How to survive ‘Droughtlander’






IT feels like a long wait until two of the most amazing dramas of the year return in 2016.

Poldark’s smouldering romantic hero played by Irish actor Aidan Turner rode off not into a Cornish sunset but to prison at the end of season one.

And for Outlander devotees, after a brutal, confronting season final, we won’t see Jamie or Claire until next year.

Yes Droughtlander, as fans call it, is here again.

Add to that, “Poldrought” and period drama fans are suffering.

Could any other series possibly fill the hole in our lives? It’s hard to replace Ross Poldark and his bare-chested moments. Nor can anything really take the place of the adventure, romance and danger of Outlander.

However we’ve put together a few suggestions about period dramas that might help make the wait more bearable.


IF you’re a fan of Poldark and struggling to work out what to watch next, then Outlander is the obvious choice.

The series concluded with two of the darkest episodes ever seen on TV.

What’s it about?

Based on Diana Gabaldon’s books, Outlander follows Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) a nurse in the Second World War.

On a second honeymoon with husband Frank she touches an ancient circle of stones and ends up back in 1743.

She weds handsome Highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a man with a price on his head.

Why should we watch it?

This series is simply captivating. From the costumes to the plot to the music and setting in 18th century Scotland, it’s delightful. It’s romantic and exciting.

That dark underbelly certainly came to the fore in the second half of season one.

How to see it

The second part of season one recently showed on SoHo, Foxtel. It’s also available on itunes Australia. Part one of season one is out on DVD and blu-ray.


FOR Outlander fans now sadly entering a long Droughtlander, Poldark will definitely ease the pain.

What’s it about?

It follows Cornish landowner Ross Poldark who returns from fighting in the American War of Independence to find his father dead, his estate in ruins, he’s almost penniless and his sweetheart is the marry his cousin.

Why should we watch it?

Poldark is a bit of swashbuckling fun, with loads of romance, smuggling and intrigue. Its leading man has become a heartthrob with as many headlines about Aidan Turner’s shirtless moments as there are about the series.

It’s beautifully filmed and delightfully showcases Cornwall and its seascapes and empty, rolling hills and old mines.

All up, it’s a handsome looking series (Turner included).

How to see it?

The DVD of season one is out.


What’s it about?

ANOTHER version of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. Ho hum?

Not at all.

The 2014 The Musketeers is exciting stuff, with action, romance, beautiful spies, handsome heroes – in fact, everything that Dumas’ book has.

This series doesn’t follow the book but when a TV show is this much fun, we’re not complaining.

Season one stars Peter Capaldi as the clever, scheming villain Cardinal Richelieu.

Our 17th century swashbuckling quartet is Luke Pasqualino as a rather tall, dark and handsome d’Artagnan, Tom Burke as Athos, Santiago Cabrera as Aramis and Howard Charles as Porthos.

Why we should watch it

From leather to swordplay to a sometimes scantily clad-cast, this is a dashing romp. If you like a lot of swash with your period drama, this is for you.

How to see it

Seasons one and two are out on DVD


What’s it about?

THIS tells the story of a War of the Roses struggle for the English throne through the eyes of the women at the centre of the bloody, twisting drama.

Elizabeth Woodville is a commoner who attracts the eye of the young king Edward IV, one of the glorious sons of York. But is the new queen a witch? In one scene she and her mother call up a storm to stop a fleet of ships.

There’s romance and betrayal aplenty in this delicious period drama.

Although the Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker, has succeeded in putting Edward on the throne, can he be trusted? Edward’s brother George certainly is up to no good.

Then there’s the youngest York brother Richard, later to become the controversial Richard III.

Meanwhile, Henry Tudor is coming of age and his determined mother Margaret will do anything to ensure he seizes power.

Why we should watch it

We’ve had so many series about the Tudors, it’s wonderful to have a romantic drama about the Plantagenets and the turbulent War of the Roses. The most brutal and bloody battles on English soil occurred in this period when Edward IV fought to take and keep the throne.

How to see it

The White Queen is on DVD and on itunes Australia.


What’s it about?

BLACK Sails is a bit like a pirate western.

It’s set in a lawless pirate republic on a New Providence Island and is proclaimed as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Black Sails follows Captain Flint, intelligently played by Toby Stephens, and his crew of cutthroats aboard the Walrus who plunder ships, fight, then celebrate in the brothels of Nassau.

Flint is searching for the mother lode, the Spanish treasure ship Urca de Lima.

Its location is known to the captured John Silver (Australian Luke Arnold), a dubious character of no morals.

At the same time the pirate republic is under threat with the British wanting to reclaim the island they earlier abandoned. “Civilisation is coming,” Flint warns.

Why we should watch it?

It’s not perfect, certainly has its critics, but it’s a riot of sex, blood and action (earning it an R-rating).

The series takes a while to get going, but once it does, expect lots of fighting on the high seas.

It isn’t Vikings, but it’s a breath of if not fresh air, then rum-soaked, swashbuckling air, that’s rollicking good fun.

How to see it

Seasons one and two are on DVD.


What’s it about?

YES, another Tudors story, but this is a beauty all the same.

It’s based on Hilary Mantel’s Booker prize winning novels about Henry VIII’s clever adviser, Thomas Cromwell.

And what a cast. Homeland’s Damian Lewis plays Henry and Mark Rylance is Cromwell. Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn steals the show with a mesmerising performance.

Why we should watch it?

THIS is a brilliant character study. It unfolds slowly at first but burns brightly towards a shocking end. You know what is going to happen, but the story of Anne Boleyn’s rise and fall from grace is spellbinding.

Wolf Hall is not only dramatic but thoughtful.

How to see it

Wolf Hall is on DVD.


What’s it about?

REIGN follows the rise to power of Mary Queen of Scots (Kane) when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old with her three best friends as ladies-in-waiting.

She’s betrothed to Prince Francis but Mary faces a dangerous battle to survive at the French court which is a world of dark enemies and sexual intrigue.

To complicate matters, she forms a connection with Francis’ half brother, the dashing and handsome Bash.

Why we should watch it

THERE are some very annoying aspects to Reign – the out-of-place rock music and the teenage themes. The ladies-in-waiting in particular are like silly love-struck children who get up to nonsense.

However there’s enough intrigue, romance and dark plots to carry this series.

It’s ultimately quite engaging and even has a strange supernatural element. Is it accurate? Probably not. Though Reign is a lavish production with a good looking cast.

How to see it

REIGN seasons one and two are on DVD.


What’s it about?

DETECTIVE William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) uses then-cutting edge forensic techniques to solve crimes in turn-of-the 20th century Toronto.

He’s helped by a female coroner he’s in love with.

Why we should be watching it?

This is a classy, delightful crime series with a touch of romance.

Our hero, Murdoch, is a man of his time; polite and earnest and engaging and there’s lots of romantic tension between he and coroner Dr Ogden.

It weaves into its crime stories history about the development of technology. We meet everyone from Nikola Tesla to Arthur Conan Doyle.

Where to watch it

The numerous series of Murdoch Mysteries are on DVD and also show on Foxtel. They’re also on itunes Australia.


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