Bests of the Decade - TV Mini-Series


Because we reckon you’ll not have had enough of voting for things yet, every day between now and Christmas Eve we’re giving you the chance to vote for The DreamCage Bests of the Decade. Today’s category is TV Mini-Series...

It’s nearly the end of 2019 and that means it’s also the end of the decade [according to some – Ed] so we asked our stalwart team of writers to give us some suggestions of what they considered to be the “Best of the Decade” in NINE different categories – English Language Film, Foreign Language Film, Documentary (Film or TV), TV Series, TV Mini-Series, Fiction Book, Non Fiction Book, Comic/Graphic Novel and Gaming.

Their nominations were collated, hard sums were done [there was even a spreadsheet! – Ed] and the list has been narrowed down. Now we want you, our readers, to decide which of the final four nominations will become The DreamCage Best of the Decade winners!


Mini-series (or limited series if you're in America) are odd beasts. Needing to be longer than movies, to allow for added depth and detail to the stories and characters, but shorter than multi-season series, they encapsulate a full beginning to end story with no allowance for continuation. Their one-off nature has made them perfect for literary adaptations, epic events and period pieces and, although they have always been around on TV's periphery, with their first heyday in the 1970s and early 80s, this format has come into its own again after several years out of favour with the money-handlers and award providers, with the Emmy's even dropping the Limited Series category for a few years in the early 2010s, combining the award with Best Made for TV Movie because there were not enough programmes to nominate.

It was channels like FX that started to see the potential again of the Limited Series, instituting anthology series like American Horror Story as a way of screening stand-alone story arcs under a single heading. Other TV channels started to get in on the act in this decade too, with HBO, Netflix and other studios picking up on what was now being called Event Series because it allowed film-makers a lot more freedom to explore their subject and its characters on a grander scale without having to hold to the strict time constraints of a movie runtime. This has also led to big name movie actors being drawn to the format whereas, before, they would not have considered "working in television". All of which means that we, the audience, can't get enough of them either in these days of binge watching and it seems to be the way to watch indepth drama, often with a historical or factual basis.

I guess today's vote is a bit of a foregone conclusion as Chernobyl got the most nominations from our writers of any of the titles in any of our categories, so I was tempted to make our voting list read "Chernobyl", "Chernobyl", "Chernobyl" and "something else but only because I haven't watched Chernobyl yet" but that wouldn't be fair to the other suggestions that our team came up with. Our four main ones (yes, including Chernobyl) are below but other recommendations that came in included historical classics such as Wolf Hall and The Hollow Crown. For alternate history fans, there's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell or the futuristic dystopian action drama Curfew. For something more present day, there's always the Italian detective drama Zen, however, if you prefer your mini-series to be fact based rather than totally fictional then we can recommend Neil de Grasse Tyson's Cosmos.

Here are our four nominations, in no particular order. Bear in mind that we couldn’t watch/read/play everything that came out in the last ten years, so your own personal favourites may not be here, but these are some of ours…

Chernobyl

"On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. Chernobyl dramatises the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history — and of the sacrifices made to save Europe from unimaginable disaster."




True Detective (season 1)

"True Detective focuses on Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), two detectives and former partners who worked in Louisiana’s Criminal Investigation Division in the mid-1990s. In 2012, for reasons not immediately revealed, the two are interviewed separately by investigators about their most notorious case: the macabre 1995 murder of a prostitute by a possible serial killer with disturbing occult leanings. As they look back on the case, Hart and Cohle’s personal backstories and often-strained relationship become a major focal point."




River

"John River (Stellan Skarsgård) is a brilliant detective whose fractured mind traps him between the living and the dead."




The Loudest Voice

"This seven-part limited series is about Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe), the founder of Fox News. It focuses on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the Republican Party's de facto leader, and the sexual harassment accusations that brought his career to an end."




So, which will it be? There are polls running today on our Twitter page for you to vote for your favourite from the final four listed above (no prizes, it’s just for fun). Also, the polls will change every day so be quick if you want to vote in this one! The winners, as decided by you, of all nine categories will be listed on The DreamCage website in a special article on Christmas Eve when we announce The DreamCage Bests of the Decade!