The Most Popular Mini-series: Ranking the Must-Watch Shows

Choose the mini-series you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 2, 2023 08:34)
Step right up and join the thrilling quest to crown the ultimate mini-series of all time! Here at StrawPoll, we have meticulously curated a spectacular lineup of the most captivating, talked-about, and binge-worthy mini-series that have graced our screens over the years. Now, it's your turn to make history by casting your vote and catapulting your favorite into the hall of fame. But wait, there's more! If you feel that we missed a true gem of a mini-series, don't hold back - suggest it to us, and watch as it potentially climbs the ranks and claims its rightful place among the greats. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your popcorn, flex those voting fingers, and let the ultimate mini-series showdown begin!

What Is the Most Popular Mini-series?

  1. 1
    This HBO mini-series received critical acclaim and was highly praised for its depiction of the 1986 nuclear disaster. It won several awards, including multiple Emmys.
    Chernobyl is a historical drama television miniseries that depicts the events surrounding the infamous Chernobyl nuclear disaster that took place in April 1986. It portrays the aftermath of the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine, as well as the efforts of scientists, government officials, and workers to contain and mitigate the disaster. The show offers a realistic and harrowing portrayal of the human cost and the political and bureaucratic challenges faced by those involved in the crisis.
    • Genre: Historical drama
    • Country of origin: United States
    • Original language: English
    • No. of episodes: 5
    • Running time: 60-72 minutes
  2. 2

    The Queen's Gambit

    Scott Frank
    This Netflix mini-series quickly became a fan favorite for its gripping story of a young orphaned chess prodigy. It received critical acclaim and won several awards, including multiple Emmys.
    The Queen's Gambit is a popular mini-series that was released in 2020. It is based on the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. The series follows the life of Elizabeth Harmon, a young orphan with a remarkable talent for chess. As she navigates her way through the male-dominated world of competitive chess, she faces various challenges and personal demons. The Queen's Gambit is a compelling and engaging portrayal of ambition, addiction, and personal growth.
    • Release Year: 2020
    • Based On: Novel by Walter Tevis
    • Genre: Drama
    • Number of Episodes: 7
    • Main Actress: Anya Taylor-Joy
    The Queen's Gambit in other rankings
  3. 3

    Big Little Lies

    David E. Kelley
    This HBO mini-series, based on the novel of the same name, was highly praised for its all-star cast and gripping storyline about a group of mothers in Monterey, California. It won multiple Emmys and Golden Globe awards.
    Big Little Lies is a highly acclaimed mini-series based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty. It was created by David E. Kelley and premiered on HBO in 2017. The series revolves around the lives of three women living in Monterey, California, who become entangled in a murder investigation. As the story progresses, it explores themes of secrets, motherhood, domestic violence, and friendship.
    • Genre: Drama, Mystery
    • Number of seasons: 2
    • Number of episodes: 14
    • Main cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz
    • Awards: Won multiple Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards
  4. 4

    The Night Manager

    David Farr
    This BBC mini-series, based on the novel by John le Carre, was a hit with audiences and critics alike. It starred Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie and won several awards, including three Golden Globes.
    The Night Manager is a popular BBC drama based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré. The series follows the story of Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier who becomes a hotel night manager and is recruited by intelligence agencies to infiltrate the inner circle of an international arms dealer. It is a thrilling and suspenseful drama filled with espionage, intrigue, and complex characters.
    • Genre: Drama, Thriller
    • Based on: The Night Manager by John le Carré
    • Director: Susanne Bier
    • Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Debicki
    • Original network: BBC One
    The Night Manager in other rankings
  5. 5
    This HBO mini-series, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, followed a group of soldiers in World War II. It was highly praised for its realistic depiction of war and won multiple Emmys.
  6. 6
    This FX mini-series, based on the infamous trial of O.J. Simpson, was highly praised for its all-star cast and gripping storyline. It won multiple Emmys and Golden Globe awards.
    The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is a popular mini-series that depicts the infamous trial of former American football player O.J. Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. The series delves into the details of the trial, the media circus surrounding it, and the racial tensions of the time. It presents a dramatic retelling of the events and offers insight into the legal strategies employed by both the defense and the prosecution.
    • Genre: Drama, Crime
    • Creator: Ryan Murphy
    • Based on: The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin
    • Starring: Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, Courtney B. Vance, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta
    • Episodes: 10
  7. 7

