What Does Limited Series Mean On Netflix?

And the difference between a limited series and a TV show

What to Know

  • Netflix limited series are exclusive miniseries which tell a complete story in 4-10 episodes.
  • Unlike TV shows, most limited series have just one season, but there are exceptions.
  • Popular Netflix limited series include The Queen's Gambit, Wild Wild Country, Unbelievable, and When They See Us.

What does limited series mean on Netflix? This article explains the difference between Netflix TV shows and limited series.

What Does Limited Series Mean?

Netflix limited series are shows with just one season consisting of a few episodes which tell a complete story. They are written and produced with a clear beginning, middle, and ending. Essentially, a Netflix limited series is a miniseries exclusive to Netflix.

“Limited series” doesn't mean a show is only available for a limited amount of time. While Netflix frequently rotates its offerings, original content (which includes limited series) is rarely removed from the platform. There's no special section or search filter for limited series on Netflix, so the only way to tell if something is a limited series is to check the show's info page.

Netflix logo on a phone in front of Netflix on a smart TV

Getty Images/Chesnot/Contributor

How Long Are Limited Series on Netflix?

Limited series usually have 4-10 episodes, but there's no set number. Netflix usually releases all episodes of a limited series at once, but there are some exceptions. For example, Selena: The Series was split into two seasons, with season one ending on a cliffhanger and season two completing the story.

Some limited series are meant to be binge-watched like a long movie, while others follow a more standard TV show format with standalone episodes. Here's a list of some of Netflix's most popular limited series:

  • Alias Grace
  • Behind Her Eyes
  • The Defenders
  • The English Game
  • Five Came Back
  • Flint Town 
  • Godless
  • Hollywood
  • The I-Land
  • The Pharmacist
  • The Queen's Gambit
  • The Stranger
  • Tiger King
  • Unbelievable
  • Unorthodox
  • What/If
  • When They See Us
  • Wild Wild Country

What Is the Difference Between a Limited Series and a TV Show?

Most TV shows span several seasons. For example, the Netflix original series Stranger Things was created with the intention of running for multiple seasons even though the specific story and filming details for subsequent seasons weren't decided until after the first season wrapped up.

Limited series, on the other hand, have a predetermined number of episodes. While some shows only last one season because they don't get renewed, limited series are not intended to continue. If Netflix advertises a show as a limited series, don't expect a second season.

  • When does The Spy limited series leave Netflix?

    Netflix displays a "Last day to watch on Netflix" message a month before the departure of a complete series, limited series, or movie. Visit the title's page and look for this message in the details area or at the top of the screen after pressing Play. If you're watching Netflix in a web browser, hover over the show and select More info to see this message.

  • What is an HBO limited series?

    An HBO limited series is a show with a limited number of episodes and a set start and end date. While you can't search for limited series specifically, you can view all HBO Max original series from the Max Originals hub in the HBO Max app. You can also view a list of HBO Original series on the HBO site.

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