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The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows

Updated November 4, 2020 13.6k votes 3.9k voters 201.5k views62 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
    913
    184

    Vikings

    Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick

    Premiered2013

    NetworkHistory

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  • 2
    The Tudors
    753
    214

    The Tudors

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill

    Premiered2007

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

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    #121 of 334 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years#144 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

  • 3
    Downton Abbey
    572
    169

    Downton Abbey

    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan

    Premiered2010

    NetworkITV, PBS

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  • 4
    Rome
    575
    205

    Rome

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkHBO

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  • 5
    Outlander
    141
    14

    Outlander

    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button
  • 6
    The Borgias
    457
    183

    The Borgias

    Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud

    Premiered2011

    NetworkShowtime

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  • 7
    Black Sails
    329
    119

    Black Sails

    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

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  • 8
    Reign
    633
    265

    Reign

    Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows

    Premiered2013

    NetworkThe CW

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  • 9
    Hell on Wheels
    266
    97

    Hell on Wheels

    Anson Mount, Colm Meaney

    Premiered2011

    NetworkAMC

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  • 10
    The Pillars of the Earth
    270
    110

    The Pillars of the Earth

    Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz

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    #15 of 31 The Greatest TV Shows About Kings & Queens#38 of 189 The Best Medieval Movies

  • 11
    Deadwood
    267
    151

    Deadwood

    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane

    Premiered2004

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • 12
    The Last Kingdom
    707
    85

    The Last Kingdom

    Alexander Dreymon, David Dawson

    Premiered2015

    NetworkBBC America

    Amazon buy button
  • 13
    Peaky Blinders
    374
    60

    Peaky Blinders

    Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory

    Premiered2013

    NetworkBBC Two

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  • 14
    John Adams
    216
    105

    John Adams

    Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney

    Premiered2008

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • 15
    Versailles
    255
    66

    Versailles

    George Blagden, Alexander Vlahos

    Premiered2015

    NetworkCanal+, Ovation

    Amazon buy button
  • 16
    Turn: Washington's Spies
    164
    22

    Turn: Washington's Spies

    Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen

    Premiered2014

    NetworkAMC

    Amazon buy button
  • 17
    Pride and Prejudice
    228
    59

    Pride and Prejudice

    Colin Firth, Lucy Davis

    Premiered1995

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation

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  • 18
    Spartacus: Blood and Sand
    280
    85

    Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz!

    Amazon buy button
  • 19
    World Without End
    104
    48

    World Without End

    David Bradley, Oliver Maltman

    Premiered2012

    NetworkReelzChannel

    Amazon buy button
  • 20
    Marco Polo
    190
    55

    Marco Polo

    Leonard Nimoy, Anne Bancroft

    Premiered1982

    NetworkNBC

    Amazon buy button
  • 21
    The Musketeers
    170
    56

    The Musketeers

    Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino

    Premiered2014

    NetworkBBC

    Amazon buy button
  • 22
    Roots
    115
    68

    Roots

    LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole

    Premiered1977

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

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    #154 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing#32 of 42 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

  • 23
    Marco Polo
    207
    83

    Marco Polo

    Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng

    Premiered2013

    NetworkStarz

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    #33 of 123 The Best Historical Drama TV Shows#6 of 33 The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Medieval Era

  • 24
    The Man in the High Castle
    94
    30

    The Man in the High Castle

    Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAmazon Video

    Amazon buy button
  • 25
    Narcos
    120
    52

    Narcos

    Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura

    Premiered2015

    NetworkNetflix

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