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A miniseries, or mini-series, is a
television series upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A Sony Wega CRT television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly c ...
that tells a story in a predetermined, limited number of
episode An episode is a narrative unit within a larger drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, ...
s. It is to be distinguished from the term " limited series", of US origin, which for some time was known by the
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), also colloquially known as the Television Academy, is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the Television in the United States, television industry in the United Sta ...
as a miniseries, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. the miniseries format has risen in popularity on both
streaming service Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a single presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media, such as printed ...
s and television. The term "
serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), periodical publications and newspapers * Serial (radio and television), ...
" is used in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and in other
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
nations to describe a show that has an ongoing narrative plotline, while and/or "
series Series may refer to: People with the name * Caroline Series (born 1951), English mathematician, daughter of George Series * George Series (1920–1995), English physicist Arts, entertainment, and media Music * Series, the ordered sets used i ...
" is used for a set of episodes in a similar way that "season" is used in North America.


Definitions

A miniseries is distinguished from an ongoing television series; the latter does not usually have a predetermined number of episodes and may continue for several years. Before the term was coined in the US in the early 1970s, the ongoing episodic form was always called a "
serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), periodical publications and newspapers * Serial (radio and television), ...
", just as a novel appearing in episodes in successive editions of magazines or newspapers is called a serial. In Britain, miniseries are often still referred to as serials and/or series. Several commentators have offered more precise definitions of the term. In ''Halliwell's Television Companion'' (1987),
Leslie Halliwell Robert James Leslie Halliwell (23 February 1929 – 21 January 1989) was a British film critic Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art ...
and
Philip Purser:''For the science fiction writer, see Philip Purser-Hallard.'' Philip Purser (born 28 August 1925) is a United Kingdom, British television critic and novelist. Purser was born in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. His mother had been the first female stu ...
suggested that miniseries tend to "appear in four to six episodes of various lengths", while Stuart Cunningham in ''Textual Innovation in the Australian Historical Mini-series'' (1989) defined a miniseries as, "a limited run program of more than two and less than the 13-part season or half season block associated with serial or series programming". With the proliferation of the format in the 1980s and 90s, television films broadcast over even two or three nights were commonly referred to as miniseries in the US. In ''Television: A History'' (1985),
Francis Wheen Francis James Baird Wheen (born 22 January 1957) is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster. Early life and education Wheen was born into an army familyNicholas Wro"A life in writing" ''The Guardian'', 29 August 2009 and educated at two inde ...
points out a difference in character development between the two: "Both
soap opera A soap opera or ''soap'' for short is a radio or television dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by , s, and . The term "soap opera" originated from radio dramas originally being sponsored by soap manufacture ...
s and primetime series cannot afford to allow their leading characters to develop, since the shows are made with the intention of running indefinitely. In a miniseries on the other hand, there is a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end (as in a conventional play or novel), enabling characters to change, mature, or die as the serial proceeds".Wheen, Francis; ''Television: A History'', London: Century Publishing, 1985 In 2015, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences changed its guidelines on how
Emmy An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is a trophy presented at one of the numerous annual American events or competitions that each recognize achievements in a particular sector of the television industry. The Emmy is considered one of the four majo ...

Emmy
nominees are classified, with shows with a limited run all referred to as "limited series" instead of "miniseries". This was a reversion to 1974, when the category was named "outstanding limited series". It had been changed to "outstanding miniseries" in 1986, and then added to the "made for television films" category in 2011. Miniseries were brought back out in 2014, accommodating such limited series as
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription-based television Tel ...
's '' Olive Kitteridge'', History's ''
Texas Rising ''Texas Rising'' is a 2015 History Channel 10-hour television miniseries based on the Texas Revolution The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Texas Mexica ...
'', IFC's '' The Honorable Woman'' and PBS' ''
Wolf Hall ''Wolf Hall'' (2009) is a historical novel by English author Hilary Mantel, published by Fourth Estate, named after the Seymour family's seat of Wolfhall, or Wulfhall, in Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a county in Sout ...
'', and TV movies such as HBO's '' Bessie'' and National Geographic's ''
Killing Jesus ''Killing Jesus: A History'' is a 2013 book by Bill O'Reilly (political commentator), Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (author), Martin Dugard about the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and crucifixion of Jesus, referred to in the book as J ...
''.


