BET has been killing it with its biopic miniseries lately. First, the network kicked off the year with The New Edition Story, which chronicled the rise and legacy of the titular boy band. Now in February, BET has captivated audiences again with its three-part miniseries about the life and times of Nelson Mandela, Madiba. As this miniseries comes to a close on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET, it makes me wonder if there will be more episodes of Madiba in the future.
There hasn't been any official word on whether or not there will be new installments of Madiba once this miniseries wraps on Wednesday night. BET originally announced Madiba as "a three-part saga telling the definitive story of Nelson Mandela," so it doesn't appear that there are any subsequent episodes planned.
Until the third and final part of this miniseries airs, it's difficult to tell if it would even be possible to have any more Madiba in the future. The third episode will show Mandela's (Laurence Fishburne) release from prison on Feb. 11, 1990, his own marital issues with wife Winnie Mandela (Terry Pheto), and his work in unifying South Africa, presumably when he became president of the country in 1994, according to the log lines found on TV Guide's website.
Of course, even after his presidential term ended in 1999, Mandela continued to be an activist, philanthropist, and statesman until his death in 2013. So if Madiba doesn't cover the latter part of the political icon's life, there's always the possibility that it could return with new episodes that explore that, as well as his legacy.
The TV ratings for Madiba don't appear to be readily available, but the miniseries received overall positive reviews. It sounds like no one would be upset if there were to be more Madiba in the future.
But in the case that there isn't, plenty more historical figures with fascinating stories have had their lives depicted on screen in miniseries in recent years. Many of them are even easily available to stream online. So let the history lesson continue — through the lens of Hollywood, of course.
Playing Elizabeth II may have catapulted Helen Mirren to worldwide fame with her Oscar-winning turn in The Queen, but it seems like a lot of people forget that she also played Queen Elizabeth I in the eponymous HBO miniseries. This two-part film, which is available to stream on Amazon and HBO Go, follows the legendary ruler in the latter half of her reign and also features the always-great Jeremy Irons and Hugh Dancy. But basically, no one plays a British monarch like Mirren.
John Adams isn't just an exceptional historical miniseries; it's one of the best TV miniseries ever — period. Adapted from David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the same name, John Adams helped shed new light on one of our nation's most important Founding Fathers, kind of like what Hamilton did for Alexander Hamilton. It certainly doesn't hurt that this miniseries, which is available to stream on Amazon and HBO Go, features the acting talents of Paul Giamatti as John Adams and Laura Linney as his revoluionary wife, Abigail Adams.
'Bonnie & Clyde'
When there's a movie out there that's as iconic as 1967's Bonnie & Clyde, you have to wonder if trying to bring the real-life outlaws' story to the screen once again was such a good idea. Well, A&E Networks did just that with its Bonnie & Clyde miniseries in 2013, and it actually did a good job of capturing the fun, glamour, and well, violence of the infamous couple's life. This is one miniseries that's definitely worth checking out on Netflix.
'The White Queen'
The White Queen, which can be streamed through Amazon, is technically based on a historical novel series by Philippa Gregory, but it does chronicle the lives of three real women (Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville) as they become a part of the fight for control of the English crown during the War of the Roses. The White Queen is perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, period pieces, and just good drama in general.
'Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond'
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, dives into the life of Ian Fleming, the famous author who created the character of James Bond. You'll see in the miniseries, which is available to stream on Netflix, that perhaps the reason why Fleming was able to create such a suave and strong character like Bond was because of his own experience working in intelligence during World War II, as well as his experience with the ladies.
Like The White Queen, Wolf Hall, which is available to view on Amazon, is also adapted from historical novels, this time ones that come from author Hilary Mantel. But it's still full of history and historical figures like King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and Thomas Cromwell. And I mean, with the likes of Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, and Mark Rylance in one miniseries, it doesn't really get much better than Wolf Hall.
'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom'
And if you want to see more of Mandela's story on screen, it shouldn't come as a surprise that such an influential individual has had several films made about his life. Although none of them are miniseries (but some are TV movies), these films include Invictus, Mandela & De Klerk, and Mandela. But the most recent and one of the best is Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is available to stream on Netflix now. The movie stars Idris Elba as the titular figure and is a comprehensive look at his life, from childhood to being elected the president of South Africa, all through a modern lens.
I'm eager to see how Mandela's life and legacy will be told on screen next.