise from obscure & humble origins to her subsequent ignominious fall from Society; set amongst the ... See full summary »

Stars: Natasha Little, Frances Grey, Philip Glenister, David Ross

Votes: 1,470

Best Becky Sharp ever.

3. North and South, Book I (1985)

561 min | Drama, History, Romance

Two friends, one northern and one southern, struggle to maintain their friendship as events build towards the American Civil War.

Stars: Kirstie Alley, Georg Stanford Brown, David Carradine, Philip Casnoff

Votes: 9,207

A nostalgic choice, I'll admit, but still everything a mini series should be - engaging, outrageous and sumptuous, with heroes to love and villains to shake your fist at...

4. A Dance to the Music of Time (1997– )

Not Rated | 416 min | Drama

Anthony Powell's twelve volume novel sequence "A Dance to the Music of Time" has been dramatized for television.

Stars: Gillian Barge, Nicholas Jones, Simon Russell Beale, Robin Bailey

Votes: 423

Intricate and beautiful, melancholic and absorbing.

5. Perfect Strangers (2001– )

238 min | Comedy, Drama

Attending a distant family reunion reveals more than was expected.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Lindsay Duncan, Matthew Macfadyen, Claire Skinner

Votes: 1,291

One of the most delicate and moving mini series I've ever seen, with an intriguing personal mystery at its heart

6. Kane & Abel (1985)

240 min | Drama

Kane and Abel are born on the same day the same year on each side of the Atlantic. William Kane is born in one of the richest families of Boston and grows up to be a banker on Wall Street. ... See full summary »

Stars: Peter Strauss, Sam Neill, Ron Silver, David Dukes

Votes: 775

Another romp - everything an 80s mini series should be.

7. Roots (1977)

TV-14 | 588 min | Biography, Drama, History

A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.

Stars: LeVar Burton, Robert Reed, John Amos, Louis Gossett Jr.

Votes: 15,495

Fantastic. I remember seeing it as a teenager and never get tired of watching it. A little dated, but still a powerhouse.

8. Shogun (1980)

547 min | Adventure, Drama, History

An English navigator becomes both a player and pawn in the complex political games in feudal Japan.

Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Shimada, Furankî Sakai

Votes: 11,011

Great adaptation of a fantastic book. While I'm not normally a Richard Chamberlain fan, he is great in this, and the whole thing is visually spectacular.

9. Brides of Christ (1991)


Diane, a young woman growing up in Australia in the mid 1960s, walks away from her fiancé to join a convent after being sure she has a calling to the faith. The Catholic Church and its ... See full summary »

Stars: Brenda Fricker, Sandy Gore, Josephine Byrnes, Lisa Hensley

Votes: 575

You'll be hard pressed to find an Australian who hasn't seen this - it swept the nation by storm and is one of the few Aussie mini series that deserves the accolades showered upon it. utterly engrossing and one of Naomi Watts' first big roles. Also, Russell Crowe in a small role (before he bacame a Terribly Serious and Important Actor Who Is Not To Be Trifled With).

10. Anne of Green Gables (1985)

TV-G | 199 min | Drama, Family

An orphan girl, sent to an elderly brother and sister by mistake, charms her new home and community with her fiery spirit and imagination.

Stars: Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, Patricia Hamilton

Votes: 18,408

Spectacular. Introduce your 13-14 yo daughter/niece/grand-daughter to this one and not only will she be able to quote it verbatim in a week, but she'll devour every book in the series...lots of fun. Also, a terrific mother-daughter watch.

11. The Virgin Queen (2005)

237 min | Biography, Drama, History

The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ... See full summary »

Stars: Anne-Marie Duff, Sienna Guillory, Ian Hart, Tom Hardy

Votes: 2,691

With so many retellings, you think we'd all be tired of Elizabeth I. I love Cate in the films, but there's something about this mini series that just draws you in. You'll want to start again as soon as it's ended.

12. Smiley's People (1982)

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, Mystery

The murder of a Soviet defector forces his old handler, British spymaster George Smiley, out of retirement. His investigation leads to an old nemesis, the Soviet spymaster known only as "Karla". This will be their final dance.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Eileen Atkins, Bill Paterson, Vladek Sheybal

Votes: 3,431

Nearly as good as Tinker Tailor and just as ominous and enthralling.

13. The Devil's Whore (2008)

55 min | Drama, History, Romance

Set between the years 1642 and 1660, "The Devil's Whore" charts the progress of the English Civil War through the eyes of a 17 year old girl, the fictional Angelica Fanshawe.

Stars: Andrea Riseborough, Dominic West, Tom Goodman-Hill, John Simm

Votes: 2,257

Fantastic! And with the wonderful Maxine Peake....

14. Francesca and Nunziata (2001 TV Movie)

125 min | Drama

At the beginning of the century, in Italy, a wealthy woman Francesca (Loren), adopts a poor little girl named Nunziata. The years pass, Nunziata falls in love Federico (Bova), her adoptive brother, son of Francesca.

Director: Lina Wertmüller | Stars: Sophia Loren, Giancarlo Giannini, Claudia Gerini, Raoul Bova

Votes: 192

Mini series melodrama as only the Italians can do it! Sophia Loren is tremendous, Giancarlo Giannini superb and the plot will have you gesticulating wildly with mediterranean passion at the injustice and intrigue...

