My favorite period piece tv shows

Wednesday, March 18

Its no secret that period piece films and tv are my absolute favorites. If historical costumes are involved, I AM HERE FOR IT!! (It's also no secret that my birthday parties tend to reflect this trend, see here, here and here!).

Someone recently asked me why I love period pieces so much, and it made me stop and reflect. There are a number of reasons, but a major theme is that you can generally find virtue threaded through the story. There are vices, yes, but as a reader and viewer you consistently walk away encouraged towards virtues of kindness, patience, forbearance , etc. At the end of P&P you celebrate that Lizzy has seen past her prejudice and that Darcy has released his pride, and there is a true contentment found in one another. By and large I am always surprisingly encouraged and supremely serene after a good fill of Austen’s pen. As a therapist who spends her days sitting in brokenness with clients, period pieces are a welcome respite from the weary world, and a calming balm of beauty in the scenery, music, costumes and story. Anyone else feel this way?
Anyway, the entire world is confined right now with a wee bit more times on our hands, so I thought it might be fun to round up all my favorite period piece dramas for you all! {as a side note...the other day I posted one of my new period piece films I love in an IG stories, and I've never received more messages regarding anything else! Hence... this post!}

Some of these you might be familiar with, and others may be new...but all of them I have seen and watched with interest and will give you my honest feedback on! Ready? Pick up that tea cup and let's go....

Today I'm just going to share my favorite period piece TV Series and then hopefully I'll share my favorite period piece movies soon!! xoxo

So...this was the new show I shared the other day on IG. Sanditon was Jane Austen's last book she ever wrote...but she actually only wrote half of it before she died. The writers of the show take liberties to finish out the story, and it 100% works. I absolutely LOVED Sanditon, mostly due to the leads having incredible chemistry and great dialogue. But the story is fun, nuanced and held my attention all the way through. I will warn you it's a bit grittier than any other Austen books (of course because it is being finished by a contemporary writer) but there's nothing I would deem incredibly inappropriate. I also will warn you the ending might be unexpected for you. I think they are hoping for another season...which is yet to be seen! Fingers crossed!

Anyone else get swept up by Poldark? Kevin and I started watching this in 2016, and were HOOKED!! The story follows Ross Poldark who returns to Britain after fighting the revolutionary war in America, and begins to get his life back together by reopening his father's copper mine and falling in love. So much adventure, great characters, and the scenery from Cornwall (where it is filmed) is absolutely stunning (a character in and of itself!). I will say it has a few racy scenes, but they are a bit fewer and far between.
Netflix or Amazon Prime

Larkrise to Candleford
Ok...this show was a slow burn for me. It started out slow, and by the end I was madly in love with it. It's a series about two towns in England right before the Industrial Revolution. One town is a market town (meaning it is a little bigger) and the other town is a little hamlet. The cast of characters is absolutely darling. However, this was one show Kevin wouldn't watch with me (he usually watches period pieces with me, and generally likes them) because the episodes don't have too much drama. They tend to be about day to day life activities...he always jokes that one whole episode was about the cows getting out of the pasture (hahahah!) But I would highly recommend it if you love England, character development, and just quirky characters!
Amazon Prime

I loved this series and was equally annoyed with this series. It follows the life of Queen Victoria and her love story with Albert and everything else in between. I knew next to nothing about Victoria so it was fun to get a little history lesson. But at times she is sooo annoying (or shall I say vexing, haha!). Totally worth watching though! I still need to watch the latest season!

The Crown
Awwww, can you see a trend? I love me some British TV, and The Crown does NOT disappoint. I LOVED this series. I actually almost didn't watch it because the first episode of the first season is definitely the most boring. I watched one and was debating continuing, and I am SO glad I did. As it goes on, I only became more and more fascinated with the Royal Family. I knew next to NOTHING about Prince Phillip, but now consider myself somewhat of an expert after all the research I did after each episode (hahah, anyone else do this???). Anyway, I cannot WAIT for the next (and I heard, final) season.

