We seem to be experiencing a golden age of historical TV series. During any month of the year, historical dramas involving fabulous costumes and settings jump off of our TV (or computer) screens in vivid color—blood, scandal, anachronisms, and all. They may not all be steeped in historical accuracy, but they do celebrate, criticize, and embrace the past . . . as good historical entertainment ought to do.
This week we Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks members enjoyed an entertaining conversation about our favorite historical TV series. We’re presenting our picks of beloved programs below, and we ask you to please join in on the conversion in the comments section.
To which historical TV series are you most addicted?
LAURA GOLDEN: I don’t watch much television, so I’m not always up-to-date on the latest shows, but I do love Downton Abbey. How can one not? And if I could count the fantasy/fairy tale flashbacks in Once Upon A Time as historical, I adore that show, too. ;-)
SHARON BIGGS WALLER: I really love BBC America’s Ripper Street, which is set in the Victorian era shortly after the Jack the Ripper murders and features a London Metropolitan police inspector. I like to watch it with my husband, who is a former Metropolitan mounted police constable, because he explains some of the history to me. I’m also obsessed with the BBC farm history series. They’ve done the Edwardian Farm, the Victorian Farm, Wartime Farm, and recently the Tudor Monastery Farm. It’s about archeologists who recreate Britain’s farming past. You can watch these on YouTube. For a farmer girl and history geek like me, they are fascinating and inspiring.
JESSICA SPOTSWOOD: I’m another Downton Abbey fan! I love the upstairs/downstairs thing.
CAT WINTERS: I’m addicted to Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge, Call the Midwife, Mad Men, Copper, and Boardwalk Empire. The one that makes me laugh and bawl the most is Call the Midwife. If we’re also counting 1980s-inspired sitcoms, I’ll throw The Goldbergs in there, too.
KATHERINE LONGSHORE: I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan, too—upstairs/downstairs, gorgeous costumes, stunning locations and Maggie Smith. Big win. Call the Midwife inspires me with every episode. Chummy is my favorite. :) I love the British version of Life on Mars (if you consider the 80s historical!) and am looking forward to getting a chance to see Peaky Blinders, about a group of gangsters in Birmingham after World War I.
J. ANDERSON COATS: I don’t watch a lot of TV either, but mine would be Horrible Histories. Hands down. I love Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, too. Apparently I’m gonna have to squeeze in Peaky Blinders too.
All right—your turn now. What are your historical TV series addictions?