Frock Flicks Free-for-All May


You asked for it, so here’s an occasional open thread to bitch about anything tangentially related to history, costume, movies, or TV shows! Or whatever else is on your mind right now. Note that URLs are automatically held for moderation, but most anything else goes as long as you’re not bitchier than we are!

Another month in quarantine! How are you holding up? We’re trying to plow through our video queues while sheltering-in-place but it’s tough going.

Don't stand so close to me


What’s on your pandemic watch-list? What should we check out next?


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Three historical costumers who decided the world needed a podcast and blog dedicated to historical costume movies and everything right and wrong with them.

28 Responses

  1. Constance

    I got nothing except Belgravia, which I plan to watch starting on 5/18 when all eps should be posted on Epix. Looks like Britbox will show it as of 5/20 too. Right now watching non-historical Deadwater Fell on Acorn TV, which is good for a non- costume drama. But I do not even notice the clothing…

  2. Shashwat

    I know somebody hates doing those,but when are we getting the Duchess deep dives and posts on hairstyles of the decades influencing its depiction in period dramas?
    Now that the third installment of Mantel’s trilogy is out,I would like a throwback on PBS Wolf Hall.There is a podcast and three other posts about it,but I would have preferred a more detailed episode wise breakdown.I felt conflicted about Anne’s potrayal in it though.Not a very likeable person,but neither a wicked,manipulative seductress.Claire’s acting was really superb,a really beautiful performance as Anne neared her downfall.Acting wise I prefer her to Dormer,though Dormer had a more rounded portrayal of Anne.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Hmm, I might be interested in doing one or more in-depth posts on Wolf Hall. I felt like we did so much on it when the series came out but it’s been a while, & I adore it so! There’s probably more to say & look at.

    • Kendra

      I’m your Duchess and Hairstyles girl… and UGH, both are such good series and SO MUCH WORK. I promise to put something on the calendar for each within the next month, but I will be suffering so please think of me!

  3. broughps

    Not liking the new costumer on Outlander. Princess seams and the costumes seem to be ill fitting a great deal of the time this season for starters. I want Terry back.

    • Kendra

      I’m SO UNDERWHELMED by Brianna’s wedding outfit — that’s the only thing I’ve seen!

      • Abby

        The whole season has been problematic- but the thing that made me really yell at the screen was when they were dyeing cloth with indigo two episodes ago and the dye bath was a deep, brilliant blue. Indigo only dissolves in urine, the dye bath is a sickly yellow green color and then the fabric turns blue when it hits the air and begins oxidizing. I love that moment because it always feels like magic and it would have made a great scene.

  4. LadySlippers

    Not costume related but a HUGE pet peeve of mine is putting (potentially) popular shows in never before heard of channels that I have to pay for.

    Belgravia, due to its Downton Abby connection, is going to be something many of us would want to see. But they put it on EPIX in the States. Why?!? And that is but one example that frustrates the living daylights outa me.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Agreed! It’s part of the overall fracturing of media — everything is a separate channel & separate price, so the consumer is nickeled & dimed to death. It’s the opposite of cable bundling a ton of channels together at one price, which ppl claimed to have hated. I keep track of the prices & it’s a fact that the unbundled separate channels are more expensive if you get more than a few of them (& for Frock Flicks, we end up getting most, tho’ we don’t always keep them very long; like we got Epix just long enough for Kendra to write a review of Belgravia!).

    • Donna Scarfe

      I believe it will be on PBS but later this summer. You can check on Willow and Thatch website or on

  5. Mizdema

    A discovery of witches season 2
    Matthew Goode! I can’t wait.
    (Elisabethan era by the way)

  6. Constance

    I am sorry…Belgravia only on Britbox in UK…my mistake! But Epix has a free trial, all eps should be up 5/18 and it works on Firestick, smart tv etc…I am looking forward to this to much, probably…but love 18&19th century especially.

  7. Charity

    Watching Belgravia and… overall, am getting sucked into it, but I feel like Alice Eve shouldn’t be in it (to me, she always looks modern and I find her acting wooden) and I wish ITV had sprung for a different composer. It sounds like Downton Abbey 2.0 and it’s triggering me to think of the other series, when I should be simply engrossed in this one. Harriet Walter’s character is a bit scheming with a smile, so overall so far I’m pleased with it.

  8. Lady Hermina de Pagan

    Right now I’m binging Alias Grace, just finished Waco and Surviving R. Kelly. It seems I’m in a true crime groove at the moment.
    I am hoping to find more frock flicks but I’m getting annoyed that not one of the 3 services I have carries any of the older films.

    • Kitty

      Alias Grace is just wonderful! I’m not a huge Margaret Atwood fan but loved the book and the series captures the same haunted quality.

      • Lady Hermina De Pagan

        I’ve only read the Handmaids tale and Testiments. To quote my partner, her writing is evocative of stereo instructions. However, the series is hauntingly beautiful. You never really find out if she was a participant, a victim or combination of the two.

  9. Mary

    Kingdom, a zombie series set in 16th century Korea, now on Netflix. With some seriously cool hats.
    There are a few female characters, a queen and a doctor. The queen seems to follow the ‘scheming behind the scenes’ trope and the doctor seems to follow the ‘lady something’ trope, but it’s still very cool to see the interiors and exteriors and costumes.

