The HBO cable TV network has been the home for a ton of acclaimed original TV series. However, many HBO miniseries have generated lots of critical and award-winning TV to watch as well. They include looking back at some of the biggest historical events of all time to some hard-hitting crime dramas, and even a look ahead at a possible future. Here are our picks for the best HBO limited series you can stream now.
Read: Best HBO Max shows
We suggest accessing these series via HBO Max, the new streaming service that has all of HBO’s content, plus a lot more. You can sign up for the service at the link below. It costs $14.99 a month but you might be able to get the service for free.
Best HBO miniseries:
1. Band of Brothers
This may be the first great HBO miniseries. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, who acted and directed Saving Private Ryan, teamed up again to help produce this World War II series for HBO. It’s a richer look at the American foot soldiers of the war, specifically a team of paratroopers who battle it out in Europe just before, during, and after D-Day. Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, and Donnie Wahlberg are some of the main cast members, and you will also see some appearances by Friends’ David Schwimmer and even Jimmy Fallon.
2. Catherine The Great
Helen Mirren plays the powerful Empress of Russia in this HBO miniseries. The four-part limited series shows her leading the country for over 50 years in the mid-to-late 18th century. Mirren gives a great performance as Catherine, as she rises to become one of the most powerful world leaders of all time.
3. Years and Years
This series, co-produced with the BBC, first takes place in the very recent past, 2019, as it follows an extended British family. It then moves into the near future, as a highly conservative politician, played by Emma Thompson, rises in the ranks to become the UK Prime Minister. The series shows how her actions, along with rises in technology, influence this British family, with lots of unexpected twists and turns.
In April 1986, the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, located in the Soviet Union, exploded. This acclaimed HBO limited series examines the reasons behind the worst nuclear plant disaster in history. It also covers the fallout, both literally and metaphorically. As tens of thousands of people get evacuated from the immediate area, the Soviet Union tries to cover up the event. The series shows that the government’s lies about the disaster might have helped in the fall of the Soviet Union a few years later.
5. The Plot Against America
This HBO miniseries is based on the novel from Phillip Roth. It takes place in the United States in 1940, but in an alternate timeline. In this universe, the famed aviator Charles Lindbergh waged a campaign to run for President against Franklin Roosevelt, and eventually wins. The show, which centers mainly on a Jewish family in New Jersey, examines how it deals with Lindbergh’s rule as he slowly turns America into a fascist state. The HBO limited series stars Winona Ryder and John Turturro.
6. From The Earth To The Moon
After starring in Apollo 13, Tom Hanks extended his time in space with this 1998 HBO miniseries. This 12-episode series chronicles the history of US space exploration, from the founding of NASA, to the first Apollo missions, all the way to the end with the last manned lunar landing with Apollo 17. Hanks directs the first episode of this series and wrote or co-wrote several others. There are a ton of well-known actors playing roles in this mini-series, including Tony Goldwyn, Bryan Cranston, Cary Elwes Gary Cole, Sally Field, and many more. It’s perhaps the best TV series to depict the real events of the Apollo space program.
7. John Adams
Paul Giamatti plays John Adams in this excellent mini-series. It goes into detail about the life of one of the most important, but perhaps one of the most little known, Founding Fathers of the United States. After helping to form the country, Adams is elected as its second President. The mini-series depicts Adams’s life from just before the American Revolution to his death in 1826.
8. The Night Of
This is a dark, grim, and gritty crime drama set in New York City. A Pakistani-American college student, played by Riz Ahmed, is charged with the murder of a young girl. The series takes a brutal look at the criminal justice system, as we see Ahmed’s character trying to prove his innocence. He’s helped with his attorney, played to perfection by John Turturro.
9. Sharp Objects
Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, this is another HBO miniseries with a crime and murder theme. Amy Adams plays a newspaper reported in St Louis who returns to her rural hometown. Her stated goal is to report on and look into the unsolved murder of a pre-teen girl, and the disappearance of another girl in the town. However, she also has to deal with some unresolved family issues of her own.
This show has been put on our HBO miniseries list as a bit of a cheat, at least in our eyes. Watchmen is being labeled as an HBO limited series by the cable network itself. However, we are still hopeful that a second season of this show might come down the pike at some point. For now, we are putting this sequel to the classic alternate history-superhero graphic novel on this list. Developed as a sequel to the graphic novel, it is an excellent continuation of the story originally told by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. It also serves as a look at how racism has and continues to be a major problem in the United States.
That’s our look at the best HBO miniseries you can watch right now. Again, you can stream and view them right now via an HBO Max subscription. You can sign up for it at the link below: