Bright beautiful colors, breathtaking sceneries, an amazing script based on a classic story, great actors and most of all, historical accuracy — that’s what this adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is all about. Many previous adaptations have gone by but strangely, there is something about this one that stays with you. No show is perfect and this one too has some imperfections like character inconsistencies, flawed British accents and a slow pace that at times takes a toll on you. But the positives sure do cover up for the few negatives which may not even be much of a big deal for most people. If you enjoyed watching the previous movie adaptations of this story that had some of the greatest stars including Hugh Jackman and Liam Neeson, or even if you have just read Victor Hugo’s 530,000-word long epic story, then this British version deserves a chance.
I’ll never understand why we pay for watching others suffer. The story ‘Les Miserables’ is just a combination of crescendo moments all tied up one after the other with no pauses. Not even a minute into the show, you find yourself getting lured into the abyss of corpses all scattered on the battlefield of Waterloo. This six-hour miniseries surely has something unique for all those who are looking for a new perspective on the subject. The show hits you with a combination of intense suspense, emotions and also a few moments of light humor that’ll be enough to distract you from its inherent thematic darkness.
‘Les Miserables’ is an incredibly profound, haunting story of sacrifice and forgiveness. If you’re already done watching the show, and are looking for something similar, then you have come to the right place. We have made a list of shows that will sweep you into a journey of sadness where eventually you might just find your own path towards happiness. Here’s the list of best shows similar to ‘Les Miserables’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these series like ‘Les Miserables’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. Band of Brothers (2001)
‘Band of Brothers‘ features the story of some ordinary men of the Easy “E” Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division who lead extraordinary lives from the starting to the end of the World War II. These men showed extreme courage and bravery throughout the war and this 10-part series pays a tribute to these men. It portrays their stories through a series of survivor interviews, journal entries and also the letters they wrote throughout the span of the war. As entertaining as it is, this show is a lot more than that and reminds us of all the sacrifices that these men had made.
11. The Pacific (2010)
‘The Pacific’ follows the journey of three soldiers of the Marine Corps during World War II — Robert Leckie, Eugene B, Sledge and John Basilone. It takes you through their journey from the first battle of Japan on Guadalcanal to the horrors of Okinawa and then ultimately through their return on the V-J Day. ‘The Pacific’ differs from ‘Band of Brothers’ and does not dwell much into the characters of the soldiers. The show depicts how the soldiers themselves kept a distance from each other and were not willing to show their vulnerabilities during these times. The realism, the impeccable background scores and the amazing performances of the leads make this show one of a kind.
10. War & Peace (2016)
‘War and Peace’ portrays how the lives of the five aristocratic families transformed for the better as Napolean Bonaparte’s conflict with Russia was starting to reach its peak. This show does more than a decent job in adapting Leo Tolstoy’s book that goes by the same name and his view how of the terribly the course of human interaction can possibly run and yet it has an element of something indescribably magical. With fantastic character development and stunning setting, ‘War and Peace’ is definitely one of the better shows on the list.
9. The White Queen (2013)
‘The White Queen’ takes you through the lives of three different women, Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville. It depicts their quest for power through manipulation and seduction and the relentless hunger that drove them to somehow reach the throne during the 15th century England. This show has its own set of flaws but at the same time, it has some really good historical moments as well. If you want to truly enjoy it, then just try to overlook all of its flaws and embrace what it truly offers.
8. The Pillars of Earth (2010)
‘The Pillars of the Earth’ is an adaptation of a novel by Ken Follett that is set around the backdrop of the 12th Century political turmoil that took place in England. It takes you through all the love stories that emerge between the characters during this time and also the catastrophic consequences of the same. The special effects and direction of the show have been masterfully executed and overall, it manages to be respectful to its source material.
7. Hatfields and McCoys (2012)
‘Hatfields and McCoys’ takes you through the feuds that nearly lead to a war between Kentucky and West Virginia. The series begins with portraying the friendship between ‘Devil’ Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy and takes it all the way to the end of the Civil War after which they return home to West Virginia and Kentucky respectively. But upon coming back to their neighboring homes, they face an increasing tension because of misunderstandings that almost brings them on the edge of exploding into another Civil War. And as more outside forces start joining the two states, the whole situation gets even worse until the US Supreme court finally intervenes. With its historically accurate representation of the events portrayed — which were even missed out by the History Channel — and some great performances by the actors, the show has made its place among the top shows in this genre.
6. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
As told by the Gospels, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ brings to life the drama that revolves around the life of Jesus Christ that begins from the time before Nativity and extends all the way up to his Crucifixion and ultimately his Resurection. This is perhaps the best illustration of the life of Jesus and there’s no other film or show that has managed to portray such a heart touching on this theme that I can think of. Like most similar shows, it does portray the spiritual aspects of Christianity as well but it also goes much beyond that and that’s how it gives you a much bigger reason to believe in this enlightening story.
5. Roots (1977)
‘Roots’ is a dramatization of author Alex Haley‘s family line that starts off with the abduction of Kunta Kinte from his African village and then being sold into slavery after being taken to America. He later makes numerous attempts to escape but fails each time and then gives in to his destiny. He marries the daughter of the plantation’s cook and has a child with her who is also later sold. As the family embarks on a journey towards freedom, it experiences various historical events like the Civil Wars, Slave Uprisings, and eventual emancipation.
4. The Last Post (2017)
‘The Last Post’ is a historical war drama mini-series that revolves around the lives of the soldiers who are serving the British Army and fighting a Yemeni insurgency in the Middle East. It also vividly captures the stories of the wives and children of these soldiers, depicting how their lives are influenced in this war scenario. ‘The Last Post’ puts aside the military aspect of the show and focuses more on the personal lives of the characters. Each and every episode is powerful and gripping in its own unique way, making this a definite must-watch.
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3. World Without End (2012)
‘World Without End’ is another adaptation of one of Ken Follett’s novels. Set in the 1300s England amid plague, disasters, and war, the movie depicts life in the town of Kingsberg where everything seems to be going well after the Civil War until suddenly, without any prior warning, the town is under siege. A supporter of the Queen named Sir Ronald condemns the lord of nearby Shiring as a traitor and hangs him to death. He also has a long list of all the people he wants to sentence to death because of their support towards the old king. All of this leads to another war that goes on for over a hundred years.
2. Banished (2015)
‘Banished’ revolves around the lives of British convicts who are sent to Australia as a punishment for their crimes and now they must learn to live a new life with new rules that are enforced upon them. The show is not completely accurate when it comes to the historic events as it is a drama series and does not claim to be a documentary with any historical references. The character development and the story build up all the way till the end is commendable. The show is deeply touching, moving portrayal of humanity. Slightly different from others on this list, this is the kind of show you must watch before you form an opinion about it. So ignore the negative reviews you see and judge it all by yourself once you’re done watching it.
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1. Holocaust (1978)
If you could only watch one show that explores the Holocaust, then this should be the one. ‘Holocaust‘ takes you on a wide ranged journey through what exactly had happened to the central and eastern European Jews from 1935 to 1945. You get to see the conditions in not just one but many concentration camps and also shows the changes in the Ghetto of Warsaw. It also gives you a thorough examination of how the methods for killing Jews were changed with time and why. If you have even the slightest interest in the historical events of that time, then this one will be completely worth your time.
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