These shows on Disney+ Hotstar are terrific capsules of historic events and eras. Considered a masterpiece, Deadwood is a portrait of the American West in the 19th century. The award-winning Band of Brothers, directed by Tom Hanks, tells stories of World War II. Those who’ve read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the story of the rise and eventual fall of Thomas Cromwell, might want to watch the show. Check out this list of worthy period dramas.
This period drama is based on the first two books in Hilary Mantel’s fictionalised biography series of Thomas Cromwell. The show tells us how, through great power play and politics, Thomas Cromwell rose through the ranks in Henry VIII’s court to become his chief minister.
Director: Peter Kosminsky
Writer: Hilary Mantel, Peter Straughan
Cast: Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy
‘Band of Brothers’
Based on eponymous novel by Stephen Ambrose, this mini-series is set during the second world war, between 1942 and 1945. It takes us through the horrors of war, with actual footage and interviews.
Directors: Phil Alden Robinson, Richard Loncraine, Mikael Salomon, David Nutter, Tom Hanks, David Leland, David Frankel, Tony To
Writers: Erik Jendresen, Tom Hanks, John Orloff, E Max Frye, Graham Yost, Bruce C McKenna, Erik Bork
Cast: Scott Grimes, Ron Livingston, Damian Lewis, Donnie Wahlberg, Frank John Hughes
Set in New York of the 1970s, this drama takes us through the evolution and rise of the sex trade in the United States. It shows how prostitution went from being discussed behind closed doors to a legalised billion-dollar market.
Creators: George Pelecanos, David Simon
Cast: James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lawrence Gilliard Jr
Deadwood is a 19th century western tale of a lawless South Dakota settlement. It deals with gamblers and lawmen, and portrays early American life.
Creator: David Milch
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker
Set in 1960s Hollywood, Feud (pictured above) is about the backstage rivalry between actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis during the production of a film. It portrays the patriarchy of the world in which these women characters had to survive. It’s a show that discusses sexism and ageism in the struggle to become a leading star, and what it takes to hold on to that stardom.
Directors: Ryan Murphy, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Helen Hunt, Liza Johnson, Tim Minear
Writers: Jaffe Cohen, Ryan Murphy, Michael Zam, Tim Minear, Gina Welch
Cast: Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Judy Davis
Snowfall is a crime drama set in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It revolves around the lives of a 19-year-old drug dealer, a Mexican luchador, a CIA operative and the daughter of a Mexican crime boss, all of whom are players in the city’s cocaine-fuelled drug culture. The show is a vivid picture of LA in the 1980s.
Creators: Dave Andron, Eric Amadio, John Singleton
Cast: Damson Idris, Carter Hudson, Isaiah John
Set in the times of the Cold War, the series tells the tale of two Russian spies living in Washington DC.
Creator: Joseph Weisberg
Cast: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati
‘I’m Dying Up Here’
A window into the stand-up comedy scene in Los Angeles in the the 1970s and ’80s, the show hinges on a group of young comedians, who attempt to become successful at Goldie’s Comedy Club. Goldie mentors the young comics and helps them reach their dream.
Creators: David Flebotte, Jim Carrey
Cast: Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, Michael Angarano