On Netflix

I’ve watched some great movies this spring and summer, and I thought I would share my favorites. I love period dramas, and if they are based on classic literature, all the better. In other words, I heart adaptations. (I even love adaptations in book form. I read the sweetest little Pride and Prejudice adaptation a couple of months ago. Perfect for a 12 13-14 year old girl.)

Here are some of my favorites, and please share yours! My husband has a lot of travel coming up so it will be me and the TV most nights.

North & South


North & South, but the BBC miniseries staring Richard Armitage, not the 1985 miniseries with Patrick Swayze. The plot centers on Margaret Hale, who must leave the rural South and settle with her parents in an industrial town up North, where she meets the overbearing cotton mill owner, John Milton. They clash over employee/employer relations and social divides, which is underpinned by the expected Mr. Darcy and Ms. Bennett love/hate googly eyes. (Favorite!) We’ve talked about this period drama miniseries before and after having seen several more since, I stand firm: most romantic ending ever.


North and South is based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, aka BBC’s muse. Anything Gaskell has ever written has been turned into a BBC miniseries. I have watched anything Gaskell has ever written that has been turned into a BBC miniseries with the exception of Cranford, which is no longer available on Netflix.

Daniel Deronda


Daniel Deronda, staring Hugh Dancy. This one is based on the novel of the same name by George Eliot. More social divides with a heaping order of religious prejudice, as several of the characters were Jewish. I didn’t find this one as interesting at first, but the religious conflict made me hold on. It’s not often you see Judaism positively discussed–or mentioned at all–in period dramas, and had they tossed in some Catholicism I might have had an aneurysm. I ended up enjoying it, but it wasn’t until the end that I truly appreciated the miniseries.


Here’s the official movie blurb:

Set in Victorian London, Gwendolen Harleth is drawn to Daniel Deronda, a selfless and intelligent gentleman of unknown parentage, but her own desperate need for financial security may destroy her chance at happiness.

Wives & Daughters


The daughter of a country doctor copes with an unwanted stepmother, an impetuous stepsister, burdensome secrets, the town gossips, and the tug on her own heartstrings for a man who thinks of her only as a friend.

Sometimes the movie blurbs do the movie no justice, but not so in this case. This sums up Wives and Daughters nicely, although I would add that the daughter, Molly Gibson, is a science loving bit of a tomboy. I liked this one as well, but again not as much as North & South. This is another Elizabeth Gaskell book.

The Scapegoat


Set in 1952, as England prepares for the coronation, The Scapegoat tells the story of two very different men who have one thing in common – a face.

Terrible description that does the movie no favors. The Mister, knowing movies from the classic lit section are a sure bet, downloaded this one for me. It was also listed as a psychological thriller, which made me nervous because those can go ridiculous quickly. I thought it was sweet of him to think of me so I watched it and I loved it. He loved it. We loved it, and that doesn’t happen often because he likes his movies to have things exploding and men leaping from vehicles in motion.

If you read the novel by Daphne du Maurier, be warned there are significant differences in time and setting.

Arn: The Knight Templar


In a time of brave knights, powerful queens and treacherous kings, Arn, a skilled swordsman, is sent to war as a Knight Templar, while Cecilia, the love of his life, is imprisoned in a convent.

I picked this mini-series because I thought it was something my husband would like while still catering to my love of mini-series, romantic epics, and history. He was slightly nervous about the subtitles (a fair portion of the movie is in Swedish, but there are long stretches of English), but decided to give it a go because he couldn’t resist the lure of 12th century battles scenes. (I know my husband.)




My final review:

Hot. Freaking. Damn.


My husband loved this miniseries. Loved it. He recommended it to all his friends. I loved it, too, but the ending. The ending! I woke up with a stress induced migraine the next morning. If you search for this on Netflix it can get confusing. This was first a movie in 2007 with a sequel in 2008. In 2010, in was refashioned into a miniseries. From what I can tell, not too much has changed—maybe some sequencing. I only watched the miniseries, not the movie.

If you love action, history, and the idea of an honorable, loyal, hot and sweaty Swedish guy in chain mail fighting his way across Jerusalem to reach the love of his life for 20 years, this is the miniseries for you. If not, I don’t even know what to say except that I hear Robert Pattinson wants the role of Christian Grey in the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey movie.

(I haven’t read the books so I don’t know what Christian Grey is supposed to look like, but the idea of Robert Pattinson being a dominating anything brings me many LOLz.)

(And I know many of you–some of you my friends in real life–are going to defend R.P. and give me 3,000 reasons why he is just the most deliciously handsome mansicle to ever step out of the freezer case but…no. I’ve heard you before and I hear you now but I am not buying what you’re selling. Nope. Don’t see it, can’t see, won’t see it.)

Movies, Miniseries, and TV Shows I’m Considering. Recommendations Welcome!

I also love romantic comedies, which amuses my husband since I’m negative romantic in real life. Road trip moves: good. Road trip romantic comedies: even better. Road trip romantic comedies where the couple start off hating each other: SO AWESOME. Pretty much any Pride and Prejudice/Persuasion plot is going to be right up my alley.

Oh! And I would like to try Sci-Fi. I have never watched an episode of Star Trek, Battle Star Gallactica, or any of the popular series from the last 10 years–or ever, really. If you have suggestions that can ease me into the genre, I’m game! This would be a good way for me and my husband to watch something together.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Hazel says

    Ooh, Richard Armitage makes me go a bit weak at the knees… Sir Guy of Gisbourne in the BBC Robin Hood series and in Spooks, a BBC series about MI5 (MI6? I can’t remember. It was gripping anyway).

    The Knight Templar sounds right up my street and husband would enjoy it too, for the same reasons as yours. He generally disappears when I’m watching Jane Austen-type adaptations.
    You don’t mention Austen, probably because she/they are ubiquitous, but for the record the 1990’s BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ely) is still the best, and Emma Thompson’s film version of Sense and Sensibility is fabulous. IMO. I’ll watch pretty much any Jane Austen though…

    Have your boys seen Merlin? Another BBC series (not sure if it’s available in the US) about King Arthur and his court. My son absolutely loved it, as did my husband and I. I love anything medieval anyway, but there are several…incentives to watch too πŸ˜‰

    • says


      2. Oh, anything Austen is a given. :) The Colin Firth adaption is the best, but it’s not on Netflix. Sometimes I’ll check even though I know it’s not just to quadruple/triple/one more time check to make sure. O.o

      I haven’t seen Merlin, but I thought that one looked interesting. Is it safe for a 9 and 6 year old to watch? That’s the problem–finding something we can all watch together! I’m a sucker for anything medieval, too, and if the incentives are anything like the ones in Arn, well then stand back!

