I don’t know about you, but I love a good binge. On Netflix that is! Some of my favorite shows are the historical fiction period dramas they have available.
Whether it’s the middle of winter, a lazy afternoon, or after a hard workday I really enjoy getting to find out what happens next with my favorite characters. No waiting until next week, especially when you can find one that has quite a few seasons.
If you’re looking to find your next guilty pleasure, get ready to binge away with one of these series period dramas on Netflix.
Surely one of these would be great for your teenager to enjoy at her next movie party, but please see the note below.
PARENTAL NOTE: I have not listed a rating for these shows. Most of these shows are for mature viewers. If you are concerned about content to be able to watch with your teens, please check first.
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Alias Grace: (2017)
Alias Grace is based on the life of Grace Marks, a woman who was accused of murdering her employer.
The series was adapted from the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. It is a fascinating story that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
Anne with an e: (2017)
The historical drama, Anne with an e is based on the life of Anne Shirley, a young girl who is sent to live with her relatives in Canada.
The series was adapted from the novel “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery. It is a heartwarming story that will leave you feeling inspired.
Bonfire of Destiny: (2021)
Bonfire of Destiny tells the story of the destruction of Paris in the 18th century. The series is a co-production of Netflix and France Télévisions, and it stars Elisabeth Moss as Jeanne Labarde.
The series was adapted from the novel “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo. It is a gripping story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Borgias: (2011)
This series originally on Showtime is set in 15th century Italy and follows the lives of Pope Alexander VI (played by Jeremy Irons) and his family as they navigate politics, power struggles, and plenty of scandals.
The Borgias is a period drama series that will keep you on your toes with its twists and turns!
This show is set in London during the Regency period, which was between 1811 and 1830. The show follows Bridgerton family members as they navigate high society while trying to find love.
Produced by Shonda Rhimes, of Grey’s Anatomy fame, this one has it all: romance, scandal, intrigue.
Bridgerton is based on the first of Julia Quinn’s novels, a collection of eight, each featuring one of the eight children of the late Viscount Bridgerton.
With great success for season 1, Bridgerton Season 2 is out!
This is for sure one of my favorites on the list. I loved the romance of the first season with the oldest Daphne, played by actress Phoebe Dynevor, and the Duke of Hastings, played by actor Rege-Jean Page.
If the whole season is anything like the first few episodes, then it’s going to surpass my expectations. I can barely stop watching. I won’t give any spoilers but there’s a juicy love triangle, (isn’t there always).
Cable Girls: (2017)
In 1920s Madrid, four women at the National Telephone Company ring in revolution as they manage romance, friendship, and the modern workplace. With 5 seasons, this show from Spain is Netflix’s longest-running non-U.S based show ever.
Call the Midwife: (2012)
This PBS show has finally come to Netflix. Call the Midwife is a period drama set in 1950s London and follows the lives of midwives working in an inner-city convent. I am currently on season 3 and loving it.
Although this show deals with childbirth in every episode, there is no nudity or inappropriate language. Mature themes deal with death, spousal abuse, drinking, smoking, and sex but all done in a very “fifties way.”
This period drama is set in 19th century Germany and follows the Charité hospital. The hospital is a place of hope and healing, but it is also a hotbed of political intrigue. This period drama is a fascinating look at the world of medicine and politics.
The Cook of Castamar: (2021)
The Cook of Castamar tells the story of a woman who is hired to cook for a wealthy family in Spain. The series is a co-production of Netflix and Antena Tres, and it stars Adriana Ugarte as Elena Ruiz.
The series was adapted from the novel adapting the novel of the same name by Fernando J. Muñez It is a delicious story that will leave you wanting more.
The Crown: 2016
If you’re looking for a period drama that’s both lavish and historically accurate, look no further than The Crown. This show tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, from her coronation in 1952 to the present day.
Derry Girls: (2018)
Derry Girls is a comedy set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The show follows a group of teenage girls as they navigate the ups and downs of adolescence.
Downton Abbey: (2010)
Following the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants between 1912 and 1926 in England, Downton Abbey has become a cult classic. Immensely entertaining, if you have never seen it before, now is the perfect time to start watching this British historical drama series.
6 Seasons – Scheduled to leave Netflix in May 2022 – catch it now in time to see the movie – Downtown Abbey: A New Era in theaters on May 18, 2022.
The Durrells in Corfu: (2016)
This series takes place on the Greek island of Corfu in 1935 and follows the Durrell family as they try to adjust to life in a new country. While this show is only available on Netflix in the U.K. if you change your watching region to the U.K. you can pick up all four seasons.
The English Game: (2020)
The English Game tells the story of the origins of British football in England, known in America as soccer. The series stars Edward Holcroft as Fergus Suter. The show follows two young men from different backgrounds who become rivals on the pitch. This period drama is a must-see for any soccer fan.
Adapted from the book “The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer” by David Goldblatt.
The Fall: (2013)
Taking place in Northern Ireland and following Paul Spector (played by Jamie Dornan), a serial killer who is being hunted down by Stella Gibson (played by Gillian Anderson).
Frontier, set in the 18th century follows the life of Declan Harp, a man who battles against trappers who trade with Native Americans.
This historical period drama is set in the American West in the late 1800s. It follows an outlaw who is on the run from a posse. The outlaw finds refuge with a widowed rancher and her daughter. This period drama is a bit darker, but it is captivating.
This period drama is set in the 1970s and follows Halston, a fashion designer. Halston was one of the most famous designers of his time and dressed some of the most iconic women of the era. This period drama is a fascinating look at the world of fashion and celebrity.
The Irregulars: (2021)
This series period drama takes place in 1920s England and follows the exploits of a group of young detectives who are nicknamed “The Irregulars.” Based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it features the Baker Street Irregulars working for Dr. Watson, (of Sherlock Holmes fame), saving London from supernatural elements.