  10. Kevin

    Hey! I love your website.

    I’ve recently discovered a French/Polish production from 1972 called Blanche. It’s about a fragile and very beautiful noblewoman in medieval france who comes the object of desire for many men, including the king and his page during a visit to her secluded castle. It’s apparently very well praised for it’s depiction of the time period! And was released on Blu Ray in recent years. I’m going to check it out, I found the cover of the Arrow Academy Blu Ray edition enticing enough to make me want to see it (The main character peeking through dangling jewels). Thought maybe you’d wanna hear about something a little different.

    Can’t wait to read more of your articles, your website has become a go-to for me! Take care!

  11. Katie

    My french tutor recommended Bonfire of Destiny/ Le Bazar de la Charité to practice my listening because she knew I liked historic costuming and eh. I made it 2 or 3 episodes to say I watched it but it is soapy, the architecture is beautiful, and the costume range from plausible to um… I don’t buy that (the promo title card is ridiculous as the Snark Week post pointed out but I didn’t see the actual red dress in the show). There are two men in it who are total trash and I don’t need that in my life right now.

  12. Lily Lotus Rose

    There’s only one costume drama in my pandemic watchlist–Grantchester; I’m up to season 3 right now. The rest are The Wine Show; Agatha Raisin; Dracula TV show with Johnathan Rhys Meyers (why am I doing this to myself?); Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On YouTube broadcasts; and clips of performances and other content from the Kennedy Center’s digital archives. It seems like every hour I hear of more organizations that are streaming some of their content for free. I just learned that the National Theatre in London has been streaming one play a week. This week is Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller. Next week is Anthony and Cleopatra starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okenedo. I plan to watch both of those. So, my pandemic watchlist is leaning more toward recordings of live performances rather than costume dramas.

    My snarky point regarding costume dramas is about Grantchester. Overall, the show looks “right” to my non-expert eyes. There’s one exception: Guy Hopkins’s beard. Number one, I don’t think British aristocrats grew beards in the 1950s. Number two, his character seems to be a conventional person. In other words, it’s not like his beard indicates that he’s a maverick. Number three, he doesn’t look like anyone else on the show. So, it’s not like the beard helps us distinguish him from some other actor. But the WORST part of his beard–it is fake and it looks fake. Every time he’s on screen I think, “High school play!” There is no reason for his beard AND there is no reason for this horrible and obviously fake beard! Thank God he doesn’t have a lot of screen time!

    Re other’s comments: 1. A Discovery of Witches–I’m adding it to my pandemic watchlist. I read all the books, and loved them. I wanted to see the TV ever since it came out. Matthew Goode is usually delicious. James Purefoy is set to play a character in season 2, so I have to watch this show. 2. I’m also upset that Belgravia is on Epix. I read the book when it came out an enjoyed it. I’d love to see this adaptation. 3. I’m sorry to hear about Oulander going to the dogs. I’m up to season 3 and I enjoyed it (mostly) so far.

  13. Nzie

    I’m feeling kind of overwhelmed with all the content and honestly just kind of not watching much. I have one show I’m keeping up with right now (a craftsmanship competition) and not much else. I did watch Waco because I’m old enough to have heard references to it but not to have understood much… that show was very well done, but being set in the early 90s is outside the scope of this site. Maybe that Banker show from Apple will catch me?

    Somehow I’ve ended up with access to a bunch of streaming options (shared accounts, free trials, that weird participation impulse that led me to being an early discounted Disney+ subscriber) and yet I’m mostly on YouTube, where I can easily satisfy my historical dress love with Bernadette Banner, Prior Attire, Karolina Zebrowska, Morgan Donner, et al.

    I can’t decide if I’m in a general tv funk, a general funk, a pandemic funk, or just changing tastes. But I think my version of watching Contagion is going to be Casablanca–thematically, a bunch of people all cooped up, but, you know, trapped by Nazis, not viruses, and 80 years in the past. Or potentially The Martian, because, you know, stuck, but by accidental abandonment on a distant planet, and some point in a hypothetical future. I dunno.

    • Lily Lotus Rose

      Nzie, I feel you on the whole “there’s too much available right now” vibe. I listed a bunch of shows in my answer, but I’m not really “binging” any of them. My best friend says I’m the worst binge watcher in the world because it takes me months to get through one season of anything. So, my attention is flitting between all those shows I mentioned in my response. Regarding all the new stuff that’s streaming now, I’m always excited when I hear about it, but I just don’t have the energy and inclination to try and cram all that stuff in–pandemic or not. Re Casablanca: I think it’s always a good time to watch Casablanca! Thanks for giving that movie a “nudge” in my consciousness!

      • Nzie

        It’s a great film. :-) If I’m interested in a show, or just putting on for crafting entertainment, I can binge, but I’m kind of glad I’m past the total binge portion of my internet viewing habits (for good, I hope). It’s just kind of too much and then I don’t think I absorb it as much, or even view it as objectively. Waco was really good and i think it hit a really nice balance on pacing, so I did finish it in a week, but it was only 6 or 8 episodes, so I watched 1 or 2 at most and then went to bed or turned it off. I guess maybe I binged Nailed It but those eps are 20 minutes and a good wind down since it’s low stakes and pretty fun. :-)