Nobody does the miniseries like HBO. With its ambition, reach, notoriety and massive sums of money, the premium cable network has repeatedly produced limited edition series that can simultaneously rival the best of episodic dramas and big movies.
With the limited series, everything is up for grabs. You know you’re not coming back next year, so you can kill whoever you want, focus on a niche interest that might not support content series, and spend every part of your budget on four to 10 episodes. in order to create something really awesome.
Over the years, HBO’s miniseries have covered war, history, comedy, and religion. They took works from the stage and books, and brought in voices from all over the world to tell amazing stories. They featured amazing actors, Oscar winners, superstars and strangers, and aimed for the top every time.
All was not rosy, as we will see soon. HBO is nothing if not bold, and sometimes that causes them to fall face down on their stomachs, but you can’t have the good one without a little bit of trouble.
Revered Chris Lilley’s nadir has come in his attempt to base a full limited series around one of his most beloved creations. On the seminal Summer Heights High, Jonah Takalua was the main character, a rebellious teenage boy of Polynesian descent played with humor and genuine empathy by Lilley.
The problem arose when Jonah went from being a star player to the main attraction, and he quickly got a little nauseous to see Chris Lilley frolic in brown makeup and attempt to satire the racism experienced by Polynesians. -Australians in an incredibly awkward way.
Lilley’s heart was probably in the right place and the affection he has for the character is clear, but the show has come under heavy criticism for not setting its purpose and looking at stereotypes of the people of the Pacific instead. than to question them.
An audience disaster, it sounded the death knell for Lilley’s lucrative relationship with HBO; he would go on to produce Lunatics for Netflix, which replaced Jonah From Tonga as the worst project in the comedian’s professional life.