Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, July 15, 2018

History Palooza: Five shows and movies to add to your Netflix queue this week

A history theme is the name of the game this week. I have always been a history nerd, and could never understand how some people don’t find it interesting: it is all stories of intrigue, love, violence, sex, friendship, loyalty, drama, and betrayal. But though history classes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, historical (fiction and nonfiction) shows and movies are worth a look. To give you all a little taste of the great period shows and films on Netflix, I have picked a few of my favorites. 

1. Ripper Street, 2012-2013

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Based loosely on the Jack the Ripper killings, “Ripper Street” follows two London detectives as they solve murders during the height of Ripper hysteria. The show takes its time revealing the backstories of its characters, and usually discusses these stories in very creative ways that tie in to the murder they are solving that episode. Furthermore, characters come from different classes and even countries, making for a diverse group of people, as well as interesting relationships and dynamics. If you like the time period and basic structure of “Sherlock Holmes,” this show is right up your alley. 


2. Copper, 2012-2013

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Set in New York City in 1865, “Copper” explores many difficult issues such as racism, war, death, friendship, politics, class, loyalty and love. A detective, with the help of his friends, solves crimes and gets wrapped up in his own criminal activity as well. The show is very intriguing because it addresses and examines class structure and disparity in 1860s New York through the lives of the characters. Furthermore, with the main characters all being Civil War veterans, the viewer gets an inside look at how those people coped with their war experiences and trauma (something that is most often left out of the history textbooks). For anyone interested in the Civil War, race and class dynamics and/or a good mystery, “Copper” is worth a try.

3. Inglourious Basterds, 2009

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Although a very popular and well known movie, I still thought it was a necessary addition to the list. Unlike the other shows and films on this list, “Inglourious Basterds” is a comedy, albeit a dark one, and also gives a slightly different perspective and tone to WWII. Perhaps strange and brutal at times, the movie will (hopefully) make you laugh, as well as give you a view of World War II that is not from the battlefield. With a stellar cast of Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger, and directed by Quentin Tarantino, it is definitely worth your time to see, if you haven’t already. 

4. Lawless, 2012

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Taking place in Virginia during the Prohibition/Great Depression, “Lawless” is the story of the Bondurant brothers and their bootlegging business and adventures. This film is a strange blend of serious and realistic, and over-the-top and larger than life. Although based on a true story, some aspects of it have certainly been exaggerated. But with a strong cast starring Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain and Shia LeBeouf, it’s definitely a fun adventure and worth watching. 

5. Peaky Blinders

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Set in England in the early 1900s, this show focuses on the famous gang, Peaky Blinders. A blend of gangster violence, brotherhood, and love, “Peaky Blinders” makes for a very intriguing show, and gives the viewer an inside look into the lives of the gang members and the workings of the gang. Furthermore, since the show takes place in England, you get to see how English gangs compare to those of America. So if you like human interest stories, gangs, crime mysteries/stories, and relationships both romantic and platonic, give this show a shot. 

So, for all you history lovers out there (or those looking to get a taste of historical films and tv shows), check out these titles, and I hope you enjoy!


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