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.
- Photo: Outlander / StarzOutlander (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 suddenly transported back in time to 1740s Scotland where she meets a Highland warrior (Sam Heughan).... more
1,070864Great period piece series?
- Actors: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, Duncan Lacroix
- Premiered: August 9, 2014
- Network: STARZ
- 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 that would shape the second half of the twentieth century.... more
579494Great period piece series?
- Actors: Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Josh O'Connor, Erin Doherty
- Premiered: November 4, 2016
- Network: NETOV
- Photo: Peaky Blinders / BBCPeaky 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 (Cillian Murphy) and his gang look to do anything to move up in the world... more
298316Great period piece series?
- Actors: Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Sophie Rundle, Finn Cole
- Premiered: September 12, 2013
- Network: BBC2
- Photo: Call The Midwife / BBCCall 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.... more
381438Great period piece series?
- Actors: Jenny Agutter, Annabelle Apsion, Linda Bassett, Leonie Elliott, Helen George
- Premiered: January 15, 2012
- Network: BBC1