5 TV Shows That (Might) Have Been Better As Miniseries

Back in the day, they were all the rage. "They" were miniseries. A surefire way to assure audiences, they could invest in characters they love, and a journey they could be confident they could see to the end. With the TV shows that are currently on the air, they will either get one season, or be cancelled in the midst of their first season, leaving many fans disappointed. 

If the show is a hit, it can remain on the air, well past its expiration date, leaving a once quality show with a quantity of episodes that serve as a painful reminder of a hay day that has long since past.

Another advantage to miniseries is that actors, who are hesitant to commit for a 5 to 7 year contract (the normal contract time for a television series) would have the ability to reach a wide audience by appearing on television while, having the freedom to pursue film roles. With that Eclectic Pop presents a list of shows currently on the air that would be better served in a fate that will circumvent both of these sad outcomes, by being a miniseries.

#5: “Bates Motel” (A&E)

“Bates Motel” is a fantastic show, and it proved that in its pilot episode.  It is a quality show, with an incredible lead performance by the commanding Vera Farmiga (Norma). Farmiga is a long underappreciated actress, whose supreme talent was the main reason for drawing personal attention to the show in the first place. She has since rewarded expectations with her stirring portrayal of a woman on the edge. Having an actress of Farmiga’s caliber definitely raises the bars for other actors on TV. 

The thing is; “Bates Motel” may have been better served having a concise beginning, middle, and end. The origin story of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) is unknown for the most part, however we do know how his story ends. Stringing it out may be too much for more than 13 episodes. It’s too early to tell on this one. The writers might still surprise. Until then, enjoy “Bates Motel” in its current form. UPDATE: All doubts have been put to rest. “Bates Motel” is perfect as a long-term series.

#4: “The Following” (FOX)

“The Following” is another show that brought big name talent to the small screen with Kevin Bacon starring alongside James Purefoy. The problem with the formula of “The Following” is that eventually audiences will tire of watching Bacon continually fail to kill the killer. Granted, this is my opinion after only seeing the pilot. There seems to be nowhere for the show to really progress to, so I quit after the first viewing. 

It is basically a procedural, the only difference being there is a consistent killer-of-the-week, instead of a new one each episode. Audiences are intrigued now, but with news the show has been greenlit for another season, there could be a decline in interest. How many times does watching the coyote chase the roadrunner, really continue to be interesting before you get bored?

#3: “Nashville” (ABC)

“Nashville” follows the many lives trying to make it in Music City. Most of these characters are unappealing at best, and downright appalling, when all is said and done. As “Nashville” languishes on never ending clichรฉ, it brings on storylines that seem to have either no end, or no real purpose, at all. We know from the pilot that Rayna (Connie Britton), and her husband will divorce because no marriage ever survives on television, especially when one of the said partners has a “first love.”

The two young people will resist their burgeoning attraction for a little while, and for no apparent reason leave the respective partners they begin the series with because they must emerge from some obstacle, and warm bodies tend to make for the best option on TV. 

For “Nashville” it seems like we came in too late to the action. The producers presumably wanted to begin at the point, they felt would position “Nashville” at its most alluring. Unfortunately, it seems they jumped too far ahead. A point, to be exact, where the people we might have started out caring for, are already too far gone to care about anymore. “Nashville” is cluttered with characters that have never even crossed paths, or appear destined to. There are also characters present that have no story-driving purpose. 

“Nashville” would have been better as a mini-series, in the vein of the fantastic 1985 miniseries “Kane & Abel.” It could have followed the parallel lives of Rayna, and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere), showing how their rivalry developed, before culminating in a life-changing clash. Maybe it could have followed their lives, for a little time after that. It would been more concise, and taken us through milestones that mattered.

#2: “Red Widow” (ABC)

“Red Widow” is a tremendous show. Radha Mitchell is great as the eponymous “Red Widow,” and she receives fantastic support from the supporting cast as well. A supporting cast that needs to be more fully fleshed out, at this stage.  “Red Widow” is a quality show and it sadly falls into the earlier mentioned category of, not garnering enough viewers. So this really good show will end too soon and more than likely, without any closure. 

In truth, “Red Widow” could have started off a few years before the starting point they chose, so we are really invested in the central love story, and the family. So when all hell breaks loose, we are even more jolted by what occurs. 

The pilot did not really give us a clear enough insight into why Mitchell’s character (Marta) is so in love with her husband. We should be rooting for her and him to make it out of “the life,” and when everything goes wrong, it would have been more devastating. We should have also been a little taken aback by the fateful turn of events. You can thank ABC advertising for that guffaw. 

After the first or second installment, all of the kids could have been in their teens. With the kids having grown up with their mother distracted, the oldest son could have been looking for answers, and drama had ensued et cetera. A miniseries would have better explored the toll Marta’s new position has taken on her, by covering a longer time span. 

“Red Widow” could have demonstrated how the experience has shaped her life in the long term, instead of leaving us wondering. Regrettably “Red Widow” will not see Season 2, and it would have been cool to have seen where all of it went.

#1: “Revenge” (ABC)

Led by the magnificent Madeline Stowe (Victoria Grayson), “Revenge” was a fun ride during its first season. The show has since languished on the uninteresting character of Emily (Emily Van Camp), and forced us to watch as she attempts, for what has seemed like an eternity, to bring down the Grayson’s. The family that framed her father for a crime he did not commit. “Revenge” would have been, so much more compelling as a miniseries. Let her get her “Revenge,” and be done with it.

If the show was successful in a miniseries format, they could have gotten rid of the Emily character, and brought on a new ingรฉnue to get their “Revenge” on the family.  A family like the Graysons would have made more than one enemy. So spending all this time on Victoria and Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny), addressing a threat that would constitute, the annoyance of a fruit fly, is more than over the top. Let’s get on with the program.