While we all have a few shows we are loyal to, there is a distinct thrill of discovering a one-season show that can blow your mind. Chernobyl was one such sensation last year and this year Watchmen took home the Emmy for that category.
This week we will be recommending you some of the best mini or limited series that you can binge in a single day. From true-crime stories to love stories, we have it all.
When They See Us
The Netflix miniseries When They See Us is our first recommendation because it is the most important of the lot. Sometimes some shows serve a purpose much bigger than entertainment. It is based on the real story of the Central Park Five, the five black men falsely accused of raping and assaulting a woman in New York. Five young men, one of whom was a child spent years locked up for a crime they did not commit, because the racist prosecution was hell-bent on delivering swift justice, even when it meant twisting the facts.
The show is heartbreaking to watch, with every scene evoking a different emotion. The biggest emotion you will feel after watching the show is anger, because nothing has changed since 1989. The four episode-long show was created by Oscar nominated Ava DuVernay and Oprah served as Executive Producer.
“There was no normal, there was only before and after," a line from Defending Jacob that can be used for any family who have seen their lives change overnight when tragedy strikes. In this show too, the Barber family faces a tidal wave, when their son Jacob is arrested for the murder of his classmate. His father Andy, also an assistant district attorney, naturally thinks there has been a huge mistake but several questions towards his seemingly normal son raises suspicions.
Why Defending Jacob deserved to be in our recommendations is the sheer intensity and the gripping plot of the story. The unconditional love of a couple for their son, who might even have done the thing he is accused of. It drives them to give their everything, while facing very public vilification in their small town, where many want instant revenge. Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery are so heartbreakingly good as Andy and Laurie Barber, while young Jaeden Martell is in his breakout performance.
The glamorous world of Broadway, the back-breaking labour behind a production, the rush of opening night and the ecstasy of the audience’s applause- Fosse/Verdon makes you live out your performance fantasies.
A very raw and unromantic depiction of what goes behind all the glitter, Fosse/Verdon also features hauntingly captivating performances by Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams. The show perfectly captures the ebb and flow of two artists who make a great creative team but share a volatile personal relationship. Fosse/Verdon is a must watch for those who have an appreciation for performing arts, as well as a penchant for biographies. The show also starred Margaret Qualley and Lin-Manuel Miranda in pivotal roles.
Anybody who is aware of writer Gillian Flynn’s work, through the novel Gone Girl or the David Fincher film of the same name, knows that they should expect the unexpected while watching a cinematic adaptation of her work. Anyone who is aware of Amy Adams’ acting prowess knows that her casting in this miniseries is a genius move. The show is directed by Big Little Lies director Jean-Marc Vallée and it tonally borrows from the HBO show.
However, it is much darker and has the cinematic features of a horror film. Sharp Objects is one of those shows with a huge impact in the form of an unsettling feeling which lingers long after you have watched the show. Get Out producer Jason Blum served as Executive Producer of the show. It also starred Eliza Scanlen and Patricia Clarkson in lead roles.
“If the truth isn’t convenient, they don’t believe it."
Another show that dives much beyond entertainment, Unbelievable is a miniseries based on a true story. A teen reports that she had been tied and raped but the lack of physical evidence makes the police believe that she is lying about the assault. Her face is plastered across reports as a “fake rape victim" and she relives her trauma several times, driving her to a breaking point.
However, when another woman gets attacked the same way, two female detectives see a pattern. Unbelievable deserves to be in this list, not because of the powerful story or the performances by Kaitlyn Denver and Toni Colette, but because this happens to too many women. In this country, where the only rape victims people care about is the dead ones, more and more people should watch a show like Unbelievable. It was based on the award-winning essay “An Unbelievable Story of Rape" by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong.
A very different genre and show from those recommended above, Modern Love is the serial adaptation of eight The New York Times essays that featured in a weekly column of the same name. The show deserves to be on our list because of how endearing and captivating it is, and how difficult that is to achieve, given it is real people’s stories.
As the name suggests the eight episodes paint an accurate picture of what 21st century love has become, and just because it is seemingly easier to find, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. A middle-aged woman is tired of her actor husband who takes her for granted, a gay couple forms an unlikely bond with the biological mother of the baby they are going to adopt. A woman who found love again late in her life just lost that love again, another woman never grew up with an absent father and has taken an interest in an older colleague. A new couple spends their second date in the emergency room. The CEO of a dating app company is sad in his real life, a woman becomes best friends with her doorman Guzmin and a Bipolar woman struggles to find love and stick with it. There are so many shades in the show.
New York City is its own character that weaves all these stories together. A lot of amazing actors including Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Dev Patel, Christin Milloti, Andrew Scott, John Slattery, to name a few, star on the show. It is written and created by John Carney.