The 36 Best Period Drama Shows to Get Swept Away in the Past


Here is a hand picked list of 36 period drama shows to get lost in the past. All of these series will transport you to a bygone era of opulence, passion, and enthralling tales!

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Hey there, history buffs and drama lovers!

Are you ready to dive into a world of grandeur, secrets, and elegant ballrooms?

If you’ve been swept away by the glamour of “Bridgerton” or enchanted by the aristocratic charm of shows like “Downton Abbey,” this hand picked list of period drama shows is what you need.

From corseted elegance to scandalous romances, these shows whisk you away to a time of majestic estates, forbidden love, and societal intrigue.

All of these series will transport you to a bygone era of opulence, passion, and enthralling tales!

Lets get to the list!

36 Period Drama Shows to Add to Your Must Watch List

1. Wolf Hall (2015)

  • Cast: Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy
  • Number of Seasons: Seasons: 1 (2015)
  • Genre: Drama, History, TV Mini Series
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: Wolf Hall on IMDb

In “Wolf Hall,” dive into the political intrigue of King Henry VIII’s court through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, portrayed by Mark Rylance. Set in the 16th century, this series unveils the power struggles, religious unrest, and personal ambitions that shaped one of the most dramatic periods in English history.

2. The Tudors (2007-2010)

  • Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Natalie Dormer
  • Number of Seasons: 4 (2007-2010)
  • Genre: Drama, History, Romance
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Tudors on IMDb

“The Tudors” takes a captivating, albeit dramatized, look at the reign of King Henry VIII. With lavish costumes and a focus on scandal, romance, and political machinations, it offers a thrilling ride through the Tudor dynasty’s tumultuous history.

3. Upstairs Downstairs (2010-2012)

  • Cast: Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard, Jean Marsh
  • Number of Seasons: 2 (2010-2012)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • IMDb: Upstairs Downstairs on IMDb

“Upstairs Downstairs” provides a compelling glimpse into the lives of both the aristocratic Bellamy family and their household staff in 1930s London. With its mix of upstairs elegance and downstairs drama, it weaves together class dynamics, secrets, and societal changes of the time.

4. Poldark (2015-2019)

  • Cast: Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Heida Reed
  • Number of Seasons: 5 (2015-2019)
  • Genre: Drama, History, Romance
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: Poldark on IMDb

Follow the adventures of Ross Poldark as he returns from the American Revolutionary War to his home in Cornwall. This series unfolds a tale of love, betrayal, and societal struggles amidst the breathtaking landscapes of 18th century England.

5. Miss Scarlet and The Duke (PBS) (2020-present)

  • Cast: Kate Phillips, Stuart Martin, Ansu Kabia
  • Number of Seasons: 4 (2020-present)
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, PBS
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: Miss Scarlet and The Duke on IMDb

Set in Victorian London, “Miss Scarlet and The Duke” follows Eliza Scarlet, a headstrong woman who becomes a private detective to solve crimes. With an engaging mix of wit, mystery, and period aesthetics, this series offers a refreshing take on the detective genre.

6. Murdoch Mysteries (2008-present)

  • Cast: Yannick Bisson, Helene Joy, Thomas Craig
  • Number of Seasons: 17 (2008-present)
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • IMDb: Murdoch Mysteries on IMDb

Set in late 19th and early 20th century Toronto, “Murdoch Mysteries” revolves around detective William Murdoch as he employs innovative forensic techniques to solve crimes. This show combines historical elements with engaging mysteries, making it a delightful period detective series.

7. The Bonfire of Destiny (2019)

  • Cast: Audrey Fleurot, Julie de Bona, Camille Lou
  • Number of Seasons: 1 (2019)
  • Genre: Drama, History, TV Mini Series
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Bonfire of Destiny on IMDb

In “The Bonfire of Destiny,” follow the lives of three women whose fates intertwine after a devastating fire in late 19th century Paris. Amidst the aftermath, their stories of resilience, love, and survival unfold in the face of societal norms and tragedies.

