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The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows 

Ranker TV
Originally by
Updated May 26, 2020 15.1k votes 3.4k voters 27.2k views 18 items

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 and see if it is one of the best period piece shows of all time.

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1
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

Premiered: 2014

Outlander (Starz, 2014) is a historical drama television series developed by Ronald D. Moore, based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon. A married former WWII nurse (Caitriona Balfe) is ...more

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2
Anne with an E is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Brittany L. Sorg added Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson

Premiered: 2017

Anne with an E (2017, Netflix) is a Canadian television series created by Moira Walley-Beckett, based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne Shirley (Amybeth ...more

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3
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Todogo added Poldark Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ruby Bentall

Premiered: 2015

Poldark (BBC One, 2015) is a British-American drama television series created by Debbie Horsfield, based on the novels by Winston Graham. Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) returns home after American ...more

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4
The Crown is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby

Premiered: 2016

The Crown (Netflix, 2016) is an American-British biographical drama series created by Peter Morgan. A young Queen Elizabeth II's (Claire Foy) political rivalries and romances guide the events ...more

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5
Victoria is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Peter Bowles

Premiered: 2016

Victoria (ITV, 2016) is a drama television series created by Daisy Goodwin. The show depicts first few years of the reign of Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman), from her accession to the throne at ...more

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6
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Laura Main

Premiered: 2012

Call the Midwife (BBC, 2012) is a British period drama series created by Heidi Thomas. The lives of a group of midwives living in East London are documented in the late-1950s to mid-1960s.

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7
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Premiered: 2013

Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A farmer (Travis Fimmel) rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes a ...more

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8
The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Mads added Alexander Dreymon, David Dawson, Tobias Santelmann

Premiered: 2015

The Last Kingdom (BBC America, 2015) is a British historical fiction television series based on Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories series of novels. In 872 England, an unlikely hero (Alexander ...more

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9
The Marvelous Mrs. Maise... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen, Alex Borstein

Premiered: 2017

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Video, 2017) is an American period comedy-drama web television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. A 1960s housewife (Rachel Brosnahan) discovers she has a ...more

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10
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Bere Gutiérrez added Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson

Premiered: 2013

Peaky Blinders (BBC Two, 2013) is a British television action drama created by Steven Knight, based upon the exploits of the historical gang. In 1919 Birmingham, England, leader Tommy Shelby ...more

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11
The Alienist is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning

Premiered: 2018

The Alienist (TNT, 2018) is an American television period drama event series created by Cary Fukunaga, based on the novel by Caleb Carr. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) and newspaper ...more

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12
The English Game is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Edward Holcroft, Kevin Guthrie, Charlotte Hope

Premiered: 2020

The English Game (Netflix, 2020) is a historical drama series created by Julian Fellowes, Tony Charles, and Oliver Cotton. The story of the invention of football and how it quickly rose to ...more

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13
Barkskins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Steven McCarthy, James Bloor, Kaniehtiio Horn

Premiered: 2020

Barkskins (National Geographic, 2020) is a drama television series created by Elwood Reid based on the novel of the same name by Annie Proulx. Barksins follows a disparate group of outcasts who ...more

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14
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks

Premiered: 2014

Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah Hawley, and inspired by the 1996 film. Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and wrong doings ...more

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15
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn

Premiered: 2015

Better Call Saul (AMC, 2015) is an American television drama series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, and a spinoff prequel of Breaking Bad. The trials and tribulations of lawyer, Jimmy ...more

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16
Murdoch Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Lisa Ray, Paul Rhys, Georgina Reilly

Premiered: 2008

Murdoch Mysteries (Citytv, 2008) is a Canadian television drama series based on characters from the Detective Murdoch novels by Maureen Jennings. In the 1890s, William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) ...more

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17
The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile

Premiered: 2013

The Goldbergs (ABC, 2013) is an American television sitcom created by Adam F. Goldberg. Adam (Sean Giambrone), a geeky 11-year-old, uses a video camera to document his crazy family throughout ...more

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18
American Crime Story is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, Christian Clemenson

Premiered: 2016

American Crime Story (FX, 2016) is an American anthology television series Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, and Tom Rob Smith. Each season is presented as a self-contained miniseries, ...more

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