      • says

        Your boys may like the BBC Robin Hood series if they haven’t seen it. My son and I watched all three seasons last summer and loved it. They switched writers after each season that, in my opinion, made the seasons gets steadily worse. It’s still a good story, but be ready for sad endings. We laughed and we (I) cried. He was 10 at the time and it was right up his alley. He also recommended it to all his friends.
        I think Merlin would be a little too scary for the younger set. JMO

        I agree with you on North and South. I looked up the author of the book and watched all the movies I could find by Elizabeth Gaskell. None lives up to this one in my book. Loved it.

        Now I’m putting Arn: The Knight Templar on my list. And I’ll give Daniel Deronda one more try.

        Have you seen Lost in Austen? It was on Netflix, but I think they removed the title now. It’s a wacky, present day, time travel version of Pride and Prejudice. It’s a fun distraction for a rainy day and not in any way to be taken seriously. (I had a hard time with the lead actress in this one…something about her mouth. It got easier as it went along.)

        I check out the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice at our local library through the interlibrary loan program. You might want to look into that if you get that urge and HAVE to watch it again. πŸ˜‰

          • Hazel says

            The early Merlins are less scary (they developed the series as their fanbase aged* a la Harry Potter) but the trouble is once the boys start watching they won’t want to wait until they’re older to watch the rest.

            Of course you may, purely for research purposes, want to check it out yourself before letting them watch it. Google ‘Merlin Knights’ to see whether you think you should… (Santiago Cabrera. Eoin Macken. Tom Hopper. Ahem.)

          • says

            Hahahahahahaha!! Yes, it sounds like research is in order. I’d be a negligent mother if I didn’t do my due diligence.

  2. Allana says

    I just watched North and South and LOVED it. I’m so glad you these suggestions. I’m in Canada so our Netflixs doesn’t have the same content, but I’ll be looking for these,

    Did it drive anyone else crazy that he had removed his neck cloth while travelling?

  3. says

    Loved North and South. Sigh.

    Other favorites . . . Cranford/Return to Cranford; Lark Rise to Candleford. I know I have others, but apparently, the recall portion of my brain is sleeping in.

    Oh, Call the Midwife. I rented that one in a moment of duress. I couldn’t really understand how it could be a good movie, with a bunch of women in labor. Eeh. But I loved.

    And thanks for the suggestions–I’m putting The Knight Templar on my list.

    • says

      Cranford/Return is no longer available on Netflix! I keep hearing it’s so good, too. I started Call the Midwife but I was interrupted by a husband and never got back to it.

    • Jenn says

      My husband thought I was crazy when he found my 41 weeks pregnant self watching Call the Midwife. It was an odd choice given that I am not a fan of childbirth, but I enjoyed it all the same.

      (I am a fan of epidurals and my sweet three month old!)

  4. says

    Young Victoria is lovely. I love Emily Blunt.

    This is the only place I feel comfortable admitting that I’ve watched the last 7 minutes of North & South at least a dozen times. At least.

  5. Susan says

    Hi Jules,
    I quite liked the series Foyle’s War, a detective series set in WWII Britain. Great period depiction and lots of historical information about life in that time.
    Take Me Home was a nice movie that fits your road trip criteria.

      • Karen says

        I was planning to mention Foyle’s War also. A little slow getting started perhaps, but my husband and I loved the characters, the setting, and the very interesting bits of history. Others to consider: Room with a View (Merchant & Ivory adaptation of EM Forster novel set in England and Florence), Gosford Park (murder mystery from Downton Abbey’s creator) and Knight’s Tale, which has a good combination of humor, jousting, and a very appealing young Heath Ledger. And have you seen Romancing the Stone? A good example of the road trip romantic comedy with conflict genre. :-)

        I’d love to know what your recent adaption of Pride & Prejudice was … you said it was perfect for a 12 year old girl and I have one! She and my 15 year old both love the BBC P&P series, so I’m happy to have some other ideas. Thanks!

        • says

          Romancing the Stone, with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, back when she had those killer legs? Loved it.

          As for the P&P adaptation, it’s Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik, and of course now that I am recommending it I am wondering if it’s too mature for a 12 year old! (I was 12 in the 8th grade.) There is a drug scene, but the message is that drugs are very, very bad. The main characters go to a party, but they don’t drink alcohol. The sexual content is PG. If it were a movie, it’d be PG/PG-13, but not for sexual content or language.

          • Karen says

            Thanks, maybe I will give it a read first. I thought of another movie for you: Bride and Prejudice, an entertaining Bollywood re-telling (modern setting in English). I’m looking forward to checking out some of your suggestions and some from the comments!

  6. Ellen says

    The Tudors is gripping, with gorgeous sets & costumes and excellent acting. Suffolk is a hearthrob and a half. I’ll second Call in the Midwives. And add that I couldn’t get into Land Girls that fully.

  7. Catalina says

    I LOVE The Young Victoria. Prince Albert has my heart.

    Thanks for the recommendations! The first and last ones sound especially tempting.

  8. says

    THANK YOU for this post. I have a history-loving teen-age boy and no cable, and I have been looking for something we can watch together. Most of these will be too “girly” for him, but I spy a few we can try.

    My recent favorite on Netflix has been Freaks & Geeks–a modern “history” piece. I missed it when it aired because I was knee-deep in toddlers. I might love it so because I was in high school in the early 80s. Great period costumes, humor, light romance.

    • says

      He’ll like Arn, and there is very little nudity. Maybe one boob shot courtesy of a skanky sister. (The sex scene is implied.)

      • says

        Hey Jules–We started Arn last night. Love it! Enough graphic violence to keep him hooked, and sex that is subtle enough not to make him uncomfortable watching with his mom. He loves medieval history, so this is a great fit. Thanks!

