Episodic format of TV shows has given a new direction to storytelling. Instead of telling the entire thing in one short burst like in the movies, TV shows (or web shows following the same format) allow for a relaxed pace that in turn enables better character and plot development. But then again, TV shows today can extend up to a dozen seasons, which let’s be frank is not everybody’s cup of tea. As long as the shows are delivering the numbers, the channel and studios would milk it for as long as they can.
This is where miniseries come in. Miniseries tell a story for a limited number of episodes (mostly less than 10) and then vanish. Here are five miniseries that you can watch on Netflix, Prime Video and Hotstar.
1. Godless: I have never been much of a Western fan. That is not to say I do not like Western movies or shows if they are well-made – I certainly do. Godless is riveting television. All the staples of Western are there, but there is also taut pace, plotting and memorable performances. It streams on Netflix.
2. The Night of: An HBO miniseries, The Night Of targets the American criminal justice system and its inherent biases. A Pakistani-American young man is charged with rape and murder, and the procedure is more defined by the race and origin of the person than evidence. Performances are great including Riz Ahmed as a naive young man, but my favourite is John Turturro as a small-time lawyer with troubles of his own. Watch The Night Of on Hotstar.
3. The Night Manager: Based on the 1993 novel of the same name by John le Carré, this miniseries has two of the best actors on television: Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston. It is an espionage drama and is engaging throughout its run. A second season is in production. Stream The Night Manager on Amazon Prime Video.
4. Band of Brothers: This HBO miniseries is executively produced by two giants of American cinema, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who bring their experience of Saving Private Ryan to Band of Brothers, which is an exquisite and sensitive portrayal of a company of soldiers. The only thing I need to tell you about this series is that it is the second-most rated TV show on IMDB, above Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Wire. Stream it on Hotstar.
5. American Horror Story: Technically an anthology series, this Ryan Murphy show redefined horror on television. It appeared to follow the same clichés, only to turn them on their head. Each season tells a different story though all of them are said to exist in the same universe. American Horror story streams on Hotstar.