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If you only watch a few, my recommendations would be,
Non-scifi/fantasy dramas: 5 Centimeters per Second, City of God, Empire of the Sun, Last Night, Memento, Miami Vice (TV seasons 1-2 at least), Miller's Crossing, Se7en, Shadow Line (miniseries), The Wire (TV, 60 eps in 5 arcs).
Middle ground: Ex Machina (movie) and Orphan Black (TV, with shades of science fiction in the plot, but the main reason to watch it is the amazing acting. Don't skip it just because you don't like scifi.)
Sci-fi/fantasy: Blade Runner (outstanding world-building without modern CG), Ghost in the Shell (anime, technology and philosophy) and GitS: Stand Alone Complex (TV, 52 half-hour eps, excellent), Primer, Babylon 5 (TV, long, 5 seasons), Death Note (TV, 26 half-hours).
All of the above are good. Don't dismiss them just because you don't like the genre, but if you give one of the TV shows a fair chance and don't like it after a few episodes, try again in a few years. The one exception is Babylon 5, which starts out exceedingly slow in the first season, so you might try to get through at least season 2 before deciding whether to continue.
Okay, nothing remarkable.
This series isn't the most worthless 20hrs I've ever spent in my life, but neither is it terribly interesting taken on its own. The bad components are obvious. There's the pathetic treatment of separation anxiety and/or parental protectiveness, and there's Spielberg's usual firearm-phobic treatment of the material. Then there's the implied warning about becoming too powerful through the use of technology, but that's more expected liberal hysteria from Hollywood's finest.
Then there's the rather ham-handed explanation of the aliens' lack of ethics, conveniently explained simultaneously by both Allie's great grandfather and the mad scientist. Obviously it's too difficult for Spielberg to plainly explain his theory of ethics, or he thinks people will understand it only in miniseries form. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Maybe we are too dumb to understand, Mr. Spielberg, but this miniseries crap is not helping. Please, enlighten us poor misguided peons.
The messianic parallels are so pathetic and obvious that I refuse to take them seriously. And if all that weren't enough, the ending fell flat. I'm not sure there were any better options, really. The girl and the family get away, the army gets the girl and puts her in a lab, the girl gets beamed up, or the girl fakes it all and they actually get away this time. I'm not sure any of those options would work.
After it all, the only redeeming features were a few of Allie's voiceovers and the absolute psychosis of Donahue's character, which was rather interesting. Mr. Spielberg, with all due respect, the one thing you can count on is that nobody needs another 13-hr ethics lesson. Your liberal philosophy is fine, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with it. You just have a few hangups about embracing it completely and a few misconceptions about it. Don't worry, you'll get it eventually.