After a dormant period, the miniseries genre is having a renaissance. Just don’t call them that, as I wrote at Quartz.
But nobody calls these shows “miniseries,” anymore. Instead, the networks have embraced terms like “limited series” and “event series” to describe programs with a predetermined end or cast that changes from season to season.
So what’s the difference? Not even the people running the networks can answer that one. “I don’t know,” NBC Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt admitted to reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in January.
“It’s a genre that has kind of gone out of our sort of vocabulary for a long time because we stopped doing them,” said Greenblatt. “I think we use the word miniseries when something is closed-ended and can’t continue.…I don’t know what a limited series is.”
CBS Entertainment chair Nina Tassler also spoke with me at TCA about why the m-word has become so verboten, and I help clear up the confusion between miniseries, limited series, event series and anthology series.