TV The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows  

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List Rules Television series set in a specific historical period. Upvote the best period piece series that have not been cancelled.

List of the best period piece television series, of any genre and from any network, that truly capture the feel of their time. From the Medieval Era, to the Roaring Twenties, to the Cold War, period series often deal with historical events, though some simply use their era as a backdrop. The top period series listed here are those currently on television only, whether period dramas or period comedies.

What are the best period TV shows ever? Period pieces are usually historical dramas and feature period costumes, sets, and dialogue. They tackle issues that would have been relevant in their period's time, such as the many changes faced by Lord Grantham as the world moves into a new age on Downton Abbey, or Peggy's battle to make her way in a male-dominated business on Mad Men.
 
Period TV shows are known for their success during awards season, often taking home Emmys and Golden Globes for their incredible set design and gorgeous costumes, and are regularly listed among the best television shows of all time.
 
Whether you love Boardwalk Empire, Masters of Sex, The Americans, or Penny Dreadful, many TV fans agree that period piece TV shows are some of the best. Don't see your favorite period series below? Add it to the list for a truly comprehensive ranking of the best period shows on television right now in 2016-2017 and see if it is one of the best period piece shows of all time.

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Outlander is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Outlander Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Created by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Left Bank Pictures for Starz, the show began its first run of ...more

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68 26
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Vikings Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgård Vikings is an Irish-Canadian historical drama television series written and created by Michael Hirst for the television channel History. It premiered on 3 March 2013 in the United States and Canada. Filmed in Ireland, it is an Ireland/Canada ...more

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61 25
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and ...more

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49 25
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Call The Midwife Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main Call the Midwife is a BBC period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s. It stars Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Helen George, Bryony Hannah, Laura Main, Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, ...more

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The Crown is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
The Crown Matt Smith, John Lithgow, Claire Foy

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The Americans is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
The Americans Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Holly Taylor The Americans is an American television period drama series created and produced by former CIA officer Joe Weisberg. The series premiered in the United States on January 30, 2013, on the cable network FX and its third season premiered on ...more

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The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added The Goldbergs Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, George Segal The Goldbergs is an American television sitcom that premiered on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 on ABC. The series was created by Adam F. Goldberg and stars Wendi McLendon-Covey and Jeff Garlin. The show is produced by Goldberg, Seth Gordon, and ...more

8
37 32
Reign is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Reign Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs Reign is an American historical fantasy television series following the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots living in France. The series, created by Stephanie SenGupta and Laurie McCarthy, airs on The CW and premiered as part of the 2013–14 ...more

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Fresh Off the Boat is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Fresh Off the Boat Constance Wu, Randall Park, Hudson Yang Fresh Off the Boat is a comedy series starring Randall Park, Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang, and Forrest Wheeler that is inspired by the life of chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his book Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir. It is the ...more

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28 18
Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Black Sails Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New Black Sails is an American dramatic adventure television series set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. The series was created by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine for Starz that ...more

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Fargo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Fargo Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman Fargo is an American black comedy–crime drama television series created and written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the 1996 film of the same name written and directed by the Coen brothers, who serve as executive producers on the ...more

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19 14
Agent Carter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Agent Carter Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Enver Gjokaj Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an upcoming American television series, spinning out of the Marvel One-Shot short film of the same name.

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Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Penny Dreadful Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green Penny Dreadful is a British-American horror TV series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan, who also acts as executive producer alongside Sam Mendes. The show was originally pitched to several U.S. and UK channels, and eventually landed ...more

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Hell on Wheels is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Hell on Wheels Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Robin McLeavy Hell on Wheels is a 2011 TV film directed by David Von Ancken.