21st century definitions

The ''
Collins English Dictionary The ''Collins English Dictionary'' is a printed and online dictionary of English. It is published by HarperCollins in Glasgow. The edition of the dictionary in 1979 with Patrick Hanks as editor and Laurence Urdang as editorial director, was t ...
'' (online, as of 2021, UK) defines a miniseries as "a television programme in several parts that is shown on consecutive days or weeks for a short period; while ''
Webster's New World College Dictionary Compact school and office edition, 1967 ''Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language'' is an American dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged Alphabetic ...
s (4th ed., 2010, US) definition is "a TV drama or docudrama broadcast serially in a limited number of episodes". In popular usage, by around 2020, the boundaries between miniseries and limited series have become somewhat blurred; the format has been described as a series with "a self-contained narrative – whether three or 12 episodes long".


History


United Kingdom

The British television ''serial'' is rooted in dramatic radio productions developed between the
First First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill ...

First
and the
Second The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the of in the (SI) (french: Système International d’unités), commonly understood and historically defined as of a – this factor derived from the division of the day first into 24 s, th ...
World Wars. In the 1920s the BBC pioneered dramatic readings of books. In 1925 it broadcast ''
A Christmas Carol ''A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas'', commonly known as ''A Christmas Carol'', is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843 and illustrated by John Leech (caricaturist), Joh ...

A Christmas Carol
'', which became a holiday favourite. Later, John Reith, wanting to use radio waves to "part the clouds of ignorance", came up with the idea of a ''
classic serial ''Classic Serial'' is a strand on BBC Radio 4, which broadcasts in series of one-hour dramas, "Adaptations of works which have achieved classic status." It is broadcast twice weekly, first from 3:00–4:00 pm on Sunday, then repeated from 9:00–10: ...
'', based on a "classical" literary text. In 1939 the BBC adapted the romantic novel ''
The Prisoner of Zenda ''The Prisoner of Zenda'' is an 1894 adventure novel by Anthony Hope, in which the King of Ruritania is drugged on the eve of his coronation and thus is unable to attend the ceremony. Political forces within the realm are such that, in ord ...
'' for radio broadcast. Its adapter, Jack Inglis, compressed several characters into one and simplified the plotline. The production struck a chord with listeners and served as a prototype for serials that followed it. Post-war
BBC Television BBC Television is a service of the BBC. The corporation has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a royal charter since 1927. It produced television programmes from its own studios from 1932, although the start of its regular servi ...
picked up the classic radio serial tradition by broadcasting ''
The Warden ''The Warden'' is a novel by English author Anthony Trollope Anthony Trollope (; 24 April 1815 – 6 December 1882) was an English novelist and civil servant of the Victorian era. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collective ...
'' by
Anthony Trollope Anthony Trollope (; 24 April 1815 – 6 December 1882) was an English novelist and civil servant of the Victorian era. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around th ...

Anthony Trollope
over six-episodes in 1951. ''
Pride and Prejudice ''Pride and Prejudice'' is an 1813 romantic novel of manners written by Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and ...

Pride and Prejudice
'' was serialised in 1952, ''
Jane Eyre ''Jane Eyre'' (originally published as ''Jane Eyre: An Autobiography'') is a novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonficti ...

Jane Eyre
'' in 1955. In 1953 the BBC broadcast the first serial written specifically for television: the six-part ''
The Quatermass Experiment ''The Quatermass Experiment'' is a British science fiction serial broadcast by BBC Television BBC Television is a service of the BBC. The corporation has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a royal charter since 1927. It pr ...
''. Its success paved the way for two more six-part serials: ''Quatermass II'' in 1955 and ''Quatermass and the Pit'' in 1958. In November 1960 the BBC televised a thirteen-episode adaptation of
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the .. His work ...

