Frock Flicks has a general policy of not reviewing fantasy shows, but every so often fantasy crosses streams with historical and it’s hard to avoid getting sucked into these flicks. A good example of this is Outlander, which we think of as more of a historical show with a fantasy element (magical time travel) than an outright fantasy show. The harder to categorize shows like Penny Dreadful and Westworld are still worth mentioning, because the costuming is usually juuuuust enough historical content to qualify for this blog’s purposes, despite the overwhelming fantasy or science-fictional elements. So today we’re going to look at some of the current crop of historical-ish fantasy shows available on various streaming services for your quarantine bingeing.
Cursed (2020-) on Netflix
A twist on the classic King Arthur myth, centered on female protagonist Nimue and the curse that binds her to Arthur’s destiny. I’ve only watched the first episode of this, but it’s an interesting retelling of the same old retread concerning Arthur’s rise to power so worth continuing just to see how it plays out.
The Witcher (2019-) on Netflix
Toss a coin to your witcher, people, if for no other reason than Henry Cavill, doing his best Elric of Melnibone impression (now with 98% more hotness), is cast as the namesake character in this spin-off of the wildly popular video game series of the same name. Again, it’s placed in a quasi-medieval alternate universe with magic and stuff, so there’s a lot of fun interpretations on medieval clothing to enjoy.
Umbrella Academy (2019-) on Netflix
If you haven’t watched season one of the show dedicated to exploring the emotional wreckage left over when seven “gifted” children grow up into incredibly dysfunctional adults with super-powers, I highly recommend doing so before diving into season two. The historical influence is much less in first season than it is in the second, but it lays the foundation for the sinuous plot that travels through time and space, dragging the Hargreeves siblings with it. The second season takes place in the 1960s with some particularly fabulous mid-century couture sported by the enigmatic character known only as The Handler (played by the awesome Kate Walsh). Her campy, over-the-top couture is one of the most interesting aspects of this season, which makes it all the more fun to watch.
Carnival Row (2019-) on Amazon
Set in the Edwardian era, the show deals with an unexpected twist on the classic immigrant story: the immigrants in this case are Fae and other fantastical creatures, refugees who have been driven out of their world and into the human realm by war in their homeland. The plot focuses on the struggles of the marginalized Fae-folk as they try to adapt to the unforgiving world of mankind. Bonus: It stars Orlando Bloom as the human inspector who finds himself an ally to the Fae community. The costumes for both Fae and human characters look fabulous too.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (2020) on Showtime
Heck, I can’t leave this one out, considering it’s one of the most successful historical-fantasy-horror shows currently available. Trystan has already reviewed it, so you can read more about the dark-gothic-meets-1930s-noir aesthetic costumes on her post.
Are you currently binge-watching any historical/fantasy shows? Tell us all about it in the comments!