15 Current Period Piece TV Shows That Are Super Fun To Watch, Ranked

List Rules
Vote up the historical shows that are fast-paced, fun, and never feel like homework even though they're period pieces with elaborate costumes and settings.

Expensive sets, lush costumes, the chance to escape a mundane world... for many, historical dramas have a lot to offer. Within that genre are many types of period pieces and series, each offering a different appeal. Some are known for their historical accuracy, while others are known for their brutality. But what if a viewer wants the opulent settings, elegant costumes, and dramatic performances period pieces are known for and are still fun to watch

These period piece dramas currently running on cable and streaming services can be a great deal of fun as well as interesting. Vote up the shows that are escapism at its best. 

  • The Great
    Photo: Hulu
    106 VOTES

    The satirical comedy The Great reminds viewers right off the bat not to take the subject matter, or even historical accuracy as a whole, so seriously, as it often refers to itself as "An Almost Entirely Untrue Story."

    Starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult as Catherine the Great and her somewhat lesser-great husband, Peter, this dramedy casts aside facts and opts for whimsy and humor in its story arc rather than cold hard truth. This dark comedy makes for a fun watch not just because the hit Hulu series offers a unique perspective on the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia's history, but also because Fanning's and Hoult's performances as a couple at odds with each other make for great entertainment. Watching Catherine get the better of her buffoon husband is a delicious meal.

    • Actors: Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee
    • Premiered: May 15, 2020
    106 votes

    Available On:


  • The Crown
    Photo: Netflix
    84 VOTES

    Netflix's The Crown examines life behind the curtain at Buckingham Palace, fixating on Queen Elizabeth II and her life as a monarch, wife, and mother.

    Originally starring Claire Foy in the role, then Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton, the drama series follows the queen from the 1950s until the present day, scrutinizing her role as both a monarch and head of her fractured family.

    The outstanding performances, along with the attention to detail given to the sets, costumes, and characterizations, make the show a standout among historical dramas. Those classy trappings compliment a knowingly dramatic tone that stays on the right side of soap opera, but delights in the big emotions and twists of the world's most high profile dysfunctional family.

    • Actors: Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Lesley Manville, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki
    • Premiered: November 4, 2016
    84 votes

    Available On:


  • 3
    79 VOTES

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    Created by Gilmore Girls guru Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan, Amazon Prime's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the story of a 1950s housewife who becomes a stand-up comedian after her husband walks out on their family. Loosely based on the life of Joan Rivers, the show delivers memorable jokes at a breakneck speed and star-making performances.

    The comedy of Maisel's stand-up routines mixed with the drama of her everyday life has made the series a must-watch for the streaming service while bringing home accolades for its cast, which includes Brosnahan, Alex Borstein as manager Susie, Tony Shalhoub as Miriam Maisel's uptight father, and Luke Kirby as the infamous Lenny Bruce. 

    • Actors: Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen, Alex Borstein, Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle
    • Premiered: March 17, 2017
    79 votes

    Available On:


  • Bridgerton
    Photo: Netflix
    92 VOTES

    Based on the book series by Julia Quinn, Netflix's hit series Bridgerton features court intrigue, power plays, mystery, romance, and enough bodice-ripping love scenes guaranteed to shock the most stalwart viewer.

    Set in a fictionalized version of Regency-era Britain, the first season of the series focused on the relationship between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). The tension between the duke and the young, inexperienced Daphne, and drama-laden subplots of the other characters, make Bridgerton great fun to watch, while the steamy scenes make it a great rewatch as well. 

    • Actors: Jonathan Bailey, Ruby Barker, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Nicola Coughlan
    • Premiered: December 25, 2020
    92 votes

    Available On:


  • The Alienist
    Photo: TNT
    58 VOTES

    Based on the best-selling book by Caleb Carr, TNT's psychological thriller The Alienist set in the late 1800s follows an investigation into a series of horrible murders on the streets of New York.

    Psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl), newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans), and Teddy Roosevelt's personal secretary Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) set forth to investigate using the limited resources available at the time, armed with only their own intelligence and the small number of resources at their disposal.

    This dark series about the early days of criminal psychology mixes intrigue and horror as the show examines investigative research of the time while also making a statement about 1890s society. It is a compelling watch for fans of modern-day police procedurals.

    • Actors: Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning, Brian Geraghty, Douglas Smith
    • Premiered: January 21, 2018
    58 votes

    Available On:


  • 1883
    Photo: Paramount+
    58 VOTES

    This prequel to Paramount's surprise hit series Yellowstone explores the origin story of Yellowstone Ranch. Starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Isabel May, 1883 is set in the years after the Civil War as the Dutton family heads West to Oregon before settling in Montana.

    The Western follows the family as they make a treacherous journey across the plains via covered wagon. In addition to the outstanding cast, the series features occasional cameos from Hollywood elite, including Tom Hanks and Billy Bob Thornton. 1883 is a captivating watch for fans of old-school Westerns that use modern storytelling devices.  

    • Actors: Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett
    • Premiered: December 19, 2021
    58 votes

    Available On: