7 best miniseries on Netflix to binge-watch over a weekend

 New on Netflix: Queen's Gambit
New on Netflix: Queen's Gambit

While summer is great for slowly watching a show with many seasons — as so many did with Suits — fall can be a busier time that only allows for a weekend binge session. Fortunately, many great miniseries are on Netflix and can be viewed in just a couple days.

Miniseries, also called limited series, have become all the rage in the last decade or so. So much so that the Emmys category is now a battle royale between some of the most acclaimed shows of the year. Just look at 2021’s limited series nominees: I May Destroy You, Mare of Easttown, The Underground Railroad, WandaVision and The Queen’s Gambit. The latter won, but all were very worthy.

If you’re looking for a great but relatively quick watch, here are the best miniseries on Netflix to binge over a weekend.


This limited series might be one of the best arguments in favor of the social safety net. When young mom Alex (Margaret Qualley) flees an abusive relationship with her toddler daughter in tow, she finds herself homeless and jobless. She has no money and her only support is her erratic bipolar mother (Andie MacDowell, Qualley’s real-life mom).

Alex’s struggles with poverty, housing and childcare can be brutal to watch at times. You’ll shake your fist and decry “the system” that leaves so many vulnerable people, particularly women, flailing on their own. Yet, Maid can also be uplifting and inspiring. Much of that is due to Qualley, who makes you root for Alex through all her ups and downs.

Episodes: 10 (avg 55 min)
Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Watch on Netflix

Band of Brothers

If somehow you (or your dad) never caught this miniseries when it aired on HBO in 2001, or in reruns or streaming since, now is your chance to binge it on Netflix. Created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, it's adapted from a book written by Stephen Ambrose that tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army during World War II.

Richard "Dick" Winters (Damian Lewis) is part of a group of soldiers that partakes in jump training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, then moves on to airborne landings in Normandy. From there, they're on the frontlines of the the Siege of Bastogne, the invasion of Germany and the liberation of a concentration camp.

Episodes: 10 (avg 60 min)
Genre: Historical drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Watch on Netflix

The Staircase

Before Serial, before The Jinx, before Making a Murderer, there was The Staircase. The 2004 true crime documentary series chronicles the case of novelist Michael Peterson, who is accused of murdering his wife Kathleen. He claims she died after falling down the stairs — but the circumstance is eerily similar to the death of another woman in his life.

French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade not only offers extraordinarily intimate access to Peterson, his family and his legal team, but to the prosecution, which makes the resulting footage so enthralling. The director returns to the case twice more, following Peterson’s continuing fight to exonerate himself. Years later, I’m still debating theories about what really happened to Kathleen that night.

Episodes: 13 (avg 50 min)
Genre: Documentary
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Watch on Netflix

When They See Us

Ava DuVernay doesn’t hold back the cold fury in her dramatic retelling of how five Black and Latino young men —  dubbed “the Central Park Five” — came to be charged with assaulting and raping a jogger in 1989.  The miniseries spans a quarter of the century, starting with the teens getting picked up by police through their years fighting their convictions to their exoneration in 2022.

The cast is outstanding, featuring breakout performances by the actors playing the wrongfully accused young men: Asante Blackk as Kevin Richardson, Caleel Harris as Antron McCray, Ethan Herisse as Yusef Salaam, Jharrel Jerome as Korey Wise and Marquis Rodriguez as Raymond Santana. They’re joined by established heavy hitters Felicity Huffman as prosecutor Linda Fairstein, Aunjanue Ellis as Yusef’s mother and the late Michael K. Williams as Antron’s father.

Episodes: 4 (avg 75 min)
Genre: True crima drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Watch on Netflix


This miniseries is one wild ride that will leave you laughing, gasping, cringing and thinking. Ali Wong and Steven Yeun are electric, both together and separately, as two suburbanites who form a toxic connection after a road rage incident. It escalates into an all-out feud in which each tries to one-up the other, to the point of destroying their lives.

Beef is like the flip-side of a romantic comedy; instead of a meet-cute, Wong and Yeun hate each other at first sight. Using very dark humor and biting wit, creator Lee Sung Jin explores mental health, the pressure to succeed, class differences and Asian American experiences.

Episodes: 10 (avg 35 min)
Genre: Comedy/drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Watch on Netflix


Incredible performances by Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette and Merritt Wever anchor this harrowing, riveting portrait of how rape is too often ignored, minimized or turned around on the victim in the American justice system. The story is based on real events chronicled by journalists T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong in Pro Publica (as well as their subsequent book A False Report).

Marie (Dever) is a teenager in Washington state who comes forward to report that she was raped, though the policemen distrust her account and end up discrediting her. Her life rapidly falls apart. In Colorado, two female detectives discover a link between their sexual assault cases and begin to pursue a suspected serial rapist.

Episodes: 8 (avg 50 min)
Genre: True crime drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Watch on Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit

Chess became trendy again thanks to this limited series starring Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma) as an orphan chess prodigy determined to become the best player in the world. Set in the 1950s and ‘60s, the story follows Beth Harmon who learns chess as a young child from the custodian at an orphanage.

But as Beth rises to the top of the chess world, beating top-ranked players and earning titles, she grows more and more dependent on drugs and alcohol. Her addiction threatens to derail her hard-won success and blow up her bid to defeat the Soviet World Champion. Writer/director Scott Frank relates Beth’s journey with gorgeous visuals that make a cerebral game come alive.

Episodes: 7 (avg 60 min)
Genre: Period drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%
Watch on Netflix

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