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The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era 

Ranker TV
Updated April 1, 2020 579 votes 207 voters 10k views 46 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

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: Showtime

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

Network: TNT

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
Victoria is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
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
4
Ripper Street is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg

Premiered: 2012

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: BBC One

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
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

Number of Episodes: 41

Network: ITV

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

Network: CBC Television (Canada), Netflix (international)

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

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
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

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 76

Network: City, CBC Television

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

Premiered: 2008

Number of Episodes: 40

Network: BBC One, BBC HD

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
The Terror is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Derek Mio, George Takei, Jared Harris

Premiered: 2018

Network: AMC

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
11
The Paradise is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Stephen Wight

Premiered: 2012

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 16

Network: BBC One

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
12
Cranford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Eileen Atkins

Premiered: 2007

Number of Episodes: 7

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC One

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
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

Premiered: 2002

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: ITV

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
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

Number of Episodes: 2

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC One

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

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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

Premiered: 1967

Number of Episodes: 26

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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

Premiered: 2009

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC HD

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

Premiered: 2005

Number of Episodes: 15

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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 Lizzie Borden Chroni... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Cole Hauser

Premiered: 2015

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: Lifetime

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
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

Premiered: 1995

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 28

Network: ITV

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
The Way We Live Now is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Cillian Murphy, Matthew Macfadyen, David Suchet

Premiered: 2001

Number of Episodes: 4

Network: BBC One

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
22
Our Mutual Friend is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Anna Friel, Timothy Spall, Keeley Hawes

Premiered: 1998

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Our Mutual Friend is a British television serial broadcast in 1998 and adapted from Charles Dickens's novel Our Mutual Friend.
23
Anna and the King is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Yul Brynner, Rosalind Chao, Samantha Eggar

Premiered: 1972

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: CBS

Anna and the King is a short-lived sitcom broadcast in the United States by CBS as part of its 1972 fall lineup.
24
Around the World in 80 D... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Around the World in 80 Days Pierce Brosnan, Robert Wagner, Eric Idle

Premiered: 1989

Number of Episodes: 3

Network: NBC

Around the World in 80 Days is a 1989 three-part television Eastmancolor miniseries originally broadcast on NBC. The production garnered three nominations for Emmy awards that year. The teleplay ...more
25
The Living and the Dead ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Victorian Era
Colin Morgan, Charlotte Spencer

Premiered: 2016

Network: BBC One

The Living and the Dead (BBC One, 2016) is a British supernatural horror television miniseries created by Ashley Pharoah. The story follows Nathan Appleby (Colin Morgan) and his wife, Charlotte ...more