        • says

          Hahaha!! I love the “enough graphic violence to keep him hooked” line. :) Such a boy. And yet, I knew it, which is why I thought it would be a good pick for both of you to watch together! Ah, the pleasures of being a mama to boys.

  9. says

    I loved Land Girls, but then I am a sucker for anything WWII related. As far as I know Netflix does not carry the second season, I had to rent it from the library. I also liked Lark Rise to Candleford, Call The Midwife, Cranford, and of course many of the ones you mentioned. I have the Tudors in my queue but haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Oh, and I liked London Hospital also, it was a little gruesome in some scenes but so interesting to see the history of The London Hospital at the turn of the century. It’s based on actual hospital records. I’m not sure I watched that on Netflix though. I also have Amazon Prime and they have many of the ones Netflix does not.

      • says

        Amazon Prime is the greatest, I think it’s worth it for the savings in shipping costs alone, if you use Amazon a lot, which I do. It also gains you access to their movie selection, which is pretty large. Some are free, some you have to pay a small rental fee, or you can pay an extra dollar and ‘own’ it permanently on your TV. I like it!

  10. says

    I quite enjoyed The Tudors. It’s where my insane crush on Henry Cavill started – and is the only reason I went to see Man of Steel this summer. :-)

    Right now, I’m in the thick of watching Downton Abbey. Just the right kind of turn-of-the-century British drama I need. However, my husband isn’t a big fan of it (nor was he with The Tudors…if it’s not football or incredibly violent, he’s not watching). I’m stuck watching it when I can.

    The hubs is having a “guys night” for his birthday in a couple weeks. My plan is to curl up on the couch with a good glass of wine and watch a LOT of Downton Abbey. Maybe even paint my toenails…because no one will be there to complain about the smell. :-)

    • says

      Trivia! I hear Henry Cavill was the inspiration behind Edward Cullen for Twilight. That’s who Stephenie Meyer pictured as she wrote the series. She wanted him for the movies, but by the time production came around he was way too old.

      Now, you tell me: who would you rather spend eternity with? Henry Cavill or Robert Pattinson? Exactly.

      • says

        I’m down on both those dudes now. Henry Cavill dropped his nice weight lifter girlfriend to have a fake 2 minute showmance with that Haley whatever. I realized he’s blowing whichever way the breeze turns and now I feel pouty at him.

        • says

          Wait, what? I don’t follow celebrity gossip anymore so I don’t know the scoop! What did he do? And I only found out last night that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart broke up! I had to do a little research, but I guess it was in May and it was over a vacation? You knew it was going to be hard for him to get over the cheating scandal.

        • Shannon says

          Here I am, writing on Melissa’s blog about watching The Borrowers, and she’s over here talking about the GOOD stuff! LOL

    • Robin says

      I watched Anne many times with my kids when they were growing up, and it was always my idea. Love the characters, the scenery, and the writing. My sweet husband took me to Prince Edward Island several years ago for vacation and I highly recommend it. There is also a series called “Avonlea” with the same setting but different characters and is quite good.

  11. Val says

    This isn’t really my genre, so I can’t really offer recommendations but I will tell you that I think you would NOT enjoy Copper or Hell on Wheels. You might be tempted because they are period and have a good bit of rough-and-tumble for The Mister. But the female characters leave a lot to be desired, especially in Hell on Wheels, and the story-telling is not very tidy. There are romantic elements, but I wouldn’t call them romances. Also, both are ongoing series and I hate to start something that I can’t finish.

    I was at home sick a few weeks ago and watched a goofy little BBC two-part miniseries. The Postmaster, I think, was the name of it. It was a very quirky little steampunk romp, kind of silly but very sweet. Might be a good one for the whole family — it has some scary parts, but I think it’s pretty on-par with a Disney movie.

    I just finished Battlestar Galactica (the remake from the early 2000’s, not the 1978 version) and I am still recovering. It was SO awesome. Not at all what you’re asking about, but if you’ve ever considered checking it out, I would definitely reccomend. Very meaty story, excellent acting, fabulous characters.

      • linda says

        Sci-fi tv series (only a few seasons) Firefly and a follow up movie based on the same people called Serenity. My husband and I both loved them!

        • Samma says

          Yes, Firefly
          And if you’re going to try Sci-fi, StarTrek the next generation is the one to watch. More currently, we’re enjoying Defiance.
          And it’s not a scripted show, but we really love Face-Off which is a reality tv competition for Special Effects Make-Ups. It’s great to see how movie monsters/etc come to life. 4 seasons in, and they’ve not succumbed to the ‘drama’ aspects of in-fighting too much. Pretty much, they stick to the actual process of making the creature of the week.
          Somehow, I think your boys would love it.

          • says

            Actually, that show does sound like something they would love. Nico might get scared, but my analytical Mikey would be all over it.

          • Samma says

            It’s not scary at all, I think. No scary music, no build up to scares, and it’s very much watching the process and dissecting it as they rush to build their creatures. And often they are more fantasy creatures than scary/gross creatures.

  12. Cindy says

    I just watched the Forsyte Saga this weekend and it was fantastic. I was a huge fan of the original BBC series from the 60’s, and I would say this one, tho a bit different was just as good.

    Damian Lewis as Soames was just fantastic, and Rupert Graves as Young Jo was perfect.

    I do think it helps if you have read the books–there are like 9 of them so there is a LOT of detail going on they can’t necessarily cover in the series.

  13. says

    I’ve seen a few of these (N&S, and I think Wives & Daughters, and I started Daniel Deronda but haven’t had a chance to finish it) – thanks for the suggestions! I’m a sucker for period drama.

    I LOVED The Forsyte Saga – the newer version (90s?) I got distracted by the bad makeup/lighting/etc. in the older one. I also like The Young Victoria. The Tudors is something else entirely – much more sensationalist, but fun in its own way.

    I’ll echo the recommendations of Cranford, Call the Midwife, and Foyle’s War. And add Middlemarch. Island at War is also interesting (especially if you liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). If you like mysteries, I’d also recommend Marple (the 2004-2008 series is the one I watched).

