drama The Best Historical Drama TV Shows  

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List Rules Only true historical dramas - no fantasy, including dragons or time / space travel.

Learn about real-world history while you binge watch the best historical drama shows on television. Some of the greatest TV dramas feature realistic settings from history and characters who actually existed. This list of the greatest historical drama shows is ranked best to worst, and it also includes information about the cast. Popular historical drama TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining historical drama show of all time is.

Including Rome and Vikings, the list of good historical series features period dramas and medieval epics. These shows usually have colorful costumes, beautiful set pieces, and even ancient languages. 

This list answers the questions, "What is the best historical drama show of all time?" and "What are the greatest historical drama shows?" Want a little between-wars England with your Downton Abbey? Some Henry VIII with your The Tudors? Don't let your favorite historical drama 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 historical drama television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available.

list ordered by

1
1,443 324
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
MarkWilliams added Vikings Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgård

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2
979 366
Rome is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Rome Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

3
971 354
The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
RazvanPop added The Tudors Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

4
846 279
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Downton Abbey Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

5
683 361
The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Victoria Smith added The Borgias Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger - The Borgias is a historical-fiction drama television series, created by Neil Jordan.  This series follows the life of the Borgia family in Rome. 

6
703 239
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
sebbzor added Band of Brothers Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

7
437 275
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Chris Abraham added Deadwood Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

8
609 166
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Megan Monaco Lanier added Outlander Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

9
586 369
Spartacus: Blood and Sand is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Spartacus: Blood and Sand Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker

10
472 104
The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
1478207789575 added The Last Kingdom Gerard Kearns, Alec Newman, Madeleine Power

11
571 251
The White Queen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Chris Abraham added The White Queen Janet McTeer, Rebecca Ferguson

12
387 70
The Crown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Lauren Alysse Lake added The Crown Matt Smith, John Lithgow, Claire Foy

13
622 405
Reign is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
brianansellers added Reign Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs

14
206 166
Roots is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Roots LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

15
323 163
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Mad Men Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

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16
389 211
Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Amy Boal added Marco Polo Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng, Joan Chen

17
325 139
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Pride and Prejudice Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman

18
332 138
Versailles is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Rachele Digrazia added Versailles George Blagden, Stuart Bowman, Evan Williams

19
326 212
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
John Adams Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett

20
326 195
Spartacus: Vengeance is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Spartacus: Vengeance Brett Tucker, Craig Parker, Viva Bianca

21
340 88
Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Robert Berryman added Black Sails Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New

22
206 105
Hatfields & McCoys is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Hatfields & McCoys Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Matt Barr

23
273 74
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Emma Kate Thompson added Poldark Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees

24
234 172
North and South is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
VidakovićMarija added North and South Elizabeth Taylor, Kirstie Alley, Johnny Cash

25
238 62
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
1478207789575 added Peaky Blinders

26
233 72
Medici: Masters of Florence is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Kindra Haystacks Markham added Medici: Masters of Florence

27
256 172
Da Vinci's Demons is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Da Vinci's Demons Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos

28
176 50
Hell on Wheels is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
AlissonKolling added Hell on Wheels Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Robin McLeavy

29
198 106
Wolf Hall is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
DavidBlauch added Wolf Hall Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy

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30
169 54
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Bruce Wheeler added Call The Midwife Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main

31
116 71
The Paradise is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
zoe-krainik added The Paradise

32
85 104
Upstairs, Downstairs is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Upstairs, Downstairs Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Jean Marsh

33
84 73
Foyle's War is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Edom added Foyle's War Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell

34
85 49
Elizabeth I is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Daniel Martínez Arg added Elizabeth I Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Hugh Dancy

35
112 131
Camelot is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Camelot Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tamsin Egerton

36
87 71
Borgia is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Bethanie Grace Frith added Borgia Mark Ryder, Isolda Dychauk, Diarmuid Noyes

37
49 58
Bleak House is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Bleak House Gillian Anderson, Carey Mulligan, Charles Dance

38
93 30
North & South is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Stephanie Garcia added North & South Richard Armitage, Sinéad Cusack, Daniela Denby-Ashe

39
44 36
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Lauren Alysse Lake added War and Peace Anthony Hopkins, Alan Dobie, Morag Hood

40
116 55
Merlin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
EvEline added Merlin John Hurt, Colin Morgan, Bradley James

41
42 108
Kung Fu is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Kung Fu David Carradine, Keye Luke, Radames Pera

42
41 47
Magnificent Century is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Hamza Qayyum added Magnificent Century Mehmet Günsür, Cansu Dere, Meryem Uzerli

43
35 52
Little Dorrit is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Little Dorrit Andy Serkis, Freema Agyeman, Matthew Macfadyen

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44
35 43
The Forsyte Saga is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Lauren Alysse Lake added The Forsyte Saga Damian Lewis, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Graves

45
41 50
Indian Summers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Robert Berryman added Indian Summers Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Nikesh Patel, Jemima West

46
30 40
Murdoch Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
MichaelChoi added Murdoch Mysteries Lisa Ray, Paul Rhys, Georgina Reilly

47
45 96
Manhattan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Manhattan Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Chernus, Christopher Denham

48
47 22
I, Claudius is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
1491971760840 added I, Claudius Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Siân Phillips

49
20 37
Empresses in the Palace is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Lauren Alysse Lake added Empresses in the Palace

50
69 79
Turn is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Historical Drama TV Shows
Lisa Talamantes added Turn Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen, Kevin McNally