8. The Musketeers (BBC) (2014-2016)

  • Cast: Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino, Santiago Cabrera
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2014-2016)
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: The Musketeers on IMDb

BBC’s “The Musketeers” brings Alexandre Dumas’ classic characters to life with a fresh perspective. This series offers swashbuckling adventure, camaraderie, and intrigue as Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan navigate 17th century Paris to protect the king and country.

9. Medici (2016-2019)

  • Cast: Richard Madden, Stuart Martin, Annabel Scholey
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2016-2019)
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: Medici on IMDb

“Medici” delves into the infamous Italian Medici family’s power struggles and influence in Renaissance Florence. This gripping historical drama showcases political intrigue, artistic patronage, and the family’s ambition amid a backdrop of wealth and betrayal.

10. The Last Kingdom (2015-present)

  • Cast: Alexander Dreymon, Eliza Butterworth, Ian Hart
  • Number of Seasons: 5 (2015-present)
  • Genre: Action, Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Last Kingdom on IMDb

Adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s novels, “The Last Kingdom” follows the life of Uhtred of Bebbanburg as he navigates the conflicts between Anglo Saxons and Vikings in 9th and 10th century England. Filled with battles, alliances, and personal struggles, this series offers a compelling portrayal of a turbulent historical period.

11. The Gilded Age (2022-present)

  • Cast: Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Carrie Coon
  • Number of Seasons: 2 (2022-present)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Gilded Age on IMDb

Set in the opulent world of New York City during the Gilded Age, this series explores the clash between old money and new in a society undergoing rapid transformation. Expect lavish settings, intricate plots, and a glimpse into the struggles and aspirations of the rich and powerful.

12. The Grand Hotel (2011-2013)

  • Cast: Adriana Ozores, Amaia Salamanca, Yon González
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2011-2013)
  • Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: The Grand Hotel on IMDb

“The Grand Hotel” is a Spanish period drama set in the early 20th century. Centered around the mysteries and intrigues within a luxurious hotel, this show entwines romance, secrets, and class struggles amidst the elegant backdrop of the hotel’s guests and staff.

13. Cathedral of the Sea (2018)

  • Cast: Aitor Luna, Michelle Jenner, Daniel Grao
  • Number of Seasons: 1 (2018)
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: Cathedral of the Sea on IMDb

Adapted from Ildefonso Falcones’ novel, “Cathedral of the Sea” transports viewers to 14th century Barcelona. It follows the life of Arnau, a peasant who rises through the ranks, amidst social unrest and the construction of the Santa Maria del Mar cathedral.

14. The Serpent Queen (2022-present)

  • Cast: Ellie Bamber, Catherine de Léan, Alice Englert
  • Number of Seasons: 2 (2022-present)
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: Serpent Queen on IMDb

Based on the life of Catherine de’ Medici, “Serpent Queen” delves into the Italian noblewoman’s journey as she navigates the treacherous world of Renaissance France, wielding power and facing political intrigue.

15. The Law According to Lidia Poet (2023)

Set in 1920s Spain, “The Law According to Lidia Poet” follows a female lawyer navigating a male dominated profession. Lidia Poet tackles societal norms and legal challenges while uncovering family secrets and fighting for justice.

16. Lark Rise to Candleford (2008-2011)

Set in the late 19th century, “Lark Rise to Candleford” presents a charming portrayal of rural life in England. The series follows the lives of the residents in two contrasting communities, highlighting the social changes and personal stories against the backdrop of an evolving countryside.

17. The Knick (2014-2015)

  • Cast: Clive Owen, André Holland, Jeremy Bobb
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2014-2015)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Knick on IMDb

“The Knick” transports viewers to early 20th century New York City, offering a gripping depiction of the Knickerbocker Hospital and its staff. With raw realism and innovative medical practices, the series delves into the challenges and breakthroughs of the time, showcasing societal issues and personal struggles.

