June 5, 2015

10 Miniseries Adaptations of the Classics Worth Checking Out

Hello, everyone! Miniseries adaptations of the classics have always been a favourite of mine. We all know those novels, even if we haven't read some of them. A number of them are huge, but the miniseries format means that there is enough time for the story to fully develop. There were a lot of such adaptations through the years and some classics have been adapted several times. In this list, I will count my favourite miniseries adaptations. But, in order to include everything, I will put only one title per author (otherwise it would be a Jane Austen list). 

10 Miniseries adaptations worth checking out

Miniseries adaptation of the classic novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the D'Urbervilles, a novel by Thomas Hardy, was first published in 1891. It's the story of a poor girl, whose family finds out that they have noble connections. At the time of its publication. this novel shocked the readers. The adaptation was made by Dave Nicholls and stars Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne.

9. Les Misérables (2000) 

Miniseries adaptation of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo's novel was adapted for the big screen and the television numerous times. But, my absolutely favourite is this one from 2000. Both Gerard Depardieu and John Malkovich are ideal for the roles of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert. Plus this miniseries is in French and this gives a lot to the result. 

8. The Pillars of the Earth (2010)  

Miniseries adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This novel is actually a new classic since it was first published in 1989. It's an epic story that takes place in 12th century England. It revolves around the construction of a Gothic cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge and the struggle between good and evil.

7. He Knew He Was Right (2004) 

Miniseries adaptation of He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope's drama about a man who cannot trust his wife is considered by many his greatest novel. The miniseries was directed by Tom Vaughan and the adaptation was made by Andrew Davies. 

6. Daniel Deronda (2002) 

Miniseries adaptation of Daniel Deronda by George Elliot

Daniel Deronda is the last novel that George Eliot completed and the only one set in the Victorian society. It's a social satire and a moral searching, as well as a sympathetic rendering of Jewish ideas. The novel was adapted by Andrew Davies, the miniseries was directed by Tom Hooper and starred Hugh Dancy and Romola Garai.

5. Jane Eyre (1983)  

Miniseries adaptation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

One of the most adapted novels is without a question Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My favourite adaptation is this one, of 1983. It's longer than the rest of the miniseries, having 11 episodes. Timothy Dalton's is by far my favourite portrayal of Rochester. 

4. Parade's End (2012)

Miniseries Adaptation of the novel Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford

Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford takes place during the World War I. A love triangle is formed between the old-fashioned Christopher Tietjens, his vindictive wife Sylvia and the young suffragette Valentine Wannop. The show cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Christopher, Rebecca Hall as Sylvia and Adelaide Clemens as Valentine.

3. Little Dorrit (2008)  

Miniseries adaptation of the novel Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens satirizes the shortcomings of both government and society, especially the institution of debtor's prison. The miniseries adaptation is critically acclaimed and won seven Emmy Awards, including the Outstanding Miniseries Award. It's the longest show on the list with 14 episodes. 

2. North and South (2004)  

Miniseries adaptation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell's great love story is one of my favourite novels of all time. Margaret Hale is forced to move to the north town of Milton after her father decides to leave the clergy. There she meets the Thorton family, who ran one of the biggest cotton mills of the town and despise their inferiors. This story, apart from the romance, explores the themes of gender and class.

Miniseries adaptation of the novel Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

This was the most difficult decision I had to take. There are so many adaptations of Jane Austen's novels! So, I decided not to include one the well-known, like Pride and Prejudice (1995) or Persuasion (1995). Instead, my number 1 pick for the miniseries adaptations is Sense and Sensibility from 2008. This show was so beautifully directed, the cast was so suitable for the characters, I can't really have to say much, apart from urging you to watch it.  

Do you watch miniseries adaptations? Which ones are your favourites? If you have any other suggestions for future lists, please feel free to let me know!


  1. I really like the 2012 Les Miserables movie. The cast was so talented :) I'll have to see the 2000 movie now!

    1. The musical is great and I love the songs too. But the 2000 adaptation is really close to the novel :)

  2. I didn’t know that there was a Tess miniseries. I like that book, so I’ll have to check it out. I watched the Sense & Sensibility miniseries a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Yes, it's definitely worth checking out :)

  3. I never knew that there was a Les Miserables miniseries! I'm definitely going to check that out because even though I love the musical and the 2012 film adaptation, I'm still craving for a version that tried its best to stay true to Victor Hugo's original work.

    Have you tried watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries? It's really good - they stayed true to the book and everything! While Mr. Darcy wasn't as swoon as Colin Firth in the 2005 adaptation, I still enjoyed his and Lizzie's chemistry in the series.

    I'm also going to check out Parade's End because Benedict Cumberbatch, y'know.

    Thanks for these amazing recommendations!

    1. The casting is this Les Miserables miniseries is amazing. I couldn't find better betrayals of Jean Valjean or Inspector Javert (although Hugh Jackman was amazing in the musical as well)

      The 1995 Pride and Prejudice is amazing! It's so close to the book, Colin Firth is the perfect Darcy for me, but in this list I wanted to include something different, lesser-known. The film also was great, even though there were differences from the novel, it was beautifully directed.

      Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing in Parade's End. The story is also really beautiful, I believe you'll enjoy it :)

  4. I LOVE BBC! I'm definitely going to look into some of these! :)


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