Over the last few years, I've seen a noticeable rise in costume dramas. Bridgerton was all the rage on Netflix, and Outlander took Starz by storm. We've seen Netflix release Lady Chatterley's Lover as well.
So what's behind all this scintillating stuff?
Everyone likes to watch something exciting, but what if that excitement isn't from action or thills? What if it's the kind of excitement that can only come from the bedroom? Romance movies and TV shows come with some steamy sex.
But there's a specific name for these erotic movies that take place in another century.
Today, we're going to go over these "bodice rippers" and look at examples across film and television. We'll define the genre, talk about what makes a great one, and rip a few of our own.
Let's get started.
'Game of Thrones'Credit: HBO
Do You Know What a "Bodice Ripper" Movie or TV Show Is?
I bet if you were to go through your mom's nightstand, then you might find one of these novels. They've become some of the most popular works to be adapted. Huge series, classic novels, and even newer works bring in a female-skewing audience and get people in the mood to watch more.
But what's the actual definition of these works?
Bodice Ripper Definition
A bodice ripper TV show or movie is a sexually charged, romantic story with a historical setting. The plot usually features a strong, independent heroine and one, or several, swashbuckling males. There are straight and LGBTQIA+ versions of these types of stories that mix and match gender as well.
Are Bodice Rippers Popular?
These movies and TV shows can also be known as historical romance or costume dramas (as long as they have some sex), and have been a popular genre for decades. These stories feature strong, independent heroines and dashing, handsome love interests set against the backdrop of historical events and settings.
Lots of times, these can be famous battles or important historical changes.
One of the main reasons these ideas are popular is that they provide an escape from the everyday world and transport viewers into a different time and place. The historical settings and costumes, as well as the grandeur and opulence of the productions, offer an alluring visual experience that captivates audiences.
Sex also allows people to live a life that might be very different than their own. It's spicy, raw, and transports people.
Thematically, these movies and TV shows can feature protagonists with a strong will, control over their destinies, and agency in their world. They've been popular for a very long time because, for a while, many people did not have that in their worlds. And some still do not.
Additionally, the stories in these productions often center around strong, independent heroines and dashing, handsome heroes, which appeal to a wide range of viewers. The romance and drama in these stories provide a satisfying emotional experience, making it easier for audiences to become invested in the characters and their relationships.
Finally, bodice ripper movies and TV shows often explore themes of power, wealth, and social status, which are universal and timeless. The political and personal dramas in these productions mirror the power struggles and intrigues of today's society, making them relatable to audiences.
With diversity in casting, you can tell almost any story now as well.
'Lady Chatterley's Lover'Credit: Netflix
How Has Streaming Boosted This Genre's Popularity?
Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon have made it easier for people to access bodice ripper movies and TV shows. They have also contributed to the increase in popularity of this genre.
With streaming platforms, people can watch these shows at their convenience, and it has also allowed for the creation of new shows that cater to this genre.
These movies and TV shows offer a visually stunning and emotionally satisfying experience, with stories that explore universal themes, making them appealing to a wide range of audiences. The easy access through streaming platforms has also made it more popular among audiences.
These kinds of books used to be what people read in privacy, but, with streaming, people watch these stories in the privacy of their own homes.
Bodice Ripper Examples in Film and TV
Honestly, there are so many great examples of bodice ripper films and TV shows it was hard to pick. You see elements in things like Game of Thrones and even Rome, but I want to pick pure examples of the genre for you.
One of the most iconic bodice ripper shows is Outlander, which is based on the bestselling book series by Diana Gabaldon. The show, which premiered in 2014, follows the story of a 20th-century nurse who is transported back in time to 18th-century Scotland, where she falls in love with a Scottish warrior. The show has become a cultural phenomenon, garnering critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase thanks to the hot people and steamy love scenes.
Another popular bodice ripper series is The Tudors, which ran from 2007 to 2010. The show, which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, explores the political and personal dramas of the Tudor dynasty. The show's depiction of the king's many marriages and mistresses has made it a hit with audiences.
A classic movie in the category is Pride and Prejudice. The novel by Jane Austen was first adapted into a movie in 1940 and since then has been adapted into multiple other versions including TV series, miniseries, and movies. The story of the strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet and her relationship with Mr. Darcy has captivated audiences for centuries.
Just thinking of that hand-swipe in the Kiera Knightly/Matthew Macfayden version is enough to get anyone hot under the collar.
Finally, I can't leave you without mentioning Bridgerton, which premiered on Netflix in 2020, and has become a huge hit for the streaming service. The show, which is set in Regency-era England, follows the lives of the wealthy Bridgerton family and their romantic entanglements.
'Pride and Prejudice'Credit: Universal Pictures
Summing Up The Bodice Ripper in Movies and TV
Bodice ripper content, also known as historical romance or costume dramas, is interesting because it offers an escape from the everyday world by transporting viewers to different time and place, with visually stunning settings and costumes, and in the productions, which are full of grandeur and opulence.
The stories often center around strong, independent heroines and dashing, handsome heroes, which provide a satisfying emotional experience for audiences. The genre also explores themes of power, wealth, and social status that are universal and timeless, making it relatable and interesting for viewers.
Additionally, the ease of access through streaming platforms has made it more popular among audiences.
Let me know what you think about this kind of show and movie in the comments.