    Olive Kitteridge

    Directed by Lisa Cholodenko
    This HBO mini-series, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, starred Frances McDormand and was highly praised for its realistic depiction of small-town life. It won multiple Emmys and Golden Globe awards.
    Olive Kitteridge is a critically acclaimed mini-series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Elizabeth Strout. It premiered on HBO in 2014 and consists of four episodes. The series tells the story of Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, and the complex relationships she has with her husband, Henry, and the people in her small hometown of Crosby, Maine. Through Olive's perspective, the show explores themes of love, loss, aging, and the intricacies of human nature.
    • Genre: Drama
    • Main Cast: Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray
    • Original Network: HBO
    • Release Year: 2014
    • Number of Episodes: 4
  8. 8
    This 1977 mini-series, based on the novel by Alex Haley, was a landmark in television history. It followed the story of an African slave and his descendants in America and was highly praised for its depiction of slavery and racism.
    Roots is a highly acclaimed mini-series that aired in 1977. It is based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel, also titled Roots. The series follows the story of Kunta Kinte, an African man who was captured and sold into slavery in the United States. It spans several generations and chronicles the struggles and triumphs of Kunta Kinte and his descendants. Roots tackles themes of identity, heritage, slavery, and the impact of racism on African American families.
    • Number of episodes: 8
    • Original release: January 23, 1977 – January 30, 1977
    • Genre: Drama, Historical
    • Main cast: LeVar Burton, John Amos, Ben Vereen, Louis Gossett Jr., Leslie Uggams
    • Awards: Roots won numerous awards, including 9 Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award.
  9. 9
    This HBO mini-series, a true crime documentary, was highly praised for its gripping storyline and shocking revelations. It won multiple Emmys and was a ratings success for the network.
    The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst is a six-part true crime documentary mini-series that explore the life and suspected crimes of real estate heir Robert Durst, who was connected to several disappearances and murders. This gripping series takes viewers through the investigations and legal proceedings surrounding Durst's alleged involvement in these cases.
    • Genre: True Crime Documentary
    • Number of Parts: 6
    • Release Date: February 8, 2015
    • Running Time: Approximately 45-50 minutes per episode
    • Production Company: Hit the Ground Running Films
  10. 10

    Sharp Objects

    Marti Noxon
    This HBO mini-series, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, starred Amy Adams and was highly praised for its dark and moody atmosphere. It won multiple Emmys and Golden Globe awards.
    Sharp Objects is a gripping and suspenseful mini-series based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn. Created by Marti Noxon, the series follows the story of Camille Preaker, a troubled crime reporter who returns to her hometown to investigate the murder of two young girls. As she digs deeper into the case, Camille is forced to confront her own dark past and unravel the secrets of her dysfunctional family.
    • Genre: Drama, Thriller
    • Based on: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
    • Starring: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson
    • Country of origin: United States
    • Original language: English

Missing your favorite mini-series?


Ranking factors for popular mini-series

  1. Ratings and reviews
    Consider the average ratings and reviews of the mini-series on various platforms such as IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic. Higher ratings and positive reviews indicate a more popular and well-received show.
  2. Audience viewership
    Analyze the average number of viewers who watched the mini-series when it aired and its subsequent viewership on streaming platforms.
  3. Awards and recognition
    Take into account any awards, nominations, and accolades that the mini-series has received, such as Emmy Awards or Golden Globes.
  4. Popularity on social media
    Consider the buzz and discussion around the mini-series on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. This may include the number of followers, likes, shares, or mentions the show receives.
  5. Cultural impact
    Assess the influence that the mini-series has had on popular culture, including references in other media, memes, or catchphrases that have emerged from the show.
  6. Critical reception
    Examine the overall reception of the mini-series from critics, taking into account both positive and negative reviews.
  7. Genre and target audience
    Consider the appeal of the mini-series to different age groups, and whether the show is part of a popular genre.
  8. Star power
    Analyze the cast and crew of the mini-series, including any well-known actors, directors, or producers who may help boost the show's popularity.
  9. Production quality
    Take into account the production value of the mini-series, including aspects such as cinematography, costume design, and special effects.
  10. Originality and uniqueness
    Evaluate how the mini-series stands out from other shows in terms of its storytelling, plot, or presentation. A truly unique and innovative show is likely to garner a larger following and become more popular.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular mini-series. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or mini-series is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 156 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each mini-series once every 24 hours. The rank of each mini-series is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular mini-series

Mini-series have become a popular format for television shows in recent years. These series are typically shorter than traditional TV shows, with a limited number of episodes that tell a complete story. Mini-series are often praised for their high-quality production values and intense storytelling, as well as their ability to attract top-tier talent. From gripping dramas to thrilling mysteries, there's no shortage of compelling mini-series to choose from. But which ones are the most popular among audiences? Let's take a closer look at some of the top contenders.

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