The 10 Best Miniseries on Netflix Right Now

Movies are too short for some, shows too long for others. Enter middle-ground solution: miniseries. Now that the "movies are dying" articles are the only thing that's actually dying, and the "it's the golden age of TV" ones have stopped being news (why does one being in a golden age mean the other is failing?), there is a newcomer to the scene. Perfected by networks like the BBC in the past, the form is attracting growing attention from Netflix and similar platforms. 4 to 8 episodes, one season, done. Creators have more time to express their ideas, but not too long to have to recycle them. Viewers can be exposed to 7 different stories instead of 7 different seasons of Homeland (they made 4 after he died, four). It's the perfect medium, and provided Netflix and the BBC keep coming out with good ones like the 5 below, it will be the future.

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Alias Grace
10.

Alias Grace

This miniseries is based on a Margret Atwood novel and was also produced by her. The script was written by Canadian filmmaker extraordinaire Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell).

Grace is a poor but bright Irish immigrant in Upper Canada who is accused and convicted of a double murder. 15 years into her life sentence, a young American doctor is sent to try to get her out.

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Genre: Drama
Actor: Anna Paquin, David Cronenberg, Edward Holcroft, Kerr Logan, Paul Gross, Rebecca Liddiard, Sarah Gadon, Zachary Levi
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
Godless
9.

Godless

Very violent, very Western, and, in a breath of fresh air: very female. Godless is a grim and visually stunning series about a small New Mexico town populated almost entirely by women, including Alice Fletcher, a reserved and self-reliant widow played by Michelle Dockery. Roy Goode (played by Jeff Daniels, who won an Emmy for it) is an outlaw chased by a much worse outlaw, Frank Griffin, who is taking in by the mysterious, gun-toting widows. Written and directed by Scott Frank and executive-produced by Steven Soderbergh, Godless is an honest and powerful show with amazing performances. So amazing, it's hard to single one of them out. If you love Westerns but sometimes find them too foreseeable, this show is for you.

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Genre: Drama, Western
Actor: Jack O'Connell, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Sula, Joleen Baughman, Kim Coates, Luke Robertson, Merritt Wever, Michelle Dockery, Rio Alexander, Sam Waterston, Samuel Marty, Scoot McNairy, Tantoo Cardinal, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
Flint Town
8.

Flint Town

Since the 1960s, Flint, Michigan, has experienced a series of shocks. When General Motors downsized their workforce by several 10.000, the town's population nearly halved. Unsurprisingly, it later became known for being one of the most dangerous cities in the US and for off-the-charts crime statistics. Since 2014, Flint again rose to tragic fame for a public health emergency due to contamination of its local water supply. Flint Town homes in on this perpetual state of crisis through the eyes of the local police department, who had to grapple with this dire scenario, while losing more funding year over year due to the city's deteriorating financial situation. The few officers that are left for policing are at breaking point. The result is a gripping and rich docuseries with a host of strong characters. But it is also a brutal and sobering account of the extent to which an American city is being allowed to fail.

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Genre: Action & Adventure, Crime, Documentary
Actor: James Tolbert, Karen Weaver, Wayne Suttles
Director: Drea Cooper, Jessica Dimmock, Zackary Canepari
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
Formula 1: Drive to Survive
7.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

There are only 20 seats in Formula 1 each year, meaning that drivers are not only racing to win but to be kept on the roster. With the big stars, Ferrari and Mercedes, habitually shrouded in secrecy, Formula 1: Drive to Survive focuses more on the back of the grid. Lewis Hamilton, the five-time world champion, is rarely seen, for example, giving more room for other stories to unfold, including that of Günther Steiner, the Italian team principal of the Haas Formula One Team. That is not to say there are no big reveals. Even if you think Formula 1 is a decadent, testosterone-driven sports for rich Europeans, Drive to Survive might be welcome crash course into what makes this sport so appealing for many and might also have the potential to change your mind. If not, it is still a very well-made, slick, and engaging docuseries that will have enthusiasts and newcomers thoroughly entertained.

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Genre: Documentary
Actor: Charles Leclerc
Rating: N/A
Go to Netflix
6.

Evil Genius

There is footage and coverage to prove that the pizza bomber story actually happened but watching Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist everything is so intriguing it is almost impossible to believe. A pizza-delivery guy shows up to rob a bank with what he says is a bomb secured around his neck, something that he claims is part of a treasure hunt. By robbing the bank, he will unlock the next set of clues that will allow him to defuse the bomb. Bank tellers comply but on the way out he is suddenly arrested by the police, who doubt his claims, handcuff him and keep him at a distance. The device he has around his neck then starts beeping. What follows is one of the most unusual investigations ever led by security forces, brilliantly framed by executive producers Duplass brothers. A perfect follow-up to their other amazing True-crime Netflix collaboration, Wild Wild Country, it’s a tight 4-episodes that is equally terrifying and intriguing.

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Genre: Documentary
Director: Barbara Schroeder, Trey Borzillieri
Rating: Not Rated
Go to Netflix
Unorthodox
5.

Unorthodox

This excellent new miniseries is a drama that takes place in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family. Esty, a nineteen-year-old girl who is unhappy in her arranged marriage, escapes this community and travels from New York to Berlin in hopes of starting a new life.

