The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

12k votes 2.7k voters 114k views 48 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only true historical dramas - no fantasy, including dragons or time / space travel.

Learn about real-world history while you binge watch the best historical drama shows on television. Some of the greatest TV dramas feature realistic settings from history and characters who actually existed. This list of the greatest historical drama shows is ranked best to worst, and it also includes information about the cast. Popular historical drama TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining historical drama show of all time is.

Including Rome and Vikings, the list of good historical series features period dramas and medieval epics. These shows usually have colorful costumes, beautiful set pieces, and even ancient languages. 

This list answers the questions, "What is the best historical drama show of all time?" and "What are the greatest historical drama shows?" Want a little between-wars England with your Downton Abbey? Some Henry VIII with your The Tudors? Don't let your favorite historical drama television programs in history get to the bottom of the list - be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot. The list of historical drama television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available.

Collection Photo:  via hbo
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & added by MarkWilliams
    Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgård

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    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

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    most listed & added by RazvanPop
    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

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    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

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  5. 5
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    added by Victoria Smith
    Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger The Borgias is a historical-fiction drama television series, created by Neil Jordan.  This series follows the life of the Borgia family in Rome. 

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  6. 6
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    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

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    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker

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    added by Megan Monaco Lanier
    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

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  9. 9
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    added by Amy Boal
    Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng, Joan Chen

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  10. 10
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    Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs

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  11. 11
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    often listed & added by Chris Abraham
    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

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  12. 12
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    Brett Tucker, Craig Parker, Viva Bianca

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  13. 13
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    added by Chris Abraham
    Janet McTeer, Rebecca Ferguson

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  14. 14
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    added by Rachele Digrazia
    George Blagden, Stuart Bowman, Evan Williams

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  15. 15
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    added by 1478207789575
    Gerard Kearns, Alec Newman, Madeleine Power

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

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  17. 17
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    added by Greer Baudreau
    Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman

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  18. 18
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    Medici: Masters of Florence is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

    added by Kindra Haystacks Markham

  19. 19
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    added by Greer Baudreau
    Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

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  20. 20
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    often listed & added by VidakovićMarija
    Elizabeth Taylor, Kirstie Alley, Johnny Cash

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  21. 21
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    Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos

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  22. 22
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    ranked low on reranks & added by Robert Berryman
    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New

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    ranked low on reranks & added by Emma Kate Thompson
    Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees

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    Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett

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  25. 25
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    Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Matt Barr

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  26. 26
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    added by DavidBlauch
    Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy

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    ranked low on reranks & added by Lauren Alysse Lake
    Matt Smith, John Lithgow, Claire Foy

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    often listed & added by Greer Baudreau
    Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Jean Marsh

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  29. 29
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    added by zoe-krainik
    Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Stephen Wight

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  30. 30
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    added by 1478207789575

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  31. 31
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    added by AlissonKolling
    Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Robin McLeavy

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  32. 32
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    added by Edom
    Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell

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  33. 33
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    Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tamsin Egerton

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    added by Bruce Wheeler
    Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main

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    added by Bethanie Grace Frith
    Mark Ryder, Isolda Dychauk, Diarmuid Noyes

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    added by haunui-royal
    Gillian Anderson, Carey Mulligan, Charles Dance

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  37. 37
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    added by Daniel Martínez Arg
    Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Hugh Dancy

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  38. 38
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    often listed & added by Greer Baudreau
    David Carradine, Keye Luke, Radames Pera

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  39. 39
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    Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Chernus, Christopher Denham

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    new! & added by Hamza Qayyum
    Mehmet Günsür, Cansu Dere, Meryem Uzerli

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  41. 41
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    added by Lauren Alysse Lake
    Damian Lewis, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Graves

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  42. 42
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    Andy Serkis, Freema Agyeman, Matthew Macfadyen

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    added by Lauren Alysse Lake
    Anthony Hopkins, Alan Dobie, Morag Hood

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  44. 44
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    added by Robert Berryman
    Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Nikesh Patel, Jemima West

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  45. 45
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    added by MichaelChoi
    Lisa Ray, Paul Rhys, Georgina Reilly

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  46. 46
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    Empresses in the Palace is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

    added by Lauren Alysse Lake

  47. 47
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    Quo Vadis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

    added by Daniel Martínez Arg

  48. 48
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    Anno Domini is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

    added by Daniel Martínez Arg

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