I like my historical shows like I like my men: sexy, a little scandalous and shirtless as often as possible. Luckily, television has not disappointed me lately with the historical sexiness. Everywhere you look these days men and women are heating up the small screens in their corsets and pantaloons — or lack thereof.
I’m not even picky about the time period, to be honest. As long as a show is filled with a healthy dose of historical romance, I’m hooked. So in appreciation of all of those (often literal) rolls in the hay, here are three sexy historical shows, and one book, that you desperately need to binge on.
If you’re looking for historical accuracy, stay far away from The CW’s Reign. Set in 1557, it focuses on Mary, Queen of Scots as she travels to France to marry Prince Francis. That’s about as historical as we get. Otherwise, everyone’s wearing outfits that look like they came from a royal collection of Urban Outfitters, and making out in corridors to Lumineers’ songs. Seriously, everyone on this show is getting it on all of the time (Not that I’m complaining). It’s ridiculous, fun and undeniably sexy.
Before Reign came along with its raging teenage hormones, The Tudors set the bar for historical sexiness. Only slightly more accurate, it gets inside the world of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and his stable of beheaded wives. But before he can kill them all, he has to have sex with them (obviously), which Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ King Henry does with great abandon. The love scenes are graphic and abundant; showing us exactly how and why Henry kept seeking out new wives. Sure, there’s some political stuff thrown in, but the relationships are the heart of the show. And watching Anne (Natalie Dormer) play Henry like a fiddle just never gets old.
Is there anything hotter than Ross Poldark’s (Aidan Turner) devotion to his wife, Demezela (Eleanor Tomlinson)? After he comes home to England from the American Revolutionary War and finds his love married to someone else, Poldark’s life seems pretty grim. But then he falls for his kitchen maid, and boy does he fall hard. The two are passionate, devoted and always making out. It’s not all roses and sunshine, though. They’re forced to face some pretty tough obstacles together. But so far it has only strengthened their bond and contributed to Poldark’s overall sexiness.
Cold-Hearted Rake, Lisa Kleypas (Avon Books, October 27)
Any fan of historical romance loves Kleypas, whose books are filled with sexy, badass heroes and feisty, headstrong heroines. Cold-Hearted Rake marks her long-awaited return to historical novels, after several years of only writing contemporaries. This romantic new novel tells the story of Devon, a world-class London rake, and Kathleen, a widow with a tongue as sharp as his. The two, I’m sure, will fall madly in love. But trust Kleypas to bring sexiness, charm and her own sharp wit to this Regency tale of attraction.