Reviews on Period Dramas in 2015

We’ve finally come to the end of 2015 (hurrah!) and this year, I will include reviews on period dramas from other years that I watched this year (except for those from the last 2 years which you’ll be able to find in Reviews on Period Dramas in 2013 and Reviews on Period Dramas in 2014). Moreover, I have pulled out my top 10 must-see period (historical) dramas in 2015. The lists are in alphabetical order and ratings are out of 5.

2015

Top 10 Period Dramas in 2015

  1. Downton Abbey S6 (TV series) – Don’t worry, NO spoilers! It’s the final series and I think many of us still can’t believe it. I’ll just say, you’ll love the Christmas Special! Now let’s wait for Julian’s Gilded Age series (set in NY with younger Downton characters?) and a possible Downton movie! [rating=5]
  2. Far From the Madding Crowd (movie) – I’m one of those terrible people who watches the film before reading the book (if indeed, I do). I think part of the reason I didn’t love the film is that the heroine had to take one long loop before settling down with the right man (and maybe it reminded me of what so many of us do). Still a beautiful film. [rating=4.5]
  3. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries S3 (TV series) – Firstly, I’m so glad ABC didn’t axe the series (and here’s hoping for S4 and/or a movie)! Every episode is always enjoyable. The final episode was the best! [rating=5]
  4. Murdoch Mysteries S9 (TV series) – Thank goodness, the writers must have read our complaints! Things improved after the end of the first episode. Now all’s well. William Shatner plays Mark Twain in E2 and the Christmas Special features Brendan Coyle from Downton Abbey. Looking forward to the second half in 2016! [rating=5]
  5. Outlander S1 Pt 2 (TV series) – The second half was just as good as the first half. I knew what would happen in the end (having read the book) so I tried to fast forward the disturbing scenes. [rating=5]
  6. Poldark S1 (TV series) – I liked how everything was going and then suddenly, it became sad. [rating=4.5]
  7. Suffragette (movie) – Women’s rights! It’s hard being a woman, but it was even harder back in the early 20th Century when mothers didn’t have custody of their children and women were properties of men. Women who just wanted to work and go about their lives but are taken advantage of perverted and heartless men. This is one fictional version. [rating=5]
  8. Testament of Youth (movie) – Based on a true story, now prepare your tissues because remember, WWI took many lives. Absolutely heartbreaking. P.S. I didn’t realise that Vera’s fiancé, Roland, was Kit Harrington (aka Jon Snow). It’s as if I can’t recognise him without the hair and fur. [rating=5]
  9. The Theory of Everything (movie) – The first half is romantic and heartbreaking. The second half makes me feel sorry for both Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde… but I suppose Jane’s happy now? [rating=5]
  10. X Company (TV series) – Really well done by CBC about Camp X in Canada (and the espionage in Europe). Throughout the series, I kept wondering if I’d have the guts these young adults had in WWII. [rating=5]

