Now you may ask, what’s so enticing about a show set in the past? There weren’t even cell phones! The main characters can’t communicate at the speed of light! What’s the point of living in the past when the present is just as entertaining? To that I answer–at least from a girl’s perspective–escapism and costumes.
I’m going to throw it to the girls for a second and talk about how fun it is to watch a show with legitimate costumes. Sure, I love my shows that take place in present day and I admittedly covet some of the clothes I see on them, but there is something so much more elegant about the costuming in period dramas. Without sounding too silly about it, the costumes are almost like works of art. The care and detail put into what characters wear is so much more important in period dramas than in a show that takes place in the present. People of different classes, ages, and genders wore such starkly different clothing in 1912 than they did in 2012. One can sit back and appreciate the extra effort these shows put into “the little things” that make their shows special.
Escapism may be a much bigger draw for the general populace than costuming, but both of these elements (along with many others) are what draw me into period dramas. I have yet to get into “Game of Thrones,” but I’m quite the “Downton Abbey” enthusiast, and I’ve also been known to enjoy the late HBO drama “The Tudors.” The thing I like most about these shows is that they take you into a different world. They take the boring words from your history textbooks, the personality-less historical figures of your middle school history class, and turn them into real, relatable people. One of the most enjoyable parts about watching a period drama is allowing you to escape into the past, even if it is for just an hour. The characters on the shows, whether they be are from the 16th century, 20th century , or a whole different world together, share relatable problems and feelings with people today. This makes the shows more applicable to our own lives and makes the past feel more real.