Throwback: 20th Century Television Mini-Seriesby urbanemovies | created - 20 Jan 2016 | updated - 13 Feb 2017 | Public
Television mini-series or serials once were special events, that would occur maybe once a year. These mini-series were ratings powerhouses for networks and would be water cooler fodder for an entire month. Such times seems like a distant memory, when there were three channels to watch, a trusty pair of rabbit ears to pull in the signal and you actually had to watch a show the night it aired.
Which 20th century television mini-series* or serial do you remember most fondly as being something special?
* alternate versions or continuations provided in notes for voting and informational purposes
Cast your vote here or Discuss the topic here.
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1. 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.
3. Pride and Prejudice (1995)
TV-PG | 327 min | Drama, Romance
While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.
4. Cosmos (1980)
TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary
Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.
21st Century Alternate Version: Cosmos (2014)
5. It (1990)
TV-PG | 192 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
In 1960, seven pre-teen outcasts fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. Thirty years later, they reunite to stop the demon once and for all when it returns to their hometown.
21st Century Alternate Version: It (2017)
6. Sybil (1976)
198 min | Biography, Drama
A young woman whose childhood was so harrowing to her that she developed sixteen different personalities is treated by a doctor.
21st Century Alternate Version: Sybil (2007)
7. 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.
8. The Stand (1994)
Not Rated | 361 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
After a deadly plague kills most of the world's population, the remaining survivors split into two groups - one led by a benevolent elder and the other by a maleficent being - to face each other in a final battle between good and evil.
9. Das Boot (1985–1987)
TV-MA | 293 min | Drama, Thriller, War
A World War II German U-Boat crew have a terrifying patrol mission in the early days of the war.
10. Lonesome Dove (1989)
TV-14 | 384 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
Two former Texas Rangers renew their spirit of adventure as they and several other residents of a small Texas town join a cattle drive to the Montana Territory.
11. 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.
21st Century Alternate Version: House of Cards (2013)
14. Merlin (1998)
Not Rated | 182 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
The legendary wizard tells his story of his war against Queen Mab of the Sidhe and his creation of Camelot.
21st Century Alternate Version: Merlin (2008)
16. V (1983)
Unrated | 197 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When aliens come to Earth to ask for our help, a few suspicious humans discover their horrific true intentions and prepare to resist.
17. Shogun (1980)
547 min | Adventure, Drama, History
An English navigator becomes both a player and pawn in the complex political games in feudal Japan.
Alternate Version: Shogun (1980)
18. 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.
19. The Thorn Birds (1983)
460 min | Drama, Romance
In the arid 1920s Australian Outback, a Catholic priest and the beautiful granddaughter of a vast sheep station owner stand powerless before God's will, tormented by desire. How far are they willing to go in the name of love?
Continuations: The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years (1996)
20. Wives and Daughters (1999– )
TV-PG | 301 min | Drama
The daughter of a country doctor copes with an unwanted stepmother, an impetuous stepsister, burdensome secrets, the town gossips, and the tug on her own heartstrings for a man who thinks of her only as a friend.
Alternate Version: Wives and Daughters (1971)
22. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
TV-G | 382 min | Biography, Drama, History
Beginning before the Nativity and extending through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, this mini-series brings to life all of the sweeping drama in the life of Jesus, as told by the Gospels.
Alternate Version: Jesus of Nazareth (1956)
23. Anne of Avonlea (1987)
230 min | Drama, Family, Romance
Anne Shirley accepts a teaching position at a girls boarding school in a town dominated by a rich and belligerant family determined to make her life miserable.
Alternate Version: Anne of Avonlea (1975)
26. Brideshead Revisited (1981)
659 min | Drama, Romance
Two young men meet at Oxford. Charles Ryder, though of no family or money, becomes friends with Sebastian Flyte when Sebastian throws up in his college room through an open window. He then ... See full summary »
21st Century Alternate Version: Brideshead Revisited (2008)
27. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)
TV-14 | 290 min | Drama, Thriller
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet Agent within MI6's echelons.
28. Prime Suspect (1991)
207 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A female police detective investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male comrades.
29. The Winds of War (1983)
883 min | Drama, Romance, War
The trials of the Henry and Jastrow families in the early years of World War II.
Continuations: War and Remembrance (1988)
30. The Godfather Saga (1977)
434 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
31. Rich Man, Poor Man (1976)
TV-PG | 60 min | Drama
An examination of the trials and tribulations of the Jordache family, from the period following World War II to the late 1960s.
Continuations: Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II (1976)
33. The 10th Kingdom (2000)
Not Rated | 417 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family
A father and daughter are caught in a parallel universe where the great queens Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood have had their kingdoms fragmented by warring trolls, giants and goblins.
34. Dune (2000– )
Not Rated | 265 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
A three-part miniseries on politics, betrayal, lust, greed and the coming of a Messiah. Based on Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel.
21st Century Continuations: Children of Dune (2003)
35. The Kingdom (1994–1997)
TV-MA | 561 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Doctors at an ultramodern hospital in Denmark become convinced, by way of weird, inexplicable happenings, that the place is haunted.
Votes: 16,306 | Gross: $0.09M