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The Plague Year and The Donner Party picked up by History

History is moving back into the miniseries space with two recently picked up. Get ready for The Plague Year and The Donner Party.

While History has had a lot more success with unscripted programming compared to scripted, it doesn’t want to completely ignore the latter. The Plague Year and The Donner Party are two scripted shows coming soon.

Both are different to more recent shows like Vikings and Knightfall. They are both miniseries, designed only to be one season each, according to Deadline.

Miniseries certainly have their place. They allow writers to tell a story that’s a little more in-depth than movies. However, they don’t have to keep coming up with more storylines and dramatic moments as they would for shows with more seasons.

What we know about The Plague Year

Let’s start with the show that is going to feel a little familiar to current circumstances. The Plague Year focuses on the 1665 bubonic plague outbreak in London, England. It was one of the worst years in British history when it comes to the plague, and arguably only ended because of the Great Fire of London.

The Plague Year will be written by Coleman Herbert, with Michael Hirst running the show. It isn’t just about the history of the plague, but the stories of real people.

Some fled London altogether. Others had to remain for their businesses or due to financial circumstances. Their resolves were tested, they were surrounded by fear and suspicion. This was a time of paranoia and uncertainty.

How can you possibly continue when everything around you is falling to pieces? We’ve had a glimpse of it in 2020, but the period in 1665 when there was so little help out there from the government, before the time of social and real health care, was much scarier for a health pandemic.

The plague outbreak only lasted a year, but it was one of the longest years for many. And we know how long just a month can feel, let alone a full year of fear.

The Great Plague: A People’s History ($)

What we know about The Donner Party

The second series planned as a miniseries is The Donner Party. This is one of America’s most tragic stories from the pioneers.

For those who know the name but not the details, James Reed and his family set out for California in the spring of 1846. A group of migrants traveled with them with the hope of a better life.

However, not everyone would make it to California. Of the 87 that went across country, only 48 made it across alive.

The ill-fated expedition was doomed by the winter within the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Each member faced hardships and struggles that would lead to them questioning their dreams, their chances of survival and more.

This was a moment that showed the best and worst in humanity. And while there were relief parties sent out, it would be too late for many of the individuals searching for a better life.

Ric Burns will write The Donner Party and be the showrunner. He is the brother of Ken Burns, the director of the 1992 documentary into the ill-fated pioneering expedition.

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What are you looking forward to watching on History? Is it too soon for something like The Plague Year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Plague Year and The Donner Party don’t have premiere dates yet.