So judging from what I’ve seen on Facebook and elsewhere, a lot of us are very disappointed in the TV shows we love (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones, and yes, even Hannibal). But worry not! There’s hope with Netflix! Here are five shows that will make it all okay!
- The Paradise. This is a BBC production, and if you didn’t see it on Masterpiece this fall, it is a must-see. The series is based on a novel by Émile Zola and focuses on the employees and the owners of a department store called The Paradise. The main character in the story is a young woman named Denise. She’s just come from the country and ends up hired at The Paradise. The story shows how the position gives her the chance to show off her intelligence, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. Much like Downton Abbey, the series offers lovable characters both upstairs and downstairs and glorious dress porn. If you’re sad, the dresses alone will make you happy!
- Once Upon a Time. I’ll admit this show isn’t perfect, and there have been some episodes that have left me saying, “Really?” But the show features all types of heroines, heroes, romantic relationships, and love. It’s fun to guess what fairy tales will be used and how they will be incorporated into the series. Bonus: Hook and Robin Hood are both hot.
- Murder, She Wrote. Maybe it’s because I grew up with this show, but there’s a certain amount of comfort in seeing Angela Lansbury as our favorite cozy mystery author, Jessica Fletcher, using her writerly skills to solve real-life cases. Lucy Worsley mentioned in her book and later her documentary, A Very British Murder, that the 1930s were considered the golden age of women mystery writers, and much of it was because women were concerned about relationships and people and how they came together in murder cases. Jessica Fletcher is the very embodiment of that.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999). This is another BBC series, this one starring Richard E. Grant as Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and Elizabeth McGovern as his French-born wife Marguerite. Sir Percy is like a late eighteenth-century Batman and James Bond, venturing into Revolutionary France to rescue ci-devant nobles from the very sharp blade of Madame Guillotine in order to bring them to the safety of England’s shores. While it doesn’t wholly embody the spirit of Baroness Orczy’s books, it’s still a lot of lighthearted fun, and yes, Marguerite eventually joins the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel!
- Murdoch Mysteries. This is the CBC version, not the BBC version. Detective William Murdoch investigates crimes in late Victorian Toronto, and along the way he meets all sorts of real-life historical figures of the time, including Nikola Tesla and Buffalo Bill. The series has a steampunk feel to it, so of course it’s going to be fun fun fun!
Honorable mentions: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Inspector Morse, Poirot, Miss Marple, Bones, Revenge, Columbo, Rosemary and Thyme, Alias, The Buccaneers, and Foyle’s War .