watchworthy presents

The Best Miniseries in TV History 

Reference
Originally by
Updated April 8, 2020 24.9k votes 3.3k voters 186.3k views 187 items

List Rules Vote up the best, most award-worthy limited series, and add any that are missing from the list. No shows with second seasons, but anthology series OK.

 

The very best miniseries shows on television, ranked from best to worst. This list of the greatest miniseries shows also includes pictures from the shows when available. Including TV shows that are currently streaming on Netflix, some of the best HBO original shows are also here. Popular limited series have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining miniseries show of all time is. Don't let your favorite miniseries television programs in history get to the bottom of the list- be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot. The list of miniseries television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available. What do you think is the best mini series that has ever been on TV? Take a look at these TV mini series and see if your favorite is represented.

List features shows like The Shining, John Adams, and more! These are the best miniseries ever!

This list answers the questions, "What is the best miniseries show of all time?" and "What are the greatest miniseries shows?"

 

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

Premiered: 2001

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, HBO

Band of Brothers is a 2001 American WWII drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom ...more
2
Lonesome Dove is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Diane Lane, Robert Duvall, Steve Buscemi

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 1

Network: CBS

Lonesome Dove is a 1989 American epic Western adventure television miniseries directed by Simon Wincer. It is a four part adaptation of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by ...more
3
Roots is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

Premiered: 1977

Network: American Broadcasting Company

This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the ...more
4
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett

Premiered: 2008

Number of Episodes: 7

Network: HBO

John Adams is a 2008 American television miniseries chronicling most of U.S. President John Adams' political life and his role in the founding of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John ...more
5
The Pacific is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Hugh Ambrose, Ed Tracy

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: HBO

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 ...more
6
North and South is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
North and South Elizabeth Taylor, Kirstie Alley, Johnny Cash

Premiered: 1985

Network: American Broadcasting Company

North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994.The 1985 first installment, North and South, remains the seventh-highest ...more
7
The Thorn Birds is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Christopher Plummer, Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Simmons

Premiered: 1983

Network: American Broadcasting Company

The Thorn Birds is a television mini-series broadcast on ABC between 27 and 30 March 1983. It starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Jean Simmons, ...more
8
Shōgun is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
bojanthebest added Orson Welles, Richard Chamberlain, Toshiro Mifune

Premiered: 1980

Number of Episodes: 5

Network: NBC

Shōgun is an American television miniseries based on the international bestselling 1975 novel of the same name by James Clavell, who also was the executive producer of the miniseries. It was ...more
9
V is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Robert Englund, Michael Ironside, Lane Smith

Premiered: 1983

Number of Episodes: 2

Network: NBC

V is a 1983 film directed by Kenneth Johnson.
10
Jesus of Nazareth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
James Earl Jones, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer

Premiered: 1977

Network: ITV

Jesus of Nazareth is a 1977 British-Italian television miniseries directed by Franco Zeffirelli and co-written by Zeffirelli, Anthony Burgess, and Suso Cecchi d'Amico which dramatises the birth, ...more
11
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman

Premiered: 1995

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Pride and Prejudice is a six-episode 1995 British television drama, adapted by Andrew Davies from Jane Austen's 1813 novel of the same name. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth starred as Elizabeth ...more
12
The Winds of War is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
The Winds of War Chaim Topol, Charles Lane, David Dukes

Premiered: 1983

The Winds of War is Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first being The Caine Mutiny. Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance; originally ...more
13
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: AMC

Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah Hawley, and inspired by the 1996 film. Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and wrong doings ...more
14
Centennial is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Mark Harmon, Timothy Dalton, Andy Griffith

Premiered: 1978

Network: NBC

Centennial is a 12-episode American television miniseries that aired on NBC from October 1978 to February 1979. It was based on the novel of the same name by James A. Michener, and was produced ...more
15
I, Claudius is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
I, Claudius Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Siân Phillips

Premiered: 1976

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

I, Claudius is a 1976 BBC Television adaptation of Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Written by Jack Pulman, it starred Derek Jacobi as Claudius, with Siân Phillips, Brian ...more
16
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan

Premiered: 1994

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 4

Network: American Broadcasting Company

The Stand is a 1994 American television miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. King also wrote the teleplay, and has a cameo role in the series. It was directed by Mick ...more
17
V: The Final Battle is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Jane Badler, Michael Durrell, Robert Englund

Premiered: 1984

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 3

Network: NBC

V: The Final Battle is a 1984 American TV miniseries. It is a sequel to the 1983 miniseries written by Kenneth Johnson about aliens known as "The Visitors" trying to take over Earth. ...more
18
Chernobyl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
OoWah added Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson

Premiered: 2019

Network: HBO

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 ...more
19
Rich Man, Poor Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Nick Nolte, Ed Asner, Talia Shire

Premiered: 1976

Number of Episodes: 9

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Rich Man, Poor Man is a 1976 American television miniseries based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw that aired on ABC in one or two hour episodes mostly on Monday nights over ...more
20
Holocaust is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Meryl Streep, Ian Holm, Michael Moriarty

Premiered: 1978

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 4

Network: NBC

Holocaust is an American television miniseries broadcast in four parts in 1978 on the NBC television network. The series tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Weiss family ...more
21
It is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Tim Curry, Seth Green, John Ritter

Premiered: 1990

It is a 1990 psychological horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to ...more
22
Battlestar Galactica (Th... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Grace Park, Tricia Helfer, Mary McDonnell

Premiered: 2003

Number of Episodes: 2

Network: Syfy, Sky1

Battlestar Galactica is a three-hour miniseries starring Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell, written and produced by Ronald D. Moore and directed by Michael Rymer. It was the first part of ...more
23
Spartacus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Spartacus Lucy Lawless, Jaime Murray, Katrina Law

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 39

Network: Starz

Spartacus (Starz, 2010) is a British television series produced in New Zealand, inspired by the historical figure of Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who from 73 to 71 BCE led a major slave ...more
24
Hornblower is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Fred Astaire, Peter Arne, David Buck

Premiered: 1998

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: ITV

Hornblower is the umbrella title of a series of British television films based on three of C. S. Forester's ten novels about the fictional character Horatio Hornblower, a Royal Navy officer ...more
25
From the Earth to the Mo... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Miniseries in TV History
Tom Hanks, Nick Searcy, Lane Smith

Premiered: 1998

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 12

Network: HBO

From the Earth to the Moon is a twelve-part HBO television miniseries co-produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Tom Hanks, and Michael Bostick, telling the story of the landmark Apollo ...more