    • says

      Yes, someone later in the comments says that The Tudors has a lot of nudity. I didn’t realize that it was a Showtime show. Blargh. I’m sure it’s still great, but sometimes they put in the sex and nudity just to be titillating more than compelling, you know?

  14. linda says

    I don’t know if they are on Netflix but Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech are two favorites (neither for kiddos) and yes on Young Victoria! I need to make a list : ) oh, and Downton Abbey! We watched every episode on Netflix too quickly.

    • says

      I’ve seen all of those except Young Victoria, obviously. I stopped watching Downton Abbey midway through the last season, oddly enough. I don’t know what happened!

  15. Jessica says

    I love SO many of these BBC miniseries! My favorite is North and South. It took me awhile to get into it, but I loved it! I’ve watched all of The Forsyte Saga and wanted to weigh in quickly. I tend to lean toward the BBC miniseries/anything based on a pre-1930’s novel because I like to watch/read films that have some internal conflict but are generally happy. I get too attached to characters in films to be able to handle much violence. (Battle scenes are one thing, personal violence is another). Be warned that The Forsyte Saga has a bit more personal violence than I was used to. I finished the series, and would overall say it was good but it was much more emotionally tolling than I would’ve expected based on other things in the same genera. It’s a fabulous concept in the shear amount of time it spans, and an incredible story of perseverance. Oh, and thank you for pointing out who wrote Cranford and North and South, I will now be reading every book Mrs. Glaskell has written!!

    • says

      Your favorite is North & South because it is the most awesome. πŸ˜‰

      I’m with you on the battle v. personal violence distinction.

  16. LauraC says

    Thank you so much for these recommendations! I’m in a rut and haven’t found anything good for awhile. Looking forward to North and South. Just a heads up; my husband and I started watching the Tudors (LOVE anything English, Scottish, etc) and just couldn’t stomach the nudity. Having watched Game of Thrones, we’re not total prudes, but the Tudors was just too much for us. I’m not reading any other comments, for fear of spoilers, so sorry if this is a duplicate! Thanks again.

    • says

      Hmmm. That’s a bummer to hear about the nudity. Someone above did say that it was more sensationalist then anything else I had listed.

  17. Susan G says

    So – love all those you listed. But now, for something different (and only because you mentioned sci fi)…I actually am watching Doctor Who for the first time ever. (The current one, not the old classic.) It’s cheesy and sometimes confusing (I HATE when characters break the laws of time travel!) but it’s really pretty fun. I actually get teary over a few. Be forewarned – the Doctor is played (successively not concurrently) by several different actors and I started out each change (which is written into the story) really disliking the new one. Advantage? There are LOTS of episodes. Disadvantage? There are LOTS of episodes. I am just a tad obsessive and will not read or watch anything else until I’m through with the whole thing.

    On a BBC kick – just watched Sherlock also. It was outstanding if you are interested in something like that.

      • Samma says

        Take the leap!
        Doctor Who is so good, and each Doctor is fun and different. The episodes range from campy/silly to absolutely heart-rending, with a few really scary bits as well. (Don’t Blink).
        The scary episodes might be too much for the little guys though.

        • Susan G says

          Don’t Blink is the only episode in the first six seasons I decided not to watch all the way through. WAY too creepy!

  18. Kellee says

    My little man (8) loves Robin Hood because, hello, sword fighting. (As a side note: RICHARD ARMITAGE. Seriously. Ok, tangent complete, back to little man.) He was a bit frightened at some of the creatures in Merlin, so we’ve put that one off for a while.

    I loved both North and South and the Forsyte Saga. I enjoyed The Tudors as well, but it is certainly more Showtime than BBC. Also, Henry Cavill. (Ok, I sound like a boy-crazy teenaged girl now. Moving on.) SciFi is not my favorite thing – I find it difficult to suspend belief for aliens, though apparently not for almost-as-unlikely romances – but I did like the most recent incarnation of Doctor Who. He’s a lovable, kooky character despite all the weird alien stuff :)

    Though it’s not in either of the two genres you mention, my absolute favorite has to be Sherlock. Great writing and brilliantly acted.

    • says


      [scrambles for remote, desperately starts queuing Robin Hood]

      And if Henry Cavill is in The Tudors, I’ll have no problem with the superfluous nudity I’ve heard about.

      • Phaedra says

        Henry Cavill. Enough said. I watched all of the Tudors & enjoyed it, but yes, more Showtime than BBC! (We’re allowed to be boy-crazed girls once in a while, right?!)
        I think I’ve already proven that I choose many shows based on the, uh.. scenery… ahem.

      • Hazel says

        Yes, Richard Armitage is in Robin Hood!! See the first comment again- he’s Guy of Gisbourne, so spends a lot of time looking moody and wearing black…

  19. says

    You could try X-Files…I still love Scully and Mulder, and now that it’s on Netflix I don’t have to raid my bin of VHS tapes in the basement…however, do not go into it expecting any sort of continuity. It could not have been written with any sort of master plan, a la J. K. Rowling.

    Did you watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Much better writing and well-planned story arcs.

  20. says

    I love this list! I can’t wait to start watching some of these mini series, especially ARN, that one looks great!

    Did you know that 50 Shades was originally written as a Twilight fan-fic? Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen was written as the main character, so that’s all I ever envision in that role. Though I have been persuaded to open up to the idea of Ian Somerhalder playing the part… that’s the consensus online anyway, that he would make a great Christian Grey.

    • says

      Yes! I knew it was fan fiction because waaaaay before it was sold as a book it was being discussed on a book blog as really popular fan fic. That’s when it was for free! I followed a link and couldn’t read more than a few pages. Every other word was Ugh! And she did a lot of hair flouncing and lip biting. Remember, this was before it was professionally edited, so you can only imagine how bad it was then!

