The Best Under-the-Radar Period Dramas to Stream on Acorn TV

You’ve binged every episode of Outlander on Netflix and are all caught up on Poldark on Amazon Prime. Ditto for The Last Kingdom, Harlots, Versailles, and The Tudors. So where can you turn if you’re in need of some more historical escapism?

Enter Acorn TV. The streaming service delivers the best in British and international television to American audiences, from originals such as Agatha Raisin to crime dramas such as Vera and Line of Duty. And of course, there are period dramas. We’ve rounded up a few under-the-radar options from Acorn TV for your next quarantine binge. 

‘Dead Still’

man drinking tea
Michael Smiley as Brock Blennerhasset in Dead Still | Acorn TV

If you have a dark sense of humor and interest in Victoriana, then you’re going to enjoy Dead Still. This Acorn TV original, which premiered May 18, centers on a Dublin photographer named Brock Blennerhasset (Michael Smiley) who specializes in taking pictures of the recently deceased for grieving families. He connects with a pair of tenacious detectives who are looking to solve a series of local murders that might be related to Blennerhasset’s work. 

Two episodes of Dead Still are currently streaming, with new episodes added weekly on Mondays through June 15.  

‘War and Peace’ 

No one does epic drama quite like the Russians. This take on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace from 2007 stars Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter films) as Natasha Rostova, Malcolm McDowell as Prince Bolkonsky, and Ken Duken as Anatole Kuragin. The four-part series follows several aristocratic Russian families as their lives intersect during the Napoleonic Wars. 

‘The Trench’ 

A pre-James Bond Daniel Craig stars in this WWI-movie about a group of young British soldiers stationed on the western front, just before the Battle of the Somme. The cast also includes James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy, and Ben Whishaw.

‘Poldark’

RELATED: Poldark Season 5 Comes to Amazon Prime May 17 and It’s the Perfect Quarantine Binge-Watch

You’ve seen the recent BBC/PBS version of Poldark starring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson. But that wasn’t the first adaptation of Winston Graham’s Cornwall-set novels. That would be this 1975 BBC miniseries starring Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark, Angharad Rees as his servant-turned-wife Demelza, and Jill Townsend as his lost love Elizabeth. This production might seem a bit dated to modern viewers, but for some, Ellis is still the definitive Ross Poldark.  

‘Cilla’ 

Get a dose of England during the swinging sixties in Cilla, a three-part miniseries from 2014 about the early career of singer Cilla Black (Sheridan Smith), a friend of the Beatles who also sang at the famed Cavern Club in Liverpool. Aneurin Barnard plays her manager and husband Bobby Willis and Ed Stoppard is Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who shepherds her to stardom. 

‘Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries’

Woman in pink cardigan
Geraldine Hakewell as Peregrine in Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries | Acorn TV

Yes, you can watch the Australian series Ms. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Acorn TV, and if you like glamorous lady detectives from the 1920s, you definitely should. But you may not know about this sister series, which focuses on Phryne Fisher’s long-lost niece Peregrine (Geraldine Hakewill), who follows in her aunt’s footsteps by solving crimes in 1960s Melbourne. One four-episode season is currently streaming. 

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