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Friday, April 27, 2018

The 100 Grooviest TV Miniseries #1 - 34



This week I'm counting down The 100 Grooviest TV Miniseries. Hopefully I've selected some of your favorites (click here for #35-100).

34) The Long Hot Summer - October 6-7, 1985 on NBC
This remake of the 1958 film stars Don Johnson, Jason Robards, Judith Ivey, Cybill Shepherd and Ava Gardner.




33) Shōgun - September 15-19, 1980 on NBC
Based on James Clavell's 1975 novel, this Emmy Award (and Golden Globe) winner for Outstanding Limited Series stars Richard Chamberlain (who won a Golden Globe for his performance), Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Shimada (who won a Golden Globe), Yûki Meguro and John Rhys-Davies.



32) The Kennedys of Massachusetts - February 18-21, 1990 on ABC
Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's 1987 book, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga, this miniseries stars William Petersen, Annette O'Toole (who received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her performance as Rose Kennedy), Charles Durning (who won a Golden Globe for his performance as John Fitzgerald), Steven Weber (as John F. Kennedy), Campbell Scott, Casey Affleck (as a young Robert Kennedy) and Madolyn Smith Osborne (as Gloria Swanson).





31) Centennial - October 1, 1978 - February 4, 1979 on NBC
Based on James A. Michener's 1974 novel, this 12-episode miniseries stars Raymond Burr, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Conrad, Barbara Carrera, Timothy Dalton, Chad Everett, Sharon Gless, Andy Griffith, Mark Harmon, Gregory Harrison, Sally Kellerman, Cristina Raines, Lynn Redgrave and George Clooney, who made his TV debut as an extra.



30) Roots: The Next Generations - February 18-24, 1979 on ABC
This sequel to the 1977 ABC miniseries (and an Emmy winner for Best Limited Series) stars Georg Stanford Brown, Lynne Moody, Debbi Morgan, Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland, Richard Thomas, Marc Singer, Irene Cara, Ruby Dee, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Pam Grier, Debbie Allen, Andy Griffith, Diahann Carroll, Kim Fields, James Earl Jones and Marlon Brando (who won an Emmy for his performance). It was followed by a 1988 ABC Christmas movie, Roots: The Gift, and a 2016 History Channel remake of the original miniseries.




29) The Bastard - May 22-23, 1978 in syndication
Based on John Jakes' 1974 historical novel, this miniseries stars Andrew Stevens, Kim Cattrall, Buddy Ebsen, Lorne Greene, Olivia Hussey, Patricia Neal, Eleanor Parker, William Shatner and Tom Bosley (as Benjamin Franklin). It was followed by two sequels - The Rebels (in May 1979) with Stevens, Cattrall, Bosley, Don Johnson and Tanya Tucker and The Seekers (in July 1979) with Randolph Mantooth, Delta Burke and Robert Reed.




28) Malibu - January 23-24, 1983 on ABC
Based on William Murray's 1980 novel, this miniseries stars William Atherton, James Coburn, Susan Dey, Chad Everett, Jenilee Harrison, Ann Jillian, Anthony Newley, Kim Novak, Valerie Perrine, Eva Marie Saint and Troy Donahue.




27) Stephen King's IT - November 18 and 20, 1990 on ABC
Based on Stephen King's 1986 horror novel, this miniseries stars Tim Curry, Richard Thomas, John Ritter, Annette O'Toole, Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher and Tim Reid. The book was adapted again into a 2017 feature film and a 2019 sequel.



26) The Two Mrs. Grenvilles - February 8-9, 1987 on NBC
Based on Dominick Dunne's 1985 novel about the 1955 Woodward murder case, this miniseries stars Ann-Margret, Elizabeth Ashley, Stephen Collins and Claudette Colbert, who won a Golden Globe Award for her last screen performance.



25) Brideshead Revisited - January 18 - April 4, 1982 on PBS
Adapted from Evelyn Waugh's 1945 novel, this British television serial (and Golden Globe winner for Best Miniseries) stars Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews (who won a Golden Globe for his performance), Diana Quick, Claire Bloom, Laurence Olivier (who won an Emmy Award) and John Gielgud. It was followed by a 2008 British film adaptation starring Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw and Emma Thompson.




24) Fresno - November 16-20, 1986 on CBS
This comedy miniseries and parody of prime time soap operas stars Carol Burnett, Teri Garr, Charles Grodin, Gregory Harrison, Dabney Coleman, Valerie Mahaffey, Teresa Ganzel and Bill Paxton. And Bob Mackie received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special.



23) War and Remembrance - November 13-23, 1988 and May 7-14, 1989 on ABC
Based on Herman Wouk's 1978 novel, this sequel to 1983's The Winds of War won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Miniseries. It stars original cast members Robert Mitchum, Victoria Tennant, Polly Bergen and Ralph Bellamy as well as Jane Seymour, Hart Bochner, John Gielgud (who won a Golden Globe for his performance), Sharon Stone and Barry Bostwick (who won a Golden Globe).



