Period dramas have always been a staple in the entertainment industry, captivating audiences with their intricate storytelling, stunning visuals, and immersive historical settings. While some period dramas have gained widespread recognition and critical acclaim, there are many hidden gems of the genre that have flown under the radar. These hidden gems offer unique perspectives on history, captivating characters, and thought-provoking themes that are sure to leave a lasting impression on viewers.
From the gritty streets of 18th century London to the opulent palaces of 19th century Europe, hidden gems of period drama offer a diverse range of settings and stories. These lesser-known dramas often take a more nuanced and complex approach to history, exploring the lives of those who have been overlooked by mainstream narratives. Whether it’s a female brothel owner in 18th century England or a group of soldiers fighting for their lives during the Napoleonic Wars, hidden gems of period drama offer a fresh and compelling perspective on history.
Despite their critical acclaim and passionate fanbases, hidden gems of period drama often struggle to find the same level of recognition as their more mainstream counterparts. However, with the rise of streaming services and the growing popularity of niche genres, these hidden gems are finally getting the attention they deserve. In this article, we will explore some of the most underrated and overlooked period dramas that you need to add to your watchlist.
Uncovering the Underrated: A Guide to Lesser-Known Period Dramas
Period dramas have always been a popular genre in film and television. However, some hidden gems of the genre might not have received the attention they deserve. Here are some lesser-known period dramas that are worth watching:
Set in the 18th century, “Belle” tells the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy captain and an enslaved woman. The film explores Belle’s struggle to find her place in society and her fight against slavery. With a powerful performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Belle” is a must-watch for fans of historical dramas.
The Paradise (2012-2013)
“The Paradise” is a British period drama series set in the late 19th century. The show follows Denise Lovett, a young woman who starts working at the first department store in Northern England. As Denise rises through the ranks, she must navigate the politics and rivalries of the store’s employees. “The Paradise” offers a unique look at the birth of consumer culture and the changing role of women in society.
A Royal Affair (2012)
“A Royal Affair” is a Danish period drama set in the 18th century. The film tells the story of Caroline Mathilde, the Queen of Denmark, and her affair with the royal physician Johann Friedrich Struensee. With stunning visuals and powerful performances by Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen, “A Royal Affair” is a gripping tale of love and politics.
The Duchess (2008)
“The Duchess” is a British period drama based on the true story of Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. Set in the late 18th century, the film explores the Duchess’s struggle to find happiness in her marriage and her fight for women’s rights. With a stellar cast that includes Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, and Dominic Cooper, “The Duchess” is a must-watch for fans of historical dramas.
These hidden gems of period drama might not have received the attention they deserve, but they are definitely worth watching. From powerful performances to gripping stories, these lesser-known period dramas offer something for everyone.
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Hidden Masterpieces
Period dramas have always been a popular genre in film and television. They transport the audience to a different time and place, immersing them in the lives of the characters. But what goes into making a period drama? How do filmmakers create a world that is both historically accurate and visually stunning? In this section, we will explore the making of hidden masterpieces, focusing on the key elements that bring these stories to life.
Costume and Set Design
One of the most important aspects of a period drama is the costume and set design. It is essential to create a world that is authentic and believable, and this starts with the costumes and sets. The costume designer must research the period and create costumes that are historically accurate while also reflecting the characters’ personalities. The set designer must create a world that is visually stunning and believable, from the grand ballrooms to the humble cottages.
Music and Score
The music and score of a period drama are just as important as the visuals. They set the mood and tone of the story, creating an emotional connection with the audience. The composer must work closely with the director to create a score that complements the visuals and enhances the story’s emotional impact. The music must be historically accurate, but also have a modern edge to appeal to contemporary audiences.
Directing and Cinematography
Finally, the directing and cinematography of a period drama are crucial to its success. The director must work closely with the actors to create believable characters and performances. The cinematographer must capture the visuals in a way that is both stunning and authentic. They must work together to create a world that is immersive and believable, transporting the audience to a different time and place.
In conclusion, the making of a period drama is a complex process that requires a team of talented individuals working together to create a world that is both historically accurate and visually stunning. From the costume and set design to the music and score, and the directing and cinematography, every element plays a crucial role in bringing these hidden masterpieces to life.
