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 Post subject: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:57 pm 
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After enjoying Rome, TV decided to hit us on the head with Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I am not enthused (amused, yes. We killed ourselves laughing.)
Given that we always enjoy historical TV series here, especially those that do not take 15 years to complete, do you guys have any suggestions? Anything that is cleverly scripted and is set before 1950 will do as a suggestion!

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:27 pm 
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Miniseries OK? Because the BBC's Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is simply luscious.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:02 pm 
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I have been hearing a lot about that but was afraid it would be too girly. I think i am going to give it a try after all.
Is there anything elses on Rome or the Dark Ages?

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:48 pm 
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Nothing that I know of that's any good. There was an English show about Robin Hood that ran in the 1980s that was supposed to be really good - Robin of Lockesley? Something like that. Robin, the Hooded Man? All I really know about it is that Clannad (the band that spawned Enya) did all the music.

...no, wait, I lied! "I, Claudius," starring Derek Jacobi. Filmed in the ..seventies? eighties? and very good.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:27 pm 
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"I, Claudius" was filmed in the '70s, and I agree, it was very good. I also thought "Elizabeth, R" with Glenda Jackson, and "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" with Keith Mitchell were also well done.


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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:40 pm 
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It's all about "I, Claudius." You simply can't miss with that one.

Has anyone caught "The Tudors?" I heard that it was (is?) good.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:02 pm 
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T-Chall wrote:
"I, Claudius" was filmed in the '70s, and I agree, it was very good. I also thought "Elizabeth, R" with Glenda Jackson, and "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" with Keith Mitchell were also well done.


Excellent choices, T'Chall. Wholeheartedly agree. Do the Blackadder series' count as historical? The costuming is spot on, even if their facts are deliberately askew.
The "Brother Cadfael" series is supposed to be excellent.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Define "good," in this case?

It's not a facetious question - I actually mean it. If you mean "anywhere in the ballpark of historically accurate," then absolutely not. They took historical names, a handful of historical events, a handful of romance novel cliches, and some clothes spanning about 150 years + a hefty dose of fantasy, and put the whole thing in a blender.

If you mean "top-notch acting and engaging storytelling," I'd say about 50-50. 50% of the cast is pretty good, and 15% of those are stellar (Catherine of Aragon and Princess Mary, for instance). The rest are 'meh' or utterly miscast (sadly, Henry himself is one of those. The fellow who played Charles Brandon would have made a much better Henry VIII)

If you mean 'good' as in 'pretty damn entertaining, in that inimitable HBO-with-boobies kind of way,' then sure. Second season is much better than first season, once they ditch Princess Mary- Margaret and move into the politics of the Reformation. Henry Czerny is one of those aforementioned stellar actors in this one, and he shines as Norfolk, as does James Frain as Cromwell.

First season is kind of atrocious, though. Only Maria-whosit who plays Catherine of Aragon saves it. Her scenes are brilliantly compelling.

As an early modernist, I threw things at the screen every time, until I realized it was basically an alternate-universe Tudors. After that it became much more watchable. Just don't expect any real history.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:26 am 
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Beholder King wrote:
The "Brother Cadfael" series is supposed to be excellent.

Cadfael is excellent - though how much of that is because Derek Jacobi is the titular Cadfael I can't say. ;)

While some license is taken with the period it generally does give a reasonable impression of the mess of the The Nineteen-Year Winter (1135–1154). The actual creator of Cadfael, Edith Pargeter was a self taught scholar with an honorary masters in the history of the region (Shrewsbury).

The primary downside is that there are only 13 episodes (over 4 seasons).

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:07 pm 
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This is the kind of suggestions i am looking for! Thanks, guys!
I did see an episode of Tudors but it did not draw me in because it tried too much: too beautiful people, sex every five minutes (same problem Spartacus had...) and non memorable dialogue. The Borjas was watchable, despite having the sex sells attitude (but at least you expect them in a series with that that title :D .)

Does anyone remember Dick Turpin, by the way? Was it any good?

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:41 pm 
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Morgana wrote:
This is the kind of suggestions i am looking for! Thanks, guys!


Glancing through my DVD collection a few more jump out, though they don't quite meet your criteria for one reason or another. But I'll list them anyway to annoy people (and attach IMDB links) :P.

Space Race - four episodes.
A docu-drama about the space race from the point of view of the primary engineers on both sides (Wernher Von Braun and Sergei Korolev).

Covers the period from the end of WWII to the first moon landing, hence a bit out of your specified time frame. Generally accurate but it attempts to be more about the people behind things rather than pure documentary. It also starkly reveals the politics and hostilities on both sides during the race.

****

Pompeii: The Last Day - 90min docu-drama

Obviously about Pompeii, oft forgotten Herculaneum and Vesuvius on August 24, 79CE. The interesting twist in this beyond ordinary docudrama is that they take some of the Pompeii 'Death Castings' and attach a story to them based on where they were found, death position etc.
Eg.
"Stephanus the Fuller" dying (show) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pompe ... _day_5.jpg
Real cast recovered at Pompeii - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pompe ... _day_6.jpg

***

Colosseum: A Gladiator's Story - 90min docu-drama

Another docudrama on the same DVD as Pompeii:TLD. Same style of live action and historical information, though all the spoken dialogue by the actors is Latin (thankfully the narrator 'overvoice' is in english). It covers the rise of a slave (Verus) to a gladiator and granted his freedom, as well as some of the intracies of the arena and the "behind the scene operations" in the Flavian times.

Based generally on real events - one of the interesting points is when the 'Big cats' dont perfom as expected (they're scared out of their minds and run away) and the crowd starts booing. Flavius then decides to make the Beastmaster the entertainment (actual historical event)

Well enough rambling for now. Though depending on the amount of tomatoes thrown I may put up some more later.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:47 pm 
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HBO released an adaptation of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth, although I don't know if that qualifies as strictly historical...

I haven't seen the series myself but heard it was good.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:31 pm 
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For non-fiction shows, "The History Channel" here in the States often releases their short TV mini-series as DVDs. I find them to be both interesting and (usually) fairly accurate. I recently watched "The Dark Ages", and found it engaging.

For historical-fiction shows, I second "Brother Cadfael Mysteries" and "Robin of Sherwood" (British title) recommendations.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical Tv Series Suggestions needed.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:49 pm 
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Neil Jordan directing the Borjas! There are no words :cloud9: .
Also, it turns out that after the first two or three episodes Spartacus was pretty good despite the historical inaccuracies, so we are watching this as well as the prequel, and next we have the Pillars of the Earth Earth series coming up.
Has anybody seen those?

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