IT TAKES ABOUT 10 seconds for a viewer to recognise that Apple TV+’s new period drama, The Buccaneers, is making no attempt to be completely true to its 19th-century source material. The first episode kicks off to a soundtrack of electric-guitar-driven indie synth pop, and we’re quickly introduced to the story’s protagonist, Nan St. George (Kristine Frøseth), who is wearing an emerald green bridesmaid dress with a silhouette that reads vaguely Victorian, though its details — a wide V-neckline, basque drop waist, exposed corsetry, relatively slim and petticoat-free skirt and rosette detailing — draw more upon various points throughout history from the 1950s to now.
In fact, the show is joyously, boldly anachronistic. It’s set to the tunes of Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, Bikini Kill, Maggie Rogers, and boygenius. And the costumes continue to be delightfully irreverent towards historical traditions of Victorian dress, taking creative liberties in exchange for a greater contribution to the subtext of each character arc, as crucial to storytelling as the script (which also takes a modern twist to the stuffy language of yore). Starring the likes of Kristine Frøseth, Christina Hendricks, and Alisha Boe; the story in question is one of five young women hailing from America in its gilded age, who burst onto the restrained Victorian era of England with its stuffiness and stiff corsets, in turn shocking and invigorating all who encounter them with their brazen independence and liberation.
For one of the series’ three costume designers, the Emmy-award-winning Kate Carin, this modern take on historical elements — in the vein of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and its successors — was what drew her to the project.
“For me, period drama definitely has a place, absolutely, but I think to make it relatable to a younger