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The Best Miniseries Of The 2010s

Updated May 28, 2021 2.6k votes 216 voters 4.8k views70 items

List RulesVote up the best miniseries that premiered between 2010 and 2019.

The 2010s wasn't the decade that started the limited series - but it was definitely the decade that perfected it. The best 2010s miniseries were the ones that were envisioned as a limited series from the outset, and they were often so weird, wonderful, and wild that it would be impossible to imagine the story going any further. Shows like Escape at Dannemora and Catch-22 utilized big-name casts and closed-ended stories to create "Event TV," and all the while they challenged audiences' perceptions of what a limited series should be. 

Back in the days before Peak TV, a limited series usually meant that the network didn't have the confidence - or the money - to make a fully-fledged TV show. It also usually meant that a movie wouldn't be profitable, so why not stick it on TV in some down-time and hope that six people see it? Well, some of the top 2010s miniseries changed that with universal appeal that attracted massive audiences, like Chernobyl, while others created something so bold and fearless that nothing that's come before or since will ever be able to match it, like Good Omens and Olive Kitteridge.

The best 2010s miniseries on this list all pack a powerful punch in a small number of episodes, but thanks to the sheer number of shows, you have your work cut out for you if you want to get through all of them. So let's watch some A-listers on the big screen, adapt a Pulitzer prize winning book or two, and most likely listen to some British accents, because it's time to rank the best limited series of the 2010s.

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    Chernobyl

    Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård

    PremieredMay 6, 2019

    Genres (Tv)Historical drama, Miniseries

    Chernobyl (HBO, 2019) is an American-British historical drama television miniseries created by Craig Mazin. In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the USSR becomes one of...  more

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    71
    26

    Good Omens

    Michael Sheen, David Tennant

    PremieredMay 31, 2019

    Genres (Tv)Fantasy, Comedy, Action, Adventure

    Good Omens (Amazon Video, 2019) is a six-part television serial based on the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. After being accustomed to life on Earth, the demon Crowley (David Tennant) and...  more

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    85
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    The Haunting of Hill House

    Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino

    Premiered2018

    Genres (Tv)Supernatural horror

    The Haunting of Hill House is the first season of the Netflix supernatural anthology television series The Haunting. It premiered on October 12, 2018. is an American supernatural horror television...  more

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    51
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    The Night Of

    Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp

    PremieredJuly 10, 2016

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Mystery, Thriller, Miniseries

    The Night Of (HBO, 2016) is an American crime drama television miniseries created by Richard Price and Steven Zaillian, based on the British series Criminal Justice. After a night of partying with a...  more

    More 

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    When They See Us

    Michael Kenneth Williams, Vera Farmiga

    PremieredMay 31, 2019

    Genres (Tv)Docudrama, Crime drama, Law

    When They See Us (Netflix, 2019) is an American drama web television miniseries created by Ava DuVernay, based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case. The notorious case of five teenagers of color,...  more

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    Sharp Objects

    Amy Adams, Chris Messina

    PremieredJuly 8, 2018

    Genres (Tv)Drama

    Sharp Objects (HBO, 2018) is an American miniseries created by Marti Nixon, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn. Fresh out of a psych hospital for her years of self-harm, crime reporter Camille...  more

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    The Pacific

    James Badge Dale, Joseph Mazzello

    Premiered2010

    Genres (Tv)Historical drama, War, Miniseries

    The Pacific is a 2010 television series produced by HBO, Seven Network Australia, Sky Movies, Playtone and DreamWorks that premiered in the United States on 14 March 2010. The series is a companion...  more

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  • 8
    36
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    Roots

    Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker

    Premiered2016

    Genres (Tv)Historical, Drama

    Roots is a 2016 American miniseries and a remake of the 1977 miniseries with the same name, based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. It traces an African-American...  more
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    PremieredFebruary 8, 2015

    Genres (Tv)Documentary

    The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO, 2015) is a documentary miniseries directed by Andrew Jarecki. Exploring the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon Robert Durst, the key...  more

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    Olive Kitteridge

    Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins

    Premiered2014

    Genres (Tv)Drama

    Olive Kitteridge (HBO, 2018) is an American television miniseries based on Elizabeth Strout's 2008 novel Olive Kitteridge. Olive Kitteridge (Frances McDormand) is a misanthropic and strict, but...  more

