Entertainment

The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows  

Ranker TV
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3.6k votes 658 voters 17.8k views 30 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 in 2018-2019 and see if it is one of the best period piece shows of all time.

list ordered by
1
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks
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
2
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn
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
3
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
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 ...more
4
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen
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
5
Victoria is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Peter Bowles
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
6
The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Mads added Alexander Dreymon, David Dawson, Tobias Santelmann
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
7
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Bere Gutiérrez added Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson
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
8
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
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 ...more
9
The Crown is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby
The Crown (Netflix, 2016) is an American-British biographical drama series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The series begins with the 1947 wedding of young Elizabeth ...more
10
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen, Alex Borstein
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon, 2017) is an American television series, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Rachel Brosnahan as a housewife in the 1950s who decides to become a ...more
11
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Todogo added Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ruby Bentall
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
12
The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
LanaYoshii added 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. ...more
13
Project Blue Book is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Aidan Gillen, Laura Mennell, Michael Harney
Project Blue Book (History, 2019) is an American historical drama television series created by Robert Zemeckis, David O'Leary, and Sean Jablonski, co-produced by History Channel and A&E ...more
14
Medici Masters of Florence is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Dustin Hoffman, Richard Madden, Stuart Martin
Medici: Masters of Florence is a television drama series about the Medici dynasty set in 15th century Florence. Cosimo the Elder (Richard Madden) was elected head of the Florentine Republic in ...more
15
Murdoch Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
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 ...more
16
The Alienist is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning
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
17
Frontier is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Jason Momoa, Alun Armstrong, Landon Liboiron
Frontier (Netflix, 2016) is a Canadian-American historical drama television series co-created by Brad Peyton, Rob Blackie, and Peter Blackie. Declan Harp (Jason Momoa), a part-Irish, part-Cree ...more
18
High Seas is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Eloy Azorín, Ivana Baquero, Luis Bermejo
High Seas (Netflix, 2019), named Alta mar in Spanish, is a Spanish mystery period drama television series. Mysterious deaths on a luxurious ship traveling from Spain to Rio de Janeiro in the ...more
19
Godfather of Harlem is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Forest Whitaker, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ilfenesh Hadera
Godfather of Harlem (Epix, 2019) is an American crime drama television series. After being released from prison, crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker) takes on the Genovese crime family to ...more
20
Pennyworth is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, Ryan Fletcher
Pennyworth (Epix, 2019) is an American drama television series based on the DC Comics characters. The story of how Bruce Wayne's legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former ...more
21
Fosse/Verdon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Sam Rockwell, Michelle Williams, Margaret Qualley
Fosse/Verdon (FX, 2019) is an American biographical miniseries, based on the book Fosse by Sam Wasson. The series follows the romantic and creative partnership of filmmaker Bob Fosse (Sam ...more
22
Most Beautiful Thing is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Maria Casadevall, Leandro Lima, Fernanda Vasconcellos
Most Beautiful Thing (Netflix, 2019), in Portuguese "Coisa Mais Linda," is a Brazilian period drama television series. The show follows young and wealthy Maria Luiza (Maria Casadevall) ...more
23
Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, oby Huss
Dickinson (Apple TV+, 2019) is an American comedy web television series created by Alena Smith. Set in the during the Victorian era, the show takes viewers into the world of Emily (Hailee ...more
24
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Lily Collins
Les Misérables (BBC, 2018) is a British television miniseries based on the French historical novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. Set in early 19th-century France, the series follows ...more
25
Warrior is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Current Period Piece TV Shows
Andrew Koji, Olivia Cheng, Jason Tobin
Warrior (Cinemax, 2019) is an American action television series created by Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin. In late 1800s San Francisco during the Tong Wars, a martial arts prodigy from China ...more