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The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows

Updated October 20, 2020 13.2k votes 3.8k voters 200.4k views61 items

List RulesVote up the best historical fiction shows that tell stories from the past through a new lens.

This is a list of the best historical fiction series on television, ranked from best to worst. Whether historical dramas, comedies, or action shows, TV series set in real history have rich source material and great stories to tell. This list of the greatest historical fiction shows also includes pictures from the shows when available. Popular historical fiction TV series have been a staple of television for years, because we love to learn about our ancestors via a compelling narrative rather than dumb books, so there's often debate about which are the top historical fiction series of all time.

Don't let your favorite historical fiction 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 fiction television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available. This list includes historical fiction TV series such as Vikings, The Tudors, Deadwood, and many other history TV shows. Just because every detail in the series isn't textbook-level accurate doesn't mean the show isn't realistic - it's historical fiction, after all. And these are the best historical fiction series of all time!

This list answers the questions, "What is the best historical fiction show of all time?" and "What are the greatest historical fiction shows?" Vote up your favorite historical fiction series and rewrite what history you want to watch.

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  • 1
    Vikings is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    893
    184

    Vikings

    Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick

    Premiered2013

    NetworkHistory

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  • 2
    The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    738
    210

    The Tudors

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill

    Premiered2007

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation, Showtime, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Television, TV3

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    #122 of 334 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years#143 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

  • 3
    Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    553
    166

    Downton Abbey

    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan

    Premiered2010

    NetworkITV, PBS

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  • 4
    Rome is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    562
    203

    Rome

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkHBO

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  • 5
    Reign is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    621
    258

    Reign

    Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows

    Premiered2013

    NetworkThe CW

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  • 6
    Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    325
    114

    Black Sails

    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

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  • 7
    The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    447
    179

    The Borgias

    Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud

    Premiered2011

    NetworkShowtime

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    #160 of 390 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate#353 of 537 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

  • 8
    Hell on Wheels is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    261
    94

    Hell on Wheels

    Anson Mount, Colm Meaney

    Premiered2011

    NetworkAMC

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  • 9
    Outlander is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    115
    12

    Outlander

    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

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  • 10
    The Pillars of the Earth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    265
    107

    The Pillars of the Earth

    Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz

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    #47 of 147 The Best Miniseries in TV History#15 of 31 The Greatest TV Shows About Kings & Queens

  • 11
    Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    261
    150

    Deadwood

    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane

    Premiered2004

    NetworkHBO

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  • 12
    The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    686
    84

    The Last Kingdom

    Alexander Dreymon, David Dawson

    Premiered2015

    NetworkBBC America

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  • 13
    Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    365
    60

    Peaky Blinders

    Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory

    Premiered2013

    NetworkBBC Two

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  • 14
    John Adams is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    212
    103

    John Adams

    Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney

    Premiered2008

    NetworkHBO

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  • 15
    Turn: Washington's Spies is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    155
    18

    Turn: Washington's Spies

    Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen

    Premiered2014

    NetworkAMC

    amazon buy button
  • 16
    Versailles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    245
    63

    Versailles

    George Blagden, Alexander Vlahos

    Premiered2015

    NetworkCanal+, Ovation

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  • 17
    Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    221
    56

    Pride and Prejudice

    Colin Firth, Lucy Davis

    Premiered1995

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation

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  • 18
    Spartacus: Blood and Sand is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    274
    84

    Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz!

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  • 19
    World Without End is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    100
    45

    World Without End

    David Bradley, Oliver Maltman

    Premiered2012

    NetworkReelzChannel

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  • 20
    Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    190
    55

    Marco Polo

    Leonard Nimoy, Anne Bancroft

    Premiered1982

    NetworkNBC

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  • 21
    The Musketeers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    170
    54

    The Musketeers

    Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino

    Premiered2014

    NetworkBBC

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  • 22
    Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    204
    80

    Marco Polo

    Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng

    Premiered2013

    NetworkStarz

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  • 23
    Roots is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    110
    66

    Roots

    LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole

    Premiered1977

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

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    #154 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing#37 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

  • 24
    Narcos is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    116
    50

    Narcos

    Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura

    Premiered2015

    NetworkNetflix

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  • 25
    The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
    88
    30

    The Man in the High Castle

    Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAmazon Video

    amazon buy button
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