22) A Year in the Life - December 15-17, 1986 on NBC
Created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey (NBC's St. Elsewhere), this Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Miniseries follows the Gardner family of Seattle during the course of one year. It stars Richard Kiley, Eva Marie Saint, Wendy Phillips, Jayne Atkinson, Adam Arkin, Morgan Stevens, David Oliver, Sarah Jessica Parker and Amanda Peterson. It was followed by a 1987-88 NBC series with the same cast.





21) North and South - November 3 - 10, 1985 on ABC
Based on John Jakes' 1982 novel, this miniseries stars Patrick Swayze, James Read, Lesley-Anne Down (who received a Golden Globe nomination), Kirstie Alley, Terri Garber, Genie Francis, Morgan Fairchild, Elizabeth Taylor (as a bordello proprietor), Hal Holbrook (as Abraham Lincoln), Gene Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Johnny Cash, David Carradine (who received a Golden Globe nomination) and Robert Guillaume. It was followed by two ABC sequels - 1986's North and South: Book II (based on Jakes' 1984 novel, Love and War) and 1994's Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III (based on Jakes' 1987 novel, Heaven and Hell).




20) Murder in Texas - May 3-4, 1981 on NBC
Based on Ann Kurth's 1976 book, Prescription: Murder, this miniseries stars Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, Farrah Fawcett (in her first television appearance since Charlie's Angels) and Andy Griffith (who received his first and only Emmy Award nomination for his performance as Fawcett's father).



19) Scruples - February 25-28, 1980 on CBS
Based on Judith Krantz's 1978 novel, this miniseries stars Lindsay Wagner, Barry Bostwick, Marie-France Pisier, Connie Stevens, Robert Reed, Kim Cattrall, Gavin MacLeod and Gene Tierney (in her final screen appearance). It was followed by two failed TV series pilots in 1981 and 2012.





18) Aspen - November 5-7, 1977 on NBC
Based on two unrelated novels - Burt Hirschfeld's Aspen (1976) and Bart Spicer's The Adversary (1974) - this miniseries features shirtless "beefcake" scenes starring five of its actors - Sam Elliott, Perry King, Tony Franciosa, Bo Hopkins and Doug Heyes. It also stars Gene Barry, Jessica Harper, Michelle Phillips and John Houseman. Aspen was renamed The Innocent and the Damned when NBC repeated it in May-June 1979.




17) Lace - February 26-27, 1984 on ABC
Based on Shirley Conran's 1982 novel, this miniseries stars Phoebe Cates, Bess Armstrong, Brooke Adams, Arielle Dombasle and Angela Lansbury. It was followed a 1985 ABC sequel, Lace II. And Cates' line - "Which one of you bitches is my mother?" - was named the best line in television history by TV Guide in 1993.




16) Salem's Lot - November 17 and 24, 1979 on CBS
Based on Stephen King's 1975 horror novel, this miniseries stars David Soul, James Mason, Lance Kerwin and Bonnie Bedelia. It was followed by a 1987 feature film sequel, A Return to Salem's Lot, and a 2004 TNT miniseries remake.




15) I, Claudius - November 6, 1977 - January 29, 1978 on PBS
Based on Robert Graves' 1934 novel, I, Claudius, and its 1935 sequel, Claudius the God, this Emmy nominee for Outstanding Limited Series stars Derek Jacobi, Siân Phillips, Margaret Tyzack, John Hurt, Patricia Quinn and Patrick Stewart.




14) Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows - February 25-26, 2001 on ABC
Based on Lorna Luft's 1998 memoir, this Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for Outstanding Miniseries stars Judy Davis (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance), Tammy Blanchard (who won an Emmy), Hugh Laurie, Victor Garber and Marsha Mason.





13) Holocaust - April 16-19, 1978 on NBC
This Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Limited Series stars Fritz Weaver, Joseph Bottoms, Michael Moriarty (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance), Tovah Feldshuh, Rosemary Harris (who won a Golden Globe), Meryl Streep (who won an Emmy), James Woods and Blanche Baker (who won an Emmy).




12) Dress Gray - March 9-10, 1986 on NBC
Based on Lucian Truscott IV's 1979 novel with a screenplay by Gore Vidal (who received an Emmy nomination), this miniseries stars Eddie Albert, Alec Baldwin, Lloyd Bridges, Patrick Cassidy, Timothy Van Patten, Hal Holbrook, Susan Hess and Alexis Smith.



11) East of Eden - February 8-11, 1981 on ABC
Based on John Steinbeck's 1952 novel, this Golden Globe Award winner for Best Miniseries stars Timothy Bottoms, Jane Seymour (who won a Golden Globe for her performance), Bruce Boxleitner, Sam Bottoms, Hart Bochner, Karen Allen, Lloyd Bridges, Howard Duff and Anne Baxter.




