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The Best Period Piece TV Shows 

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Updated June 19, 2020 17.1k votes 1.4k voters 32.6k views 95 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

Downton Abbey (PBS, 2010) is a British historical drama television series created by Julian Fellowes. A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in ...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

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
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

Mad Men (AMC, 2007) is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. Womanizing advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) balances work and pleasure, while harboring ...more
4
The Crown is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 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
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

The Tudors (Showtime, 2007) is a historical fiction television series created by Michael Hirst. In 16th-century England, King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) protects his throne from enemies ...more
6
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Moonpie66 added Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman

Premiered: 1995

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
7
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
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
8
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Todogo added Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees

Premiered: 1975

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
9
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Denise Schult added Poldark Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson

Premiered: 2013

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
10
Chernobyl is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
marxbros added Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson

Premiered: 2019

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
11
Anne with an E is listed (or ranked) 11 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 created by Moira Walley-Beckett, based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne Shirley (Amybeth ...more
12
North & South is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Richard Armitage, Sinéad Cusack, Daniela Denby-Ashe

Premiered: 2004

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
13
Victoria is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 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
14
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
murphycat added Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Premiered: 1972

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
15
Reign is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs

Premiered: 2013

Reign (The CW, 2013) is an American historical romantic drama television series created by Stephanie SenGupta and Laurie McCarthy. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, (Adelaide Kane) faces political ...more
16
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
peanuts added Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern

Premiered: 1988

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
17
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
VFBundy13 added Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

Premiered: 2010

Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 2010) is an American period crime drama television series created by Terence Winter, based on the non-fiction book by Nelson Johnson. During the 1920s Prohibition era, a ...more
18
Ripper Street is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg

Premiered: 2012

Ripper Street is a British TV series set in Whitechapel in London's East End in 1889, six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper. The series stars Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, and Adam ...more
19
Spartacus: Blood and San... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Jason S. added Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker

Premiered: 2010

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
20
Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
ScorpioShane added Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New

Premiered: 2014

Black Sails is an American dramatic adventure television series set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. The series was created by Jonathan ...more
21
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
cpitre27 added 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.
22
Roots is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
peanuts added LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

Premiered: 1977

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
23
Harlots is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
Harlots Samantha Morton, Jessica Brown Findlay, Lesley Manville

Premiered: 2017

Harlots (Hulu, 2017) is a British-American period drama television series created by Alison Newman and Moira Buffini, inspired by The Covent Garden Ladies by British historian Hallie Rubenhold. ...more
24
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
murphycat added Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

Premiered: 2004

Deadwood (HBO, 2004) is an American Western television series created by David Milch. In 1870s South Dakota, residents of Deadwood are involved in all sorts of corruption, crime, and secrets.
25
Lonesome Dove is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Period Piece TV Shows
peanuts added Diane Lane, Robert Duvall, Steve Buscemi
Lonesome Dove is a 1989 American epic Western adventure television miniseries directed by Simon Wincer. It is a four part adaptation of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by ...more