What’s in a Name?
Remember the 1970s? How about the 1980s?
If you do, you likely remember Roots and V, two programs – each defined as a miniseries – that the entire country communally watched and buzzed about together during that time. While too young to see either on its first run, when I was able to watch both in the late 1990s, they rocked my socks for two very different reasons.
But this is not a post about how either impacted us. It is a post about words, and their power.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, even into the 1990s, the word “miniseries” was used often, even in the case of V where there was a sequel miniseries made years later.
Fast-forward to the 2020s. Think about Big Little Lies, 9 Perfect Strangers, Queen’s Gambit, The White Lotus, Dr. Death and nearly half of the other content on streaming services that captures the world’s attention. These multi-episode stories are called “limited series,” “anthologies,” or even “limited television events.”
But here is the thing…they are all miniseries.
As someone who works in words and in promotion, I continuously wonder how the name evolved, and why? Was the term “miniseries” deemed passé? Did a marketing communications team meet to rebrand the miniseries for a new generation?
Whatever the case, and I do hope a PR person was in the room when the change was made, the miniseries – I mean limited series – seems back and bigger than ever.