Like all good realistic dramas, there are no truly bad people in Unorthodox. Everyone is trying to do what they think is right, which still makes for very complicated situations. Esty is played by Israeli actor Shira Haas and I know this word is overused but she really is a revelation.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Aaron Altaras, Alex Reid, Amit Rahav, Aziz Dyab, David Mandelbaum, Delia Mayer, Dennenesch Zoude, Dina Doronne, Isabel Schosnig, Jeff Wilbusch, Langston Uibel, Ronit Asheri, Safinaz Sattar, Shira Haas, Tamar Amit-Joseph, Yousef Sweid
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
The Pharmacist
4.

The Pharmacist

We call it a Netflix true crime documentary, but, in fact, this compelling four-parter is much more than that. It homes in on the fate of an immensely empathetic, soft-spoken, and likable family man, who loses his teenage son to drug-related violence in New Orleans' notorious Lower 9th Ward in 1999. With corruption rampant in the city's police department, he takes matters into his own hands and investigates his son's murder by himself. In doing so, main protagonist Dan Schneider notices a rise in opioid prescriptions from one doctor in particular. Fueled by a relentless determination to protect other children from addiction, he quits his job and begins gathering evidence against this doctor and, by extension, the company responsible for the sale of the notorious opioid-based painkiller Oxycodone: Purdue Pharma. In the course of his investigation, Schneider records all his findings, evidence, and intimate thoughts on audio and video. This sense of immediacy and the pretty breathtaking twists of his story make this Netflix production rise above other true crime formats. It uses the power and charisma of one individual to come to grips with a crisis of global proportions.

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Genre: Crime, Documentary
Director: Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
Unbelievable
3.

Unbelievable

Based on the 2015 Pulitzer-Prize-winning article "An Unbelievable Story of Rape", here is one of the best Netflix productions in a while and definitely the best detective-centric show since the first season of True Detective. The eight-part drama examines the case of a 16-year-old from Washington, who claims she has been raped in her bedroom before rescinding her statement after fierce questioning of the police. Later, her initial story is substantiated by a similar incident surfacing elsewhere. Two detectives, played masterfully by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever, refuse to assume the young girl's guilt and embark on a relentless journey to catch the perpetrator. In addition to being a thrilling watch and insanely bingeable, Unbelievable was highly praised for shifting the attention from the abusers to the victims and making their stories heard in a true crime format. Everybody should listen closely!

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Genre: Crime, Drama
Actor: Austin Hebert, Dale Dickey, Danielle Macdonald, Elizabeth Marvel, Eric Lange, Kaitlyn Dever, Merritt Wever, Scott Lawrence, Toni Collette
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
1994
2.

1994

Have you finished Wild Wild Country and are up for another binge-worthy documentary? If so, 1994 might be a compelling option for you to consider. Released on Netflix for the 25th anniversary of the events in 2019, most of the story would be hard to believe if it wasn't… you know… based on facts and backed up by archival footage and interviews. As it often goes with documentaries, truth is stranger than fiction.

In 1994, the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, also known as the EZLN or the Zapatistas, declared war on the Mexican government. This happened after the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, was signed into law. Incumbent Mexican president Salinas (pictured above) selected prominent reformist presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio to become his heir. Just three months later, Colosio was shot in Tijuana on live television.

1994 is a rich, informative, and fascinating account of this violent and tumultuous year in Mexican history, featuring in-depth interviews with many of those pulling the strings at the time, including former president Salinas. As the people being interviewed point out, understanding the relevance of 1994 in Mexican politics will help you understand the country's political and economic landscape today.

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Genre: Documentary
Actor: Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente
Director: Diego Enrique Osorno
Rating: N/A
Go to Netflix
Wild Wild Country
1.

Wild Wild Country

Wild Wild Country follows the relocation of a hippie cult from India to Oregon in 1981. You haven't heard of Wasco Country? Nor had anybody else back then. This ghost town with a handful of god-fearing inhabitants, soon became Rajneeshpuram, the cult's new homestead, home to a thousand disciples, and the subject of nationwide media attention. Spoiler: the town's old residents did not think much of it.

Will there be debaucherous orgies, long-haired drop-outs, preaching and chanting? Yes. But, through historical footage and interviews with contemporaries, including Ma Anand Sheela, the power-hungry secretary of the orange-clad guru, you will also be absorbed by chemical weapons and attempted murder, one of the biggest immigration fraud case in US history, and, of course, the mysterious and not-so-mysterious ways that a charismatic cult attracts and manipulates its followers. Across six one-hour episodes, this Netflix miniseries by brothers Maclain and Chapman Way gives a captivating, exhaustive, and powerful account of one of the stranger moments in American media history.

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Genre: Crime, Documentary
Actor: George Meredith, Ma Anand Sheela, Osho, Philip Toelkes
Director: Chapman Way, Maclain Way
Rating: Not Rated, TV-MA
Go to Netflix

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A quick recap

Split by genre of this selection on agoodmovietowatch.com
Comedy
Drama
8
Documentary
10
Romance
Average score
85.1%
from our staff
Average score
85.5%
from our users