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The Best Period Piece TV Shows 

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Updated March 6, 2020 16k votes 1.3k voters 29.6k views 90 items

List Rules Vote up the best television series set in a different time period than when they were filmed.

The very best period piece shows on television, ranked from best to worst. This list of the greatest period piece shows. The most popular period piece TV shows have been an integral part of television programming for years, so there's all kinds of different opinions about what the most entertaining period piece show of all time is.

Don't let your favorite period piece 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 period piece television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available.

List is made up of a variety of shows, including That '70s Show and Mad Men.

What do you think are the best period pieces in TV history?

This list answers the questions, "What is the best period piece show of all time?" and "What are the greatest period piece shows?"
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
cpitre27 added Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 52

Network: ITV

Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series created by Julian Fellowes and co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece. It first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and Ireland on ...more
2
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
MejaEhrenström added Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

Premiered: 2014

Network: Starz

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
3
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Premiered: 2007

Number of Seasons: 7

Network: AMC

Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on July 19, 2007 on the cable network AMC and is produced by Lionsgate Television. The ...more
4
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Todogo added Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees

Premiered: 1975

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 29

Network: BBC One

Poldark is the original version of the BBC television series adaptation of the novels of the same title written by Winston Graham. The adaption was first transmitted in the UK between 1975 and
5
The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Tangy Tiger added Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

Premiered: 2007

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 38

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, Showtime, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Television, TV3

The Tudors is a British-Irish-Canadian historical fiction television series set primarily in sixteenth-century England, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premium cable ...more
6
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Denise Schult added Poldark Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 4

2nd Adaptation of Poldark starring Aidan Turner and premiered in 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
7
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Moonpie66 added Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman

Premiered: 1995

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Pride and Prejudice is a six-episode 1995 British television drama, adapted by Andrew Davies from Jane Austen's 1813 novel of the same name. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth starred as Elizabeth ...more
8
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
murphycat added Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Premiered: 1972

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 251

Network: CBS

M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ...more
9
The Crown is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby

Premiered: 2016

Network: Netflix

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
Roots is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
peanuts added LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

Premiered: 1977

Network: American Broadcasting Company

This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the ...more
11
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
peanuts added Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern

Premiered: 1988

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 115

Network: American Broadcasting Company

The Wonder Years is an American television comedy-drama created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black. It ran on ABC from 1988 through 1993. The pilot aired on January 31, 1988, following ABC's ...more
12
Little House on the Prai... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
murphycat added
Little House on the Prairie is an American Western drama television series, starring Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Karen Grassle, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, ...more
13
Anne with an E is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Shweta Menon added Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson

Premiered: 2017

Anne with an E (2017, Netflix) is a Canadian television series based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty) is a good-hearted, earnest ...more
14
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
cpitre27 added Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main

Premiered: 2012

Number of Episodes: 15

Network: BBC One

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
15
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
murphycat added Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 36

Network: HBO

Deadwood is an American western television series created, produced, and largely written by David Milch and aired on the premium cable network HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, ...more
16
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson

Premiered: 2013

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: BBC Two

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
17
Victoria is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Peter Bowles

Premiered: 2016

Network: ITV

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
18
Spartacus: Blood and San... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Jason S. added Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 1

Network: Starz!

Spartacus: Blood and Sand is the title of the first and most critically acclaimed season of Spartacus, a television series that premiered on Starz on January 22, 2010. The series was inspired by ...more
19
North & South is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Richard Armitage, Sinéad Cusack, Daniela Denby-Ashe

Premiered: 2004

Number of Episodes: 4

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

North & South is a British television drama serial, produced by the BBC and originally broadcast in four episodes on BBC One in November and December 2004. It follows the story of Margaret ...more
20
Reign is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Reign is an American historical fantasy television series following the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots living in France. The series, created by Stephanie SenGupta and Laurie McCarthy, airs ...more
21
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
VFBundy13 added Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 36

Network: HBO

Boardwalk Empire is an American period drama television series created by Terence Winter. Airing on premium cable channel HBO, the series is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the ...more
22
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Skyeghost added Bruce Willis, Charles Aidman, Robin Ward

Premiered: 1985

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 65

Network: CBS

The Twilight Zone is the first of two revivals of Rod Serling's acclaimed 1950/60s television series of the same name. It ran for two seasons on CBS before producing a final season for
23
Chernobyl is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
marxbros added Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson

Premiered: 2019

Network: HBO

Chernobyl (HBO, 2019) is an American-British historical drama television miniseries created by Craig Mazin. In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the USSR becomes ...more
24
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Benjamin Dunn added Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

Number of Seasons: 38

Number of Episodes: 861

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC America, BBC One, S4C, BBC HD

Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more
25
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco

Premiered: 1999

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 18

Network: NBC

Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig with Judd Apatow as executive producer, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. ...more