18. The White Queen (2013)

  • Cast: Rebecca Ferguson, Amanda Hale, Max Irons
  • Number of Seasons: 1 (2013)
  • Genre: Drama, History, Romance, TV Mini Series
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The White Queen on IMDb

“The White Queen” unfolds during England’s War of the Roses, focusing on the women caught in the midst of political turmoil. This series portrays the power struggles and intrigues of the time, weaving tales of love, betrayal, and ambition amidst the battle for the throne.

19. The White Princess (2017)

  • Cast: Jodie Comer, Jacob Collins-Levy, Michelle Fairley
  • Number of Seasons: 1 (2017)
  • Genre: Drama, History, TV Mini Series
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The White Princess on IMDb

Continuing the saga from “The White Queen,” “The White Princess” follows Elizabeth of York as she navigates political tensions and alliances after marrying Henry VII. This series offers a compelling narrative of love, betrayal, and power struggles in the aftermath of a tumultuous period.

20. The Spanish Princess (2019-2020)

  • Cast: Charlotte Hope, Ruairi O’Connor, Stephanie Levi-John
  • Number of Seasons: 2 (2019-2020)
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Spanish Princess on IMDb

“The Spanish Princess” tells the story of Catherine of Aragon, tracing her journey from Spain to becoming the Queen of England. With political intrigue, romance, and cultural clashes, this series provides a rich narrative of a strong willed woman navigating the complexities of royal life.

21. North and South (2004)
  • Cast: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Sinead Cusack
  • Number of Seasons: 1 (2004)
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, TV Mini Series
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • IMDb: North and South on IMDb

Set against the backdrop of the Victorian era, “North and South” follows the life of Margaret Hale, who moves from the idyllic south of England to the industrial north. This series explores social issues, love, and conflicts in a changing society during the Industrial Revolution.

22. The Cook of Castamar (2021)

  • Cast: Michelle Jenner, Roberto Enríquez, Hugo Silva
  • Number of Seasons: 1 (2021)
  • Genre: Drama, History, Romance
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Cook of Castamar on IMDb

“The Cook of Castamar” presents an intricate tale set in 18th century Spain. The story revolves around a talented cook and a nobleman, exploring their unlikely romance amid the backdrop of societal constraints, power struggles, and palace intrigues.

23. Anne with an E (2017-2019)

  • Cast: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2017-2019)
  • Genre: Drama, Family
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • IMDb: Anne with an E on IMDb

“Anne with an E” breathes new life into the beloved story of the orphan girl Anne Shirley from “Anne of Green Gables.” This series follows Anne as she navigates life, love, and self discovery in the picturesque landscape of late 19th century Prince Edward Island.

24. Wuthering Heights (2009)

  • Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Andrew Lincoln
  • Number of Seasons: 1 (2009)
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, TV Mini Series
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • IMDb: Wuthering Heights (2009) on IMDb

This adaptation of Emily Brontë’s classic novel “Wuthering Heights” unveils the tumultuous love story between Heathcliff and Cathy, entwined with themes of passion, revenge, and the haunting Yorkshire moors.

25. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (2023)

Betrothed against her will to King George, young Charlotte arrives in London on her wedding day and faces scrutiny from the monarch’s cunning mother. (from imdb)

26. The Crown (2016-present)

  • Cast: Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies
  • Number of Seasons: 6 (2016-present)
  • Genre: Drama, Biography, History
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Crown on IMDb

“The Crown” chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, exploring the personal and political intricacies of the British monarchy. With stellar performances and meticulous attention to historical detail, this series provides a captivating glimpse into royal life and the challenges of leadership.

27. Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

  • Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery
  • Number of Seasons: 6 (2010-2015)
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • IMDb: Downton Abbey on IMDb

“Downton Abbey” invites viewers into the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the early 20th century. This series beautifully captures the social changes, scandals, and relationships within a grand English estate.

28. Victoria (PBS) (2016-2019)

  • Cast: Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Rufus Sewell
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2016-2019)
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • IMDb: Victoria (PBS) on IMDb

“Victoria” follows the early reign of Queen Victoria, exploring her ascension to the throne and her marriage to Prince Albert. This series delves into the personal and political struggles of the young queen during a transformative period in British history.

