The intrigue of “Game of Thrones” and “Downton Abbey” has come to a close, and the comfort of fan favorites such as “Modern Family” and “Schitt’s Creek” said goodbye to our television screens this past year. These shows are our security blankets, comfort foods, and familiar friends. They make us feel safe and entertained, and it is always heartbreaking to have them taken away.
The television slump many may be feeling is often referred to as a “TV show hangover,” defined by Urban Dictionary as the moment “when you’ve watched all episodes of a TV show and/or the show ends and you don’t have anything else to do and you feel like your life has no meaning anymore and you feel lost and don’t even know what is happening around you anymore.”
For this encapsulating run-on sentence, Netflix has found the miracle cure.
Now common to streaming services are several mini-series. These series are typically just one season long and serve to capture a moment in history, follow the short story of a particular character, or fit into a docu-series category. Over the past year, it seems streaming networks have been working to crank them out.
So, for those mourning the loss of their favorite series, here are a few mini-series worth binging that you may have missed!
A great show to begin a mini-series binge with is, of course, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness”. This docu-series documents the events leading up to the arrest and incarceration of zoo owner and entertainer Joe Exotic. It follows the lives of his many employees, colleagues, and sworn enemy, Carole Baskin.
With this show, you truly never know what will happen next as you follow the twists and turns of Joe Exotic’s wild lifestyle and schemes. The series is just one season long but has left audiences wanting more. Fans have even rallied around Exotic, petitioning to release him from prison in hopes of getting more of that Exotic content. It’s for fans of true crime and lovers of the outrageous. While the media has been buzzing about this outrageous series, slipping in spoilers and conspiracy theories, trust me, you never truly know what will happen next. This series will keep you on your toes and firmly planted on your couch.
For all the “Downton Abbey” fans out there, there is a new show that strikes a similar chord. From the mind that brought you the beloved British drama, Julian Fellows does not disappoint with his latest picture of British history in the form of “The English Game”, a drama mini-series following the rise of the game of soccer in England, and how it transcended fundamental class systems.
For the entire cast, “The English Game” will be looked back on as their “breakout role,” and I can’t imagine a better start to a career in television. This period piece follows the first working-class soccer team to ever win a major championship game. Set in northern England in 1919, this true story will have you enamored with the intricacies and politics that played into the cultivation of soccer, or football if you will. You will root for the underdogs, cheer for the successes and cry at the tragedy. There is so much to be found in just six episodes, and you will find yourself hooked.
For self-loathing romance lovers (such as myself), I simply cannot recommend watching “Normal People” enough. This book to TV adaptation stars breakout actors Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal as Marianne and Connell as they begin their story in the halls of their Irish secondary school and continue into their adult lives. We follow the individual and collective growth of this couple. You’ll laugh, cry, and gush over Connell’s gorgeous chain (trust me, he makes it work). This show deals with mental health, physical abuse, and the many forms love can come in. You’ll be enamored by this beautifully written, directed, and performed masterpiece!
Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere” sparks conversations surrounding social justice, parenthood, and the importance of small choices. Based on the novel by Celeste Ng, Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington join forces to create a story about family and the many forms it may take. As Reese Witherspoon’s character watches her beautiful well-kept house burn to the ground in the opening scene, viewers are immediately enthralled and demand to know more. It is filled with a young and eager cast and depicts the nostalgic 90s era in its wardrobe and scriptwriting. Viewers find themselves surrounded by the many mysteries these characters present and picking distinct sides of very blurry arguments. While wildly entertaining, this eight-episode series is the perfect food for thought while we are left with nothing but, well, our thoughts.
Finally, Netflix’s “Unbelievable” is leaving audiences shocked and invested in the lives of rape survivors. “Unbelievable” is based on true events that occurred outside of Seattle, Washington, and in the greater Denver area of Colorado over the course of several years. Jumping back and forth in time, it follows crimes committed by a serial rapist and the tragedy that ensues after one of his victims is convinced that she is lying about her attack. You may recognize some of these actresses from old TV flings, as it stars Merritt Wever, known for her role as Elizabeth on “New Girl” and Toni Collette, who recently starred as Joni Thrombley in the Oscar-nominated film “Knives Out.” “Unbelievable” is another true crime mini-series that leaves viewers satisfied, slightly angered, and researching the real story.
What is comforting about these mini-series listed is that viewers know when they will end. There will not be a cliffhanger. It’s like watching a movie; you don’t feel angry at the movie for ending because you knew it was built to come to a close. Shows can go on for tens of seasons and you never know when a network might cut those seasons short, failing to tie up loose ends. Viewers get attached to characters and build their weeknights around watching their favorite protagonists.
Mini-series unlock a different type of TV viewership. There is an understanding between the show and the viewer that it will come to an end. Lives aren’t built around these characters or the series they are from but are sufficiently changed by the lessons mini-series unlock.