Period Dramas by Era: A Chronological Exploration
Victorian and Edwardian Gems
The Victorian and Edwardian eras are known for their elegance, grandeur, and societal norms. Some of the best period dramas have been set during this time, and they offer a glimpse into the lives of the people who lived during these periods. One such hidden gem is the British TV series, “Cranford” (2007), which is set in the fictional town of Cranford in the 1840s. The series follows the lives of the town’s inhabitants, including the widowed Miss Matty Jenkyns, played by Dame Judi Dench.
Another great period drama set in the Victorian era is the movie “The Young Victoria” (2009), which chronicles the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. The film features Emily Blunt in the titular role and shows the young queen’s struggles to assert her authority and find love amidst political turmoil.
The Roaring Twenties and Beyond
The Roaring Twenties and beyond were marked by a sense of rebellion and change. The period dramas set during this time reflect this spirit of change and offer a unique perspective on the era. One such hidden gem is the British TV series, “Peaky Blinders” (2013-2019), which is set in Birmingham, England, in the aftermath of World War I. The series follows the Shelby family, who are involved in various criminal activities, including bookmaking and protection rackets.
Another great period drama set during this time is the movie “Carol” (2015), which is set in New York City in the early 1950s. The film follows the love affair between Carol Aird, played by Cate Blanchett, and Therese Belivet, played by Rooney Mara, and explores themes of love, identity, and societal expectations.
Modern Takes on Ancient Times
Period dramas set in ancient times offer a glimpse into the lives of people who lived in a vastly different world from our own. However, modern takes on these stories offer a fresh perspective and make these stories more accessible to contemporary audiences. One such hidden gem is the British TV series, “Atlantis” (2013-2015), which is set in the mythical city of Atlantis and follows the adventures of Jason, played by Jack Donnelly, as he navigates the city’s many dangers.
Another great period drama set in ancient times is the movie “The Eagle” (2011), which is set in Roman-occupied Britain in the 2nd century AD. The film follows the journey of Marcus Aquila, played by Channing Tatum, as he sets out to recover the lost Eagle of the Ninth Legion, which was lost in battle years earlier.
Audience Acclaim: Critically Overlooked Performances
Period dramas are known for their captivating stories, stunning visuals, and memorable performances. While some actors and actresses receive critical acclaim for their roles, others are overlooked despite their outstanding performances. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the lead roles and supporting casts that stole our hearts and deserved more recognition.
Lead Roles That Stole Our Hearts
One of the most memorable performances in a period drama was Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (2005) directed by Joe Wright. Despite receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress, Knightley’s performance was often overshadowed by the film’s stunning cinematography and soundtrack. Knightley’s portrayal of the strong-willed and independent Elizabeth Bennet was praised for its authenticity and emotional depth.
Another overlooked performance was that of Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn (2015) directed by John Crowley. Ronan’s portrayal of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant in 1950s New York, was praised for its subtlety and nuance. Ronan’s performance captured the struggles and triumphs of a young woman trying to find her place in a new country while dealing with homesickness and heartbreak.
Supporting Casts That Shine
In addition to the lead roles, many period dramas feature outstanding supporting casts that often go unnoticed. One such example is the cast of The Imitation Game (2014) directed by Morten Tyldum. While Benedict Cumberbatch received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Alan Turing, the supporting cast, including Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Charles Dance, also delivered exceptional performances. Knightley’s portrayal of Joan Clarke, Turing’s colleague and friend, was praised for its intelligence and emotional depth.
Another overlooked supporting cast was that of The Age of Adaline (2015) directed by Lee Toland Krieger. While Blake Lively’s performance as Adaline Bowman was praised for its beauty and grace, the supporting cast, including Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, and Ellen Burstyn, also delivered outstanding performances. Ford’s portrayal of William Jones, Adaline’s former lover, was praised for its subtlety and emotional depth.
Overall, these performances demonstrate the incredible talent of actors and actresses in period dramas. While some may be overlooked by critics, their performances continue to resonate with audiences and capture the essence of these timeless stories.