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Miniseries roundup

Road to the Emmys: Drama & longform

Children of Dune

Network: Sci Fi

Cast: Susan Sarandon, Alec Newman, Alice Krige

Director: Greg Yaitanes

Writer: John Harrison

Critically speaking: “Sci Fi Channel’s long-awaited sequel to 2000’s ‘Dune’ turns everything up a notch: the special effects, the star power and the melodrama. It’s everything a miniseries should be — unless you’re a diehard Frank Herbert fan,” Laura Fries, Daily Variety

The Forsyte Saga

Network: PBS

Cast: Damian Lewis, Gina McKee, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Graves

Director:Christopher Menaul, David Moore

Writers: Jan McVerry, Stephen Mallatratt

Critically speaking: “The new adaptation of John Galsworthy’s grand saga remains faithful to the original book while adding just enough contemporary grace notes to enhance credibility for a modern television audience,” David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

Helen of Troy

Network: USA

Cast: Sienna Guillory, Matthew Marsden, Rufus Sewell, Stellan Skarsgard

Director: John Kent Harrison

Writer: Ronni Kern

Critically speaking: “Standing out is Sienna Guillory as the title character and Rufus Sewell as Agamemnon. . . Guillory reps the overall highlight; she takes center stage among a group of more accomplished men,” Michael Speier, Daily Variety

Hitler: The Rise of Evil

Network: CBS

Cast: Robert Carlyle, Stockard Channing, Julianna Margulies, Liev Schreiber

Director: Christian Duguay

Writers: John Pielmeier, G. Ross Parker

Cast: Critically speaking: “But upon close and fair inspection, this mini has its compelling moments; despite a lead performance from Robert Carlyle that borders on cartoon overplay, there’s still enough that’s inherently watchable due to our fascination with the subject,” Michael Speier, Daily Variety

Kingpin

Network: NBC

Cast: Yancy Arias, Bobby Cannavale, Sheryl Lee, Brian Benben

Director: Allen Coulter

Writer: David Mills

Critically speaking: “When ‘Kingpin’s’ characters keep their emotions in check — and creator David Mills’ script asks that of them most of the time — a sense of danger and insecurity swells that sets ‘Kingpin’ apart from episodics about Hispanics or drug-running,” Phil Gallo, Daily Variety

Napoleon

Network: A&E

Cast: Christian Clavier, Isabella Rossellini, Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich

Director: Yves Simoneau

Writer: Didier Decoin

Critically speaking: “The grandness of ‘Napoleon’ is appreciated even more since its confines are limited; having every right to shrink things in scope and cost in order to talk down to TV auds, producers instead have ramped up the elements,” Michael Speier, Daily Variety

Taken

Network: Sci Fi

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Steve Burton, Julie Benz, Michael Moriarty

Writer: Leslie Bohem

Director: Tobe Hooper (episode 1), Breck Eisner (2), Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (3), Bryan Spicer (4), Felix Alcala (5), Tom Wright (6), Jeremy Kagan (7), Jeff Woolnough (8), John Fawcett (9), Michael Kattleman (10)

Critically speaking: “‘Taken’ is mammoth, imaginative … certainly the most ambitious sci-fi epic ever produced for television,” Washington Post

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