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Well folks, it is that time of year again when our favorite shows wrap up for the summer leaving us lost and alone until September. I’ve already started to think about what I’ll be watching while I wait for my besties to come back on. There is always the option to get caught up on the shows I have fallen behind on, or I could even start a new series. But what I really want is a sense of accomplishment this summer. So I am going to do something a little out of the ordinary and make it a Miniseries Summer.

The great thing about a miniseries is that it has an end and you know that going in to it. We all have those horrible memories of the show that was canceled too soon and left us devastated and confused. A miniseries guarantees a great story, thought out plot, and it won’t drag on for years and years or end too early. You also won’t have to hunt around the library catalog to find out where all the seasons are!

Here is my list of of new miniseries I want to watch this summer along with some of the library’s other new miniseries titles.

Science Fiction

Childhood’s EndAliens just don’t ever get old. Hollywood keeps on making stories about what it would be like if aliens landed on planet Earth, and we keep watching them. Childhood’s End  is the story of peaceful aliens that have come to Earth. Yep, you read that right. Usually it is death and destruction or abduction when aliens land, but these aliens are nice. Well…at least we think so. In fact these aliens are so great, they have taken over the planet and turned it into an Utopian society. Decades later the people of Earth start to wonder if everything really is as it seems.

Also available: Ascension; Heroes Reborn

Comedy

Spoils of Babylon: The title alone was enough for me to be interested, and then I saw Toby McGuire on the cover and was pretty much sold. But there is actually a little more to it. This miniseries is in comedy for a reason. It is a spoof on the traditional TV epic miniseries (think Thornbirds as it doesn’t get anymore epic than that). The story is of the Morehouse family who has made a fortune in the oil business. Rags to riches, forbidden love, battlefields, boarding houses, and power are just a few of things in store.

Drama 

The Lizzie Borden ChroniclesIn 1892 a Sunday school teacher was accused of killing her father and stepmother and later acquitted. The made for TV movie Lizzie Borden Took an Axe tells a fictionalized story of the murder and trial. The network decided to keep going with the story and created a miniseries that cover the events that happened after the trial. Sounds interesting, plus the cover is an image of Christina Ricci holding a bloody ax. I know Christina can definitely do creepy, so I can’t wait to check it out.

Mercy Street: American history will get me every time. In this dramatization we are taken to Alexandria, VA in 1862 where the war is just a blink away. Union soldiers have taken over the town and converted a luxury hotel into an army hospital. Nurses from opposing sides are forced to work together in what has become a melting pot for the Civil War.

Also available: Bible Stories: In the Beginning; The Book of Negroes; The Casual Vacancy; Dancing on the Edge; The Great Fire; Texas Rising

 


I will say it right now: Romola Garai is the next Judi Dench. She was clever and charming in the BBC’s Emma, tragic in Atonement and lovely in I Capture the Castle, but it is her starring roll as Sugar in the BBC’s 4-part adaptation of Michael Faber‘s novel, The Crimson Petal and the White, that has devoted me to her as a fan for life. She is absolutely breathtaking and MESMERIZING as a shrewd Victorian prostitute who writes revenge slasher fiction featuring her “patrons” to amuse her friends and as a dream of a future life as a published author.

However, Sugar’s plan changes when a suppressed aristocrat seeks out her services after being cut-off from his wealthy father and repeatedly pushed away from his mentally ill wife. She quickly creates a mutually beneficial relationship with William Rackham, played by Chris O’Dowd (of IT Crowd, Bridesmaids, HBO’s Girls), and soon finds herself the invisible force behind his personal and financial successes. Eventually, Sugar finds herself entwined with the women of the Rackham family and her control over William’s affections begins to slip away.

Now for the warnings: This series features nudity and explicit content which, I’ll admit, took me off guard at first, yet felt very appropriate to the era and environment. What I really want to warn viewers about is how this miniseries made me feel. The depiction of the historical treatment of women mentally, socially, and sexually left me in very dark moods after each episode. The storylines following Mrs. Rackham and her illness were particularly difficult to watch. However, Sugar’s overall strength of spirit left me aggressively hopeful as the final scene faded into light.

I highly recommend The Crimson Petal and the White to adult fans of period films and miniseries and to those who enjoy dramas targeting the female experience in relationships such as HBO’s Girls.