As the days start to draw in and we reach once again for the cozy jumpers, thoughts inevitably turn to snuggling on the sofa on a Sunday night with a good period drama. Well, my thoughts do anyway.
Netflix’s original content has always been one of the streaming service’s strengths, and over the past year their original period drama offer has really started to shine (think Self Made, The English Game, Hollywood). Netflix may not be the most natural choice for an autumnal period drama, but this winter its period drama lineup is making it my first choice.
(P.S. Before you start, if you are looking for the most up-to-date period drama info – don’t forget to check out my period drama guide.)
Here’s my pick of the best original period drama content from Netflix to keep an eye out for this autumn and winter.
The Devil All The Time is an upcoming moody psychological thriller from Netflix, based on the book of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock. In post-WWII Ohio, sinister characters — an unholy preacher (Robert Pattinson), a twisted couple (Jason Clarke and Riley Keough), and a crooked sheriff (Sebastian Stan) — converge around young Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as he fights the evil forces that threaten him and his family.
This sprawling Gothic drama already has some Oscar buzz around it, and with such a strong ensemble cast (Bill Skarsgard and Mia Wasikowska also feature) its easy to see why. In a nice coup, author Pollock also provides the films narration.
My TV period drama pick of the month for September, as featured in my monthly newsletter (you can sign up here if you fancy it) Ratched is guaranteed to have you hiding behind your cushion. (Its made by the same people you make American Horror Story, so what do you expect?)
In a prequel to One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Mildred Ratched begins working as a nurse at a leading psychiatric hospital. But beneath her stylish exterior lurks a growing darkness. Yes folks, this is the origin story of one of film’s greatest movie villains.
Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actress Sarah Paulson plays the unhinged asylym nurse in what could be the best performance of her life.
Enola Holmes chronicles the adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister Enola, as she embarks on a quest to find her missing mother, all the while outsmarting her older brother and helping a runaway lord. Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobbie Brown stars as Enola with Henry Cavill as Sherlock, Sam Claflin as Mycroft and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs Holmes.
I’m really looking forward to this film. There are a lot of moody and serious period dramas due to be released this winter, but the trailer for Enola Holmes promises a fun and adventure packed romp!
American protestors are attacked by police with tear gas and batons – its unfortunately an every day image for 2020.
And that’s exactly why I think The Trial of The Chicago 7 has the potential to the be the biggest hit of the autumn for Netflix. The film follows the a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy in late 1969 relating to charges of crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. The evident bias from the political and justice system served to radicalise millions of disaffected Americans – sound familiar?
The Trial of The Chicago 7 is the right film for the right time – its a political period drama that perfectly captures the current zeitgeist .
The latest adaptation of the iconic 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier sees serial period drama actress Lily James star as Mrs de Winter. She arrives at her husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast and finds herself battling the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca, whose legacy lives on in the house long after her death.
There has been quite a bit of debate about Rebecca online. The 1940 adaptation by Alfred Hitchock starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Oliver is LEGENDARY, and should not be touched according to some. There has also been quite a lot of disagreement regarding the casting of Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter. I hope he proves us all wrong and this adaptation of Rebecca is a gothic triumph!
At the time of writing this, the premiere date for The Queens Gambit has only recently been announced by Netflix. Details on this mini-series are relatively scare, and its flown under the radar period-drama wise. What we do know is that the show will centre on the “life of an orphan chess prodigy” named Beth Harmon “from the age of 8 to 22 as she struggles with addiction in her quest” to become a Grandmaster in chess.
Beth will be played be rapidly-rising period drama stalwart Ana-Taylor Joy (Emma, Peaky Blinders, The Witch). Two-time Oscar nominee Scott Frank will serve as writer, director, and executive producer so we can expect great things. Might as well book off that weekend now to binge-watch.
At the time of writing this we have no firm release date for Mank, but the film’s producer has dropped the bomb and said it should be hitting out screens at some point in October.
Mank is an upcoming biographical film about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his battles with director Orson Welles over screenplay credit for the iconic Citizen Kane. Just like The Devil All The Time, this film has a stellar ensemble cast. Oscar-winning Gary Oldman plays Mankiewicz, with Tom Burke playing Welles and Charles Dance playing American magnate William Randolph Hearst. Also expect appearances from Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins and Tuppence Middleton.
Another Oscar contender from Netflix perhaps?
Isn’t this the one we’ve all been waiting for?!
The latest installment of Netflix’s blockbuster period drama starts in the late 1970s and introduces the future Princess Diana (played by newcomer Emma Corrin) and Margaret Thatcher (played by Gillian Anderson). Also expect to see the 1982 break-in into Buckingham Palace, Charles and Diana’s wedding and maybe a glimpse of Ronald Reagan too.
As a big royal history fan this is the Netflix period drama I am most looking forward to this winter!
We are still waiting on further details and release dates for several more period dramas from Netflix (Bridgerton, The Irregulars, Lady Whistledown). And new period dramas are announced all the time. To keep up to date with all the latest period drama happenings make sure you are following my period drama listings page.