Movies & Shows to Watch if You Love Period Dramas

I’m a sucker for period dramas. Not only do you get to be immersed in another time period, but you also get drawn into some dramatic love stories and intense feuds. I get swept up in the drama between families, and I find myself thinking things like: “but she’s so above his station!” and “how imprudent of him!” Of course, I wouldn’t really like to be a woman living in the 18th century, but I would like to dress up and attend a ball or two. Maybe fall in love with a lieutenant newly back from fighting in the war? Here are some of my favorite period dramas to get you obsessed like I am:

1. Poldark

Ask my roommates and they’ll tell you that Poldark is pretty much all I talk about these days. Little do they know that it's all I think about, and it's really starting to get in the way of my education. Poldark is set in the late 18th century on the English countryside. I know that doesn’t sound fascinating, but trust me, this show is a whirlwind and there are some great characters. I can’t recommend it enough, but maybe save it until Christmas break so you can binge watch it as you please.

2. Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is a classic Jane Austen novel and the film adaptation does it justice. This movie was integral to my childhood and gave me way too high of expectations for my future love life. It’s set in 1797 in England and follows Elizabeth Bennet, a feminist icon, and Mr. Darcy, a stoic rich guy with a soft side. It follows all the intricacies of class and marriage in those days. Like Poldark, this movie also has fancy balls and beautiful scenery. I also recommend the BBC mini-series version -- mostly because Colin Firth is in it, but also because it was pretty much the beginning of the period drama genre that we see today.

3. Les Miserables

I’m not sure Les Miserables counts as a period drama because it's a musical, but it's one of my favorite movies, so I have to recommend it. Its set in Paris in 1815, and it's one of those stories that has so many subplots that all weave together by the end. I think it’s totally enthralling and when I watched it in theaters, I left with a tear-streaked face. It’s almost entirely singing but the musical score is incredible. This movie is a must-see.

4. Pillars of the Earth

Pillars of the Earth is an eight-hour miniseries set in England in the 12-century. I’ll admit this one might not be for everyone, but I found it’s depictions of the battles for the throne, the corruption of the church, and the architecture involved in building cathedrals to be super interesting. Of course, there’s a dramatic love story throughout to keep you interested during the power struggles.

5. Outlander

Admittedly, this show is a little ridiculous, but sometimes ridiculous is good. I’ve only watched the first season but I plan to revisit it. This show is about a British Army nurse during World War II who magically gets transported back to Scotland in 1743. I had no idea Scottish clans and politics could be so interesting. And I can’t complain about her love interest, Jamie Fraser, a young scottish warrior.

6. Becoming Jane

This movie is technically based on Jane Austen’s life but it may as well be fictional for its tendency to stretch the truth. It’s set in England in the late 18th century and follows Jane as she falls in love with a different man than the one her family expects her to marry. Scandalous! 


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