1800s, 19th Century, African American, Author, Based on a True Story, Biography, Cinema, Civil War, Crime, Criminal, Downton Abbey, Drama, Edwardian, Egypt, Literature, Mini-Series, Movies, Novel, Television, Thriller, True Crime, Victorian, Western
So good news! And . . . erm . . . “kinda sorta not-really” good news. I have more updates on 19th century era films coming to the big and small screen. There are quite a few slated for 2017. There are many more lingering “in development.” I would prefer to present a list of the upcoming debuts for the first half of the year, but it is simply not meant to be. Since these television and movie posts are fewer and further between than anticipated (due to the dearth of accurate release dates and information), I am including movies and shows I missed on the last list. Some of these former presentations can be found on Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. However, I always recommend asking your local librarian via a purchase request for the collection. The acquisitions librarian may not always fulfill the request depending on collection development criteria, but honestly, who does not love a costumed drama?!
Organized by their release date, unless otherwise noted, here are the top eight.
I could have sworn I covered this particular show . . . No one gets tired of Civil War dramas here in the United States. McKinley Belcher III (Show Me a Hero) headlines the new series. Emily Marie Palmer (American Horror Story) and Tara Summers (Ringer) share the screen. “Based on real events, Mercy Street takes viewers beyond the battlefield and into the lives of a distinctive cast of characters – doctors, nurses, contraband laborers and Southern loyalists – realizing the chaotic world of Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia, and the Mansion House Hospital in the early years of the Civil War. Follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposing sides of the Civil War – New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate supporter Emma Green. ” At the beginning of the year, this television show debuted on PBS. It has done so well, it has been picked up for a second season!
Anne of Green Gables
Raise your hand if you knew there was remake of Anne of Green Gables? Oh good, then it is not just me! “A retelling of L.M. Montgomery’s story of Anne Shirley, an orphan who is accidentally sent to a couple looking to adopt a boy instead.” The family drama, filmed entirely in Canada showcases Martin Sheen (He is Charlie and Emilio’s father, in case you are not familiar with Hollywood dynasties. His recently popular roles included The Departed and The West Wing.) Sara Botsford (from The Lizzie Borden Chronicles) co-stars, while Ella Ballentine plays the titular role of Anne, although last seen in The Captive. This made for television movie graced screens back in February. Viewers say it is worth watching, I would be curious to see how it holds up to the classic 1985 series with Megan Fellows.
Houdini and Doyle
Back in March the mini-series Houdini and Doyle showed up on Fox TV. How rare, and more still that I missed it! This highly rated production stars Michel Weston as the escape-happy Harry Houdini (State of Play and Dukes of Hazzard), Stephen Mangan (Birthday Girl and Rush) plays the father of modern mystery novels, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Rebecca Lilliard. Technically, this is not a 19th century crime film, but it has its roots there, so I will allow it. “At the turn of the 20th century the Metropolitan Police were overwhelmed with bizarre cases so they turned to outsiders including Houdini and Doyle, who collaborated with New Scotland Yard on some unsolved and inexplicable crimes.”
We all know the story about the discovery of King Tut’s Tomb and the curse that followed.–Or do we?? Kind Tut has ties with Downton Abbey/Highclaire Castle and the early 20th century. It is far too juicy to leave off the list for a little thing like the Edwardian era. “The remarkable story of the chance meeting that transformed penniless, ostracized archaeologist Howard Carter into a household name following his discovery of the tomb of the boy-king, Tutankhamun.”This mini-series debuted on October 16th and can see be viewed via streaming. Max Irons (Jeremy Irons’ son, in case you did not make the immediate connection. Previously starred in The Riot Club and The Woman in Gold) stars as the handsome Howard Carter. Jonathan Aris (from the hilarious film The World’s End and blockbuster hit, The Martian) and Sam Neill as Lord Carnarvon (he previous starred in Jurassic Park and Event Horizon)–Highclaire Castle tie in! This series also received high marks.
