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The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era 

Ranker TV
Updated May 18, 2020 825 votes 322 voters 17.1k views 48 items

List Rules Vote up the best shows set in the Victorian Era (from 1837-1901) that are not Westerns.

The Victorian era technically spans the reign of England's Queen Victoria, from 1837-1901, and marks a time of social change and the industrial revolution. The early-mid 1800s into the first steps of the 20th century was full of big changes all over the world. The same set of years contains everything from straightforward Charles Dickens adaptations to steampunk reimaginings of the era's most notable literary characters and detectives.

One of the more fascinating aspects of television series set in the Victorian Era is the knowledge that just across the pond (from 1865-1895 at least) was the Old West. The simultaneous experience of a world undergoing vast industrial change while also forging new horizons is part of what defines the Victorian era. As important as the West was, the best television series about the Victorian era focus not on cowboys but cities. Think The Alienist, not The Virginian.

Which of these top TV shows set in the Victorian era are the best? Check out the list below and vote up your favorite period dramas and series, while voting down the shows that aren't as great.

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list ordered by
1
Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

Premiered: 2014

Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014) is a British-American horror drama television series created by John Logan. Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh ...more
2
The Alienist is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
3
Ripper Street is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
4
Victoria is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
5
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Sherlock Holmes Jeremy Brett, Charles Gray, Edward Hardwicke

Premiered: 1984

Sherlock Holmes is the name given to the TV series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations produced by British television company Granada Television between 1984 and 1994, with the first two series ...more
6
Alias Grace is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcraft, Zachary Levi

Premiered: 2017

Alias Grace (Netflix, 2017) is a miniseries based on the 1996 novel by Margaret Atwood. Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) is a convicted murderess who works in the home of the prison warden. Dr. Simon ...more
7
North & South is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
8
Murdoch Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
9
The Paradise is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Stephen Wight

Premiered: 2012

The Paradise (BBC, 2012) is a British television costume drama series and adaptation of Émile Zola's novel Au Bonheur des Dames and co-produced by BBC Worldwide America and Masterpiece. ...more
10
Lark Rise to Candleford ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Dawn French, Sheridan Smith, Liz Smith

Premiered: 2008

Lark Rise to Candleford (BBC One, 2008) is a British television period drama created by Bill Gallagher, and adapted from Flora Thompson's trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels. When Laura ...more
11
The Forsyte Saga is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Damian Lewis, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Graves

Premiered: 2002

In 2002, the first two books and the first interlude of John Galsworthy's trilogy The Forsyte Saga were adapted by Granada Television for the ITV network. Additional funding for this production ...more
12
The Terror is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Derek Mio, George Takei, Jared Harris

Premiered: 2018

The Terror (AMC, 2018) is an American horror drama anthology television series developed by David Kajganich, based on the 2007 novel by Dan Simmons. A new story each season, the show follows ...more
13
Cranford is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Eileen Atkins

Premiered: 2007

Cranford is a British television series directed by Simon Curtis and Steve Hudson. The teleplay by Heidi Thomas was adapted from three novellas by Elizabeth Gaskell published between 1849 and ...more
14
Return to Cranford is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Return to Cranford Judi Dench, Jonathan Pryce
Return to Cranford is the two-part second season of a British television series directed by Simon Curtis. The teleplay by Heidi Thomas was based on material from two novellas and a short story ...more
15
Tipping the Velvet is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sally Hawkins, Keeley Hawes

Premiered: 2002

Tipping the Velvet is a 2002 BBC television drama serial based on the best-selling debut novel by Sarah Waters of the same name. It originally screened in three episodes on BBC Two and was ...more
16
Bleak House is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Gillian Anderson, Carey Mulligan, Charles Dance

Premiered: 2005

A trio of orphans becomes embroiled in a mysterious and long-running lawsuit in this sprawling BBC adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. A legend in the legal circles of Victorian London, the ...more
17
Doctor Thorne is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Tom Hollander, Stefanie Martini, Harry Richardson

Premiered: 2016

Doctor Thorne (ITV, 2016) is a three-part (divided into four parts for broadcast in North America) television drama adaptation of the Anthony Trollope novel Doctor Thorne scripted by Julian ...more
18
Desperate Romantics is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Tom Hollander, Aidan Turner, Amy Manson

Premiered: 2009

Desperate Romantics is a six-part television drama serial about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, first broadcast on BBC Two between 21 July and 25 August 2009. The series somewhat fictionalized ...more
19
Belgravia is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Alice Eve, Philip Glenister, Tamsin Greig

Premiered: 2020

Belgravia (Epix, 2020) is a television drama series based on the novel of the same name by Julian Fellowes. It begins at the Duchess of Richmond's ball, held in Brussels for the Duke of ...more
20
The English Game is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
21
The Lizzie Borden Chroni... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Cole Hauser

Premiered: 2015

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (Lifetime, 2015) is an American television docudrama limited series and a continuation of the story begun in the network's 2014 film Lizzie Borden Took an Ax. Like ...more
22
Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, oby Huss

Premiered: 2019

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
23
Bleak House is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Diana Rigg, Denholm Elliott, Peter Vaughan

Premiered: 1985

Bleak House is BBC television drama first broadcast in 1985. The serial was adapted by Arthur Hopcraft from Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House and it was the second adaptation by the BBC. It ran ...more
24
The Forsyte Saga is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
The Forsyte Saga Michael York, Kenneth More, Susan Hampshire

Premiered: 1967

The Forsyte Saga is a 1967 BBC television adaptation of John Galsworthy's series of The Forsyte Saga novels, and its sequel trilogy A Modern Comedy. The series follows the fortunes of the upper ...more
25
Wives and Daughters is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Rosamund Pike, Michael Gambon, Iain Glen

Premiered: 1999

Wives and Daughters is a 1999 four-part BBC serial adapted from the novel Wives and Daughters: An Everyday Story by Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell. The series was a joint production of the ...more