In the past few months I have noticed an emerging pattern when it comes to TV series. Wherever I turn period dramas are taking over my TV! A period drama is a series set in a particular historical period, with the costumes, props and sets that are typical of that era. Of course, period dramas are no new invention; the genre has been around for decades. However, there is a noticeable surge in period dramas targeted at young people. Gone are vampires and werewolves of the Twilight Saga days, or the dystopian marvels of Hunger Games. You only have to turn to the Netflix homepage to see multiple historical titles flashing on your screen: Reign, The Crown, War and Peace, Downton Abbey … Those are just a few of the recently released titles you can choose from. So why is it that period dramas are becoming so popular? As a history student, I’ve decided to investigate.
Firstly, period drama provides a sense of relief and comfort. Isn’t it nice to imagine that people living a hundred years before me were going through the same issues? Sure, it’s easy to identify with the typical high-school characters found in your standard, cheesy American series. But isn’t it more satisfying to watch the misfortunes of a character on the surface so distant from our everyday lives? This brings me to my second conclusion; period dramas are a way of escape. When watching a period series like The Tudors, for a blissful 40 minutes you’re transported into a world so foreign and distant to the one we live in today. It’s easier to forget your problems when you’re left wondering how on earth people coped with having to use a chamber pot (a pot used as a toilet in the bedroom) on a daily basis. Not to mention the impracticalities of their clothes. Isn’t TV drama much more exciting when you have the chance to watch men dressed in tights and white wigs?
Do you watch any period dramas? Why do you think people like them?