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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

TV Historical Dramas Preview

I don’t know about you, but the majority of my favorite must-see-tv shows tend to be historical dramas (or any of the Chicago Fire/PD/Med shows!). I’m so thrilled that it is actually becoming easier to find these kinds of show these days – some are on your cable channels, but there are quite a few of the regular tv channels as well. I thought today I would do a little preview of the historical drama offerings from 2015 (in case you missed them!) and upcoming. I’m going to do this over a couple posts, so today I’m going to talk about those available on Masterpiece (PBS). Please chime in with any must-haves that I might have missed in the comments below!

On Masterpiece (PBS)

Ok, so Masterpiece on PBS seems to be one of the big ones for having the most historical dramas and I think that is likely because they air many tv shows that were originally released to a British audience, and you can’t deny they do historical dramas the best! Here is a look at some of their offerings:

Poldark – Premiered in 2015, 1 season thus far (filming second season)
In the late 18th century, Ross Poldark returns to his Cornish tin mines after spending three years in the army to avoid charges of smuggling, leaving behind his sweetheart, Elizabeth. On his return, having fought in the American War of Independence, he finds his father dead, his estate in ruins and Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis. He rescues a young woman, Demelza, from a beating, and takes her on as a kitchen maid and attempts getting control of the mines sought after by a rival, the greedy and arrogant George Warleggan.
I haven’t seen this one yet, but have heard great things and it is on my DVR.

Downton Abbey – Premiered in 2011 (US), 6th and final season just started airing
The series is set in fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house. Downton Abbey is home and seat of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, along with their children and distant family members. Each series follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family, their friends and servants during the reign of King George V.
So I have only seen season 1 so far but I was sucked in to an unhealthy binge watching obsession – so I haven’t watched any more since – but I can safely say that this is a must see. Available on Netflix.

Sherlock – Premiered in 2010 (US), 3 seasons thus far (4th season to film soon)
Sherlock depicts "consulting detective" Sherlock Holmes solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr. John Watson, who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Although Metropolitan Police Service Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade and others are at first skeptical of Holmes, over time his remarkable intellect and powers of observation persuade them of his value. In part through Watson's blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both ordinary people and the British government ask for his help.
This is another that I have yet to see – with only 9 episodes so far, I don’t think that will be too hard to catch up on. I have always enjoyed Sherlock Holmes stories, the movies starring Robert Downey Jr, and the tv show Elementary – so this is one that I would likely enjoy.

Home Fires – Premiered 2015, 1 season so far (2nd is in the works)
Home Fires is a British period television drama about the life of Women's Institute members on the Home Front during World War II. It is set in a rural Cheshire community called Great Paxford. The first series is set between September 1939 and 1940.
This one intrigued me, but I don’t know too much about it besides what it says above.

Indian Summers – Premiered 2015, 1 season so far (2nd is in the works)
The series details the events of summers spent at Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas, by a group of British socialites at the time of the British Raj.
I recorded this series this past summer, but haven’t had the chance to watch it. This time period and location is very new to me so I have no idea on the history, but I am interested to check it out.

Wolf Hall – Premiered 2015, 1 season of 6 episodes (possible second series based on Hilary Mantel book in progress).
An adaptation of both Mantel’s novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Historical and literary accounts have not been kind to Cromwell; Mantel's novels offer an alternative to that characterization, a more intimate portrait of Cromwell as a pragmatic and talented man attempting to serve king and country amid the political machinations of Henry's court and the religious upheavals of the Protestant Reformation.
I’m just going to say it…I strongly disliked both of the books this series is based on, so I’m really not too keen on watching this one. Although, my issue was with the style of the book, so if it isn’t presented the same way, I might actually enjoy the story.

I have learned that I have a lot of DVR things to watch!  Have any new shows joined your watch list?  What have you thought of any of these you have seen?

Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I LOVE Downton Abbey and really enjoyed the first season of Home Fires. I missed the first episode of Indian Summers and couldn't find it anywhere, so I'm going to wait until they end up on Netflix and watch the whole season at once :). Great list, thanks!

    1. Oh I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Home Fires! I hadn't heard much from anyone about this yet. I was very late to the Downton Abbey fanclub - like just this summer late!

  2. Home Fires is a great show and the book that it's based upon is strictly non-fiction(the series is "inspired" by it) is a wonderfully interesting read.

    Poldark is a lot of fun and I've read the first two books in that series(have the third one awaiting on a TBR pile!), which I highly recommend for anyone liking a good dose of entertaining historical fiction.

    1. Oh I didn't even know Home Fires was based on a book! I will have to look into that. I have heard many good things about Poldark!

  3. I liked ALL these series! The book Home Fires is much more interesting than the series, but the series is still worth watching. I still have 2 episodes to go for Indian Summer.

    1. You are not the first to mention the book - going to look it up now!


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