The Kingdom: (2021)
After his running mate’s murder, a controversial televangelist becomes Argentina’s presidential candidate. But nothing about him is as holy as he seems.
The King’s Affection (2021)
This true story is set in the 18th century. The show follows King George III and his queen, Charlotte. The couple’s marriage is strained by the pressures of royal life and they must deal with scandal and public opinion. This period drama is a fascinating look at monarchy and marriage.
The Last Czars: (2019)
This period drama takes place in Russia during the reign of Nicholas II and follows his family as they struggle to survive in their country’s turbulent political climate.
The Last Kingdom: (2015)
Set in the late ninth century when what is now England was divided into many small kingdoms. The show follows Uhtred, a Saxon who is captured by the Danes and raised as one of their own. When the Saxons rise up against the Danes, Uhtred must choose between his birthright and the people he has come to love.
This is one of my favorites. With season 5 of The Last Kingdom just dropping in March of 2022, this completes the series. Although this wraps up and following Uhtred will be missed, a movie showing more of his adventures has been completed. The movie, most likely in the fall of 2022. The movie, Seven Kings Must Die, will have a continuation of Uhtred’s story, however, if you haven’t watched the series it can be watched as a stand-alone.
Marco Polo: (2014)
Venetian explorer, Marco Polo travels to China in the 13th century and becomes a confidante of Kublai Khan.
The Medici The Magnificent: (2019)
Set in 15th century Florence, the show follows the Medici family, one of the most powerful families in Italy. The family is embroiled in politics and intrigue. This period drama is a fascinating look at power, corruption, and family dynamics.
Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters.
Mr. Sunshine: (2018)
Mr. Sunshine is a period drama set in the early 20th century and follows the life of Eugene Choi, a young boy who ends up in the U.S. after the 1871 Shinmiyangyo incident returns to Korea at a historical turning point and falls for a noblewoman.
Narcos chronicles the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the most notorious drug lord in history. The show is set in Colombia during the 1980s and 90s. Narcos is a gritty and realistic look at the war on drugs.
Outlander is a time-traveling romance set in Scotland in 1945 and 1743. Claire Randall is a married WWII nurse who inadvertently travels back to the 18th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Claire must navigate her way through dangerous political intrigue and find her way back to her own time. But what will happen when she finds herself falling in love with Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior from that period.
Adapted from Outlander, an eight-book series by Diana Gabaldon.
Outlander has beautiful scenery, great costumes, and amazing acting! It’s one of my favorite period dramas on Netflix right now!
4 Seasons are available on Netflix.
Season 5 coming to Netflix 2022. Season 5 and 6 available on Starz now.
Peaky Blinders: (2013)
This thrilling show is set in Birmingham, England in 1919 and follows the Shelby family and their gang of criminals. Tommy Shelby is trying to make a name for himself and his family in the world of organized crime, but he must deal with rival gangs, the police, and politicians.
Penny Dreadful: (2014)
Interweaving the classic stories of Dracula, Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, this serial drama takes place in Victorian-era London and follows the lives of various characters who are all connected to the occult.
The Princess Weiyoung: (2016)
This historical drama is set in China during the Tang Dynasty and follows Li Weiyoung (played by Tiffany Tang) as she tries to reclaim her throne. Weiyoung was exiled as a child and raised by her enemies. She must use her wits and strength to survive in a dangerous world.
Queen’s Gambit: (2020)
Queen’s Gambit is an exciting period drama about chess, but it also has some important themes like feminism and female empowerment. The show is set in Kentucky during the 1950s, this series will keep you on your toes with its fast-paced plot that keeps getting faster.
Follow the life of Mary Queen of Scots as she navigates French court. Historical romance filled with intrigue. rivalries and politics while trying to hold onto her crown. This series isn’t particularly historically accurate but it is one of my favorites.
Resurrection: Ertugrul: (2018)
This period drama is set in 13th century Anatolia. Ertugral, a 13th-century Turkish warrior agrees to fight the enemies of a sultan in exchange for land after a good deed endangers his clan.
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker: (2020)
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker is a period drama based on the life of Sarah Breedlove, an African-American entrepreneur who becomes a millionaire selling hair care products for black women in America at the turn of the 20th century.
Troy: Fall of a City: (2018)
The show is based on Homer’s Iliad, telling the story of the Trojan War. British-American miniseries based on the love affair between Paris and Helen. It’s a sweeping and epic tale of love, war, and betrayal.
This historical period piece takes place in France set in the 17th century during the reign of King Louis XIV (played by George Blagden) as he tries to gain control over his kingdom. The drama also focuses on the relationships between Louis XIV and his family, as well as the political maneuverings at court.
Vikings Valhalla: (2022)
This drama Netflix series takes place in the Viking Age and follows Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel) as he tries to become a legendary warrior. The show is packed with action, but also has a lot of heart.
When They See Us: (2019)
Based on the true story of five teenage boys from Harlem who were wrongfully convicted of raping and assaulting a woman jogging in Central Park in 1989. This mini-series is shown in four parts spanning 25 years from the time of the incident, through the convictions, exonerations and finally their settlement with New York City in 2014
The 6-part mini-series is based on the life of scientist, Frank Olson, who worked for a secret government biological warfare program It focuses on the events leading up to and following his controversial death. Features real interviews and footage from the investigation surrounding his death.
Netflix has a wide variety of period dramas to choose from, so whether you’re interested in the early 20th century or the Middle Ages, there’s sure to be something for you.
Some of my personal favorites include Bridgerton, Reign, Downton Abbey, Peaky Blinders, and Outlander.
Which one is yours? Comment below!