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    Godless

    Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery

    PremieredNovember 22, 2017

    Genres (Tv)Western

    Godless (Netflix, 2017) is an American drama series created by Scott Frank. Roy Goode (Jack O'Connell) is an outlaw on the run from his former boss, the outlaw Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), who took...  more
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    The Vietnam War

    Bill Hayton

    PremieredSeptember 17, 2017

    Genres (Tv)Documentary, History, War

    The Vietnam War (PBS, 2017) is an American documentary television miniseries. The ten-part limited series examines the Vietnam War, featuring interviews with 79 witnesses, including many Americans...  more
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    22
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    Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

    John Hannah, Manu Bennett

    Premiered2011

    Genres (Tv)Miniseries, Historical drama

    Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is a Starz television miniseries and prequel to Spartacus, which premiered January 21, 2011. The series follows the character Gannicus, the first gladiator representing...  more

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    Five Came Back

    Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro

    Premiered2017

    Genres (Tv)Documentary, War

    Five Came Back (2017, Netflix) is a three-part American documentary based on the 2014 book Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by journalist Mark Harris. Five Came Back...  more
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    Waco

    Michael Shannon, Taylor Kitsch

    PremieredJanuary 24, 2018

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Miniseries

    Waco (Paramount Network, 2018) is an American television miniseries created by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, based on the 1993 Waco siege. The FBI and ATF seize religious leader David Koresh's...  more
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    Texas Rising

    Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser

    Premiered2015

    Genres (Tv)Drama, History, Miniseries

    Texas Rising (History Channel, 2015) is an American television miniseries. The 10-hour series is based on the Texas Revolution against Mexico and how the Texas Rangers were created....  more
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    23
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    Hatfields & McCoys

    Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton

    Premiered2012

    Genres (Tv)Docudrama, History, Miniseries

    Hatfields & McCoys (History, 2012) is an American three-part Western television miniseries directed by Kevin Reynolds. Dramatization of the bitter blood feud between the two families on the West...  more

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    War and Peace

    Paul Dano, Lily James

    Premiered2016

    Genres (Tv)Historical, Drama

    War & Peace is a 2016 British-American historical period drama television serial, based on Leo Tolstoy's classic novel....  more
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    Catch-22

    Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler

    PremieredDecember 10, 2016

    Genres (Tv)Nature, Documentary

    Catch-22 (Hulu, 2019) is an American-Italian drama miniseries, based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Heller. Following the story of Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), a US Air Force bombardier...  more
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    13
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    Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Melissa Ricci

    Premiered2010

    Genres (Tv)Science, Miniseries

    Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking is a 2010 science documentary television mini-series written by British physicist Stephen Hawking. The series was created for Discovery Channel by Darlow...  more
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    Les Miserables

    Dominic West, David Oyelowo

    Premiered2018

    Genres (Tv)Drama

    Les Misérables (2018, BBC) is a miniseries adaptation of Victor Hugo's French historical novel of the same name. The series, adapted by Andrew Davies and directed by Tom Shankland, stars Dominic West...  more
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    11
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    Patrick Melrose

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugo Weaving

    PremieredMay 12, 2018

    Genres (Tv)Drama

    Patrick Melrose (Showtime, 2018) is a five-part drama miniseries directed by Edward Berger, based on the novels by Edward St Aubyn. From a privileged yet troubling childhood, Patrick Melrose...  more
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    My Brilliant Friend

    Elisa Del Genio, Ludovica Nasti

    PremieredJanuary 6, 2018

    Genres (Tv)Science fiction, Docudrama

    My Brilliant Friend (HBO, 2018) is an Italian-American drama television miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante. The show is framed by an older Elena (Margherita Mazzucc)...  more

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    The Name of the Rose

    John Turturro, Damian Hardung

    Premiered2019

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Historical Drama

    The Name of the Rose (Sundance, SBS, BBC, 2019) is an international co-produced English language television drama series based on the international bestseller novel of the same name by Umberto Eco....  more
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    Mildred Pierce

    Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood

    Premiered2011

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Miniseries

    Mildred Pierce is a five-part miniseries that first aired on HBO on March 27, 2011. Adapted from James M. Cain's 1941 novel of the same name, it was directed by Todd Haynes, and starred Kate Winslet...  more

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