Here at Frock Flicks HQ, we spend a lot of time working through our backlogs on Netflix, Amazon Prime, TiVo (especially Turner Movie Classics), and some, ehem, other sources where we watch historical costume movies and TV shows. We’ll even go out to a theater to see a movie some days. Alas, not every flick set in the past is worth our time (though check our our archives of reviews by using the search box!).
We gotta tell ya: There are a lot of crappy historical costume movies and TV shows out there! Not everything’s bad enough for Snark Week — some is just weak tea. These are boring movies, the dull shows, the ones with mediocre costumes and stories that can’t even rise up to the level of camp entertainment. Or the ones that are mildly entertaining, maybe have ‘good-enough’ costuming, or are moderately snark-worthy, but we can’t be arsed to work up a sweat about it.
Thus, here’s a continuing series with our one-line reviews of things we’ve tried to watch but just don’t care enough about to write a whole blog post or podcast. Your mileage may vary!
Call the Midwife (2012-)
Yes, it has great female-centered stories so you think it’d be perfect Frock Flicks material. But the fashions of lower-class 1950s London (plus lots of nun’s habits and nurse uniforms) bore me to tears. I’m out. — Trystan
I made it through half an episode? I’m a heathen! — Kendra
Still haven’t bothered, because meh. — Sarah
Despite the Amazon Prime description, this movie is just woo-woo New Age schlock with no real attempt at medieval costuming and not a ‘feminist retelling of the King Arthur legend.’ Skip. — Trystan
Where’s MST3K when you need them? — Sarah
Surprisingly not as culturally insensitive as it could be, but also a totally boring story of Christian missionaries (featuring Julie Andrews) colonizing the islands while wearing polyester. Me and Turner Movie Classics get weird sometimes. — Trystan
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
A huge percentage of my friend group LOVES this movie, and so I was expecting something amazing. It didn’t live up to any of the hype. I have a whole bunch of notes typed up for an article about this flick, but I got halfway through and just gave up because meh. I am told that I need to watch the director’s cut, but that still doesn’t fix the fact that the costumes are really not that interesting. — Sarah
Masters of Sex (2013-)
I actually watched at least the whole first season of this show in an attempt to find a Mad Men replacement. It’s no comparison, but it’s decently well made and acted, and the mid-century costumes are well done. I will say that it’s surprisingly non-erotic to watch people have sex in a clinical setting! — Kendra
Was def. expecting more sex. :( — Sarah
Mrs. Brown (1997)
Judi Dench is fabulous as always, don’t get me wrong. And Billy Connolly is fine as Queen Victoria’s highlander pal. It’s just not much of a costume film per se, given that most everything is plain black mourning garb. Worth a watch, just not a write-up. — Trystan
I saw this when it first came out and remembered liking it, but not loving it. Haven’t managed to get around to re-watching, which probably tells you something. — Sarah
Saints & Strangers (2015)
I made it about 15 minutes into this National Geographic Channel TV miniseries about the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in 17th-century America. All I know is that everyone’s costumes seemed to be dyed with mud (brown brown and more brown), and there were a lot of depressed-looking people yelling at each other in the hold of a ship. YAWN. — Kendra
Lordy, where do I start? This taps into my goth vibe like whoa, because I would TOTALLY wear anything the lead witch, Janet Montgomery, wears, and just to go grocery shopping. But I’m annoyed because these costumes, while gorgeously elaborate, are a mishmash of historical eras and don’t fit a 17th-century Massachusetts colony at all. The story wavers between serious horror and campy soap opera and just can’t commit. Also, the main male character / love interest is super annoying. — Trystan
Parade’s End (2012)
I actively disliked watching this story of the breakup of a couple who never should have gotten married — he’s a WWI soldier, she’s a cold-hearted bitch — and the young suffragette that he’s in love with. It was relentlessly depressing. I have no memory of liking the costumes, but now every time I see a still image I go “oooo” — what gives? Side note: why does a young woman wear a bobbed hairstyle during World War I? — Kendra
Do you love one of these movies or TV shows? What other stuff should we remove from our queue? Have you searched our site recently to see if we’ve already reviewed your faves?