Colin Firth | Downton Abbey | Ed Speleers | Film and TV | Jon Hamm | Jonathan Rhys-Meyers | Mad Men | Television

Five Favorite Men of TV's Period Pieces


Tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern the CW premieres Reign, a period drama focusing on a young Mary, Queen of Scots. Since this is the CW, there will be lots of scandalous teenage sexuality. This series is also boasting a buzzy soundtrack featuring current artists like Mumford & Sons and Santigold. They're hoping the juxtaposition of cool, contemporary tracks against bodice-ripping melodrama will be enough to add a little spice to the historical soap.

Reign isn't the first television period piece and, with shows like The Gilded Age in development, it certainly won't be the last. Sure, the secret to success is in the storytelling, but, come on, a handsome leading man to get your petticoats all tied in knots certainly doesn't hurt.

Travel through time with five favorite men of TV's period pieces, AFTER THE JUMP ...


Spartacus (Liam McIntyre), Spartacus

After tragically losing Spartacus originator Andy Whitfield, Liam McIntyre proved a worthy follow-up to fill his gladiator sandals. 


King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), The Tudors

Jonathan Rhys Meyers is set to appear in another period piece, NBC's Dracula (set in Victorian London), Oct. 25. But we doubt he'll be baring as much skin as he did in this Showtime original series.


Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), Pride and Prejudice

Who knew a wet undershirt could be as titillating as an Andrew Christian video?


Jimmy Kent (Ed Speleers), Downton Abbey

As the ever-fabulous Dowager Countess once pointed out, "He looks like a footman in a musical revue." It's no wonder he caught Thomas' eye.


Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Mad Men

Not to discount the incredible work of the rest of the cast of Mad Men, but the beloved '60s period drama would be nothing without its handsome anti-hero.

Who are your favorite men of TV period pieces?

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  1. Nope. Not interested. The only good one is Colin Firth in "Pride and Prejudice", and that one was true to the book and period. None of this twerky crap to make the kids go wild.

    Posted by: Kyle Michel Sullivan | Oct 17, 2013 7:15:28 PM

  2. Don't think I've seen Colin Firth in anything when he was that young. Man, was he ever handsome! For me, he seemed to come out of nowhere into superstardom, but he's obviously been around a while building a fanbase and reputation.

    Posted by: AriesMatt | Oct 17, 2013 7:33:56 PM

  3. All of those dudes are caucasian.

    Posted by: Zeta | Oct 17, 2013 8:35:47 PM

  4. ZETA, they all have hair on their heads, they all have fully functional bodies, they all are heterosexual, they are all actors. What is your point? Is being caucasian bad? Is that what you're thinking?

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Oct 17, 2013 9:49:23 PM

  5. The debt ceiling vote would have provided more thrills.

    Posted by: Fidelity | Oct 17, 2013 10:41:34 PM

  6. jimmy's just okay. it should have been tom branson.

    Posted by: normadesmond | Oct 17, 2013 10:43:47 PM

  7. @ARIESMATT - try to see the movie "The Advocate." Not only is Colin Firth very young as a medieval lawyer, you get to see a whole lot of him.

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | Oct 17, 2013 10:57:37 PM

  8. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ZETA, they all have hair on their heads, they all have fully functional bodies, they all are heterosexual, they are all actors. What is your point? Is being caucasian bad? Is that what you're thinking?

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Oct 17, 2013 9:49:23 PM

    I don't believe the implication was that Caucasian is *bad* .. but more that there are non-Caucasian men that are "favorites" too, and not being included is just a little sad in this day and age.

    Posted by: theotherlee | Oct 17, 2013 11:12:05 PM

  9. When Spartacus lead, the handsome Andy sadly passed away, I thought that was it for the series. But Liam is not bad, he took over the role very well, his deep voice ans stunningly beautiful eyes are - stunning. The show is full of hot men.
    JRM in Tudors is good, but my favorite in the series is naturally Henry Cavill.
    The rest of the guys have no appeal to me.
    I would choose the pond scene of Room With A View with Julian Sands and Rupert Graves.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Oct 18, 2013 4:04:32 AM

  10. Jonathan Rhys Meyers yes!

    Posted by: Tristram | Oct 18, 2013 4:51:41 AM

  11. I don't think there are any non-Caucasian leads in TV Period Pieces, which is the focus of the post.

    I personally pay more visual attention to the guys in those shows with more body hair.

    Posted by: stevetalbert | Oct 18, 2013 7:05:16 AM

  12. I was always partial to Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy, walking towards Keira Knightley through the morning mist on those chunky legs of his.

    Oh, and then there was the very yummy Edward Woodward as a hairy-chested ghost of Christmas present in the 1984 Christmas carol...

    Posted by: hugo | Oct 18, 2013 9:32:28 AM

  13. How about Aidan Turner in Desperate Romantics or Bruce Campbell from Brisco County Jr.?

    Posted by: woodroad34d | Oct 18, 2013 9:57:34 AM

  14. Rhys-Meyers was fantastic as Henry VIII. I made it about a half hour into the premiere of Reign last night. Just horrible, a historically inaccurate hack job. Why does the CW think they can write sixteenth century characters with modern psychologies and behaviors? So many of the scenes wouldn't-- just couldn't-- have occurred. I'll stick with Supernatural.

    Posted by: JohninBend | Oct 18, 2013 11:57:55 AM

  15. Colin Firth yes! Any period, any age, young, old, he is the epitome of sensitive masculinity. A real male.

    I watched "A Single Man" for the first time recently (having resisted because of the director). Surprised and pleased on all counts; Mr. Firth carried the role perfectly (he can save any film — "Mama Mia" for example) and the overall emotional content and depiction of the film stayed with me for many weeks. He is for me the perfect actor representing the perfect man.

    Posted by: tinkerbelle | Oct 18, 2013 5:18:06 PM

  16. Odd for us who were born in the 1960s to be considered period now : )

    Posted by: Excuse Me! | Mar 1, 2014 5:51:46 PM

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