historical events The Best Historical Drama TV Shows  

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List Rules 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.

list ordered by

1
+ - 1,249 271
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Vikings Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgård

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2
+ - 843 292
The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
The Tudors Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

3
+ - 866 323
Rome is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Rome Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

4
+ - 709 230
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Downton Abbey Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

5
+ - 618 300
The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
The Borgias 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. 

6
+ - 590 212
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Band of Brothers Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

7
+ - 344 231
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Deadwood Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

8
+ - 513 320
Spartacus: Blood and Sand is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Spartacus: Blood and Sand Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker

9
+ - 471 127
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Outlander Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

10
+ - 360 74
The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
The Last Kingdom Gerard Kearns, Alec Newman, Madeleine Power

11
+ - 494 214
The White Queen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
The White Queen Janet McTeer, Rebecca Ferguson

12
+ - 545 334
Reign is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Reign Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs

13
+ - 342 168
Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Marco Polo Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng, Joan Chen

14
+ - 170 138
Roots is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Roots LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

15
+ - 274 46
The Crown is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
The Crown Matt Smith, John Lithgow, Claire Foy

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16
+ - 265 99
Versailles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Versailles George Blagden, Stuart Bowman, Evan Williams

17
+ - 285 162
Spartacus: Vengeance is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Spartacus: Vengeance Brett Tucker, Craig Parker, Viva Bianca

18
+ - 265 117
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Pride and Prejudice Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman

19
+ - 238 131
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Mad Men Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

20
+ - 275 190
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
John Adams Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett

21
+ - 259 65
Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Black Sails Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New

22
+ - 219 53
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Poldark Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees

23
+ - 155 90
Hatfields & McCoys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Hatfields & McCoys Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Matt Barr

24
+ - 194 153
North and South is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
North and South Elizabeth Taylor, Kirstie Alley, Johnny Cash

25
+ - 184 45
Medici: Masters of Florence is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

26
+ - 225 143
Da Vinci's Demons is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Da Vinci's Demons Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos

27
+ - 169 47
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

28
+ - 130 34
Hell on Wheels is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Hell on Wheels Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Robin McLeavy

29
+ - 166 88
Wolf Hall is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Wolf Hall Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy

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30
+ - 95 53
The Paradise is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
The Paradise Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Stephen Wight

31
+ - 113 39
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Call The Midwife Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main

32
+ - 70 89
Upstairs, Downstairs is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Upstairs, Downstairs Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Jean Marsh

33
+ - 69 58
Foyle's War is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Foyle's War Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell

34
+ - 59 33
Elizabeth I is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Elizabeth I Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Hugh Dancy

35
+ - 97 106
Camelot is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Camelot Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tamsin Egerton

36
+ - 68 47
Borgia is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Borgia Mark Ryder, Isolda Dychauk, Diarmuid Noyes

37
+ - 37 45
Bleak House is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Bleak House Gillian Anderson, Carey Mulligan, Charles Dance

38
+ - 35 27
Magnificent Century is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Magnificent Century Mehmet Günsür, Cansu Dere, Meryem Uzerli

39
+ - 64 16
North & South is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
North & South Richard Armitage, Sinéad Cusack, Daniela Denby-Ashe

40
+ - 27 23
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
War and Peace Anthony Hopkins, Alan Dobie, Morag Hood

41
+ - 81 33
Merlin is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Merlin John Hurt, Colin Morgan, Bradley James

42
+ - 38 92
Kung Fu is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Kung Fu David Carradine, Keye Luke, Radames Pera

43
+ - 25 26
Murdoch Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Murdoch Mysteries Lisa Ray, Paul Rhys, Georgina Reilly

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44
+ - 27 30
The Forsyte Saga is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
The Forsyte Saga Damian Lewis, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Graves

45
+ - 27 40
Little Dorrit is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Little Dorrit Andy Serkis, Freema Agyeman, Matthew Macfadyen

46
+ - 41 80
Manhattan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Manhattan Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Chernus, Christopher Denham

47
+ - 32 39
Indian Summers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Indian Summers Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Nikesh Patel, Jemima West

48
+ - 15 25
Empresses in the Palace is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

49
+ - 27 12
I, Claudius is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
I, Claudius Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Siân Phillips

50
+ - 20 12
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