Charles Dickens
's ''
Barnaby Rudge ''Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty'' (commonly known as ''Barnaby Rudge'') is a historical novel by British novelist Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and ...
''. In December of that year it broadcast a four-episode dramatisation of
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots ofte ...

Jane Austen
's ''
Persuasion Persuasion or persuasion arts is an umbrella term of Social influence, influence. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person's beliefs, Attitude (psychology), attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. Persuasion is studied in many di ...
''. To compete with commercial television, BBC launched
BBC-2 BBC Two is a British television network owned and operated by the . It covers a wide range of subject matter, with a remit "to broadcast " in contrast to the more mainstream and popular . Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio channels, ...
in 1964. It had a new time slot allocated for classic serial adaptations on Saturday evenings. The late-night broadcast allowed for more risky and sophisticated choices and for longer episodes. In 1967 ''
The Forsyte Saga ''The Forsyte Saga'', first published under that title in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes published between 1906 and 1921 by the English author John Galsworthy, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. They chronicle the vici ...
'' was broadcast in 26 50-minute episodes. Following its success in Britain, the series was shown in the United States on public television and broadcast all over the world, and became the first BBC television series to be sold to the Soviet Union.
The Forsyte Saga
' at PBS
Masterpiece Theatre ''Masterpiece'' (formerly known as ''Masterpiece Theatre'') is a drama anthology television series Image:Luxdolls2.jpg, ''Lux Radio Theatre'' ad art featuring Joan Crawford An anthology series is a radio programming, radio, television program, ...
, URL accessed 12 October 2009


North America

Anthology series In book publishing, an anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler; it may be a collection of plays, poems, short stories, songs or excerpts by different authors. In genre fiction, the term "anthology" typically categorize ...
dominated American dramatic programming during the
Golden Age of Television The first Golden Age of Television is the era of live television production in the United States, roughly from the late 1940s through the late 1950s. According to ''The Television Industry: A Historical Dictionary'', "the Golden Age opened with ...
, when "every night was opening night; one never knew when a flick of the knob would spark the birth of great theatrical literature". A different story and a different set of characters were presented in each episode. Very rarely the stories were split into several episodes, like 1955 ''Mr. Lincoln'' from
Omnibus Omnibus may refer to: Film and television * Omnibus (film), ''Omnibus'' (film) * Omnibus (broadcast), a compilation of TV episodes * Omnibus (UK TV series), ''Omnibus'' (UK TV series), an arts-based documentary programme * Omnibus (U.S. TV series ...
series, which was presented in two parts, or 1959 adaptation of ''
For Whom the Bell Tolls ''For Whom the Bell Tolls'' is a novel by Ernest Hemingway Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he ...

For Whom the Bell Tolls
'' from ''
Playhouse 90 ''Playhouse 90'' was an American television anthology series, anthology drama series that aired on CBS from 1956 to 1960 for a total of 133 episodes. The show was produced at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California. Since live anthology dra ...
'' series, which was initially planned by the director
John Frankenheimer John Michael Frankenheimer (February 19, 1930 – July 6, 2002) was an American film and television director known for social dramas and action/suspense films. Among his credits were ' (1962), ' (1962), ' (1964), ' (1964), ' (1966), ' (1966), ' ( ...
to consist of three parts, but ultimately was broadcast as two 90-minute installments. The high cost and technical difficulties of staging a new play every week, which would cost as much as—or more than—an episode of a filmed television series, led to the demise of anthology programming by the end of the 1950s. The void was filled with less expensive series like ''
Gunsmoke ''Gunsmoke'' is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the Western United States, Am ...
'' or ''
Wagon Train ''Wagon Train'' is an American western (genre), Western series that aired on the NBC television network (1957–1962) and then on American Broadcasting Company, ABC (1962–1965). ''Wagon Train'' first aired on 18 September 1957, and eventually p ...

