By Andrew Rabin
Earlier this week we introduced our May nominees for the Hall of Fame. Today Rabin is back with his statistical analysis to help you choose how to vote.
This month we delve into miniseries, and that brings us back to AIRS. Well, not quite AIRS. Let’s call it miniAIRS. What’s different between AIRS and miniAIRS?
The A is the same- Awards are based on Emmys and Golden Globes.
The I is still for Inspiration, but the equation is a bit different. A miniseries gets 1 point for every spinoff series (either miniseries or regular continuing series, and also made for TV movies), 1 point for every remake series, and 1 point for every feature film.
The R is still for Ranked lists. The lists included in miniAIRS are James Poniewozik’s Time Magazine 100 series list, Flickchart’s top 100 miniseries, and Listverse’s top 15 miniseries list. A series gets 2.5 points for appearing on the Time list and 1.25 points for appearing on either of the other lists.
The S is all new, this time standing for Special Honors. What makes Special Honors more special than the awards in the Awards section? They weren’t in the AIRS awards section I guess? I needed something that started with the letter S? There’s not really a good reason why these are separated, but here we are. The Special Honors section includes weighted points for Peabody Awards, and both wins and nominations for Television Critics Association, Directors Guild of America, and Producers Guild of America Awards.
And all of that is added up and multiplied by the decade factor we’ve used every month. And that brings us our nominees in miniAIRS:
Roots is the runaway leader, but the point differential might not lead to as big of a difference in ranking as you might think. On to the analysis.
Roots is the top miniseries of the 100 I tested, and by a good margin. It is one of only three miniseries to score in all four categories, along with Lonesome Dove and The Winds of War. It has more than twice as many points as the two miniseries tied for third, Angels in America and John Adams. It is dominant in every way, and a clear yes vote.
Shōgun puts up an impressive display, thanks to its 14 Emmy nominations and its Peabody win. It should be noted that only 14 of the 100 miniseries scored anything in the Inspiration category. The overall scores get very low very quickly, but with a ranking this high Shōgun must get in as well.
Band of Brothers
“But Andrew,” you say, “what of The Pacific? Was that not a spinoff of Band of Brothers?” Unfortunately, no, it was not. While The Pacific likely does not exist without the success of Band of Brothers, it is, in fact, a companion series and not a direct spinoff (and, thanks to several guild awards, ranks ahead of Band of Brothers at 10th). If The Pacific were included as a spinoff, this would bump Band of Brothers up to 9th, directly behind Shōgun. Thanks to significant awards credibility and a still very high ranking, I’m saying Band of Brothers is another yes vote.
Now we get into more questionable ground, as Merlin barely cracks the top quarter of nominees, and does so on the strength of a slew of acting and technical Emmy nominations. It’s definitely a borderline call, but it falls below enough other miniseries for the past 20 years, including recent, not-so-classics like Mildred Pierce and Hatfields and McCoys, I think it falls just short.
Pride and Prejudice
And here is where we reach the point where the low scores make various series relatively indistinguishable. Look at how many 80s and 90s miniseries are stacked in there along with Pride and Prejudice. What the nominated series has going for it is the variety of categories; it is the only series in this bunch with any of the Special Honors points, thanks to a TCA win. Still, this is not quite enough, and Pride and Prejudice is a no.
Much like with the Series with Fewer than 30 Episodes category, the lack of data from these miniseries makes a thorough evaluation difficult. By their nature, these are all shows that aired only once, and only for a brief period of time. With that said, the numbers point to Roots, Shōgun, and Band of Brothers as yes votes, Merlin as a borderline decision, and Pride and Prejudice as a no. How will you vote?