Entertainment

The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era 

Ranker TV
Updated February 19, 2020 549 votes 191 voters 8k views 43 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.

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
Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014) is a British-American horror TV series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan, who also acts as executive producer alongside Sam Mendes. The title refers to ...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
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
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
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Sherlock Holmes
Jeremy Brett, Charles Gray, Edward Hardwicke
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
5
Victoria is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
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
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
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
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
9
Lark Rise to Candleford ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Dawn French, Sheridan Smith, Liz Smith
Lark Rise to Candleford is a British television costume drama series, adapted by the BBC from Flora Thompson's trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels about the English countryside, published ...more
10
Cranford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Eileen Atkins
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
11
The Terror is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Derek Mio, George Takei, Jared Harris
The Terror (AMC, 2018) is an anthology television series created by David Kajganich and Soo Hugh, based on the novel by Dan Simmons. The first season follows a crew of a Royal Naval expedition ...more
12
Return to Cranford is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
The Forsyte Saga is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Damian Lewis, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Graves
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
14
The Paradise is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Stephen Wight
The Paradise is a British television costume drama series co-produced by BBC Worldwide America and Masterpiece. The Paradise premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 25 September 2012 and ...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
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
The Forsyte Saga is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
The Forsyte Saga
Michael York, Kenneth More, Susan Hampshire
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
17
Desperate Romantics is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Tom Hollander, Aidan Turner, Amy Manson
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
18
Bleak House is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Gillian Anderson, Carey Mulligan, Charles Dance
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
19
The Way We Live Now is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Cillian Murphy, Matthew Macfadyen, David Suchet
The Way We Live Now is a 2001 four-part television adaptation of the Anthony Trollope novel The Way We Live Now. The serial was first broadcast on the BBC and was directed by David Yates, ...more
20
Bramwell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Kelly Reilly, Jemma Redgrave, Ruth Sheen
Bramwell is a British television series starring Jemma Redgrave as Dr. Eleanor Bramwell, a woman challenging the domination of men in the medical establishment, who runs a free hospital for the ...more
21
Anna and the King is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Yul Brynner, Rosalind Chao, Samantha Eggar
Anna and the King is a short-lived sitcom broadcast in the United States by CBS as part of its 1972 fall lineup.
22
Doctor Thorne is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Tom Hollander, Stefanie Martini, Harry Richardson
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
23
Tess of the D'Urberville... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Gemma Arterton, Eddie Redmayne, Anna Massey
Driven by poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles, innocent Tess Durbeyfield finds her ruse falling apart after crossing paths with the suspicious and highly manipulative Alec ...more
24
Copper is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Franka Potente, Anastasia Griffith, Kyle Schmid
Copper is a drama television series created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos for BBC America. It is set in 1860s New York City during the American Civil War and stars Tom Weston-Jones as an Irish ...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
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