I am not here to bash Jane Austen, y’all. You know this. But since each of her six major novels have gotten at least two film or TV adaptions (and some maaaaany more than that), I thought I would take the time today to look at some different period dramas. Enjoy!
Little Dorrit (2008)
Little Dorrit is a beautiful (and beautifully bleak) look at humanity, loss, and love. Long before I knew Andy Serkis as Gollum, I was chilled by his portrayal of the dastardly villain Rigaud. While Serkis is certainly a stand-out, the whole cast does a great job. Matthew Macfadyen’s Arthur Clennam is one of my favorite fictional heroes of all time, and Amy (the titular ‘Little Dorrit’) is an inspiration. John Lunn (Downton Abbey) composed a breathtaking soundtrack–one of my favorite aspects of the series!
The Young Victoria (2009)
ALL HAIL THE QUEEN.
And no, I’m not talking about Queen Victoria. 😉
Emily Blunt KILLS IT in this film. Besides her stellar performance, The Young Victoria boasts a great supporting cast, a lovely soundtrack, incredible costumes, a heartwarming (and sometimes tearjerking) romance, and zippy, fast-paced, smart writing from the man behind Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes.
Bleak House (2005)
Just finished watching this miniseries the other day, and while it doesn’t quite match the brilliance of Little Dorrit, Bleak House is still an excellent Dickens adaption. Many of the characters are lovable: Sergeant George, Ada, even Mr. Guppy (eventually). John Lunn also composed the soundtrack for this miniseries, and I wish it had been released to the public. 😦 Bleak House and Little Dorrit are two series that I’m pretty much always up for rewatching. If you only watch a couple titles on this list, pick those two!
Little Women (1994)
Yes, I know people are still gushing over the 2019 adaption of Little Women. And I did like it. But the 1994 adaption will always be my favorite, my happy place. From the moment I hear those first few notes, I’m swept away. Cozy, lovely vibes!
Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
It’s been a while since I last saw Nicholas Nickleby, but it’s a great period drama. Not having read the book, I can’t tell how much has been changed or left out (I’m assuming quite a bit, since this is a film and not a miniseries). But what there is, is really good. I love the cast especially.
North & South (2004)
Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton?
I adore this miniseries. The music! The atmosphere! The cast! Margaret does annoy me a lot of the time (I think it’s partly the actress, and partly the character herself), but overall nothing can really get in the way of my deep and abiding love for North & South. Again I say…MR. THORNTON.
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
Anthony Andrews is Sir Percy.
His fake persona really annoys me, actually. (Do I feel a kinship with Chauvelin over that? Maybe.) But when he drops the act to rescue people or have a real conversation with Marguerite? I’m a goner. (The whole “Trouble, m’dear?” scene is TOO MUCH.) Jane Seymour makes a lovely Marguerite. Ian McKellen is, as always, pitch-perfect. And the soundtrack is glorious. So much fun!
Did you spot any favorite period dramas on this list? Which ones would you add? Let me know in the comments!