29. Sanditon (PBS) (2019-2023)

  • Cast: Rose Williams, Theo James, Kris Marshall
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2019-2023)
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: Sanditon (PBS) on IMDb

Adapted from Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, “Sanditon” transports audiences to the coastal town of Sanditon, exploring love, ambition, and societal clashes. The series dives into the lives of its diverse inhabitants, offering a glimpse into Regency era England.

30. Outlander (2014-present)

  • Cast: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies
  • Number of Seasons: 8 (2014-present)
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: Outlander on IMDb

“Outlander” intertwines historical drama, time travel, and romance, following Claire Randall as she traverses two centuries and finds herself entangled in the Jacobite risings in 18th century Scotland. The series beautifully merges history, adventure, and a passionate love story.

31. The Empress (2022-present)

  • Cast: Melika Foroutan, Svenja Jung, Devrim Lingnau
  • Number of Seasons: 2 (2022-present)
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Empress (2022) on IMDb

When Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Princess of Bavaria Elisabeth von Wittelsbach meet, it is love at first sight. Unfortunately, the princess is the sister of the woman Franz is to marry. Enter the world of intrigue and tension at the Viennese court.

32. The Great (2020-present)

  • Cast: Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2020-present)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: The Great on IMDb

“The Great” offers a darkly comedic take on the rise of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. Filled with wit, intrigue, and sharp dialogue, the series portrays Catherine’s journey from a naïve outsider to a shrewd and influential ruler.

33. Reign (2013-2017)
  • Cast: Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs
  • Number of Seasons: 4 (2013-2017)
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy
  • Rating: TV-14
  • IMDb: Reign on IMDb

“Reign” transports viewers to the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, blending history with fantasy and romance. This series intertwines politics, love, and power struggles as it depicts the life of the young queen amid the intricate web of royal politics.

34. Versailles (2015-2018)

  • Cast: George Blagden, Alexander Vlahos, Tygh Runyan
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2015-2018)
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, History
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: Versailles on IMDb

“Versailles” invites viewers into the court of King Louis XIV, exploring the construction of the opulent Palace of Versailles and the intrigues, scandals, and power struggles that unfolded within its walls during the height of French royalty.

35. Harlots (2017-2019)

  • Cast: Jessica Brown Findlay, Samantha Morton, Lesley Manville
  • Number of Seasons: 3 (2017-2019)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: Harlots on IMDb

“Harlots” presents a compelling narrative of 18th century London’s brothel industry, showcasing the lives of brothel owners and their courtesans. The series offers a gripping portrayal of power struggles, survival, and societal dynamics in Georgian England.

36. Marie Antoinette (2022-present)

  • Cast: Roxane Duran, Emilia Schüle, Louis Cunningham
  • Number of Seasons: 2 (2022-present)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • IMDb: Marie Antoinette (2022) on IMDb

Follows the famed queen Marie Antoinette, who was the last queen of France before the French Revolution. (from imdb)

We hope you enjoyed this walk through the corridors of time.

These period drama shows, much like “Bridgerton” and “Downton Abbey,” leave an indelible mark.

They’ve transported us to eras where honor clashed with desire, and where every intricate gown held a story of its own. These shows remind us of the timeless allure of history’s secrets, the elegance of bygone etiquettes, and the enduring power of love against all odds.

With these period drama series, we get lost in the romantic intrigues, societal complexities, and grandeur of an era long past.

Lets continue to be enchanted by period dramas and eagerly await the next chapter of historical allure!

Thanks for reading our article. We hope you found some period shows to add to your must watch list. Download the free checklist below to keep track of what you want to watch.

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Click on the button below to get your FREE “Period Drama Shows” checklist that you can print or check off directly on your device!

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So, what are your thoughts on the movies included in this list? What additional movies would you have included? What movies would you have left off?

We encourage all comments and discussion!

Everyone is welcome!





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