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Image / Living / Culture

8 shows to stream if you’ve already devoured Bridgerton


by Jennifer McShane
30th Jan 2021

While we await season 2, here are some options to mend the Bridgerton-shaped hole in your life.

The Great

This sexy, subversive show offers a hilariously outlandish take on the world of 1700s Russia. It chronicles the life of Catherine the Great, Empress of all Russia whose unique reign has long been overshadowed by false and weird rumours about her affinity for horses and general strive for a more liberated lifestyle. It’s a series greatly underrated. But happily, it has been renewed for a second season so there’s plenty of time for you to watch in preparation.

Stream it on Starz/Hulu

Outlander

Like BridgertonOutlander is based on a long-running series of historical romance novels. Another modern take on a period drama, it sees heroine Claire Randall infusing her 20th-century viewpoint into the mid-18th-century Jacobite risings, to which she mysteriously time travels at the beginning of the first season. And on the steamy period drama scale, some of the sex scenes well give Bridgerton a run for its money.

Stream it on Amazon Prime

Reign

If you want a juicy historical drama that’s lavish but not entirely historically accurate, then four seasons of Reign you will enjoy. Following the exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots we get an intriguing glimpse into her early life and time in exile in France before she became the royal figure we know so well for getting beheaded at the hands of Queen Elizabeth.

Stream it on Netflix 

 

The Tudors

When this aired in 2007, it was considered one of the most daring shows on TV. Over the course of four seasons, The Tudors tracks the early and later years of Henry’s reign, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays the lusty, arrogant Henry with aplomb — he’s far removed from the infamous portrait in the history books. Created by veteran English screenwriter Michael Hirst, the series breathed fresh life into the age-old tale of an unsatisfied king and six of seven wives who met unfortunate ends. Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer steals the first two seasons as the sensuous Anne Boleyn (who said the lavish tale wives wouldn’t get made the same way today thanks to #MeToo) but the whole series is enthralling nonetheless. There’s a strong Irish cast from Sarah Bolger to Sam Neill who all light up the screen.

Stream it on Starz/Hulu

Harlots

The drama about warring mid-18th-century brothels has sex, backstabbing and strong-willed female characters – but went largely under-the-radar when released. Set on the grimy yet decadent streets of mid-1700s London, Harlots tells the story of courtesans of every social standing, as rival brothels and battling “bawds” compete to stay on top – ahem – as well as stay alive. Most crucially, it puts women firmly at the forefront and has a highly empowering view of sex work, trying to destigmatise what we think we know about it.

Stream it on Starz/Hulu

The White Queen

The White Queen follows the machinations of three powerful women as they attempt to manoeuvre through a bitter and violent war for the throne that has pitted the House of York against the House of Lancaster. The show, based on Philippa Gregory’s series of historical novels, was a hit in the US, but slipped under the radar here. The show follows Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), consort to Edward IV of England, Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) of the House of Lancaster and Anne Neville (Faye Marsay), queen consort of Richard III. And for those that don’t know, Margaret Beaufort was the grandmother of Henry VIII, so you might think it a sort of prequel to The Tudors.

Stream it on Starz/Hulu

Game of Thrones

The season finale remains one of the most polarising endings to almost any series I can remember, but it got a whole lot right in those early seasons. Game of Thrones initially remains faithful to the adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin before the screenwriters had to veer off as Martin was still writing the books – perhaps this was the problem as season eight approached. The acting and sets are superb and its cast became megastars overnight. And as its HBO, there’s plenty of steamy scenes too.

Stream it on Sky Atlantic/NowTV

Dickinson

Dickinson offers a compelling look at the innermost workings of prolific American poet Emily Dickinson, largely regarded as a recluse, this series turns that idea on its head, with Hailee Steinfeld charismatic in the titular role. The show finds Emily Dickinson in the 1850s as she struggles to follow her dreams of becoming a poet at a time when female writers were frowned upon. It uses period-accurate costumes and sets with modern dialogue so it never feels too heavy. It’s wacky and weird at times, but well worth a watch.

Stream it on Apple TV+ 

 

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