Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 25 November 2020

Five period dramas to stream now: from 'Bridgerton' to 'Anna Karenina'

These quality period dramas and adaptations of the classics will whisk you lavishly back into the past

Santiago Cabrera stars in 'Anna Karenina', Helen Mirren takes on the Empress herself in 'Catherine The Great', and Hailee Steinfeld plays an American literary genius in 'Dickinson'. New Pictures, AppleTV, imdb
Santiago Cabrera stars in 'Anna Karenina', Helen Mirren takes on the Empress herself in 'Catherine The Great', and Hailee Steinfeld plays an American literary genius in 'Dickinson'. New Pictures, AppleTV, imdb

She’s brought us some of the most talked-about TV shows of the past decade with Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.

So, when writer and producing powerhouse Shonda Rhimes announced she was turning her talents to tackle high-society London during the Regency period, there was a mass setting of alarms for Friday, December 25, when her new project Bridgerton will be released on Netflix.

And, if you love immersing yourself in a well-crafted period drama, you might enjoy one of these five shows.

‘Bridgerton’, Netflix

Starring: Julie Andrews, Adjoa Andoh and Jonathan Bailey

Penned by Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal writer Chris Van Dusen, and produced by Rhimes, the eight-part series Bridgerton is set in London during the Regency era, a time period between the years 1795 and 1837.

Based on the bestselling romance novels of Julia Quinn, Bridgerton is set during the latter part of George III's reign and the reigns of his sons George IV and William IV. The Regency era is characterised by distinctive trends in British architecture, literature, fashion, politics and culture, and Bridgerton delves deep into the antics of high society, with narration courtesy of Andrews's Lady Whistledown.

‘Anna Karenina’, Amazon Prime

Starring: Santiago Cabrera and Lea Bosco

The Musketeers actor Cabrera stars as Count Vronksy, the dashing cavalry officer whose affair with the titular heroine scandalises Saint Petersburg society. This 2013 adaptation of the Tolstoy classic stays faithful to the original text, dealing with the universal themes of faith, betrayal, family and desire.

‘Catherine the Great’, OSN Streaming

Starring: Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke and Kevin McNally

The cast is stacked with talent, as you might expect from a classy HBO production. This mini-series puts Mirren front and centre as the empress who reformed Russia. Covering the time period from 1764 to 1796, Zero Dark Thirty's Clarke stars as military commander and Catherine’s lover, Grigory Potemkin, and this lavish four-part series is heavy on political intrigue and treachery.

‘Dickinson’, Apple TV+

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski and Chinaza Uche

This 10-part series is a coming-of-age tale about the American poet Emily Dickinson, who epitomises the artistic burden of not being appreciated in her lifetime. Following the young Dickinson (Steinfeld) on her Victorian-era journey through 1800s society, it also stars Anna Baryshnikov as her younger sister, Lavinia, while Adrian Enscoe appears as older brother, Austin. Purists might be surprised by the modern elements littered throughout, but stick around for rapper Wiz Khalifa who is suitably steam-punkish as Death.

‘Victoria’, Amazon Prime

Starring: Jenna Coleman, Jordan Waller and Rufus Sewell

At the age of 18, Queen Victoria ascended the British throne, and this BBC show follows the life of the world-famous monarch. Victoria is played by British star Coleman in her early years, taking in her romantic infatuation with her adviser Lord Melbourne (Sewell) and subsequent marriage to Germany’s Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). As with all shows about the monarchy, there is plenty of scandal and rocky marriages, as well as international intrigue concerning relations with France and the Anglo-Afghan War.

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Updated: November 19, 2020 03:29 PM

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