Period Dramas 2015

  • The Age of Adaline (movie) – This was filmed in my hometown of Vancouver! It’s a cute story and the not-ageing element was interesting (but also complicated… especially when it involves a love interest and his father). [rating=5]
  • Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (TV miniseries) – I’m not really good with mystery dramas so I had to stop after the first episode. You’ll recognise Christopher Dance, Aiden Turner, Douglas Booth, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sam Neill, and more. No rating because I didn’t finish it but 5/5.
  • CBC’s The Book of Negroes (TV miniseries) – I watched the first episode before I left Canada and I really liked it so far. Of course, anything dealing with slavery is painful to watch. No rating because I didn’t finish it but 5/5 so far.
  • Call The Midwife S4 (TV series) – The series may be set in 1960, but many of the issues that the characters faced back then are still relevant today. Although I’m generally not a fan of anything post-1950’s, I can’t resist babies. [rating=5]
  • *Cinderella (movie) – *Not a period drama though the costumes are 1950’s meets 19th Century. I was glad they didn’t change who Cinderella is as she is my favourite Disney princess (I think I wrote 3 posts on the movie too). This film version reminded me of another version where the heroine fancies one of the palace workers (prince-in-disguise), though I can’t remember where I’ve seen or read it. Be kind and have courage! [rating=5]
  • Effie Gray (movie) – Based on a sad true story about John Ruskin and his wife, Effie Gray. I felt like a lot had been cut out and the ending seemed like there was no time to continue. [rating=3]
  • Far From the Madding Crowd (movie) – I’m one of those terrible people who watches the film before reading the book (if indeed, I do). I think part of the reason I didn’t love the film is that the heroine had to take one long loop before settling down with the right man (and maybe it reminded me of what so many of us do). Still a beautiful film. [rating=4.5]
  • The Go-Between (TV movie) – A sad love story. That is all. [rating=4]
  • The Last Kingdom (TV series) – Danes vs Saxons (as in Anglo-Saxons). Lots of fighting and bloodshed. I really liked the first three episodes but then ‘Arseling’ got on my nerves. I still finished it and might end up watching S2 next year. [rating=4]
  • A Little Chaos (movie) – I thought I was going to enjoy this movie (somehow I thought it was going to be a comedy) but the first half bored me. The latter half is worth watching, especially the Baroque ballet in the end. [rating=3]
  • Murdoch Mysteries S8 (TV series) – George’s flame, Edna, got on my nerves and slowly, our favourite main characters were changing (*ahem* William and George). Aside from the first episode and a few others, I can’t say I enjoyed the rest (and certainly not the finale)! [rating=4]
  • Mr Selfridge S3 (TV series) – For those of us on Team Agnes & Henri, we will thank the writers for reuniting them (but then they leave the series). The rest of the series was a little boring – or maybe I watched Mr Selfridge mainly for A&H. [rating=4.5]
  • Queen and Country (movie) – I did not understand what this movie was about. There are many funny scenes but the one thing that made me really uncomfortable was the way the older sister (Dawn) of the protagonist (Bill) behaved with her brother. [rating=3]
  • Ripper Street S3 (TV series) – Sometimes I wonder why I still watch this series when it seems to get more violent and bloodier each year like GoT. One episode refers to the Ripper murders again, as if to remind us why it’s called Ripper Street and not Whitechapel. [rating=3.5]
  • A Royal Night Out (movie) – Yes, it’s entirely fictional but on its own, it’s entertaining and cute. In some ways, it’s like a Cinderella-man story where the male protagonist comes from a middle-class family and the female protagonist is a Princess (i.e. our current Queen!). There are many scenes that will make you laugh simply because it is so silly or awkward. Almost like a royal-version of the Hangover movies (sans hangover and crudity). [rating=4]
  • The Scandalous Lady W (TV movie) – I love Natalie Dormer and Aneurin Barnard (and Shaun Evans)! This TV movie reminded me a little of The Duchess, only even more unfortunate. The poor heroine becomes property of her husband shortly after marriage and, as such, isn’t granted custody of her child when she wants a divorce. If there’s one ‘lesson’ from this movie (or one that Lady Worsley would share with us), it’s: take care of whom you marry or give your heart to. [rating=5]
  • When Calls The Heart S2 (TV series) – What on earth happened to the costume department?! It’s contemporary clothes used as ‘costumes’ for the Edwardian era! Also, I was extremely frustrated with Elizabeth. I didn’t find her friend attractive so I had already made up my mind for her. There was a Boxing Day special (set in the New Year) so I hope that means things will improve in S3 – i.e. Jack & Elizabeth get married. PLEASE. [rating=3]

‘Older’ Period Dramas Watched in 2015

  • The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000 – TV movie) – I thought Jennifer Love Hewitt did a wonderful job as Audrey Hepburn, even down to the way she sounds (though sometimes it would slip back to American, especially when she sang). We also see young Emmy Rossum play Audrey in her teen years. Certainly worth a watch for Audrey fans! [rating=5]
  • Glorious 39 (2009 – movie) – At first, everything seems fine and then you realise it is a thriller where the ‘loving family’ treat Romola’s character, nicknamed Glorious, like she’s imagining things. Hate that! At least there’s a happy ending. [rating=4.5]
  • I Capture the Castle (2003 – movie) – I really wanted Romola Garai’s character to end up with Henry Cavill’s character but no, it was not to be. 🙁 [rating=3]
  • The Iron Lady (2011 – movie) – The film portrays Margaret Thatcher in a more positive light. Once again, not easy being a woman – but I can’t say I agree with her on everything. [rating=4]
  • Maison Close S1 (2010 – TV series) – It takes place in a luxury brothel but that doesn’t mean the women who are forced into it (or joined by ‘choice’) live like Nicole Kidman’s Satine in Moulin Rouge. [rating=3]
  • Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas (2011 – TV movie) – I don’t know why I bothered watching this but I did think it was interesting that Mandie, a blonde girl, is 1/8th Native and proud of her heritage. [rating=1]
  • Moll Flanders (1996 – movie) – Though it shares its name with the novel, it is its own adaptation. It was like a series of unfortunate events until the very end. I cried an ocean of tears. [rating=5]
  • Populaire (2012 – movie) – Anyone who works in administration and has had to type really quickly will enjoy this! [rating=5]
  • BBC’s Sense & Sensibility (2008 – TV miniseries) – I finally finished the rest of the episodes but I still prefer the movie. I’m quite particular about casting, I suppose. [rating=3.5]
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011 – movie) – I had to pause the film to make sure I was still watching a period drama. The movie switches from the 21st Century to 19th Century China. I had no idea about sworn sisters or a secret female language. Oh and Hugh Jackman has a minor role as an Aussie bar owner in China. [rating=5]
  • The Three Musketeers (2011- movie) – Over the top. I enjoyed the scenes in palaces and other well-known places around Bavaria, but that’s where it ends. I didn’t like the American D’Artagnan. Different but entertaining to have Orli play an antagonist. [rating=2]
  • United (2011 – movie) – Just to be clear, I’m not a ManU fan but this was quite sad to watch, as it’s based on real events (plane crash in 1958). I watched it because Sam Claflin’s in it, though for a short while. [rating=4]