I’ve been playing catch-up with some of my favorite shows in the last few weeks.
These include Starz’s “Outlander,” Netflix’s “The Crown” and PBS’s “Poldark.”
The historical dramas cover a specific time in history – from the 18th century to the early 20th century.
“Outlander” is a British-American television drama series based on novels by Diana Gabaldon.
It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who in 1945 finds herself transported back to the Scotland of 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in everything from war to sickness. You name it.
“Outlander” airs on Starz and has just completed its third season, so there’s lot to watch and enjoy.
“Poldark” takes place in the late 18th century, as Ross Poldark returns from the American Revolutionary War to his Cornish mineral mines — tin, copper, zinc, lead and iron with some silver/copper – after spending three years in the army to avoid charges of smuggling.
When he gets home, he finds his father dead, his estate in ruins, and his old sweetheart Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis. He rescues a young woman, Demelza, from a beating, and takes her on as a kitchen maid while trying to help the people of the village and attempting to gain control of the mines sought by his rival, the greedy and arrogant George Warleggan.
“Poldark” airs on PBS and has also just completed its third season.
These two series offer lots of 18th-century misery, love and drama.
Based on award-winning play “The Audience,” by Peter Morgan, “The Crown” is an elaborate, Netflix-original drama that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) from the 1940s to modern times. The series begins with an inside look at the early reign of the queen, who ascended the throne at age 25 after the death of her father, King George VI.
As the decades pass, personal intrigues, romances and political rivalries are revealed that played a big role in events that helped shape the 20th century.
Netflix just released the show’s second season, which is just as excellent as the first.
What can I say? I love anything with a history background, especially when there is a good script behind it and a love story to go along with it.
But what I’ve also found that I love about the shows are the strong female characters.
In “Outlander,” you have Claire, who somehow time travels from the 20th century to the 18th and figures out a way to live and survive in a very primitive and bleak time in Scotland.
Just give a quick thought to all that women hold dear in our modern age, such as indoor plumbing, tampons and soap and water, and then take those away and add in some pretty dire circumstances.
Women had little-to-no rights and were considered less than all men.
Claire sticks around for all this and more – all for the love of one man.
“Poldark’s” Demelza, after being treated horribly by her father, finds some sanctuary and a better living situation with her husband Ross. However, Ross can be a sleaze at times, often leaving her for long periods of time to figure out his love for Elizabeth.
She is left to raise the kids and run the small estate. Not an uncommon lot for most women, but in season three, Demelza gives Ross a bit of his own medicine and, let me just say, it’s well overdue.
In “The Crown,” we are given a rare and fascinating glance into the life of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s amazing to see just how much this inherently shy woman had to deal with and get over for her role of queen. For someone who, in my lifetime, has been viewed at times as an unfeeling queen, viewers begin to see why that might have been so.
These strong female characters give light to the fate that most women face in that we often have to be a lot harder than we’d like, fight longer battles for just simple rights, and deal with being regarded in a certain way because we are standing up for ourselves.
In my role as a mom, I’ve found myself frustrated by being the “constant bad guy requiring good behavior” to teach my children the importance of responsibility.
However, I know if I want them to grow up to be someone who can survive and flourish in society, then the bad guy I must be.
It’s not easy being a woman, and although things have gotten easier, there’s still quite a mountain to climb.
These types of show are good encouragers to remind us to “keep on keeping on” and that in the end we may come out ahead, make a little history, and change some minds while we are at it.
Check them out; you’ll be glad you did.
Kali Bradford may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.