  21. Phaedra says

    I just put North & South (BBC, not Swazye) on my hold list at the library. Thanks for recommending something that wasn’t on my radar. I wish I could contribute more fully to this list, but I think everything I’ve thought of has been mentioned already (and I’m making notes for myself for when the weather turns colder & I start staying inside puttering & watching shows).
    As for RP, I don’t find him attractive at all. I just don’t get it. BLAH. I can’t envision him as Christian Grey. I can’t picture him in anything I would want to watch, ever. (not having read the books more than 10 pages before thinking, ‘awful writing. must stop now. killing brain cells’ obviously I don’t have a strong vision in mind anyway, but he wouldn’t be it. just sayin’)

  22. Ari says

    Have you watched the new Sherlock Holmes series on Netflix? My husband and I really liked it. As far as sci-fi goes, I love sci-fi and have watched a lot of them. Have you ever seen Firefly? It was a tragically short run show (there’s 14 episodes total, but only 12 were shown on tv) that was so awesome they eventually made a movie called Serenity. There’s also Stargate (movie and show, though I like the show better) Richard Dean Anderson as the lead in the show and lots of episodes to watch.

    • LauraC says

      The new Sherlock series is AWESOME!!!! Loved watching it with my husband, and just sad the “seasons” are so short. But each episode is long, so that’s something . . . can’t wait for the next one.
      Also, we love science fiction and really had a good time working our way through all the Stargates (Atlantis was our fav.) Josh loves Firefly/Serenity, but I barely tolerated it. Fact: we have a niece named Serenity after the movie (ugh).

  23. says

    Any chance I can get I love watching Austin-esq period dramas! I’ll definitely have to look up the Knights Templar one though and see if I can get my husband to watch along with me :)

    I personally have never been into sci-fi much, but I loved the Firefly series. Its basically cowboys in space but has a much better plot line than it sounds. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon (he did the Buffy series and more recently the Avengers movie) but was canceled way before it had a chance to develop.

  24. Amy says

    I second the request for you to start watching Doctor Who – the new version. The actors are really phenominal. Because of the time travel, you get to see some of your period drama. There is a bit of romance, and just all around drama. Give yourself 5 episodes to get into it. The first feels really dumb, and then by 5 you’re ready to forgive any bad special effects (which do get better.) Not every episode is a winner, but the series is great. And there are episodes that are NOT Nico friendly. And some that aren’t ME friendly.

    I haven’t been able to get into the original series. But the 50th anniversary is this fall and I AM SUPER PSYCHED!

    Firefly is a good sci-fy for you and the Mister. Content is not appropriate for kids, but it’s got a western feel to it. Plus Nathan Fillion.

    X-Files I found to be pretty scary in high school, but watched it anyway. Maybe it’d be pretty lame to watch now, production values being what they were, but I wouldn’t let kids 9 and 6 watch it.

    The amount of Sci-fi and not period dramas I watch surprises me. Thanks for the Arn: The Knight Templar tip.

  25. Lisa in Seattle says

    I would second Lark Rise to Candleford if you want something more gentle. Pattinson was quite good as Cedric Diggory in HP & the Goblet of Fire, I think. Speaking of actors who expressed an interest in playing Christian Grey, I wonder if you would like the series Supernatural. The premise is two brothers* cruising the back roads of America, encountering monsters from folklore and urban legend and then ganking them (within a much more cosmological story arc). I would also recommend Firefly for something in the SF genre – great ensemble cast, zippy and snarky dialogue, interesting worldbuilding. I assume that your Mister has seen the movie Red? Because it is the quite literal embodiment of movies that “have things exploding and men leaping from vehicles in motion.” I impatiently await the sequel. Recently watched Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon and really liked it – I’m a sucker for Regency stuff. Sorry for the disjointed rambling – we caught a late showing of Pacific Rim last night and monsters kept me up. Coffee can only do so much.

    *Which actors are so gorgeous that I am surprised the Internetz hasn’t collapsed from the sheer volume of SPN-related fanfic generated over the years.

    • says

      We started Supernatural! That is some scary stuff! I need to look into this Firefly stuff. Already 3-4 people have recommended it!

      • Samma says

        Oh, swoon! Supernatural for sure! But I thought my husband would love it, and he’s meh. My favorite scene from TV right now is in an episode called Wishing Well. I won’t give it away, but it involves a despondent teddy bear.

      • Susan G says

        I was embarrassed to suggest Supernatural. :) I recently did the whole obsessed thing and watched all the seasons straight through. There are 8, I think, and 27 episodes each! It is scary sometimes – I always mute it and squint at the screen for the first few minutes until I know what the scary thing for that episode is. Those boys are cute!!

  26. says

    Robert Pattinson is too skinny and boy like to plat Christian Gray. I am thinking more Henry Cavil. Anywoo, The Tudors can get a tad bit dirty, but I liked the shows. I need to check out that ARN movie. I like descriptions like Hot. Freaking. Damn.

  27. says

    I haven’t watched North and South yet but I’ve meant to read the book for years! Must get on that. I’m currently on season 3 of Big Love and find the premise absolutely fascinating.

    A few years ago I watched Our Mutual Friend and fell head over heels for the story. It was lengthy (hello, BBC) but well worth it.

  28. LauraC says

    “Now, you tell me: who would you rather spend eternity with? Henry Cavill or Robert Pattinson? Exactly.”
    I can’t stop laughing (and 110% agreeing) to this sentiment!

  29. says

    I am shocked it took so long for Doctor Who to be suggested! I also really enjoyed Eureka (which ran on Sci Fi/Syfy for about 4-5 years?) and both are pretty family-friendly. I want to watch BSG, too. For old, campy sci-fi, I really enjoyed Logan’s Run. Reminds me of “Welcome to the Monkey House” by Kurt Vonnegut. Actually, if you’re interested in READING any sci-fi, his short stories from that the collection of the same name are pretty great. I also loved Cat’s Cradle, Slapstick, and Sirens of Titan. And Breakfast of Champions. And Hocus Pocus. OK, I just love Vonnegut.

  30. says

    My first glance of this of this post went something like, “scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll IS THAT CHARLIE HUNNAM?! scroll scroll.” I will officially be watching Arn: The Knight Templar, asap. If that’s not Charlie Hunnam, it’s his Swedish doppelganger, which is close enough for me.

    We haven’t subscribed to cable in well over a year, so I rely on Netflix and Hulu. My latest favorite is Call the Midwife, a period show about midwives in 1950s London. If you have TV, the second season is currently playing on PBS. I’m almost categorically in favor of any show on PBS.

    I’m getting ready to watch Dr. Who, because my sister-in-law asked me to knit her a TARDIS. It is shaping up to be roughly 2 feet tall and is… absurd.

