5 Things Thursday: Magnificent Miniseries

I had such a good time reading all of your suggestions and thoughts on Chick Flicks with Brains last week (I even found out about a few new ones! Whoo!)  that I thought we might go another round, but this time with miniseries.

I kind of love miniseries. They have movie-quality production values with a much longer running length (usually), which makes them better done than a TV show and gives you more time to enjoy the story/get to know the characters than a feature film does. Score!

So, here is a list of my favorite miniseries of all time…in a very particular order (#1 = my favorite, #2 = next in line, etc., etc.).

1. Anne of Avonlea

anne of avonlea

Yes, I know that this is the second installment in the series, but, while I love A of GG, for me, A of A edges it out by just a tiny smidge.

Dorky side note: I spent hours drawing Anne’s face/hair from this VHS cover art. Obsessed much? Yeah, a bit.

Awesome side note: I’ve been to Prince Edward Island and seen all of the original sites for the series. Honestly, as much as I loved the movies, the preserved sets and such were all a bit too shrinish and touristy for me. But the island itself is even more breathtaking in real life than it is on film.

2. Anne of Green Gables

anne of gg

Obviously, I couldn’t adore A of A so much without loving its precursor as well. Last week, Kelli, my real-life friend and bloggy buddy, jokingly chided me for not including Anne-girl in my list of chick flicks I love.  But honestly, the only reason I didn’t was because Anne stars in a miniseries, not a movie. I know it’s a silly distinction, and no one most people wouldn’t think twice about my calling it a chick flick, but sometimes my brain gets all picky like that, and I can’t get it to stop saying things like, “Well, technically…”

So, yay, for correct categories and long-time favorites in them.

Confession: there’s a possibility that I’ve seen both A of GG and A of A at least 50 times each.

Oh, and here’s a challenge for all of you fellow Anne devotees. I named my daughter Adelaide after hearing the name on either A of GG or A of A. Can anyone tell me which character is named this and on which installment she appears?

3. Pride and Prejudice (the BBC/A&E version)

pride and prejudice

While I have no (okay, few) objections to the 2005 Kiera Knightly film version, I don’t think that you can properly claim to have *experienced* Pride and Prejudice until you’ve seen this amazing 1995 miniseries. I saw Contagion this past weekend with my hubby in which there is a scientist with a much-too-perfectly enunciated American accent…it took me a minute or two, but I finally figured out that it was Jennifer Ehle, who captures the many nuances of the fascinating Elizabeth Bennett character with such perfection that I will never be able to see her in another film without smiling and thinking, “Hi there, Lizzie.”

4. Wives and Daughters

wives and daughters

Adapted from the unfinished Elizabeth Gaskell novel (she died before she could write the ending) by Andrew Davies, the same screenwriter who adapted Pride and Prejudice (and helped to adapt the Bridget Jones series, oddly enough), Wives and Daughters centers around a sweet, level-headed, motherless protagonist named Molly who spends most of the film navigating the tricky waters of family tensions, secrets, and even a stepmother/sister combo. And she does it all with a grace and poise that I envy.

5. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

dr. horrible

Whoa! Where did that come from? Here, I’ve spent the last 4 entries bragging on female-centric, old-fashioned, coming-of-age and/or love stories from centuries gone by, and then I whip out Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog?!

Um…yes?

While this little series by Joss Whedon has its share of issues (including a 3rd Act whose tone veers wildly away from that of the first two and leaves enough loose ends lying around to tie up an elephant…can you tell I just went to the zoo?), the first two acts are undeniably brilliant.

It’s the story of a wannabe villain with a heart of gold who, no matter how much he thinks he wants to be part of the Evil League of Evil, would really be perfectly content with living happily ever after with the girl from the Laundromat.

Oh yeah. And the actual sing-along part? It’s good. And catchy. Like the kind of catchy you go around humming for days afterward. (I’m doing it right now).

Honestly, I only recommend the first two acts, which are all things clever, hilarious, and well-acted…oh, and almost entirely clean (I can think of one notable exception in the form of a really crude comment). The last act…eh, not as much.

