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Mini Series

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A drama that lasts longer than a Made-for-TV Movie but less than a season. A Mini Series is broadcast over several nights (usually at least three), often consecutively. Production values are frequently more lavish than for a regular series, and the cast usually includes big-name non-TV stars.

Miniseries are most commonly adaptations of large books, and as such differ from other shows in that they place a high value identifying the author, to the point that the author's name is frequently embedded in the program's title.


Parts of a miniseries are not always shown on consecutive nights. Recent Stephen King miniseries in particular, for some reason, tend to go with a Tuesday/Thursday/Friday or Monday/Tuesday/Thursday sequence. This is usually done when the network broadcasting the miniseries has one particularly strong night (ratings-wise) and doesn't wish to pre-empt it for the miniseries.

Note that this means different things to different people. An American network TV viewer would consider a eight-episode run to be a mini series, especially if it doesn't get a renewal, while such a run is commonly a full season in the UK and on US pay channels (some British shows have been promoted as Mini Series when exported to the US for this reason, sometimes with consecutive episodes re-edited into double-length ones). Not to mention in Asian countries such as China and Japan, where the the concept of TV seasons is much weaker, miniseries tend to be the de facto style of TV programming for dramas, with anything from 10 to 100 episodes per series.