• Gracie Carmichael

6 Period Dramas to Add to Your Summer Watchlist

Have you heard? Saturday marked the first day of Summer! It's been an odd year, and each season it's brought us has thus far looked quite a bit different from the 'days of old'er, really any other year. Hopefully this summer will bring you tidings of sun-warm air, rose-scented winds, and your favorite evening period-dramas to watch with blackberry pie and the people you love.

"But...what summer period dramas should I be watching?" I hear you ask. Fret and fidget no more, because I've assembled here a list of 6 outstanding summer period dramas to float your fancy this season.


1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

Lily James stars in this Netflix adaptation of the beloved novel. London,1946in the aftermath of WW2, writer Juliet Ashton is looking to write her next big project. She begins to exchange letters with Dawsey Adams of the Island of Guernsey, who reveals to her the charm and eccentric book-loving people of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Juliet visits Guernsey to meet Dawsey and his book club to research for her upcoming novel, but what she gets in return is quite a lot more than she bargained for. This heart-touching film is full of old-fashioned romance, gorgeous costume design, breathtaking cinematography, and a love story you won't forget in a hurry.


2. Poldark (2015-2019)

Poldark is a class ahead of every period drama series that's been made in the last fifteen years, without a doubt. Based upon Winston Graham's 12-book saga, the series follows Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner of The Hobbit fame) and his wife Demelza through five seasons of late-18th Century romance and compelling drama. Windswept by the gorgeous sea-scapes of Cornwall, costumed to period-drama perfection, and written with vivacity, detail and depth, Poldark is one not to be missed. The thing with this series is: it's gripping. So gripping, you'll think of nothing else for a while. When you've finished watching the series, I recommend you drown out your sorrows with the book saga, which is equally fabulous.


3. Roman Holiday (1953)

Ok, it might not count as a "period drama" since it was made at the time in which the story takes place, but let's face itRoman Holiday is a classic. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck star in this heart-touching, single-day love story shot entirely in Rome. When teenage Princess Anne (Hepburn) longs to escape from her royal duties while on a visit to Italy, she runs away and bumps into American news reporter, Joe Bradley (Peck). The two spend a day together roaming the streets and savvy-spots of summer in Rome, but what began as a trick-newspaper interview ends as an unforgettable story of two people forced to choose between their destined paths and the chance for freedom and romance.


4. Miss Potter (2006)

Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor star in this early 20th-Century bio-pic following the life of Beatrix Potter, author of the beloved Peter Rabbit and several other stories. From oppressed childhood to an adulthood marked by Potter's different ideas and independent dreams as a writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist, she escapes through her art: creating the watercolor paintings and children's stories for which she is renowned today. Miss Potter is a delightful, touching film that covers real-life events from the author's life, from the joys and heartbreak of life, love, and death, and the turning-points that shaped the life of one of the most influential storytellers of her time.


5. Anne of Green Gables (1985)

L.M. Montgomery's classic book, Anne of Green Gables, is the basis for this beloved 19th Century period drama. The story follows orphaned Anne Shirley upon her arrival to Green Gables where Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert take her in, expecting a farm-boy and finding instead the scrawny, red-haired, dreaming girl. Anne's unforgettable, heart-warming story reminds readers young and old why Montgomery's classic has been beloved for more than a century. Filmed on Prince Edward Island in Canada, beautifully costumed, and surrounded by sumptuous Canadian landscapes, Anne is a feast for the heart as well as the eyes. Megan Follows stars as the titular character and proves that nobody has yet bettered her performance for the greatly-adored Anne Shirley.


6. The Sound of Music (1965)

Last, but certainly not least: The Sound of Music is one of those movies you have to see at least once in your lifetime—and when you do see it, you'll be guaranteed to watch it tens of times more. In the "last golden days" of the 1930s, Maria (Julie Andrews) is sent to be a governess for the widowed-Captain Von Trapp's seven children. The consequent love story that follows is imbued with beautifully-written songs and score, a perfect cast, and a heart-warming tale of a family who grows back together through music and love in the curtain of Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria. The Sound of Music is a treat for viewers of every age, and one I don't think any summer watchlist could be complete without.


Are any of these period dramas on your summer watchlist? Do leave a comment below to share what you've been watching, or any additions you'd make to this list!

Want more of Austens & Alcotts? Sign up for my monthly newsletter to be the first to hear about the latest and greatest period drama recommendations, book reviews, Austen-esque recipes, and more!

Until next time,