The Popularity of the Limited Film Series​

Oct 22, 2020 | Newsletter

“Take honor from me, and my life is done.”

William Shakespeare, Richard III




Journalist Daniel Fienberg wrote the following in the The Hollywood Reporter: “The limited film series stole the spotlight in last month’s Emmys. It’s time to give pride of place to the limited film series.” 

A film series can be an extraordinarily entertaining experience:  it can cover complex subjects that require a great deal of exposition and it can explain the motivations of the characters more fully.  The film series is now booming because of streaming. Streaming gives  viewers the opportunity to watch the entire series in one sitting (binging) or watching one episode at a time.  Lastly, it’s so convenient: it can be watched at home or on most major devices.  

Selecting my favorite film series was a difficult process. Anyway, here they are, broken down by category:


History (Fictionalized):

A French Village​

In June 1940, German military forces occupied the fictional French village of Villeneuve. They quickly took control of all aspects of the village’s life…


Crime & Corruption:


The series describes the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar from a small-time black marketeer in Medellin, Colombia to the billionaire kingpin of the cocaine industry…



My Brilliant Friend

This film series is an adaptation of the first of the four novels by Elena Ferrante. Protagonist Elena Greco is an elderly woman living alone in her book-filled apartment in Naples…


Political Scandal:

 A Very English Scandal

Jeremy Thorpe, a Liberal member of the British Parliament, had for several years, a relationship with a younger man, Norman Josiffe, a former stable boy. Josiffe, however, was unstable and difficult…



The Night Manager

The series focuses on the lucrative, illegal, business of selling arms to rogue nations. British and U.S. Intelligence are…


Religious Repression:


Esther (“Esty”) is a 19-year old woman feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage and living in a suffocating ultra-orthodox…


Criminal Behavior:

The Library Thief​

Not to be confused with The Book Thief, a 20th Century Fox film, or with The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. The Library Thief is based on a true story…


Cold War Spying:

Deutschland 83​

In 1983, East Germany’s Secret Service (Stasi) is concerned that American troops stationed in West Germany may attack…




On April 26, 1986, a safety test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Facility indicated  something was very wrong. Valery Legasov, an important Soviet nuclear…


Random Thoughts About This and That

New York restaurants are campaigning for permission to tack on a 10% surcharge  to cover pandemic losses. Will movie theaters do the same?…It’s inevitable. New streaming channels will pop up offering live performances of Broadway shows, opera, and ballet. If you like theater, a must right now is subscribing to Broadway HD and PBS Passport… The entire film industry is watching the results of Disney+ decision to stream Mulan. The cost is $29.99, which isn’t bad if you figure that many can watch the film at the same time…On the other hand, Sony chose to release Tenet in theaters. The results, so far,  are disappointing…IndieWire took a poll asking viewers how they would spend $40 a month on streaming services. Nine out of ten chose Netflix…Americans spent an average of $37 in March on streaming services, up from $30 in November. It’s probably closer to $40 a month today…I highly recommend the book The Nightmare Years: 1930-1940 by William Shirer. He was a journalist based in Berlin reporting the terrifying rise of Hitler during this cataclysmic decade.   


My best,


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