Wagon Train
'', which featured the same characters every week and had higher potential for lucrative rebroadcast and syndication rights. It was the American success in 1969–1970 of the British 26-episode serial ''
The Forsyte Saga ''The Forsyte Saga'', first published under that title in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes published between 1906 and 1921 by the English author John Galsworthy, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. They chronicle the vici ...
'' (1967) that made TV executives realize that finite multi-episode stories based on novels could be popular and could provide a boost to weekly viewing figures. The form began in earnest in the spring of 1974 with the
CBC#Redirect CBC
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's eight-part serial '' The National Dream'', based on
Pierre Berton Pierre Francis de Marigny Berton (July 12, 1920 – November 30, 2004) was a noted Canadian author of non-fiction, especially Canadiana Canadiana is a term used to describe things (e.g., books, historical documents, and artifacts), ideas, or a ...
's nonfiction book of the same name about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
's three-part ''
QB VII ''QB VII'' by is a dramatic courtroom novel published in 1970. The four-part novel highlights the events leading to a libel trial in the United Kingdom. The novel was Uris's second consecutive #1 and third overall. The novel is loosely based o ...
'', based on the novel by
Leon Uris Leon Marcus Uris (August 3, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books including '' Exodus'' (published in 1958) and '' Trinity'' (published in 1976). Life and career Uris was born in Ba ...
. Following these initial forays, broadcasters used miniseries to bring other books to the screen. '' Rich Man, Poor Man'', based on the novel by
Irwin Shaw Irwin Shaw (February 27, 1913 – May 16, 1984) was an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for two of his novels: ''The Young Lions'' (1 ...
, was broadcast in 12 one-hour episodes in 1976 by ABC. It popularized the miniseries format and started a decade-long golden age of television miniseries versions of popular books featuring stars above television class.
Alex Haley Alexander Murray Palmer Haley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) was an American writer and the author of the 1976 book '' Roots: The Saga of an American Family.'' ABC adapted the book as a television miniseries of the same name and a ...
's ''
Roots A root In vascular plants, the roots are the plant organ, organs of a plant that are modified to provide anchorage for the plant and take in water and nutrients into the plant body, which allows plants to grow taller and faster. They most often ...
'' in 1977 can fairly be called the first
blockbuster Blockbuster may refer to: Corporations * Blockbuster LLC, a defunct video and game rental chain TV and entertainment * Blockbuster (entertainment), any very successful movie, theatrical play, etc. * Blockbusters (American game show), ''Blockbuste ...
success of the format. Its success in the USA was partly due to its schedule: the 12-hour duration was split into eight episodes broadcast on consecutive nights, resulting in a finale with a 71 percent share of the audience and 130 million viewers, which at the time was the highest rated TV program of all time. ''
TV Guide TV Guide is an American digital media Digital media means any communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data Machine-readable data, or computer-readable data, is data Data are units of infor ...
'' (April 11–17, 1987) called 1977's ''
Jesus of Nazareth Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...
'' "the best miniseries of all time" and "unparalleled television". '' North and South'', the 1985 adaptation of a 1982 novel by
John Jakes John William Jakes (born March 31, 1932) is an American writer, best known for American historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study and the documentation o ...
, remains one of the 10 highest rated miniseries in TV history.


Japan

Japanese serialized television production can be traced back to the ''Sunday Diary of My Home'' (''Waga Ya no Nichiyo Nikki''), which was aired by NTV in 1953 and consisted of 25 half-hour episodes. This "home drama" focused on generational differences and the contradictions of being a loving family in a confined space, outlining a style of drama that lives on to this day. In the same year NHK tried its own variation of the home drama format in the ''Ups and Downs Toward Happiness'' (''Kofuku e no Kifuku''), which comprised thirteen episodes. Its protagonists, the formerly wealthy but turned penniless family is forced to struggle for its own existence. Since then,
Japanese television drama , also called , are television programs that are a staple of Television in Japan, Japanese television and are broadcast daily. All major Television networks, TV networks in Japan produce a variety of Drama (genre), drama series including Romance f ...
, also called , became a staple of
Japanese television Television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can r ...
. Evening doramas air weekly and usually comprise ten to fourteen one-hour long episodes. Typically, instead of being episodic there is one story running throughout the episodes. Since they are of a fixed length, doramas have a definite ending, and since they are relatively long, they can explore character, situation, and interesting dialog in a way not possible in movies. Doramas are never canceled mid-season, but they also do not continue into the next season even if extremely popular. Popular doramas do often give rise to "specials" made after the final episode, if the show has been a huge success.


