Posted in TV Musings

TV Musings # 2- My Top 5 Historically Inspired Shows

Hi everyone! Hope your weekend is going well So I finally convinced my boyfriend to watch The Last Kingdom with me. We are both history buffs and I loved this show when I first started watching it so I thought there was a good chance he would enjoy it as well. So far he’s liked the episodes we’ve seen and I’ve enjoyed hearing his perspective as well as reflecting on how certain characters have changed over the course of the four seasons.

Re-watching The Last Kingdom has made me want to share some of my favorite historically inspired TV shows.

  1. Rome
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Summary: The series is set in the 1st century BC, during Ancient Rome’s transition from Republic to Empire. The series features a sprawling cast of characters, many based on real figures from historical records, but the lead protagonists are ultimately two soldiers named Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, who find their lives intertwined with key historical events (Wikipedia)

Comments: I love all things that have to do with ancient Rome. My obsession started with Roman mythology and moved on to an interest in important figures like Caesar, Augustus, Caligula etc. I loved the show Rome, because not only do we get to see these famous figures, but we also get to experience what life for everyday Romans was like. If you haven’t seen it then definitely check out.

2. The Last Kingdom

Image courtesy of Netflix

Summary: The year is 866, and the Great Heathen Army’s arrival in Britain is about to redefine the relationship between Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. Following establishment of Danish rule in Jórvík and East Anglia, the show largely focuses on the resistance of the Kingdom of Wessex to ongoing Viking incursions to Southern England. The story covers about 40–45 years by the end of season 4. Season 1 covers the years 866–878, season 2 from 878 to 886, season 3 from 893 to 900, and season 4 takes place about 901 to 912 (Wikipedia)

Comments: My interest in ancient Rome eventually turned into an interest in world history in general. English history has become a special favorite of mine. I think what made me first watch this show was my disappointment with the various historical inaccuracy I saw in History Channel’s Vikings. I like The Last Kingdom, because though it is also a historical fiction show it does try to get the major historical events correct. I also loved seeing how the main character, Uhtred, in many ways symbolizes the mixing of Danish and Saxon culture that occurred during that time period. Now that the author has finished the book series I plan to add it to my TBR as well

3. Medici

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Summary: The first season, titled Medici: Masters of Florence, takes place in 1429, the year Giovanni de’ Medici, head of the family, died. His son Cosimo de’ Medici succeeds him as head of the family bank, the richest bank of Europe at that time, and fights to preserve his power in Florence. The second season, titled Medici: The Magnificent, takes place 20 years later and tells the story of Cosimo’s grandson Lorenzo de’ Medici (Wikipedia)

Comments: The Medici family of Florence is seen as one of the driving forces behind the Italian Renaissance. I loved seeing that period come alive as the Medici rise to power courtesy of Cosimo de Medici. I also enjoyed seeing an interpretation of how some of the art and architecture that symbolizes both Florence and the Renaissance came into existence. The cast is great with Richard Madden acting as a phenomenal lead.

4. Peaky Blinders

Image courtesy of Netflix

Summary: Set in Birmingham, England, the series follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the direct aftermath of the First World War. The fictional family is loosely based on a real urban youth gang of the same name who were active in the city from the 1890s to the early 20th century (Wikipedia).

Comments: My boyfriend and I discovered this one during quarantine. The cast includes names like Cillian Murphy, Sam Neil, Helen Mcroy, all of whose previous roles I’ve greatly enjoyed, and the show does a really good job of portraying working class life in the UK post WWI. I also enjoyed the fact that the main characters were fairly nuanced. They are not exactly good people, but you can see how their life and actions are a byproduct of the changes occurring in society at the time. As a viewer you find yourself rooting for them despite some of their less than pleasant/ legal actions.

5. The Crown

Image courtesy of Netflix

Summary: The Crown portrays the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, until the early 21st century (Wikipedia)

Comments: I highly recommend this series. Though not always completely historically accurate, I think it’s a good portrayal of what it’s like to be a member of the royal family in the modern age. Seasons 1& 2 are my favorite, but I’m also enjoying watching the current depiction of the Charles and Diana marriage sage. If you are interested in learning more about the British royal family this may be a good place to start.