10) The Last Convertible - September 24-26, 1979 on NBC
Based on Anton Myrer's 1978 novel, this miniseries stars Perry King, Bruce Boxleitner, Deborah Raffin, Edward Albert, John Shea, Kim Darby, Sharon Gless and Michael Nouri.




9) Angels in America - December 7-14, 2003 on HBO
Based on Tony Kushner's two-part play and directed by Mike Nichols, this Emmy and Golden Globe winner for Outstanding Miniseries stars Al Pacino (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance), Meryl Streep (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe), Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe), Emma Thompson, Justin Kirk, Jeffrey Wright (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe) and Ben Shenkman.





8) Backstairs at the White House - January 29, February 5, 12 and 19, 1979 on NBC
Based based on Lillian Rogers Parks' 1961 memoir, My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House, this miniseries stars Leslie Uggams (as Lillian), Olivia Cole, Louis Gossett Jr., Cloris Leachman, Leslie Nielsen, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Claire Bloom, Lee Grant, Estelle Parsons, Eileen Heckart, Celeste Holm and Barbara Barrie.



7) From Here to Eternity - February 14, 21 and 28, 1979 on NBC
This remake of the 1953 film of James Jones' 1951 novel stars William Devane, Natalie Wood (who won a Golden Globe for her performance), Steve Railsback, Roy Thinnes and Kim Basinger. It was followed by a 1980 NBC series starring Devane, Thinnes, Basinger, Barbara Hershey (replacing Wood) and Don Johnson.




6) Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives - February 17-19, 1985 on ABC
Based on Collins' 1983 novel and produced by Aaron Spelling (Dynasty), this miniseries stars Candice Bergen, Joanna Cassidy, Mary Crosby, Angie Dickinson, Steve Forrest, Anthony Hopkins, Roddy McDowall, Stefanie Powers, Suzanne Somers, Robert Stack, Rod Steiger, Andrew Stevens and Catherine Mary Stewart. It was followed by a 2003 CBS movie, Hollywood Wives: The New Generation, which was based on Collins' 2001 novel.



5) Tales of the City - January 10-12, 1994 on PBS
Based on Armistead Maupin's 1978 novel, this Emmy nominee for Outstanding Miniseries stars Olympia Dukakis, Laura Linney, Barbara Garrick, William Campbell, Parker Posey, Marcus D'Amico, Paul Gross, Chloe Webb and Thomas Gibson. It was followed by two Showtime sequels - More Tales of the City (1998) and Further Tales of the City (2001) - and a 2019 Netflix series starring Dukakis and Linney.




4) The Winds of War - February 6-13, 1983 on ABC
Based on Herman Wouk's 1971 novel, this miniseries stars Robert Mitchum, Ali MacGraw, Jan-Michael Vincent, Polly Bergen, Ben Murphy and Victoria Tennant. It was followed by a 1988-89 ABC sequel, War and Remembrance.




3) The Thorn Birds - March 27-30, 1983 on ABC
Based on Colleen McCullough's 1977 novel, this Golden Globe Award winner for Best Miniseries is the second highest-rated miniseries of all time (behind Roots). It stars Richard Chamberlain (who won a Golden Globe for his performance), Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe), Christopher Plummer, Jean Simmons (who won an Emmy), Richard Kiley (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe), Bryan Brown, Mare Winningham and Piper Laurie. It was followed by The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years, a 1996 CBS miniseries starring Chamberlain and Amanda Donohoe.





2) Rich Man, Poor Man - February 1 - March 15, 1976 on ABC
Based on Irwin Shaw's 1970 novel, this Golden Globe winner for Best TV Series (Drama) stars Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely (who won a Golden Globe), William Smith, Edward Asner (who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe), Dorothy McGuire, Robert Reed, Gloria Grahame, Kim Darby, Bill Bixby, Fionnula Flanagan (who won an Emmy), Ray Milland, Talia Shire, Lynda Day George, George Maharis, Van Johnson, Dorothy Malone, Norman Fell, Kay Lenz and Josette Banzet (who won a Golden Globe). It was followed by a 1976-77 ABC series, Rich Man, Poor Man Book II.



1) Roots - January 23-30, 1977 on ABC
Based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel, this Emmy and Golden Globe winner for Best Limited Series stars LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole (who won an Emmy for her performance), Louis Gossett Jr. (who won an Emmy), Ben Vereen, John Amos, Ed Asner (who won an Emmy), Lynda Day George, Robert Reed, Chuck Connors, Sandy Duncan, Leslie Uggams, Carolyn Jones, Georg Stanford Brown, Brad Davis, Cicely Tyson, Lorne Greene and George Hamilton. It was followed by two ABC sequels - the 1979 miniseries, Roots: The Next Generations, and a 1988 Christmas movie, Roots: The Gift - as well as a 2016 History Channel remake of the original miniseries.


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