South Korea

South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
started to broadcast
television series upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A Sony Wega CRT television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly c ...
() in the 1960s. Since then, the shows became popular worldwide, partially due to the spread of the
Korean Wave#REDIRECT Korean wave The Korean wave (, , a neologism A neologism (; from Greek νέο- ''néo-'', "new" and λόγος ''lógos'', "speech, utterance") is a relatively recent or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of enteri ...
, with streaming services that offer multiple language subtitles. Korean dramas are usually helmed by one director and written by one screenwriter, thus having a distinct directing style and language, unlike American television series, where often several directors and writers work together. Series set in contemporary times usually run for one season, for 12−24 episodes of 60 minutes each. Historical series (''
Sageuk (Hangul: 사극, Hanja: 史劇; ) in Korean language, Korean denotes historical dramas, including traditional drama plays, Cinema of Korea, films or Korean drama, television series. In English language literature usually refers to historical fi ...
'') may be longer, with 50 to 200 episodes, and are either based on historical figures, incorporate historical events, or use a historical backdrop. While technically the word ''sageuk'' literally translates to "historical drama," the term is typically reserved for dramas taking place during Korean history. Popular subjects of sageuks have traditionally included famous battles, royalty, famous military leaders and political intrigues. Korean dramas are usually shot within a very tight schedule, often a few hours before actual broadcast. Screenplays are flexible and may change anytime during production, depending on viewers' feedback.


Soviet Union/Russia

While the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
was among the first European countries to resume television broadcast after the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, early Soviet television did not indulge its viewers with a variety of programming. News, sports, concerts and movies were the main staples during the 1950s. With state control over television production and broadcast, television was intended not merely for entertainment, but also as the means of education and propaganda. Soap operas, quiz shows and games were considered too lowbrow. In the beginning of the 1960s television was expanding rapidly. The increase in the number of channels and the duration of daily broadcast caused shortage of content deemed suitable for broadcast. This led to production of
television film A television film is a feature-lengthIn Internet marketing, online marketing, a landing page, sometimes known as a "lead capture page","single property page", "static page", "squeeze page" or a "destination page", is a single web page that appe ...
s, in particular ''multiple-episode television films'' (
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
: многосерийный телевизионный фильм ''mnogoseriyny televizionny film'')—the official Soviet moniker for miniseries. Despite that the Soviet Union started broadcasting in color in 1967, color TV sets did not become widespread until the end of the 1980s. This justified shooting made-for-TV movies on black-and-white film. The 1965 four-episode '' Calling for fire, danger close'' is considered the first Soviet miniseries. It is a period drama set in the Second World War depicting the Soviet guerrilla fighters infiltrating German compound and directing the fire of the regular Soviet Army to destroy the German airfield. During the 1970s the straightforward fervor gave way to a more nuanced interplay of patriotism, family and everyday life wrapped into traditional genres of crime drama, spy show or thriller. One of the most popular Soviet miniseries—''
Seventeen Moments of Spring ''Seventeen Moments of Spring'' (russian: Семнадцать мгновений весны, Semnadtsat' mgnoveniy vesny) is a 1973 Soviet twelve-part television series, directed by Tatyana Lioznova and based on the novel of the same title by Y ...
'' about a Soviet spy operating in Nazi Germany—was shot in 1972. This 12-episode miniseries incorporated features of political thriller and
docudrama A docudrama (or documentary drama) is a genre of Radio programming, radio and television show, television programming, feature film, and staged theatre, which features Drama (film and television), dramatized Historical reenactment, re-enactments ...
and included excerpts from period newsreels. Originally produced in black-and-white in 4:3 aspect ratio, it was colorized and re-formatted for wide-screen TVs in 2009. Other popular miniseries of the Soviet era include ''The Shadows Disappear at Noon'' (1971, 7 episodes) about the fate of several generations of locals from a Siberian village; ''The Long Recess'' (1973, 4 episodes) about the students and teachers of a
night school A night school is an adult learning school that holds classes in the evening or at night to accommodate people who work during the day. A community college A community college is a type of educational institution An educational institution i ...
; ''The Ordeal'' (1977, 13 episodes)—an adaptation of the novel of the same name by
Aleksey TolstoyAleksey Tolstoy may refer to: *Count Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817–1875), Russian historical and dramatical novelist, poet, playwright *Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1883–1945), Russian science-fiction, fantasy and historical writer {{h ...

