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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TV Historical Dramas Preview - Part 4

The final segment of the Historical Dramas Preview sort of is a catch-all category covering all the remaining standard cable channels. Mostly I have focused on shows that come of various specialty cable channels, but they come on others too!

On History Channel

Vikings – Premiered March 2013 – 3 seasons with a 4th starting in February 2016
Vikings is inspired by the sagas of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known legendary Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of England and France. The show portrays Ragnar as a former farmer who rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes king of Denmark, with the support of his family and fellow warriors: his brother Rollo, his son Bjorn Ironside, and his wives—the shieldmaiden Lagertha and the princess Aslaug.
Somehow I haven’t had the chance to watch this one yet! I guess there is only so much time in the day. I love that they took a chance with an era of history that hadn’t been over exposed and that it has been such a hit with fans and critics alike. It’s such an intriguing and different culture from many of the other historical dramas we have discussed over the last few weeks. The showrunner has indicated that some liberties were taken with the show based on elements that are unknown and to appeal to a wider audience.

War and Peace – Premiered January 2016 (current) - 6 episode mini-series
A television presentation of the classic Leo Tolstoy novel. A story that revolves around five aristocratic families, set during the reign of Alexander I, and centered on the love triangle between Natasha Rostova, Pierre Bezukhov, and Andrei Bolkonsky.
I have never tackled War and Peace because it is just too long for me, so a tv version might just be perfect! It does appeal to me the setting of Russia which you don’t see all that often in historical novels or dramas. I have been told that it is a don’t miss show!


Of Kings and Prophets – Premiering in March 2016
An upcoming American television drama based on the Biblical Books of Samuel. The series follows an ensemble of characters including Saul and David, the successive Kings of Israel, their families, and their political rivals. Of Kings and Prophets is set in the Kingdom of Israel.
This has been described as the world’s first soap opera and they intend to push the envelope with regard to violence and sex on broadcast television – which might turn off some, but appeal to others who have appreciated that in some of the cable channels. Again, not a subject that has been done that I can even remember so I am intrigued as to how this one goes.


The Bastard Executioner – Premiered September 2015 - 1 season (ended)
The Bastard Executioner tells the story of Wilkin Brattle, a 14th century warrior, whose life is forever changed when a divine messenger beseeches him to lay down his sword and lead the life of another man: a journeyman executioner. Set in northern Wales during a time rife with rebellion and political upheaval, Wilkin must walk a tight rope between protecting his true identity while also serving a mysterious destiny. Guided by Annora, a mystical healer whose seeming omniscience keeps Wilkin under her sway; manipulated by Milus Corbett, a devious Chamberlain with grand political aspirations; and driven by a deepening connection with the Baroness Lady Love, Wilkin struggles to navigate political, emotional and supernal pitfalls in his quest to understand his greater purpose.
I had heard a lot about this show in its lead up. I was intrigued by the concept of an executioner being the main character because it is a very interesting historical role to consider. Apparently it focuses on blood and gore over storyline and has primarily negative reviews. I would love to hear from anyone who might have watched this!

On ITV (Britain)/Esquire (USA)

Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands – Premiered January 2016
Epic fantasy drama that is a re-imagining of themes and characters from the Old English poem Beowulf, but with new characters and storylines added.
I struggled to comprehend Beowulf in high school (probably because I had to read it), but I love the action drama idea behind it. This only just premiered in the USA yesterday, so obviously I haven’t watched it yet.

Alright, with this being the final installment, are there any historical dramas that I left out that you loved? I would love to hear!

Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Have you watched, Mercy Street? I'm really enjoying it so far.

    1. I haven't yet but it's on my DVR. I just finished watching Home Fires this week.

  2. All completely new to me. These all sound very good.

    1. I love that so many are from a wide variety of time and place - not all Tudors! haha.


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