Just in case you’re wishing there was more Downton Abbey
I’ve got a few recommendations:
The Bletchley Circle: A group of former WWII code breakers take a series of unsolved crimes into their own hands, seeing as how no one will listen to them. Just being women and all.
Call the Midwife: How many different words for “amazing” can I use before they start to lose meaning? I love this show SO much! The characters are so engaging and this snapshot into 1950s-60s Poplar life is endearing, heart-breaking, and eye-opening.
Also, definitely read Jenny Worth’s memoirs on which the series is based, titled either The Midwife or Call the Midwife (after the TV tie-in).
Home Fires: Series two is airing now in the US and it is a lovely series with the same dosages of scandal, small-town life, classism, and fabulous costuming as Downton Abbey, only in the 1940s.
The Crown: A truly great Netflix original about the young Queen Elizabeth II which offers a fascinating insight into her young life.
Pan Am: Oh, Pan Am! What a fabulous show! Beautiful costuming and soundtrack, as well as a pretty good plotline. But beware of watching on-demand - ABC aired the series out of order because they thought that would be a good idea for some reason. The story-line straightens out about half-way through,and by that time you will probably be hooked.
Rebellion: Haven’t watched it yet, but it seems promising. From Netflix, “As World War I rages, three women and their families in Dublin choose sides in the violent Easter Rising revolt against British rule.
Victoria: Jenna Coleman is an absolute vision as young Queen Victoria. The first season shows Victoria’s ascent to the throne, her young love with her advisor, Lord Melbourne, and then eventually her husband, Prince Albert, as well as the mine-field of intrigue and ulterior motives from her family and household. Spectacular!
The Paradise: Not as great as some of the others, but still a pretty entertaining look into the birth of the “one-stop-shop” in Edwardian England.
Mercy Street: I think this show is pretty amazing, although it is not for the squeamish (like my husband) who gag at the slightest sight of a putrefied wound. As a southerner - a Virginian, no less - what I love about this show is that it shows that there are good and bad people on both sides of a decidedly horrible issue, meaning not all Southerners are evil bigots, and not all Yankees are heroes in blue. Still true today, keep that in mind. Rant over - watch the show.
And last, but not least,
Vikings: A delicious mix of The Tudors and Game of Thrones. Quite a bit more violent and vulgar than Downton Abbey, but I still can’t help myself from recommending it to anyone who will listen. I find myself rooting for people who, if I met them in real life, would make me run for cover. Prepare to spend several hours at work looking up awesome braided hairstyles on Pinterest!
All that being said, I would also love to hear some others’ recommendations for fabulous period dramas. Can’t stop, won’t stop!