Aleksey Tolstoy
, which traces the development of the Russian society during the critical years of the First World War, the 1917 revolution and the civil war that followed; '' The Days of the Turbins'' (1976, 3 episodes)—an adaptation of the play of the same name by
Mikhail Bulgakov Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov ( rus, links=no, Михаил Афанасьевич Булгаков, p=mʲɪxɐˈil ɐfɐˈnasʲjɪvʲɪtɕ bʊlˈɡakəf; – 10 March 1940) was a Russian writer, medical doctor and playwright active in the first ...
, about the fate of intelligentsia during the
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October Revolution
in Russia; ''
The Twelve Chairs ''The Twelve Chairs'' ( rus, Двенадцать стульев, Dvenadtsat stulyev) is a classic satirical novel by the Odessan Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov, published in 1928. Its plot follows characters attempting to obtain jewelry hidden ...
'' (1976, 4 episodes)—an adaptation of the satirical novel of the same name by
Ilf and Petrov Ilya Ilf (Ilya Arnoldovich Feinsilberg) (russian: Илья Арнольдович Файнзильберг, 1897–1937) and Evgeny or Yevgeny Petrov (Yevgeniy Petrovich Kataev/Katayev or russian: Евгений Петрович Катаев, ...
, where two partners in crime search for chairs from a former twelve-chair set, one of which has jewelry stashed in it; ''Open Book'' (1977, 9 episodes)—an adaptation of the novel of the same name by
Veniamin Kaverin Veniamin Alexandrovich Kaverin (russian: link=no, Вениамин Александрович Каверин; real name – Вениамин Абелевич Зильбер, or Veniamin Abelevich Zilber)(, Pskov Pskov ( rus, Псков, a=pskov ...
about a Soviet female microbiologist who obtained the first batches of
penicillin Penicillins (P, PCN or PEN) are a group of originally obtained from ' s, principally ' and '. Most penicillins in clinical use are chemically synthesised from naturally-produced penicillins. A number of natural penicillins have been discov ...

penicillin
in the Soviet Union and organized its production; ''
The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed ''The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed'' (russian: link=no, Место встречи изменить нельзя, translit. ''Mesto vstrechi izmenit nelzya'') is a 1979 Soviet five-part television miniseries A miniseries (or mini-seri ...
'' (1979, 5 episodes) about the fight against criminals in the immediate post-war period; '' Little Tragedies'' (1979, 3 episodes)—a collection of short theatrical plays based on works by
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (; rus, links=no, Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкинIn Pushkin's day, his name was written ., r=Aleksándr Sergéyevich Púshkin, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsandr sʲɪrˈɡʲe(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn, a=ru ...
; '' The Suicide Club, or the Adventures of a Titled Person'' (1981, 3 episodes) about the adventures of Prince Florizel, a character of '' The Suicide Club'' stories by
Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson (born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson; 13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, essayist, poet and travel writer. He is best known for works such as ''Treasure Island ''Treasure Island'' (origi ...

Robert Louis Stevenson
; ''
Dead Souls ''Dead Souls'' (russian: «Мёртвые души», ''Mjórtvyje dúshi'') is a novel by Nikolai Gogol, first published in 1842, and widely regarded as an exemplar of 19th-century Russian literature. The novel chronicles the travels and adventu ...
'' (1984, 5 episodes)—an adaptation of the novel of that name by
Nikolai Gogol Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol (; rus, Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь, r=Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol, p=nʲɪkɐˈlaj vɐˈsʲilʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ˈgogəlʲ; uk, link=no, Мико́ла Васи́льович Го́голь, trans ...

