Being the period drama freak I am, I have been watching quite a few costume drama series recently. Not as many and as I would wish, but enough, I’d rather say,  for a very busy bee like me.

Outlander (Starz)

Now, first things first! Looking around my stuff, you may have noticed I’m slightly hooked by “Outlander”. Aye,  I can’t deny the fact I am verra favourably inclined toward the spicy intriguing  historical romance written by Diana Gabaldon and adapted for Starz by Ron D. Moore. I had bravely resisted Jamie Fraser’s charms as long as he remained a book hero,  while now, and  I must blame Scot-to-the-bone Mr Heughan for my sudden astonishing change, the situation has changed and I'm prone to an Outlander frenzy. Indeed. 

I'm watching the series on Fox Life HD on Monday night. The first two episodes have been broadcast so far. I can watch it in the original language and enjoy Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan , Tobias Menzies and the rest of the talented cast perform in their real voices. 

I can’t wait for April 4th ,  when episode 9 will be on Starz with all its burden of marital issues for the newly married  Claire and Jamie and, especially,  with the announced hot scenes of make-up sex.

Actually, after years since reading the book first time,  I still have to forgive Jamie for what I know he is going to do to Claire (I hope I'm not giving away too much!)  but let’s see what happens when he apologizes, vows and begs  in smouldering Scottish tones, gourgeously blue-eyed and really contrite on my screen. Are you ready? They say we must be brave, dark times and tough scenes expect us ahead! 

If you haven’t seen the first 8 episodes in series 1 yet, you have no excuses! If you are in the US just subscribe to Starz and watch it on Starz Play so that you can catch up before  4th April  when the new episodes are released; if you are in the UK,  Amazon Prime will make the first 8 episodes available from 26th March;  if you live in Italy  like me, they have just started series 1 on Fox Life HD (Sky channels) and, moreover, wherever you are,  the DVD and Blue-ray have been released and you’ll find them available at amazon.com.

Discover more about the upcoming episodes HERE, HERE and HERE

The Musketeers 2 (BBC One)

One more best favourite of mine is BBC The Musketeers. I’ve been watching the new episodes on Friday night and find them really good. It is one of the rare things both my husband and I watch, he being more the House of Cards or The Good Wife sort of watcher.

I find series 2 of the diverting adventures of the musketeers much better than the previous one: there’s more action, more tension, great costumes, gripping plots. Well, more Constance (Tamla Kari) and D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) too! And then more Porthos (Howard Charles), more Milady (Maimie McCoy) and Athos (Tom Burke) and, of course, lots of charming Aramis (Santiago Cabrera). My dear king Louis (Ryan Gage) is crazier and crazier, but he must be like that, mustn’t he? The addition of a new brooding, wicked villain, Rochefort (Marc Warren)  madly in love with the Queen and scheming to kill anybody on his path to her doesn’t hurt a bit (well, just figuratively). 

The Musketeers 2 is on BBC One on Friday night at 9 p.m.

Poldark (BBC One)

What happens if you deeply  love a series at 15 and they decide to remake it anew when you are … ok when you are…. let’s say more mature.  I ‘ve heard of fans of the old series quite disappointed by or doubtful about almost everything in the new series. As for myself, I indeed loved Poldark when it was on in the late 70s but I truly embraced the idea of a remake and loved Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson’s  as Ross and Demelza as soon as the first pictures and clips were released. 

Truly, too high expectations don't help clear judgememt and affect appreciation. But I can’t say I had such high hopes. I was just extremely curious to see what effect it would have on me to rewatch a story I used to be fond of  in a different stage of my life.  

I happened to see episode 1 of the  new Poldark in England,  while staying at friends'  at the wekend. I didn’t travel there on purpose,  but it was a lucky coincidence, wasn't it? 

However my reaction was mild. I mean,  I loved the stunning Cornish settings, the photography and the costumes,  but couldn't say I was enthusiastic. I promised myself not to write a word about it and to wait and see the following episode before pronouncing myself. I was right. Never trust first impressions! It didn't take me longer than 10 minutes of the second episode to get to accept and recognize that Aidan Turner was a  convincing Ross Poldark.  And at the end of the episode I tweeted: Aidan Turner is a terrific Captain Poldark.  Brooding, handsome, fascinating and... that voice!  So, episode 2 really won me over and not only for Aidan reasons.  Can't wait for more now!

Banished (BBC Two)

I was pleasantly surprised by this new period drama that is on BBC Two on Thursday nights.  The first episode was great. Back again to the 18th century (see Outlander, Turn or Poldark), the intriguing  story takes you to wild Australia when it was the land of British penal colonies. The protagonists are convicts sent there for various crimes - or even no crime at all – and redcoats in the duty to watch them.