    I started Heroes (sci-fi), but haven’t yet gotten too excited about it’s progress. I hear Sherlock is great. Tudors is excellent although I haven’t yet watched the latest season or so. If you love a romantic comedy, have you seen Pushing Daisies? I still consider it to be one of the greatest losses in recent TV. It’s quirky and intelligent and lovely and should have never been cancelled so soon.

    • says

      It’s his Swedish doppelganger, Steph! His name is Dag Joakim Tedson NΓ€tterqvist and if there is any doubt that he is a horse rider and son of famous equestrians, it disappears once you see him on film on that horse. I didn’t know that about him until I looked him up just now, but when we watched the movie I turned to my husband and said that he must have professional horse riding experience because I have never seen riding like that from an actor.

  31. Kara says

    Forsyte Saga is wonderful! My husband practically forced me to watch Band of Brothers and I was glad I did. I LOVED Damian Lewis as American war hero, Dick Winters. Soames Forsyte is equally intriguing. Thank you for this post!

  32. Khani says

    RICHARD ARMITAGE is right! He’s so lovely on the last season of The Vicar of Dibley (which is great fun to watch!)

    I also think Firefly (mentioned a few times above) is a good introduction to Sci-Fi. It’s not a high budget show but the character development on that show is out of this world (no pun intended.) Give it a shot. BSG is good as well, particularly the miniseries and first three episodes.

    It’s a long shot, but I’d encourage you to give the Bollywood movie Veer Zaara a try. It’s quite long (you can fast forward through the dance scenes) but the love story is just incredible. Shahrukh Khan, the male lead, is just fantastic. If you’ve never seen a Bollywood movie before you just have to go in with an open mind. πŸ˜‰

    How fun! Can’t wait to read through the other suggestions in the comments!

  33. Erin (@mrs_danderfluff) says

    We started The Tudors as soon as we got home from a trip to London, and we really enjoyed it, but WHOA is there a lot of nudity and pretty graphic bangin’, especially at the beginning of the series. The acting is excellent, though.

    We’ve also really gotten into Dr. Who. Be advised: the first season of the reboot, in which Christopher Eccleston plays the Doctor, is kinda meh. We were a little confused as to why it was such a big thing. But when David Tennant takes over, the show improves immeasurably. He is a delight. It’s still a very quirky show, though, so you’d have to appreciate pretty offbeat stuff to get into it.

    I loved Call the Midwife as well. Had to pace myself so I didn’t watch it all at once.

    I’ve been meaning to start Mr. Selfridge (also on PBS), but haven’t gotten to it yet. It’s about the American founder of Selfridge’s, the huge department store in London.

    I’m three episodes into Orange is the New Black, which is a new Netflix series that has garnered rave reviews. It’s about a 30-something WASP who gets sent to prison for a crime she committed in her early 20’s, and so far it’s pretty good, but it does take place in a prison, so there’s lots of language/obligatory shower scenes. I’ve always found intra-prison dynamics and social structures really interesting, which is probably weird, but there ya go. It’s also a true story–based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman.

    • Erin (@mrs_danderfluff) says

      Oh! And since it is a women’s prison, there’s a fair amount of, uh, girl-on-girl happenings, which are also fairly graphic.

    • says

      We plowed through Orange is the New Black this weekend. I LOVED it, but I’m also a huge fan of Weeds. The style, plot twists, and music felt very familiar, which is understandable since they’re both from Jenji Kohan. House of Cards is another exceptional Netflix original series. We’re probably half way through right now. Both Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are pretty… risque? It’s beyond senseless nudity… House of Cards is dark and conniving.
      Jules, have you seen The Newsroom? It’s on HBO, so you’d need to rent/buy/borrow the DVDs, but it’s so worth the time. It’s a phenomenal show.

  34. says

    North and South. I’ve never seen it! I didn’t even know it existed in a mini-series form! But those were my favorite books in high school….along with Gone with the Wind and Pride and Prejudice. I really liked The Tudors BUT it’s definitely a bit uhh…pornish at times? :) I mean, my husband was definitely drawn in by the sex and the violence. BUT the acting is good. And the storyline, well, it’s history. It’s amazing.

  35. Elin says

    Dang Canadian Netflix just mocks me by showing Unavailable: Arn: The Knight Templar.

    Do watch the Forsyte Saga. Damien Lewis is brilliantly awful as Soames Forsyte.

  36. Lily says

    Great suggestions here, starting with North and South …. definitely can’t go wrong with Mr. Richard Armitage! One of my absolute favourite time travel BBC series on Canadian Netflix is called Life on Mars – a modern day detective (John Simm – great actor!) goes back to 1970’s very politically incorrect Manchester – it’s two seasons long and has an intriguing story line, great characters, humour, and a very good soundtrack, although I’m not sure if all the original songs have made it to the Netflix version. There was also an American remake starring Harvey Keitel, but I think the original is better, or should be watched first at least. Highly recommended for you and your husband – not a kid show! I also just watched an older series called Lilies, set in Liverpool in the early 20th century, about a Catholic family consisting of a father and his four children, that I think you’d enjoy. Great atmosphere.
    I strongly recommend checking out your library’s DVD collection – that’s where I get most of my stuff these days, and if you remember to return things on time it’s free!

  37. Kat in Canada says

    I’m late to the party on this one, but…

    “Battlestar Galactica” (the 2000 version) is amazing. We binge-watched the first four(?) seasons- it’s hard to keep track, because it was cancelled and resurrected and cancelled and resurrected, so you end up with Season 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, etc., AND there were a couple of mini-series’ jammed in there as well. My husband got the flu part way through season 2, and had a fever so high he was hallucinating- he thought I was a cylon (funny now, not funny as he’s struggling to push me away for an unknown reason!). Relatedly, we moved into our current home a few weeks before the series ended, and on the day we took possession of the house, we hooked up the TV and cable, picked up takeout, and sat on pillows on the floor (couch hadn’t been moved yet!) to watch the newest episode. It’s not just “space aliens”- it’s an insightful commentary into politics and governance, the idea of “us” versus “the other”, and how things can change once you’re at war.