Nikolai Gogol
chronicling travels and adventures of Pavel Chichikov and the people whom he encounters; and '' TASS Is Authorized to Declare...'' (1984, 10 episodes) about the tug-of-war of Soviet and American intelligence agencies. Numerous miniseries were produced for children in the 1970s-1980s. Among them are: '' The Adventures of Buratino'' (1976, 2 episodes)—an adaptation of ''
The Golden Key, or the Adventures of Buratino '' Image:Russia stamp 1992 No 15.jpg, A Russian postage stamp from 1992 with an illustration of Buratino Buratino (Russian: Буратино) is the main character of the book ''The Golden Key, or the Adventures of Buratino'' (1936) by Aleksey ...
'' by Alexey Tolstoy, which in turn is a retelling of ''The Adventures of Pinocchio'' by Carlo Collodi; ''The Two Captains'' (1976, 6 episodes)—an adaptation of ''The Two Captains'' by
Veniamin Kaverin Veniamin Alexandrovich Kaverin (russian: link=no, Вениамин Александрович Каверин; real name – Вениамин Абелевич Зильбер, or Veniamin Abelevich Zilber)(, Pskov Pskov ( rus, Псков, a=pskov ...
about a search for a lost Arctic expedition and the discovery of Severnaya Zemlya; ''The Adventures of the Elektronic, The Adventures of Elektronic'' (1979, 3 episodes) about a humanoid robot meeting and befriending his prototype—a 6th grade schoolboy; ''Guest from the Future'' (1985, 5 episodes) about a girl travelling to contemporary time from the future. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Russian television saw a period of privatization and liberalization. The television programming of the 1990s-2000s included a great deal of crime dramas set both in contemporary times (''The Criminal Saint Petersburg'', 2000, 90 episodes) as well in the Russian Empire, Tsarist Russia (''The Mysteries of Sankt Petersburg'', 1994, 60 episodes). Starting from the 2000s, Russian TV saw a resurgence of book adaptations, such as ''The Idiot (TV series), The Idiot'' (2003, 10 episodes)—an adaptation of the The Idiot, novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; ''The Case of Kukotskiy'' (2005, 12 episodes)—an adaptation of the The Kukotsky Enigma, novel by Lyudmila Ulitskaya; ''The Master and Margarita (miniseries), The Master and Margarita'' (2005, 10 episodes)—an adaptation of the The Master and Margarita, novel by Mikhail Bulgakov; ''Doctor Zhivago'' (2006, 11 episodes)—an adaptation of the Doctor Zhivago (novel), novel by Boris Pasternak; ''Fathers and Sons'' (2008, 4 episodes)—an adaptation of the Fathers and Sons (novel), novel by Ivan Turgenev; ''Life and Fate'' (2012, 12 episodes)—an adaptation of the Life and Fate, novel by Vasily Grossman; ''Kuprin'' (2014, 13 episodes)—an adaptation of several novels by Aleksandr Kuprin.


Brazil

In Brazil, the Rede Globo television network commenced the production of this type of television genre with the transmission of ''Lampião e Maria Bonita'', written by Aguinaldo Silva and Doc Comparato and directed by Paulo Afonso Grisolli, and broadcast in 1982 in eight
episode An episode is a narrative unit within a larger drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, ...
s; in Brazil these episodes are popularly known as "Chapter (books), chapters", because each episode is analogous to a book chapter, where the following chapter begins at the same point where the previous one has ended. Rede Manchete, in the following year after its creation (1984), has produced and broadcast ''Marquesa de Santos''. The :pt:Lista de minisséries da Rede Globo, Brazilian miniseries usually consist of several dozen chapters, occasionally having longer duration, like :pt:Aquarela do Brasil (minissérie), Brazilian Aquarelle that consists of 60 chapters, making it almost a "mini-telenovela". Due to the fact that they are broadcast at a later time than telenovelas (usually after 22:00 or 10 p.m.), miniseries are more daring in terms of themes, scenes, dialogues and situations, a function previously played by the "novelas das dez"—a popular term referring to the telenovelas that were broadcast at 10 p.m. between 1969 and 1979. Miniseries made by Rede Globo are released in the DVD format by the aforementioned television network, and a few of these miniseries are also released as a book, especially in the case of great successes such as ''Anos Rebeldes'' ("Rebel Years") and ''A Casa das Sete Mulheres'' ("The House of the Seven Women"); the latter was based on the eponymous book written by Letícia Wierzchowski, which became known due to the miniseries.