Still, if you must watch it all, you can search for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on YouTube and find all three acts readily available for viewing.

Oh, and you can probably find plenty of petitions to sign that ask/demand that a 4th act be filmed ASAP!

Well, that’s it for me and miniseries (I have plenty of runners-up, but I want to hear what you have to say).

So, you know what I’m going to ask. What are your favorite miniseries of all time? (Wow, that sounds momentous!)

P.S. I am sad to announce that the results of yesterday’s poll on whether my top was red or orange (yes, we actually did vote on such a thing) were that 69% of you thought it was orange. Which is what my red-green color blind husband said. Thanks, guys. I thought you were supposed to be on my side.

P.P.S. In case you can’t tell from last week’s and this week’s post, I’m kind of a movie-junky. But did you know that I spent two whole years writing a weekly blog about them? Yup. Check out Picky Flicks if you want a few more of my recommendations (and to see…sort of…what I looked like with short hair : )).

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29 thoughts on “5 Things Thursday: Magnificent Miniseries

  1. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea were viewed on a monthly basis for most of my pre-teen years. When I heard they came out with the third in the series, I was elated! That is, until they entirely ruined the “virtuous” feel of the entire story line. A bit heartbreaking on that front!

    I’ve watched the original Pride and Prejudice, which is a comical black & white version. I think it’s cute. I loved the latest release as well, and just recently purchased the BBC version, as I’ve never seen it. Hopefully, I will have time to final indulge in it this weekend.

    A mini series that I just recently watched was “North and South”. It was a bit more intense because of the time period. But, interesting, no less.

  2. I am a HUGE Pride and Prejudice fan, really all things Jane Austen. I will definitely have to check out the A of GG/A miniseries. Have you seen Downton Abbey? It’s an excellent show/miniseries the BBC is currently putting out. I know the first one is available on Netflix, if you have that. I would HIGHLY recommend, my husband even likes it!

  3. I used to love Anne of GG as a girl, but haven’t watched it in forever. Well, at least now I know what I’m going to watch next. Thanks for the reminder ;-)
    I love (and own) the BBC Pride and Prejudice version, but what is also really good is Jane Eyre. The BBC did it a couple of times. I own the latest version with Ruth Wilso and Toby Stephens, but the older one with Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton is also supposed to be great.

  4. Kay, I love you. These are some of my top 5 miniseries too! Dr. Horrible is a little further down on my list but I love it. Adelaide is the daughter that gets yanked out of school in A of A(no I didn’t read any other comments yet). I have spent way too many hours watching and reading A of GG growing up and was thoroughly depressed when the tapes my Grandmother recorded for me wore out. I also left my boxed set of A of GG home when I went to college and regret the decision. However, prior to marriage Pride and Prejudice got me over jerky guy after jerky guy. I honestly thought at one point that all I ever attract were Wickhams. I finally found a non-Wickham(b/c I didn’t ever really want a Bingley or Darcy either) at the ripe old age of 22 and married him post haste. I’d add Downton Abbey as well but as they are doing a second series(or season for us Americans) they’re not really a mini-series. Just a shortened BBC style series. It’s so good though. I loved The Kennedy’s that was on A & E this year too. Anyway, thanks for the fun post and sorry for the long comment.

  5. Yes! I was coming here to answer this! And Elizabeth {Della’s middle name, right?} is Adelaide’s daughter, I believe!
    Also, Evaleigh’s middle name is Austen. It may or may not be after Jane Austen, and may or may not be because we were in Austin 9 months before her birth. Or a little of both :)
    So yes, I think we have tons in common.
    Amanda, if we ever have a bloggy reunion, we are definitely watching A of G!
    {When we watched the series the first time with Allie, she kept saying, “I want to see Gilver Bly!!!!”}
    Ok, I have now written my own blog post under yours. :)

