An Ode to the Ovation Network


I understand that a lot of kids today don’t actually have “television” — meaning, they don’t have cable, they don’t use a TV antenna, they don’t watch anything broadcast by a TV network at any scheduled time. I’ve heard that they’re all streaming movies from Netflix, catching up with programs on Hulu, watching stuff via Roku, and subscribing to YouTube channels.

But I’m old school, and I still haven’t cut the TV cord. While I enjoy Netflix, my deep and meaningful relationship with my TiVo DVR helps me find all kinds of stuff via the billion cable channels (basic and premium) that we pay for in my household. Thus, a few years ago, I was pleased to discover the Ovation Network on basic cable.  Relaunched in 2007, this channel states its mission as ‘to inspire the world through all forms of art and artistic expression.’

The programming on Ovation harkens backs to the old days of the A&E Network when that actually stood for “Arts and Entertainment.” Let’s not forget that the network that co-produced the Pride and Prejudice introducing Colin Firth to the world has now devolved into Duck Dynasty. So it’s been nice to see a new arts-focused channel in the cable lineup.

Ovation has a few original shows about arts this and that, but of interest to Frock Flicks are the historical costume TV series it has in the schedule. This channel has been the main U.S. distributor for A Young Doctor’s Notebook, set in the 1910s and starring Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe; as well as The Artful Detective (originally titled Murdoch Mysteries in Canada, where the series originates), a murder-mystery show set in the 1890s.

Period costume movies are also in heavy rotation at Ovation. Throughout any given month, I might find Persuasion (2007), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Jane Eyre (2006), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), or even that perfect Pride and Prejudice (1995). OK, the channel might be also playing A Knight’s Tale (2001) a few times in the same month.

But when so many historical costume movies and TV series over five years old aren’t available for streaming (or aren’t on the service I have or worst of all, are only available on DVD), I’m happy to find a few of these anywhere. Ovation is helping keep the shows and movies in the public eye, even if less than half of American homes have access to the network right now. Hopefully, this channel will stick around for a while and won’t turn into yet another pit of reality train-wreck despair.

Where do you get your historical costume movie fix on TV? Do you have cable, streaming, or something else?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

4 Responses

  1. Michael L. McQuown

    I got the satellite. What I don’t got itsanything on PPV. So I don’t see GoT or any other new stuff until it goes to the regular cable sources. I refuse to pay to watch TV I’m already paying to watch. But yes, Ovation is certainly on my top list.

  2. Adrienne

    Except Ovation edits and cuts shows to make room for commercials. They show the ’95 P&P in one hour time slots and cut 10-15 minutes out of each episode. And when they show musicals they cut the musical numbers down too. I remember trying to watch ‘White Christmas’ a couple years ago and all the songs were missing.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Well yes it IS a commercial network, hence commercials. That doesn’t negate the fact that this is one of the few places people can find historical costume movies & TV shows on basic cable. Otherwise, you have to pay for streaming w/Netflix or Amazon, buy DVDs, or what? Illegal bit torrents?

      How are you watching these movies & shows? What non-premium channels show them in full w/out commercials? We’d love to hear!

  3. Lily Lotus Rose

    I found the Ovation channel just a few weeks before the date that I had scheduled to cut the cord. I was devastated because this is exactly my kind of channel. Like Trystan I thought, “This is like what A & E used to be.” I really miss cable TV, but I just couldn’t justify its skyrocketing expense. Trystan’s original post is several years old now, and I cut the cord around the time of her post. I truly hope that Ovation is still a “good” channel that hasn’t devolved into reality-TV foolishness. I watch my Frock Flicks on Netflix and by checking out DVDs through my library. I have recently subscribed to other services through my library–Kanopy and Hoopla, but I have yet to watch any Frock Flicks on them.