Popularity

The eighteen-hour 1983 miniseries ''The Winds of War (miniseries), The Winds of War'' was a ratings success, with 140 million viewers for all or part of the miniseries, making it the most-watched miniseries up to that time. Its 1988 sequel ''War and Remembrance (miniseries), War and Remembrance'' won for best miniseries, special effects and single-camera production editing, and was considered by some critics the ultimate epic miniseries on the American television. However, it also signalled the start of the format's decline, as the $105 million production was a major ratings flop; the advent of VCR and cable television options was responsible for the decrease of length and ratings of most miniseries that continued into the mid-1990s. By 1996, Gulliver's Travels (miniseries), the highest-rated miniseries of the winter season garnered a 19 rating, less than the rating average of 22 of ER (TV series), that same season's top-rated regular series. The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series, Emmy Award was taken three times by the British police procedural drama ''Prime Suspect''. A highlight of the 1990s was an HBO production ''From the Earth to the Moon (miniseries), From the Earth to the Moon'', telling the story of the landmark Apollo program, Apollo expeditions to the Moon during the 1960s and early 1970s. In the 21st century the format made a comeback on cable television and became popular on Comparison of video streaming aggregators, streaming services. History (U.S. TV channel), History, for example, has had some of its greatest successes with miniseries such as ''America: The Story of Us'', ''Hatfields & McCoys (miniseries), Hatfields & McCoys'' and ''The Bible (miniseries), The Bible'', ''Political Animals (miniseries), Political Animals'' by USA Network was honored with a Critics' Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series award, while HBO's ''Big Little Lies (miniseries), Big Little Lies'' won eight Emmy awards. To designate one-season shows that are not intended for being renewed for additional seasons, the broadcast and television industry came up with terms like "limited series" or "event series". These terms also apply to multi-season shows which feature rotating casts and storylines each season, such as ''American Horror Story'', ''Fargo (TV series), Fargo'' and ''True Detective (TV series), True Detective''. This makes the self-contained season longer than a miniseries, but shorter than the entire run of the multi-season series. This terminology became relevant for the purpose of Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series, categorization of programs for Primetime Emmy Award, industry awards.Schneider, Michael (March 9, 2015). "Inside the Emmys' New Rules". ''
TV Guide TV Guide is an American digital media Digital media means any communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data Machine-readable data, or computer-readable data, is data Data are units of infor ...
''. pp 8–9.
Several television executives interviewed by ''The Hollywood Reporter'' stated that the term "miniseries" has negative connotations to the public, having become associated with melodrama-heavy works that were commonly produced under the format, while "limited series" or "event series" demand higher respect. (Such was the cause of the parody miniseries ''The Spoils of Babylon'', which lampooned many of the negative stereotypes of miniseries.) In the 21st century, two miniseries have had significant impact on Popular culture, pop culture, and are often named the two best shows ever made: ''Band of Brothers (miniseries), Band of Brothers'', released in 2001, and ''Chernobyl (miniseries), Chernobyl'', released in 2019. When the final episode of Chernobyl aired, it was already the highest rated show in IMDb history. The mini-series as a format has become more popular than ever before.


See also

*
Anthology series In book publishing, an anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler; it may be a collection of plays, poems, short stories, songs or excerpts by different authors. In genre fiction, the term "anthology" typically categorize ...
* Metaseries * Telenovela


References

{{Authority control Television miniseries, Television terminology