19 Terrific TV Mini-Series That Have Been Sadly Forgotten

Before the age of countless streaming services and limited event series, the mini-series reigned as king of television's short-form appointment viewing.


However, changes in how people consume content, and the changing styles of television presentation, have made many mini-series get lost in the sands of time. As such, I've assembled a list of some legitimately great mini-series that you may have missed as they have fallen on the back burner of the media landscape.

1.Stephen King’s Storm of the Century

"Stephen King’s Storm of the Century"

Starring Colm Feore in a dastardly demonic role, Stephen King's first foray into original small screen programming remains a hard-to-find (legally) cult favorite and among the author's favorite produced projects.

Prod.DB / Greengrass / Rainfall / USA / Alamy

2.Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune

"Children of Dune"

After the success of the Sci-Fi Channel's initial Dune mini-series, the network produced this surprisingly stellar sequel featuring a breakout performance from a young James McAvoy.

Touchstone Television / Blixa Film Produktion / Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Hatfields & McCoys

"Hatfields & McCoys"

Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton collide in this intense and gripping true-life western mini-series about neighboring families caught in a literal blood feud.

Sony Pictures Television / Alamy

4.Tin Man

"Tin Man"

Featuring an all-star cast including Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming and Richard Dreyfus, this subversive modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz was a critical and commercial success upon its first airing but has been lost to time outside of its once-in-a-blue-moon syndication.

Sci-Fi Channel / Courtesy: Everett Collection

5.In Cold Blood

"In Cold Blood"

Eric Roberts and Anthony Edwards shine in this 1996 adaptation of Truman Capote's seminal crime tale In Cold Blood from director Jonathan Kaplan, one of the minds behind '90s TV sensation, ER.

Pacific Motion Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection



Tony and Ridley Scott teamed up with author Robin Cook to revive his suspenseful and methodical sci-fi novel in 2012, which was previously adapted to the big screen by Westworld and Jurassic Park mastermind, Michael Crichton.

A&E / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.Arabian Nights

"Arabian Nights"

Though some of the casting choices are pretty regrettable in retrospect, this fun and flamboyant 2000 ABC mini-series was anchored by a scene-stealing dual performance by John Leguizamo.

ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Into the West

"Into the West"

Produced by Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks, this exceptional ensemble six-part mini-series explores the expansion into the American Frontier throughout the 1800s as it affects numerous generations of men and women throughout their respective conflicts.

TNT / Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story

"Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story"

Directed by Brian Henson, this 2001 mini-series juxtaposed the director's more humanist depiction of the classic fairy tale with the colorful and hyper imaginative work one comes to expect from Jim Henson's Creature Workshop.

Hallmark Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King

"Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King"

This star-studded adaptation of Stephen King's terrifying anthology essentially rejuvenated the author’s appeal in popular culture, though its auspicious omission from streaming platforms has made it largely unseen by the most recent wave of King fanatics.

TNT / Erik Heinila / Album / Alamy

11.The Company

"The Company"

In a time where Michael Keaton’s projects were unfortunately few and far between, this three-part series about the CIA’s operations during the Cold War was a thrilling reminder to never count the actor out as an all-timer in his craft.

TNT / Jan Thijs / Album / Alamy

12.The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town

"The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town"

The first on-screen material produced by the legendary comedy troupe in 13 years, this silly and satirical murder mystery was a departure in terms of format for the Kids in the Hall but proved they were as creatively sharp as ever before.

IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Thief (2006)


Anchored by an Emmy-winning performance by Andre Braugher, Thief brought a heavyweight and suspenseful drama to a mini-series format, essentially establishing the format of the “limited event series” that would eschew the stigma of short-form television dramas on premium cable nearly a decade later.

FX Networks / Courtesy Everett Collection

14.Salem's Lot (2004)

"Salem's Lot"

A darker, modern version of the classic Stephen King tale, this mini-series boasted an eerie atmosphere and an exceptional cast including Rob Lowe, Donald Sutherland, Rutger Hauer, Samantha Mathis, and James Cromwell, but has sadly fallen into obscurity as viewers move farther and farther away from cable syndication.

TNT / Courtesy Everett Collection

15.Red Riding

"Red Riding"

Though this decade-spanning mini-series was eventually released in the U.S. as an independent film trilogy, Red Riding is a genuinely captivating (and, at times, heartbreaking) story about police corruption during the Yorkshire Ripper murders with a stacked cast comprised of character acting greats, such as Sean Bean, Peter Mullan, and Mark Addy, as well as future stars such as Andrew Garfield, Rebecca Hall, and Robert Sheehan.

IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Generation Kill

"Generation Kill"

HBO’s harrowing mini-series about the 2003 invasion of Iraq fromThe Wire’s David Simon, Generation Kill was lauded for its visceral authenticity and brutal honesty but has been ultimately been overshadowed by the network’s more lauded (and mainstream) wartime projects, Band of Brothers and The Pacific.

HBO / Paul Schiraldi / Album / Alamy

17.Broken Trail

"Broken Trail"

Another early indicator of what would be later considered to be “prestige television,” Walter Hill’s two-part western about cowboys who save several women from a slave trader was not only a return to form for the rugged action director but served as further testament to Robert Duvall’s sixth sense when it comes to beloved mini-series set in the Wild West.

AMC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

18.Stephen King's Rose Red

"Stephen King's Rose Red"

Craig R. Baxley’s phenomenal and bone-chilling program about a group of supernaturally gifted volunteer test subjects who decide to stay at a notoriously deadly manor might be, pound-for-pound, the best Stephen King mini-series ever, but has unfortunately been difficult to watch through legal means as its only availability seems to be through a now-out-of-print DVD.

ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken

"Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken"

A major television event for its time, not only did Taken help to establish the star power of the young Dakota Fanning, but provided legitimately compelling dramatic material for an alien abduction series, which was frequently relegated to low-budget shlock and “believe-it-or-not” docuseries in the years prior.

DreamWorks Television / Courtesy Everett Collection