Droughtlander Survival Guide – Part 2

So you’ve rewatched Seasons 1 and 2, you have Skye Boat Song as your ring tone, Jamie as your screensaver and you’ve read all the books. What else can you do to get you through Droughtlander? I know it’s blasphemous but there ARE a few other watchable shows out there. Here are a few of my favouites:

White Queen (Stan)

Based on Phillippa Gregory’s books (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter), this lush period piece starring Rebecca Ferguson and Max Irons is set during the War of the Roses where the Yorks and the Lancasters fight over who should be King. It’s based on factual history and the tells the story of three of the main female characters during the time. The leads are good looking, the story exciting and full of intrigue, there is love, sex, and even witchcraft!

Seasons – 1 (10 episodes)

Available on DVD


Poldark (ABC)

A reboot of the popular 1970s British series, we find Ross Poldark returning home to Cornwall after fighting in the American War of Independence to find his father dead, his estate in ruins and to top it all off his lady love is now engaged to his cousin! He decides to try to make ago of his father’s mining business and in the process employs the young tomboy Demelza as a kitchen maid after saving her from a beating. As time passes, Demelza developes in to a comely lass who finally manages to snag the hunky Ross’s attention. The main drawcard to this show is the very gorgeous Aiden Turner, he of Being Human, The Hobbit (Kili the dwarf) and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones fame. His bare chested scything scene was somewhat of a sensation when the show first aired. I’m getting a little flushed just thinking about it! Watch Season 1 now – Season 2 starts on ABC soon.

Seasons – 2

Season 1 available on DVD


Game of Thrones (Foxtel)

This is the show that paved the way for epic book adaptions such as Outlander, and to which they alas must always be compared. Based on George R R Martin’s Fire and Ice book series, which it has now outpaced (come on George, get your act together!), it is based on the War of the Roses (yes the very one covered in White Queen!) in mythical lands where rival families fight for the throne. There are so many storylines that very little can happen to one character in a whole series! It can be headspinning keeping them all straight, but it’s worth the attempt. Stand-outs among the characters are of course the delicious Kit Harington as Jon Snow, the superb Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the incestuous Jaime Lannister but really the entire cast is fantastic. Keep an eye out for Black Jack Randall himself – Tobias Menzies can be seen as Edmure Tully in Seasons 3 and 6.

Seasons – 6

Seasons 1-5 available on DVD; Season 6 in November


The Musketeers (BBC)

Another retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ classic, this time we have four gorgeous, musket and sword wielding men in leather, protecting the King and Queen from forces foreign and domestic, notably the evil Cardinal Richelieu played by Doctor Who himself Peter Capaldi. This is a modernish version, the music is awesome, there is romance, intrigue and action and fabulous British accents.

Seasons – 3 (ended)

Seasons 1 & 2 available on DVD


The Last Kingdom (Netflix)

Based on Bernard Cornwell’s series “The Saxon Stories”, it is the year 1872 and young Uhtred is captured by Danish Warlord Earl Ragnar and raised as part of his family alongside fellow captive Brida. As a man he finds himself torn between worlds, wanting to regain his ancestral land, but still feeling a Dane at heart. Uhtred’s temper and inability to respect the Christian religion has him constantly at odds with his King and others. There is love, sex, and violence aplenty. A second series is due to air in 2017.

Seasons – 1 (another to come)

Available on DVD


Vikings (Netflix)

This drama was filmed for the History Channel and tells the story of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, the notorious Norse hero known for his bloody invasions of England and France. Follow Ragnar, played by Australian actor Travis Fimmel, who seriously has the most amazing blue eyes (and you must google his earlier modeling shots for Calvin Klein gulp!) and his family thorugh the politics, intrigue and bloody battles you would expect from Vikings, and the friendships, enemies, family feuds, love and sex that make the show better than the average of it’s kind. Has been renewed for a fifth season for another 20 episodes.

Seasons – 4 (10 eps Seasons 1-3; 20 eps Season 4)

Seasons 1-3 Available on DVD


And a few more:

Downton Abbey (Netflix)

Ripper Street (Stan)

Indian Summers (BBC First)

Peaky Blinders (Netflix)





My 13yo son, the Budding Spielberg, recently put me onto the new Netflix series, Stranger Things. With Droughtlander in full swing, the Olympics leeching all the good TV shows from our screens for a couple of weeks at least, and the US Fall programming still a month away at least, I thought I’d give it a try. I absolutely loved it, and down there vv are my ten reasons why (in no particular order).

If you haven’t watched it, proceed with caution as spoilers await ye.  Head straight to Netflix, do not pass go, do not collect any cash.  Then head back to check it out!


I was 20 in 1983 when the show was set and every outfit from the high-waisted crotch-squeezing jeans to the long skirts, cream tights, frilly blouses and sweaters were shudderingly familiar. I think I had these glasses. (Don’t tell anyone.)



Winona’s almost-mullet, Mike and Nancy’s Mother’s classic flip and Barb’s Lady Di-inspired do were all spectacularly outshone by Steve’s gravity defying coiffure. I was mesermised the whole time it was on a screen. I kept wanting to spit on my hand and flatten it down….



The soundtrack is awesome – the music on the radio, in the background– I am right back in my green Chrysler, windows wound down, my favourite mixtape in the tapedeck blaring in state-of-the-art Stereo! But the throbbing synthesized theme music is pure genius. I’d look up, surprised I was still in 2016…..  Sit back and chill out to The Clash, Jefferson Airplane and Toto on the Stranger Things playlist:



The creators used an old Stephen King novel mock up cover to choose their font and it works! This is exactly the sort of thing I would have read back then, and is reminiscent of movies and TV of the day.



Before her sticky fingers and blurry CCTV shoplifting videos, Winona was a quirky young actress and star of some of my favourite flicks – Beetlejuice (1988), Heathers (1990), Mermaids (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1991). Along with Matthew Modine, himself a popular face of the 80s and 90s, she adds retro cred to the show all on her own.


Winona Ryder (as Lydia Deetz)



Come on. Anyone who’s seen the Rob Reiner/Stephen King classic Stand By Me (1987) had to have jumped up and down a little when they saw this. Go Duffer Brothers!



As a Stephen King fan, the character of Eleven met all my geeky horror supernatural requirements. Awesomely played by 14 year old Millie Bobby Brown, whose three year acting career has been jam-packed with great performances, she owes a lot to her ancestors – Drew Barrymore in Firestarter, Sissy Spacek in Carrie.  In fact, all the kids are fantastic, so much so that apparently the characters were created around them.



Oh yeah, I’m seeing the Star Wars comparisons here and I love it!



Most awesome explanation of an alternate reality. As I am writing a novel with an parallel universe as we speak, I had a little bit of a nerdgasm.   And I just found out that I can get this on a t-shirt so as soon as I have finished this I’m going online shopping!



I love a success story and these guys were the AV nerds at school and now they are just super cool. Even Stephen King is a fan, and when he tweeted how much he loved the show, they almost cried! It was knocked back by 15-20 networks before they made a deal with Netflix. So there’s hope for everyone if they keep trying, even my little Speilberg.


I could add heaps more to this – Kids on Bikes (I mean who doesn’t like a movie about kids on bikes?  ET, The Goonies, Earth to Echo), the seriously most epic monster (already spawning spectacular fan art much to the Duffer Brothers’ delight!), the wall phone (ours was powder blue), the scene with little Holly at the wall, the wall/xmas lights ouija board…..

Stranger Things

So if you’re looking for some stellar entertainment and you have eight hours to spare, sit down with the family and enjoy Stranger Things, now streaming on Netflix.