Call the Midwife
This might be one of my favorite shows EVER (which is saying a lot!). And in the same fashion as the Crown, I watched the first episode of Call the Midwife years ago, and hated it, so decided it wasn't for me. A few years later (after actually giving birth to Avonlea) I thought I would give it another go. And I LOVED it. Anyway, this series is the definition of heartwarming. It literally makes me cry happy tears every.single.episode. The female friendship in this series is off the charts. No other show on tv showcases the love friendship can have like the midwives and nuns on this show. It is gentle, tender, and cherishes human life like no other show I have seen. Love it.

This was just the sweetest little miniseries. Like Larkrise to Candleford, it starts out a bit slow. In fact, there is one scene where you watch a woman peel an orange for like a minute...I was literally like... "what is even going on? Will anything happen in this show?" haha But then the drama all starts unfolding and it's every bit as darling as you would imagine. It's about a small town called Cranford and the changes that start to occur as new people come to town. The music, done by Carl Davies (who also did the 1995 Pride & Prejudice) is utterly breathtaking!
Amazon Prime

I kept seeing ads pop up for Homefires, and I kept thinking "that looks boring". But one night when I had nothing else to watch, I decided to give it a go. And lo and behold, it was mesmerizing and is still a series I think about and wish they would make a 3rd season. Homefires follows all the women in a little town in England when WWII breaks out. The character development was top notch, and I found myself simultaneously laughing and crying in each episode. Sadly, they only made two seasons but they are absolutely worth watching!!
Amazon Prime

The Paradise
This was a very easy breezy show to watch. There's nothing deep or even very nuanced about it. It's simple with little character development, but I loved it all the same. It follows the first department store in England back in the 1800's and has some endearing characters and fun plot lines. Not my favorite period piece, but a fun one that I would watch again.
Amazon Prime

North & South
This is based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell. I love the story line and felt it captured the essence of some of the challenges faced by Brits during the Industrial Revlolution. It follows a girl from the south of England who has to move to the north of England because her father takes a job there. She is horrified by the plight of the working poor in the mills, and of course falls in love with someone unexpected. I have to say I felt this was a little miscast, I didn't feel the chemistry at all between the two lead characters. Regardless, I still enjoyed it and have watched it a few times!

Dr. Thorne
This was a 3 part miniseries about a doctor in a small town who takes care of his niece Mary Thorne. It's a simple little story with love and drama and intrigue, but a fun one that is visually stunning!
Amazon Prime

Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries
This might be the only one on the list that takes place in Australia (and not England! gasp!). It follows the hilarious Miss Fisher as she solves murders during the 1920's. Like others, if you only watch the first episode you will hate it...give it 3-4 and you will fall in love with Miss Fisher and the cast of delightful characters. Her chemistry with the detective is definitely worth watching for!

We've all seen the 90's Emma with Gwenyth Paltrow, and of course there is a new version of Emma out right now in Theatre (which I saw for my birthday and have mixed feelings about). But this miniseries of Emma is the one truest to the book and is fun and lively and beautiful. I love Romola Garai as an actress and she did not disappoint in Emma. Also, this one has my favorite version of Mr. Knightley.
Amazon Prime

Grand hotel this one is totally different than the others...but I got super sucked in. It follows a young waiter working at a huge hotel in Spain during the early 1900's trying to find out what happened to his sister. It will consume some massive hours of your life, but it was cheesy, hilarious, suspenseful, and romantic. I really did love it.

Downton Abbey
What can I say...this is the grand finale of a show! You probably have all seen it though, which is why I listed it last. And if you haven't seen it...get ready for some fantastic tv period piece viewing:)

Lastly...there are a few period piece films in the murder mystery department that I have watched. I have to say that after a few episodes I can't quite handle anyone else being murdered. So...I tend to kind of lose steam on these and never quite finish them. But, if you like murder mystery shows the two I have watch (besides Miss Fisher) would be Grantchester and Father Brown. Both of them follow vicars around who solve murder cases with their side kicks. They actually both take place in the 1950's so things are fresh from WWII. The only difference is the vicar in Grantchester is super cute and the vicar in Father Brown is like your friendly old grandpa, hahahah! So there's that! Grantchester is on PBS and Father Brown in on Netflix.

Soo...stay tuned for a post on my favorite period piece this one is already too long haha!! And please feel free to comment on any period piece shows that I missed! I would LOVE any new ideas!! xoxo

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