    “The Tudors” is quite good, but it’s Showtime. The history is chronologically correct (or, correct enough), but that does not take centre stage- the focus is definitely on all the wives. It’s been finished for a couple of years, so my recollection is hazy- there is DEFINITELY nudity, but I didn’t think it was overly gratuitous (and I am a prude). The only exception might be Catharine-Howard-on-a-swing, that was a little strange. The earlier seasons were better than the later ones- it’s hard to make someone as handsome as Jonathan Rhys Myers into a BELIEVABLE obese, aged man with a gangrenous leg.

    I have to disagree about “Hell On Wheels”- I think the female characters are as compelling as they can be, considering that in actual railroad towns, women were almost nonexistent. It wouldn’t be accurate to have some plucky female character mixing it up- even Lily Bell was pushing the envelope for what would be considered appropriate at the time. I think the basis of the story is “What do you do when you’ve lost everything? When do you start again? DO you start again? What happens when you hit the next roadblock? Can you reinvent yourself?”, and this plays out with several characters through the story. Additionally, it’s shot an hour away from the city where I live, so occasionally I’ll see Anson Mount or Common around and I’ll SQUEEEEEEEEE really hard (in my head, of course. I’m too old to go all Belieber on anyone). The set was really damaged in the floods we had in June, it will be interesting to see how they finish shooting the season.

    We also enjoy “Being Human”- both the British version and the American version. I’m not sure they’re kid-appropriate (it would depend on your kids, I guess)- there’s not a whole lot of nudity, but there is a supernatural aspect to things (vampires, ghosts and werewolves), and there is some violence. Again, I think it’s a really interesting commentary on humanity- what makes us human? What makes us NOT human? Are there places where the two can intersect?

    All this discussion makes me sad that Netflix sucks SO. HARD. up here. We don’t have NEARLY the selection of shows and movies that you do south of the border- I have yet to meet someone who thinks their Canadian Netflix subscription is worth it.

    • Val says

      OMG, we love all the same shows. I completely adored the BBC Being Human. You have amazing taste.

      I guess my thing with Hell on Wheels…I really loved Elizabeth at first and then felt really let down by her. In the very beginning, she was so awesome: running from the Indians, stabbing that guy in the neck, etc. And once she got back to some semblance of civilization, I totally understood that she had to operate within the restrictions of her time and place, but I was still frustrated with her. Where were all her pretty clothes coming from? And why didn’t she observe a period of mourning for her husband? And why was she shocked that his family was offended that she didn’t appear in mourning dress when she visited them? (I used to do costumes, so I get pretty hung up on these things — especially when it doesn’t seem to fit the character.) Only the first season is on Netflix, so perhaps I would have come back around to her if I had kept watching. I was really intrigued by the pastor’s daughter, but she came in pretty late in that season. Overall, I just couldn’t get plugged in, even though I did enjoy a few of the characters (male and female).

      And on the whole “shooting-near-my-home-town” thing, I live really close to Atlanta, so I did all that excited “squeee!!!” stuff over The Walking Dead.

      It probably goes without saying that I love Firefly HARD. I was just trying to avoid going down a sci-fi rabbit hole. Because I could go on all day. The good thing about that one is it isn’t a huge time investment, since it was (UNJUSTLY!!!) cancelled after only 13 episodes season and then they made a movie. (Unless you’re like me and you re-watch 30 times…)

      I loved Sherlock, but I’m a big ol’ Holmesian nerd — I don’t know if the show would be as appealing to someone who wasn’t familiar with the literature. Maybe, since my husband also loved it. Watching House of Cards now, running hot and cold on it. My favorite brainless quickie-show is Parks and Recreation. Hysterical.

      • Kat in Canada says

        Re: Lily in Hell On Wheels…she’s pragmatic. She has no place in England, and no place with her husband’s family, who wholly blame her for the demise of their son/brother. She has no money, no property, and no man to vouch for her. So when a railroad baron sets his sights on you, you make it work- it’s the only way to support yourself, outside of prostitution (not that this isn’t a close relative of prostitution, but there’s a difference between being a girl in the Cat-House and the girl in the custom railroad carriage). You wear the dresses he buys you (I presume they were shipped out from Chicago or New York), and you don’t remind him of the fact that you belonged to someone else beforehand, even if that means you don’t mourn your husband.

        I highly suggest you check out Season 2 when you can- the story really fleshes itself out. :-)

        • Phaedra says

          I agree about Hell On Wheels, Kat. At first I was like, hmmmm (but then again, Anson Mount helped me reconsider because..um…again… SCENERY) but I stuck with the entire thing and I’m looking forward Season 3.

  38. Samma says

    All the BBC talk in the comments; anyone else watching Orphan Black? I watched the first season and loved it. The lead actress is really good, and the relationship she has with her brother is very sweet.

  39. says


    “Hot. Freaking. Damn.”

    Now that has got to be one of the best and most intriguing reviews I’ve ever read. I’m totally looking into that one – squeeee! πŸ˜‰

  40. AManda A says

    Give Season 1 of Call the Midwives or Downton Abbey a try. <3 both of them. Took me a bit to get hooked on Abbey.

  41. says

    I’m now reading “Call the Midwife” after watching the first season (and requesting my library to get the second). I don’t think anyone has mentioned “Bleak House” – a great miniseries starring Gillian Anderson of X-files fame (mentioned above). There’ve been good films of “Great Expectations” as well. And I’m a big fan of “BSG”, watched all the seasons after hearing Edward James Olmos at Dragon*Con a few years ago. And there’s always “Game of Thrones” – we like the books better than the series (quite bloody) but that’s just us.
    And of course, not based on a book, but for eye candy there’s “Mad Men”

  42. Brandi says

    Umm..yeah. I’m a huge, HUGE fan of the Tudors (as someone who is also a huge fan of historical pieces, think Margaret George). I have to admit there’s a ridiculous amount of bare hiney, so be prepared and watch it after the children are safely asleep.

    I also liked “The Borgia”, which is available on Netflix (not the Showtime version, but the other one). It is pretty historically accurate (also full of naked hiney), but recounts a dark time during the papacy, so be prepared!

    Try those… I will definitely look over yours as well, since we have very similar tastes!

