The decade following World War II was tumultuous. From nuclear families to the threat of nuclear war, to the modernization of monarchies around the world, there was a sense of change to come. That’s what the award-winning show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselemphasizes in its comical way.
With Season 4 of the Amazon Prime series underway, audiences are moving out of the 50s and into the cultural grip of the 60s, where change can finally happen. But there are still post-war stories to tell from period dramas like masters of sex, Lovecraft Countryand more.
‘American Horror Story’ (Season 4: ‘Freak Show’)
In a sense, the fourth season of american horror story — monster show — serves as an antithesis to the standards of the 1950s. monster show centered around a small Florida town where wealth, image and status intertwined with a local carnival and a troupe of “monsters” riddled with secrets. Rather than conforming to the norms of the time, the season spotlights murderous clowns, deranged artists, and corrupt systems at play.
Despite its critical reception and relatively low rating compared to other seasons, there is something inherent in monster show which makes it easy for fans to connect. The editors comment the ability of the season to “carry [them] in the past” and ground the twisted plots into a recognizable reality.
Based on the 2002 novel of the same name, The company ran for three episodes on TNT in 2007. The events of the acclaimed mini-series span decades, but mainly show how the world’s secret agencies reacted to the onset of the Cold War.
The company follows a select group of characters as they navigate government secrets, international relations, and their own lives, resulting in a story that’s equal parts spy drama and romance. Rotten Tomatoes Reviews gave the miniseries a rating of 73% and praised it for being an “evocative tale of the Cold War”.
For many black Americans, the 1950s witnessed growing inequality and racism in the decade before the civil rights movement. Based on the 2016 novel by Marc Ruff, Lovecraft Country examines this as Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) travels across America in the days of Jim Crow.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel depicts Jewish life in America in the 1950s, a culmination of the traumas, stereotypes and prejudices of the previous decades. HBO’s award-winning series provides a similar foundation from the perspective of the black experience at the time. Fans are still in shock Lovecraft Country canceled after just one season, but it left a big impact in just 10 episodes.
‘Fargo’ (Season 4)
Chris Rock, Jason Schwartzmanand Jessie Buckley teams up for the fourth season of Fargo. In this installation from the award-winning anthology series, the characters find themselves in the midst of conflicting criminal networks in 1950 Missouri.
Like every season Fargo so far, the show’s creators place audiences in the era it’s about. This is the case of the fourth season of the series, and in particular of its ninth episode “East/West”, all presented in black and white.
‘Call the midwife’
Throughout 10 seasons – with the 11th on the way – Call the midwife tackles just about every social, economic and political conversation that shaped the 1950s. The popular PBS series is filmed and set in London, England, but the medical dilemmas faced by nurses, midwives and religious are equally relevant to the American public.
A bit like the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, fans are treated to a series in which historical costumes, characters and events work together, bringing to life an iconic period drama of that time period. Many scenarios in Call the midwife are rooted in historical facts, just as they are based on by Jennifer Worth original memoir, “Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s.”
‘The Crown’ (Season 1 & 2)
During its first two award-winning seasons, The crown examined what Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) the early years as ruler may have looked like. The series has since skipped decades in their timeline, but for viewers who weren’t alive for the Queen’s investiture in 1947 (or her revolutionary methods of government throughout the 1950s), the first two seasons from Netflix’s hit series offer a painstakingly precise lens. .
For many period dramas (like The crown and the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), writers are inspired by real people and events. It seems like The crown maybe he did it a little too well. Thanks to the show’s massive popularity and posting of past events, Netflix released a statement in 2020 reminding the public that The crown is “a work of fiction largely based on historical events”.
“Masters of Sex”
As its title suggests, the 2013 Showtime series, masters of sex, was all about sex. As with most period dramas, the premise of the Golden Globe-nominated series is rooted in reality with fictional storylines (as series creator michelle ashford assured fans).
The now-cancelled series was set at the start of the sexual and cultural revolution, from 1956 to 1969. Throughout its four seasons, Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Dr. Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) — two real-life researchers at the University of Washington in the 1950s — experience groundbreaking developments in the burgeoning world of human sexuality (clearly a common theme for shows returning to this period).
Inspired by by Richard Hooker 1968 novel and the Vietnam War then in progress, MASH POTATOES takes fans back two decades earlier to a time that seemed so similar but apart: the Korean War. From 1972 to 1983, viewers tuned in to see what Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and his fellow military doctors were until this week in their medical unit.
Since the M*A*S*H unit remained isolated on base for many years, references to the 50s came from headlines, pop culture references, and even character hairstyles. Hawkeye would discuss presidential candidates over martinis or mention he wanted to see Godzilla at the theater (released in 1954). A troupe of singing sisters even visited the unit at the end of Season 1, a common practice at the time to entertain troops stationed overseas.
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