Whether or not we like to admit it, we often watch TV shows to escape and distract from our everyday lives. From the palpable romances that make us forget all our dating struggles, to the breathtaking settings that transport us someplace completely new, there’s nothing like a good TV show to hit pause on our lives for a bit.
And, of course, no TV show does that better than period TV shows. After all, period shows not only transport you to a new story but also to a new era.
On May 4, the long-awaited prequel to the Netflix hit Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, finally arrives on the platform. The show will tell the story of when a young Queen Charlotte (India Ria Amarteifio) rose to power at the end of the 18th century. Romance, extravagant gowns, and intrigue are just a glimpse of what we’ll enjoy about the new show.
So, in honor of this Netflix release, we’ve compiled a list of period TV shows you could be streaming right now. From the time-traveling romance of Outlander to the unapologetic Midge in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, check out some of our favorite period TV shows below. Happy watching!
‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’
Following the success of Bridgerton comes Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. The show, available on Netflix starting May 4, follows young Queen Charlotte’s rise to power, her marriage to King George, and the societal shift that soon followed in the Ton.
And if you’re interested in the prequel but haven’t seen Bridgerton just yet, adding it to your watch list is a must. In the hit show, follow the members of the Bridgerton family during the Regency era as they go through the ups and downs of finding a wife or a husband.
Starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, The Great gives a comedic spin to the story of Catherine the Great, Empressof Russia. The show’s unique pace and Hoult and Fanning’s disjointed dynamic will make viewers feel like they’re not watching a historical piece at all.
If you’re a big fan of the British royal family, watching The Crown on Netflix is such a must we’re guessing you’ve watched it already. The show, which is loosely based on true events, tells the story of the British royals, starting when the late Queen Elizabeth II became monarch in 1953.
Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Dickinson tells the story of world-renowned poet Emily Dickinson. With themes like female independence and the love between Emily and Susan, her brother’s wife, the show will most likely change what you think a period drama should even look like.
Loyal fans of Outlander know just how incredible Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan are as Claire and Jamie Fraser. The series, which is gearing up for its seventh and final season, tells the story of a love through the ages as the two go back and forth in time from the 18th century and beyond.
‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, led by Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein, tells the story of the anything-but-traditional housewife-turned-comedian Midge Maisel. The series, set in the 1950s, shows a whole new side of Manhattan through a hilarious and ultra-timely story.
Netflix mega-hit Peaky Blinders tells the story of a notorious gang in 1919 Birmingham, England. The gang, led by Cillian Murphy’s mysterious Tommy Shelby, isn’t afraid to stack up victims in order to totally dominate the town.
‘Anne With an E’
Loosely based on the novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne With an E is described as a coming-of-age story of an orphaned young woman (Amybeth McNulty) in the early 19th century. After living in abusive foster homes, she’s mistakenly sent to live with an elderly spinster and her aging brother.
Set in a grand English estate in the 1920s, Downton Abbey follows the lavish Crawley family and their extensive staff. Love, betrayal, mystery, and exquisite fashion are just a few of the things viewers love so much about the show.
Taking a break from the poise and polish of many period shows, Vikings gets down to the nitty-gritty of the rise and fall of the Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel). Though the battles may be filled with bloodshed, the show also brings a sense of humanity to the warriors beneath the armor.
‘Call the Midwife’
Set in 1950s London, Call the Midwife follows the hardworking lives of a tight group of nurses and midwives. A story of strength, female friendship, and sacrifice.
This one is for all the Cold War history buffs out there. The Americans, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, tell the story of a couple who are secretly undercover KGB spies in the U.S. during the Cold War.
Set in 1960 New York City, Mad Men tells the story of a high-power advertising agency led by Don Draper (Jon Hamm). For Don, however, the lines between home and work get blurry and messy every time.
‘The Gilded Age’
The Gilded Age, by the same creators of Downton Abbey, tells the story of the ultra-rich during 1880s New York. More specifically, the show follows Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) and Peggy Scott (Denée Benton) as they navigate joining the nouveau riche.
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