  6. Ok Abbie, I am SO excited for this post. You HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO watch Downton Abbey. It’s on Netflix instant and it’s a masterpiece classic. I absolutely loved it. I may or may not have watched the whole series in maybe a day…granted my little one was still sleeping like a gazillion hours a day, but I went through it real’ fast. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already seen it. Seriously, go watch it. Like, right now. (Just a little aggressively friendly nudge for ya.)
    ~Erica

  7. I like period pieces a lot and loved Pride and Predjudice with Colin Firth. I think that is when I first started to like Colin Firth. I too read the books Anne of Green Gables, and I believe I have 3 books that my brother got me while living in Canada back in the 70′s. I will be reading them with my girls and also if they like it, buying the miniseries. There are a few British miniseries but they don’t come to mind right now. But I also catch them when I can. I remember there was one in the 80′s or 90′s maybe that was about two British sisters who had their own fashion house in the 20′s. I liked that one a lot but I can’t remember the name.

  8. Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea are two AWESOME miniseries. Lovelovelove them! But dare I confess one of my other favorites? North and South. There. I said it. It’s cheesy and overacted (and at times quite poorly acted) but it’s just wonderful. North adn South Book II is also right there on the list with it. Book III, not so much. That one is more like a really bad romance novel that tries desperately to be somewhat historical. But the first 2 are just fabulous in their sweep and scope. Okay. Let the mocking begin.

  9. I love me some Anne! Though, I haven’t watched either in a long time… That may change here real soon! I have to say, I couldn’t quite place the Adelaide name off the top of my head. I knew it was Anne of Avonlea, but I couldn’t think where. For a split second I thought it was the character in her story, but then remembered that was Averil.
    My mom “forced” me to watch Pride & Prejudice years ago and I loved it, though I don’t currently own my own copy. Anyway… I haven’t even heard of the last two, so I can’t weigh in on those.

  10. Oh, Oh!!! I know!! From Anne of Avonlea – Adelaide Pringle. Anne’s love interest’s first wife!!! Love this miniseries, although the third one isn’t that great!!!!

  11. Adelaide Pringle doesn’t actually appears in Anne of Avonlea, but she is spoken of. The first wife of Morgan Harris, I believe.

    Oh my goodness. Easily my favorite thing to watch anytime ever. I totally turned down guys in high school because I was in love with Gilbert Blythe. I may or may not still have a special place in my heart that is completely devoted to him.

    About Anne’s hair: Yeah I tried and tried and tried to get my hair to be fixed like a Gibson Girl. Not really popular in the late 80′s/early 90′s. Ha!

    I’m thinking I need an Anne Marathon!! Or rather, a Gilbert Blythe marathon… ;)

  12. Okay, Abbie, I have to just say that I was thinking your tastes and mine do not have ANYTHING in common, and then you bust out Dr. Horrible. I believe you have been redeemed. LOL! But really. Dr. Horrible? Amazing. We can still be friends.

    Oh, wait… I do love Anne and all things Avonlea, so I take back what I said about us have NOTHING in common. I just got sidetracked and distracted by the Austen.

    Yeah, definitely still friends.

  13. If you haven’t seen Brideshead Revisited (BBC made it, I think), you should definitely check it out! I’ve got to see if Netflix has that Wives & Daughters on streaming… looks good!

  14. I’m a HUGE Anne nut! I’ve seen all of the videos what seems like hundreds of times. I’m a redhead myself so as a young girl, I looked to Anne for guidance, comfort, and reassurance that although red hair is not common, it can be quite beautiful (although Anne hates her red hair a lot of the time).

    I made my hubby watch Anne of Green Gables because I knew he would love it even though he would never want to admit it. Well, he did! Now we are working our way through Anne of Avonlea. That one is my favorite, too. She gets much closer to Gilbert and is much more mature, although still getting into some shenanigans. I love Gilbert and Anne so much. Carrots . . . So cute! I really hate that they cut from Anne of Avonlea to the third installment and don’t show Anne and Gilbert together before the war. Oh well, I’m sure the other millions of hours they have filmed are enough for most people!

    I’m so glad you like the movies too! I should check out the others you mentioned because we have similar taste!

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