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The White Queen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
McGeeters added The White Queen Janet McTeer, Rebecca Ferguson The White Queen is a British television drama series in ten parts, based on Philippa Gregory's historical novel series The Cousins' War. The first episode was premiered on BBC One on 16 June 2013 in the United Kingdom. It was first broadcast in ...more

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Turn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Turn Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen, Kevin McNally TURN: Washington's Spies is a period drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring, a history of the Culper Ring. The series debuted on AMC on April 6, 2014. TURN: Washington's Spies was renewed ...more

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Legends of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Legends of Tomorrow Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill

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Halt & Catch Fire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Halt and Catch Fire Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Ali Milner Halt and Catch Fire is an American period drama television series created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, that premiered on AMC on June 1, 2014. The series is set in the Silicon Prairie of Texas in 1983 and depicts a ...more

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Murdoch Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Murdoch Mysteries Lisa Ray, Paul Rhys, Georgina Reilly Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian television drama series aired on both City and CBC Television, titled The Artful Detective in the United States, featuring Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch, a police detective working in Toronto, Ontario, around ...more

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The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Mads added The Last Kingdom Gerard Kearns, Alec Newman, Madeleine Power

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American Crime Story is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added American Crime Story Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown A spin-off of Ryan Murphy's American Horror story, American Crime Story is a true crime anthology series. Season 1 (2016, FX), The People v. O. J. Simpson, presents the 1996 murder trial of O. J. Simpson. Season 2 focuses on the aftermath of ...more

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Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Better Call Saul Bob Odenkirk, Michael Mando, Jonathan Banks Better Call Saul is an American television drama series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. It is a spin-off of Breaking Bad, which was also created by Gilligan. Set in 2002, Better Call Saul is about small-time lawyer James Morgan ...more

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Masters of Sex is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Masters of Sex Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald Masters of Sex is an American period drama television series that premiered on September 29, 2013, on Showtime. It was developed by Michelle Ashford and loosely based on Thomas Maier's biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William ...more

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Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Sleepy Hollow Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood Sleepy Hollow is an American supernatural drama television series that premiered on Fox on September 16, 2013, that aired on Mondays at 9:00 pm ET. The series is considered a "modern-day adaptation" of the 1820 Halloween short story ...more

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The Musketeers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
The Musketeers Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino, Santiago Cabrera The Musketeers is a BBC historical-action drama programme based on the characters from Alexandre Dumas's novel The Three Musketeers and co-produced by BBC America and BBC Worldwide. The first episode was shown on BBC One on 19 January 2014. It ...more

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The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Sazonana added The Tudors Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy The Tudors is a British-Irish-Canadian historical fiction television series set primarily in sixteenth-century England, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premium cable television channel Showtime. The series, although named ...more

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The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Sazonana added The Borgias Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger The Borgias is an historical-fiction drama television series created by Neil Jordan; it debuted in 2011 and was canceled in 2013. The series is set around the turn of the 16th century and follows the Borgia family, an Italian dynasty of Spanish ...more

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Mr Selfridge is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Mr Selfridge Ron Cook, Jeremy Piven, Tom Goodman-Hill Mr Selfridge is a British period television drama series about Harry Gordon Selfridge and his department store, Selfridge & Co, in London, set in the 1910s. It is co-produced by ITV Studios and Masterpiece/WGBH for broadcast on ITV. The ...more

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Ripper Street is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Ripper Street Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg Ripper Street is a British TV series set in Whitechapel in London's East End in 1889, six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders. The series stars Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, and Adam Rothenberg. The first episode was broadcast ...more

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Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Amy Boal added Marco Polo Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng, Joan Chen Marco Polo is an American drama series about Marco Polo's early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the Khagan of the Mongolian Empire and the founder of the Yuan dynasty, which lasted from 1271-1368. The show premiered on Netflix on December ...more

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Manhattan is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Amy Boal added Manhattan Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Chernus, Christopher Denham Manhattan is an American television series that premiered on July 27, 2014, on WGN America. It is the second original series, after Salem, for the network. While some historical figures are referenced, most characters are fictional, and the ...more

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Vinyl is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Amy Boal added Vinyl Bobby Cannavale, Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano

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Da Vinci's Demons is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Da Vinci's Demons Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos Da Vinci's Demons is an historical fantasy drama series that presents a fictional account of Leonardo da Vinci's early life. The series was conceived by David S. Goyer and stars Tom Riley in the title role. It is developed and produced in ...more

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Another Period is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Another Period Michael Ian Black, Paget Brewster, Christina Hendricks

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Salem is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Salem Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel Salem is an American supernatural fiction drama television series created by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon, airing on WGN America starting April 20, 2014. It is the first original-scripted series distributed by WGN America. The series, starring ...more