Don’t get me wrong, I love binge watching multiple seasons of a show, but sometimes I want something short that I know won’t take me ages to finish. Limited series are the perfect fix for this, especially recently when schoolwork is starting to really pile up for me. A short show could easily be finished in a day (if you’re impatient like me) or could be savored throughout the week. Most of these limited series are documentaries, but don’t let that turn you away because these shows are all amazing.
Before I go to my list, I want to make some honorable mentions. These shows are also very good but I feel that most people have either already watched or heard about them: The Queen’s Gambit, Tiger King, Evil Genius, and The Haunting of Hill House/Bly Manor.
Street Food: Asia and Street Food: Latin America
If you’re a fan of Chef’s Table then this show is for you. There are two versions of it, one focusing on Latin America and the other on Asia, but this show is more than just the food. It’s all about people who, without culinary expertise, thrive in their community, and how much food is a staple in not only everyone’s lives but their culture as well. Each episode focuses on a different country, so you get to experience a wide variety of foods and cultures. Each episode does not focus on just one but three people without seeming like it’s moving too fast.
This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist
As someone who lives near Boston, I’ve always heard about the theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but I actually don’t know too much about it. That is, until I finished this series. I just thought that the thieves were so professional that neither the BPD nor the FBI could catch them, but there is so much more to it than that. This limited series delves deep into some of the more likely paths the authorities looked into when trying to solve this case. However, over 30 years have passed and this case is still unsolved, no works have been recovered, and no arrests have been made.
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel
TW: suicide and depression
This limited series tells the story of the Cecil Hotel, specifically after a guest Elisa Lam goes missing. It delves deep into the hotel’s past while trying to solve the mystery of how and why Elisa went missing. Due to lack of communication and a video surfacing online, internet sleuths jump on the case, creating more of a sinister and mysterious air to this case. However, web sleuths can be more harmful than helpful in some cases. If you’re interested in a limited series about internet sleuths I suggest watching Don’t F**k with Cats. Just a warning, that show may be a bit disturbing to some.
TW: sexual assault and mentions of suicide
This heartbreaking series is based on a true story following both the victims of the same rapist and the two detectives tasked to catch him. This shows not only the prejudices within the system against rape victims but also the biases in our culture. At times this show can be hard to watch because the reality of these events hits right in your heart. However, I think this show is excellently written, acted, and directed, and hope that this can shed more light on how we need to change.
When They See Us
TW: sexual assault, police brutality
This is another heart-wrenching limited series based on true events. I know that this show is pretty popular but I feel that not many people talk about it. This series tells the story of five boys of color who were wrongly convicted of rape, focusing mainly on the trial itself and the aftermath of it. This story tells the true harm in racial profiling, and the deep biases this country holds against BIPOC.
Night Stalker: Hunt For A Serial Killer
TW: sexual violence and assault
This documentary limited series focuses more on the detectives and victims of this case rather than the killer himself so as to not idolize him in any way. It explores the many reasons why it took so long to catch the killer and even a little about his trial after capture. I know documentaries about serial killers are popular right now, so if you’re looking for one to watch I suggest this one.
Based on the FBI task force meant to catch the Unabomber, this series closely follows the true events of the case. It delves into the beginnings of linguistic profiling, a new (at the time) practice used in helping to identify perpetrators. This show is very easy to get sucked into, so I suggest starting over the weekend unless you have great self control. It is very well acted and directed, and if you enjoy it I suggest also watching another miniseries called Manhunt: Deadly Games, made by the same people, but about the bombings during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
I hope you’ve found something new to add to your watchlist. Happy watching!
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