    • says

      If avoided watching a TV show whenever Catholicism to a hit, I’d never turn on the TV! πŸ˜‰

      I’m watching Tudors now. My husband loves it. I spend my time with my ipad in my hand googling furiously. I’m going to need to read a Henry VIII biography when I’m done. It’s so interesting!

      • Brandi says

        Yes!! I definitely suggest reading with it; this is usually what I do as well. I could also suggest a few other pieces, including one from the viewpoint of Henry’s wives- even describing what each feels about the other. It’s really great, and pretty historically accurate. I will post the name later.

        Borgia was really, really good….. :)

        Edited to add: Books…I can suggest more books to read along.

  43. Delia says

    I think I read through all the comments but never saw The Borgias mentioned. If so many recommend The Tudors then it’s a must see, set in late 1400s but like the Tudors is historical-fiction, in that some details are changed for tv. But after a while the plot is more gripping than historical fact (and that’s coming from a nit-picking archaeologist).

    For scifi, like the above say, Firefly is awesome. The Star Trek Next Generation is a great way to get into the genre, I’m perhaps a bit biased as I was raised on it but the morals and life lessons are nice. Also, I found that growing up knowing Trekkie references helped in social situations but perhaps that’s a bit random here.

    I didn’t know Arn was made with subtitles…my Swedish husband made me watch it all in Swedish knowing I’d love the story so I suffered through…might need to see the other version!

  44. says

    Man, you’re really making me wish that power surge hadn’t fried our Wii and prompted me to cancel our Netflix subscription.

    That’s disappointing about World Without End. The book was AMAZING – not as good as Pillars of the Earth, but good good good nonetheless.

  45. says

    This post sent me flying to my dvd shelf where I promptly grabbed North & South and Wives & Daughters and rewatched the endings (3 times each tonight, but probably 33 times since I’ve owned the dvds)! Not sure if anyone else mentioned this in the comments, but Anthony Howell (Roger in Wives & Daughters) plays a secondary main character in Foyle’s War. I know a couple of other people mentioned Foyle. I cannot recommend that series highly enough. I love anything set during WWII, but this series is extremely well done. I own every season on dvd and have watched each episode more than once. Oh, and not to be controversial, I do love P&P, but my favorite Austen adaptation of all time is the 2010 BBC production of Emma…although that may or may not have something to do with my “healthy” fixation on Jonny Lee Miller.

  46. Michellejeanne says

    Battlestar. Yup. Watching it for the second time again and so much nicer on Netflix without the long breaks between seasons. You just need to know that ‘that one scene’ in the beginning isn’t typical of the show AT ALL. You’ll know the one. My sister and a few other people I know refused to watch after the first 30 minutes because of the scene. It might even be 15 minutes in. The rest is awesome. I also happen to be a huge fan of P&P, all Star Treks, Firefly, Farscape, and other sci fi as well, so… take that as you will.

  47. tina says

    I am an anglophile and am always in the lookout for british miniseries to watch. I have two for you that I know you will love: Berkeley Square and Body & Soul. Pretty sure your husband isn’t going to like this one but it’s about three nannies during the Edwardian period in London. Body & Soul starred Kristen Scott Thomas as a nun trying to save her family’s business. Your husband might like this one as there is a bit of mystery involved and you’ll like it as there’s a love interest even though she’s a nun. My roommate and I stayed up all night watching this one. I haven’t seen it awhile and I might just put it on my list.

  48. says

    I’ve had north and south in my queue for a while and watched the whole thing finally last night because of reading your list! Oh. My. Word. Loved it! Can’t wait to watch the others on your list. :-)

    I also recommend robin hood and Merlin for you. What about Dr who for your sci-fi pick?

    Good luck and many thanks! Xoxo

  49. says

    Love North and South. I’ve watched it so many times. Also, thanks for the Arn recommendation. I’ve already watched the first 3. Really excellent!

    I really loved the show, Wonderfalls. So quirky and funny and well cast. You might want to check it out.

  50. says

    wow, you have some good options here, definitely definitely do The Forsythe Saga. Also have you tried the new Sherlock Holmes series? A great sci-fi series to try is Firefly (which runs for a few seasons and ends with the movie Serenity — so so good)

  51. Devon says

    I read Wives and Daughters earlier this year and man, did that ending disappoint me! It was part of an anthology I was reading on my Nook, and I went to turn the page and it was the first page of the next novel. I seriously thought there was some kind of error, but no. The book just ended. Just like that. Sorry, I had to vent and you seem to be the only person who could understand.

    Right there with you on RP. I just finished reading Water for Elephants and I heard he plays the male lead so I will never EVER watch that movie.

    As for a recommendation: check out Heartbreaker. It’s French, but it’s not weird, depressing, indie French. My husband, who might just be the world’s toughest critic when it comes to movies, LOVED it. Can’t really recommend that one enough!

  52. Michelle says

    Hi, I recommend Battlestar Galactica. It’s an amazing story. It starts with a mini-series, so you can just rent that and then go from there. Also, there are no aliens so that makes it good for someone who isn’t a big sci fi fan. The basic premise of the show is that humans created robots (called Cylons), and the robots destroy the human’s home planet and most of the population. The survivors escape on a fleet of space ships and are trying to flee from the Cylons and find a new home planet. There are a lot of twists and turns, really great characters and romances. I highly recommend it!

  53. Beverly says

    Another thanks to you for the great recommendation of North & South. My library had it and I watched it yesterday. I used to watch RICHARD ARMITAGE in Robin Hood…swoon. I absolutely loved North & South. :)

  54. deanna says

    I’m really enjoying Broadchurch. It’s a current mystery series on BBC America – but it’s already done in the UK so hopefully available on Netflix.

  55. Vicki says

    I didn’t read through all of the comments. Did anyone mention The Grand? I streamed all 18 episodes on Netflix. It is terrific!

  56. says

    Love, love, love this post and this topic. I am going to watch all of them! In terms of recoemdations, I vote for the Tudors, it was amazing. Also, if you haven’t seen Downton Anney you would probably enjoy.

  57. Robin says

    Doc Martin isn’t a period series, but it is definitely worth watching. The quirky characters and dry humor are very good reasons to watch this English series. Netflix has five seasons and two prequels. The prequels weren’t nearly as good as the series, in my opinion.

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