15. Merlin (1998)

Not Rated | 182 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Legendary wizard Merlin (Sam Neill) tells his story of his war against Queen Mab of the Sidhe (Miranda Richardson) and his creation of Camelot.

Stars: Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, John Gielgud, Rutger Hauer

Votes: 19,849

really, really, really fun! my favourite Merlin.

16. Never Never (2000 TV Movie)

185 min | Drama

John Parlour and Jo Weller form a credit union but John's predatory lending scheme threatens both the poor residents of a London council estate and their own business.

Director: Julian Jarrold | Stars: Claudie Blakley, Emma Cooke, Leo Dolan, Gerard Horan

Votes: 77

John Simm is amazing in this series and does his usual trick of making what could have been merely a solid mini series golden.

17. The Lost Prince (2003 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 180 min | Biography, Drama

The true story of the British royal Prince locked away because of having epilepsy.

Director: Stephen Poliakoff | Stars: Daniel Williams, Matthew James Thomas, Brock Everitt-Elwick, Rollo Weeks

Votes: 1,807

Another poignant masterpiece from Stephen Poliakoff. Exquisite.

18. Shooting the Past (1999 TV Movie)

182 min | Drama, History

A US property developer realises that he has a battle on his hands when he tries to renovate a London building containing a vast photographic collection and discovers that the library ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Poliakoff | Stars: Lindsay Duncan, Timothy Spall, Liam Cunningham, Billie Whitelaw

Votes: 1,118

And Poliakoff does it again. Perfect script, perfect performances, perfect direction.

19. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)
Episode: Tinker Tailor (1979)

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, Thriller

Smiley goes to meet Jim Prideaux who is now back in Britain having survived his experience in Czechoslovakia. His testimony and that of others sheds new light on the "Testify" fiasco and source "Merlin".

Director: John Irvin | Stars: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, George Sewell

Votes: 197

My absolute favourite. I could watch it every day and still find something new in the performances. Alec Guiness, Ian Richardson, Patrick Stewart and Beryl Reid....what more could you ask for? See it before the remake comes out. (I have high hopes for the new one - it's got a great cast - I just hope it has the same slow burn suspense and gravitas of this one...)

20. House of Cards (1990)

TV-14 | 226 min | Drama

The schemes of a ruthlessly ambitious British politician who will stop at nothing to get to the top.

Stars: Ian Richardson, Susannah Harker, Miles Anderson, Alphonsia Emmanuel

Votes: 12,974

This will blow you away. Ian Richardson is wickedly good as the Macchiavellian Francis Urquart. A disturbingly delicious portrayal of power and manipulation in the hands of a master. Unforgettable.

21. To Play the King (1993)

218 min | Drama

Francis Urquhart, the unscrupulous but cunning Conservative Prime Minister, has his survival threatened by a liberal monarch and an upcoming General Election.

Stars: Ian Richardson, Michael Kitchen, Kitty Aldridge, Colin Jeavons

Votes: 3,821

Second in the 3 part House of Cards trilogy, our friend, FU, takes on a warm and fuzzy (and suspiciously familar..) monarch. As good as the first installation, with a great performance from Michael Kitchen. Richardson delights with his ruthless portrayal.

22. The Final Cut (1995)

206 min | Drama

Francis Urquhart is too experienced a politician not to know that everything must end, even his long career as British prime minister. In order to secure his retirement and establish ... See full summary »

Stars: Ian Richardson, Diane Fletcher, Paul Freeman, Isla Blair

Votes: 3,246

The final in the trilogy, Richardson's Francis goes to unimaginable lengths to hold onto power, spurred on by Diane Fletcher in a breathtakingly venal perfomance as Elizabeth, his wife. Astoundingly good.

23. The Lakes (1997–1999)

374 min | Drama

Danny Kavanagh leaves Liverpool for the Lake District, finding work at a hotel and love with a local girl named Emma. Yet Danny remains an outsider in the close-knit community, and through ... See full summary »

Stars: John Simm, Elizabeth Bennett, Charles Dale, Mary Jo Randle

Votes: 810

This is a beautiful moving series with the eminently watchable John Simm. Moving and heartbreaking with brilliant performances from young (at the time) actors.

24. Karaoke (1996– )

63 min | Drama

Daniel Feeld is a screenwriter with pains in his gut and a new screenplay called "Karaoke", about a girl named Sandra who works in a seedy Karaoke bar and is murdered by a lowlife named ... See full summary »

Stars: Albert Finney, Roy Hudd, Richard E. Grant, Keeley Hawes

Votes: 492

Weird and wonderful; Dennis Potter never disappoints. Albert Finney is magnificent. Watch this one, and, if you enjoy it as much as I did, you can follow with "Cold Lazarus", which is just as good.

25. The Singing Detective (1986)

415 min | Drama, Musical, Mystery

Tormented and bedridden by a debilitating disease, a mystery writer relives his detective stories through his imagination and hallucinations.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley, David Ryall

Votes: 3,991

Dennis Potter at his best (which is very, very good). Much better than the film with Robert Downey Jr (although I really liked him and the film version, the series is soooooooooooooo much better).

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