When the Storm Gods Rides
If you are looking for a good Western, I may have just the ticket for you. Martin Kove (made famous from The Karate Kid and Rambo! You will know him, when you see him, I promise.) Raoul Max Trujillo (famous character actor with over 95 credits under his belt–you will also know him when you see him), and Tyler Man (X-Men, Troy, and Halloween) fill out the cast for this film. “Follows one man’s quest for revenge in a time when the rule of law was often overshadowed by the rule of lawlessness. James Walker’s past comes looking for him one night, but they find his wife and daughter instead, now they will pay for what they did and they payment will be in blood.” Supposedly came out on October 27th, other press says it has not even been filmed yet. (?!) It appears to be a first in a trilogy, but do not quote me on that. My sources are sketchy on the topic.
Downton Abbey fans rejoice as our our sweet Anna takes a deliciously dark turn! Joanne Froggat (who formerly played Anna Bates) headlines in this a true life drama. The mini-series is “a two-part drama about the Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton.” Mary Ann, was a wife, a mother, and evidently a murderer. In fact she has the unfortunate distinction to be considered “Britain’s first female serial-killers. Alun Armstrong (Brave Heart and The Mummy Returns) and newbie Isla McMonigle co-star. Brought to you by ITV. The ratings say it is worth the watch, like we need any prodding when it comes to any film starring Joanne Froggat, am I right? Naturally, this thriller debuted on October 31st.
19th century literary fanatics this is for you! A criminal mini-series from BBC. It features relatively unknown cast; Joshua Silver, Terenia Edwards, Nisa Cole. Viewers on the fence for the ratings. It could easily be one of those shows where you either love or hate it, very little grey area. “A fresh adaptation of English literature’s first great detective novel (by Wilkie Collins, that is pre-Doyle for you). When Franklin Blake returns to England, he is forced to face the ghosts he fled a year ago when the Moonstone, a priceless Indian diamond, was stolen. Rachel Verinder, Franklin’s beautiful young cousin, inherited the stone from her uncle on her 18th birthday. It was always said that the stone carried a curse, and the morning after her birthday party, it was missing. In the aftermath of the theft, Rachel cut off all ties with Franklin – the man she had loved. A year later and Franklin is determined to heal the rift between them. But Rachel has one condition – she won’t see him until he can tell her exactly what happened to the diamond that night. Only then can Franklin win back the love of his life. ” It came out on Halloween 2016
This drama about Te Ata comes highly rated, and honestly I would expect nothing less when Q’orianka Kilcher leads. You may remember her from The New World or Princess Kaiulani. Gil Birmingham (who played the lovable Billy Black in the Twilight Series and more recently Hell or High Water) along with Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves, The Green Mile, Maverick) also star. Both are wonderful, wonderful actors. I adore films based on true stories as much as I enjoy literature adaptations! Granted this film is more 1920s than 1820s, but seems worth the overstep. “Te Ata (TAY’ AH-TAH) is based on the inspiring, true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a woman who traversed cultural barriers to become one of the greatest Native American performers of all time. Born in Indian Territory, and raised on the songs and stories of her Chickasaw tribe, Te Ata’s journey to find her true calling led her through isolation, discovery, love and a stage career that culminated in performances for a United States president, European royalty and audiences across the world. Yet of all the stories she shared, none are more inspiring than her own.” Premiered last month. Fun Fact: The entire movie was filmed in Oklahoma.
This independent television movie supposedly came out some time this year, although I am unable to find photographs or pictorial advertisements for it. Stars Chloe Sevigny and Leven Rambin, who played Glimmer in the Hunger Games, as well as Ted Levine (last notabley seen as Lou Douva in Bleed for This.) “Del Canyon reluctantly returns to his small hometown to run his family’s apothecary, the only source for medical attention for hundreds of miles. The series will follow his emergence as the town healer while he grapples between his desire to distance himself from a painful past and his inability to turn his back on a community struggling to find its place in contemporary America.”–This may not actually be a historical piece! So if I got this incorrect, I apologize ahead of time.