Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reader Question #12: Period Drama TV

I'm going to try to get back into Reader Questions. It's been quite a long time since I did these. My good friend Charity from Austenitis sent me an E-mail with a lot of questions in it a long time ago, but due to my busy school year, I didn't have much of a chance to write any of them up. So, getting back into Reader Questions, I will answer Charity's questions. At this point on (provided that there are reader questions for me to answer), I will try to get a Reader Question post out every Thursday.

Charity asked:
Which period drama TV shows are your favorites? Which ones do you recommend highest? 

So far in my watching of period dramas, I have watched nine different period drama TV series (most period dramas that I've watched were either miniseries or movies). There is one in particular that I did not like at all (*cough*The Grand*cough*), but the rest I enjoyed greatly! Should I just list my top three? I think I shall!

Downton Abbey
This is probably my top favorite period drama TV series right now. I love this series! There's a good set of lovable characters and, of course, a set of villains to keep the story line interesting. I also like how there's a lot going on throughout the series along with subplots that last an episode. Though the first series will always be my favorite, I still greatly enjoyed the show (though I will admit the third series was a disappointment). And need I get into the costuming? Of course! The costumes are amazing! I went from being indifferent to early 1900s fashions to absolutely loving them!

So Poldark was a lot like a soap opera, but it was very well done. From the first episode of Poldark, I was hooked. Like I said about Downton Abbey, Poldark has a set of lovable characters and a set of villains to keep the story line interesting, but characters can sometimes change between those two categories. In a couple of episodes, you may really dislike a character, but then they grow on you. Of course, the reverse can happen too. There is also humor in the episodes that adds another dimension to the story. The show does have some suggestive themes in it (which gets more mature in Series 2), but nothing gets graphic.

Lark Rise to Candleford 
I highly recommend Series 1 and 2 of Lark Rise to Candleford (though 3 and 4 were okay, they were nothing compared to the first two series). It's such a sweet look at life in the 1890s. There are some more serious plot lines that don't end well in Lark Rise to Candleford, but for the most part the stories are uplifting and everything turns out well in the end. For the most part, Lark Rise to Candleford stays family friendly.

Now for recommendations:
For Families: Lark Rise to Candleford: it has a sweet overtone to it. Some suggestive themes (mainly in the middle of Series 2 and beyond), but they're easily skipped.
For Older Familes With Mostly/All Boys: Poldark: there is some romance, but most of it is about copper mining, banking, and rivalries.
For Business People: Mr. Selfridge: lots of interesting business topics in there.
Jane Austen Fans: Lark Rise to Candleford: lighthearted stories among some serious moments
Interested in Servant/Aristocrat Life: Downton Abbey/Upstairs, Downstairs/The Duchess of Duke Street: all three have similar set ups with stories with both the upper class and lower class

Do you agree with my recommendations? Which period dramas do you recommend? Leave a comment!

Thank you, Charity, for sending in your question. If you have a question you would like to submit for me to do a post on, leave a comment. Just follow these guidelines. It can be about anything related to this blog: period dramas, blogging, reviews, etc.  

  God Bless,
God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet


  1. I certainly agree with your assessment of Poldark. It's decades old now but the action and attraction are both there for lovers of period drama. Another of my favourites is North and South, the serial broadcast in 2004. The lead actors are thoroughly immersed in their roles and the last couple of minutes will satisfy the viewer fully.

    So far I have not found an equal to the 1995 offering of Pride and Prejudice, or, as the Tom Hanks character in You've Got Mail says, "I'll bet you just love that Mr Darcy."

    I think Romola Garai and Gwyneth Paltrow are both excellent in their renderings of Emma, yet the simpering character of Harriet Smith always puts me off the movies just a little.

    1. I heard there was a Poldark remake in the works for 2015, and all I could think was, "NOOO!" There is only one Ross and only one Demelza. Even though it's nearly 40 years old, they shouldn't remake it: it's great the way it is!

      North and South wasn't a favorite of mine. I still prefer Pride and Prejudice over it. I do want to watch the 70s North and South, though.

      Yep, 1995 Pride and Prejudice is still the best! :-D

      I agree with what you said about Emma. Though I liked Romola Garai's Emma better, Gwyneth Paltrow was a good Emma. I thought Harriet Smith from the 2009 one was probably the best (though she was still a little annoying).

      Have you seen the 1997 Emma with Kate Beckinsale? I thought it was okay, but it was my least favorite Emma.

  2. Yes, I have seen Kate Beckinsale's portrayal, and like you, it was my least favourite. Another two Austen films I always enjoy are the two Persuasions. This is my second favourite book next to Pride and Prejudice. I find the costuming, sets, and locations in almost all the films to be outstanding. Gwyneth's gowns in Emma are so delicate and feminine. The 1995 Bennett sisters often wear plainer 'housedresses,' which are probably accurate for the time.

  3. Oh, I was saddened to learn the pretty lady who played Demelza had passed away. I have not seen part two yet, but looking forward to it. As for remakes, this seems to be the way things are done now. Take something great and possibly make it worse!


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