At its heart, Banished is a story of survival. Though it is set in the stark historical reality of the founding of the penal colony in Australia in 1788 after the arrival of theFirst Fleet, it is not the story of Australia and how it came to be. Rather, it is a tale of love, faith, justice and morality played out on an epic scale in a confined community where the stakes are literally life and death. “If you’re a woman and you have nothing except your body,” says writer Jimmy McGovern, “how far do you go to survive? If you’re a man and a stronger man is stealing your food and you are starving to death and nobody lifts a finger to help you because it’s every man for himself, what do you?”

As in Outlander or Turn (AMC),  His Majesty’s men  do not get to be flattered. Not-at-all. They are the villains, the brutal, pitiless ones.
Though among them there's always one who marks the exception,  one is not that many. And if the others are  like Black Jack Randall (Outlander) or Captain Simcoe (Turn) you can be truly shocked. 

Anyway, compared to Poldark, Banished is hoarse and keeps you on the edge of your seat all the time. It caught my attention with a gripping plot, gritty settings, thrilling moments and suspence, twists and turns plus an uncommon and interesting historical background.

Cast:  Anne Meredith ORLA BRADY, Reverend Johnson EWEN BREMNER, Elizabeth Quinn MYANNA BURING, Corporal MacDonald RYAN CORR, Captain Collins DAVID DAWSON, Letters Molloy NED DENNEHY,  Sergeant Timmins CAL MacANINCH,  TIM McCUNN, Major Ross JOSEPH MILLSON, Private Buckley ADAM NAGAITIS,  Private Mulrooney JORDAN PATRICK SMITH, James Freeman RUSSELL TOVEY, Tommy Barrett JULIAN RHIND TUTT, Kitty McVitie JOANNA VANDERHAM, Stubbins DAVID WALMSLEY, Governor Phillip DAVID WENHAM. 

Other period drama series I’ve been watching in the latest weeks are The Mill 2 Channel 4 (2014)  and Reign 2 CW. On my TBW list, Wolf Hall (BBC Two) and Mr Selfridge 3 (ITV). Any other good suggestions? What have you been watching? What are your favourite series? What are you looking forward to seeing?  


JaneGS said...

I can't wait for Outlander to resume in the U.S. in April, and then Wolf Hall starts at end of March. I love the Musketeers too, although I miss the Cardinal! Louis is crazy, and is acted to perfection.

Looking forward to Poldark in June, and I've never heard of Banished. Will have to see if/when it will be available in the U.S.

I'm really looking forward to the the new Far From the Madding Crowd, which releases in May, I think.

Maria Grazia said...

Hi Jane! Yes, I can't wait for Outlander episode 9, I'm "half agony, half hope" while waiting for the second part of season one ;-) Only 19 days ahead!
I really hope you come to see Banished. I do like it, it's harsh but very good.
Far From The Madding Crowd will be released on May 1 in the US. I think I'll have to wait a bit longer, instead.
Guess what? I miss the cardinal, too, in The Musketeers, but only because Rochefort makes him seem ...GOOD!
Thanks for reading and commenting :-)

OneMoreLurker said...

Hi MG,
I know what you mean by forgiving Jamie... While reading the book I couldn't think how it would be justified for Claire/us readers to forgive him or accept it, although I'm not totally convinced yet I think it was developed acceptably.
I'm trying to resist Mr Heughan, stop fargurling and just be -almost- obsessed with the books and the tvshow as a whole, but with this "let’s see what happens when he apologizes, vows and begs in smouldering Scottish tones, gourgeously blue-eyed and really contrite" image in my head, its not helping me, lol.

Maria Grazia said...

Mphmphmmmph (Scottish sound) ... are you suggesting me to stop fangirling over Sam Jamie Heughan Fraser? Why? Am I? Not at all. I like him, I find he was perfectly cast. He made Jamie, who was in my mind an IN-credible character, credible. As I said, while reading, I had no problem to resist Jamie's charms. But I found really difficult to ignore Sam's smile or his tender/powerful Jamie. Maybe I'll manage to hate him in ep.9! But as long as Claire will hate him, then it'll be very difficult... STOP! Time over. Change of topics. Are you watching Poldark, Carolyn? ;-)

OneMoreLurker said...

I'm not suggesting that you should stop fangurling at all *grin*, I meant that I try to restrain *myself* from doing it but I know deep inside is just a matter of time, LOL!

Hehe, Poldark is tempting me, I really liked Aidan in Being Human and The Hobbit, so I'll probably watch it soon ;).

Melanie said...

I was simply scrolling through some of your blog posts and now I am terrified! What does Jamie do?? I haven't read the books and don't plan to, but I enjoy the show and now I'm even more curious.

Maria Grazia said...

Well, Melanie, I won't say more than what I wrote above. Watch episode 9 and you'll discover. I was really disturbed when I read that scene. 4 days left to see it on screen! Thanks for dropping by, reading and commenting :)