Historical Dramas to Enjoy Post-downton Abbey
We're all feeling a bit bereft as we watch the final episode of Downton Abbey tonight. Luckily, there are several more binge-worthy historical TV series at your local library. Did we miss any? What would you recommend? @PBS
- •ANZAC Girls (Top Pick)Doubles as a choice for women's history month. This miniseries (there are only six hour-long episodes) is based on the incredible true stories of five female nurses from Australia and New Zealand in World War I. You'll find yourself researching the extraordinary real lives of the characters before the series ends. Don't worry, true story or not, there's still plenty of nail-biting drama.
- •Poldark (Top Pick)Based on Winston Graham's series of novels from the 1940s (also at the library), this remake has it all: action, drama, romance, a brooding leading man, & beautiful British scenery. It's the obsession-worthy story of Ross Poldark's return to Cornwall from the Revolutionary War, his heartbreak at finding the woman he loves engaged to his cousin, & his refusal to abide by society's rules. Will please those who loved Downton's witty dialogue. Happily picked up for a 2nd season.
- •A Place to Call HomeSarah, a nurse who had converted to Judaism for her late husband, returns home to Australia after spending the WWII years in Europe. When her mother rejects her she takes a job offered by a wealthy family she met on the voyage home. Of course, the lovely Sarah has many secrets...but then, so does everyone in this highly dramatic series. Social topics of the 1950s, which are still relevant today, are viewed through a modern lens.
- •Mr. SelfridgeSelfridges is a real, and iconic, British department store. This series tells a fictionalized version of the store's beginnings, of its colorful American founder, and of the lives of its employees. If you like the contrast between upstairs/downstairs in Downton Abbey, you'll enjoy this show.
- •OutlanderOutlander airs on Starz, so expect much more graphic violence and sex than in our favorite PBS shows. However, if you like richly-detailed historical dramas, Outlander is not to be missed -- even if it's the only show on our list with a supernatural element. You'll feel like you're right there with Jamie and Claire in 1700's Scotland, and come away knowing more about the history of the Highlands than you ever did before. Of course, there's a pretty good romance between the main characters, too.
- •Call the MidwifeCall the Midwife, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, is another semi-true series. The setting is the East End of London at a turning point (though no one knew it then). Just before the introduction of the Pill, having children was not a choice, and most children were still born at home. The midwives and nuns at Nonnatus House were there to help usher those children into the world. Beautifully crafted stories centering around women, birth, and the shadow of poverty.