Watchworthy
3.9k voters

The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows

Updated January 15, 2021 14.0k votes 3.9k voters 203.9k views66 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.

Photo:
...more
  • Vikings1
    939
    185

    Vikings

    Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick

    Premiered2013

    NetworkHistory

    Amazon buy button

    More Vikings 

    Turns Out The Real Inspiration For 'Vikings' Lagertha Is Even Tougher Than The TV Version#27 of 339 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

  • The Tudors2
    777
    218

    The Tudors

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill

    Premiered2007

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

    Amazon buy button
  • Downton Abbey3
    589
    170

    Downton Abbey

    Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan

    Premiered2010

    NetworkITV, PBS

    Amazon buy button

    More Downton Abbey 

    The Best Downton Abbey ActorsThe Best Seasons of 'Downton Abbey'

  • Rome4
    592
    207

    Rome

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • Outlander5
    180
    15

    Outlander

    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button
  • The Borgias6
    463
    186

    The Borgias

    Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud

    Premiered2011

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

    More The Borgias 

    #372 of 538 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time#160 of 389 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

  • Black Sails7
    335
    120

    Black Sails

    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button
  • Reign8
    640
    271

    Reign

    Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows

    Premiered2013

    NetworkThe CW

    Amazon buy button
  • Hell on Wheels9
    275
    97

    Hell on Wheels

    Anson Mount, Colm Meaney

    Premiered2011

    NetworkAMC

    Amazon buy button

    More Hell on Wheels 

    The Best Seasons of Hell on Wheels#166 of 381 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

  • The Pillars of the Earth10
    273
    110

    The Pillars of the Earth

    Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button

    More The Pillars of the Earth 

    #51 of 174 The Best Miniseries in TV History#16 of 31 The Greatest TV Shows About Kings & Queens

  • Deadwood11
    271
    151

    Deadwood

    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane

    Premiered2004

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • The Last Kingdom12
    726
    85

    The Last Kingdom

    Alexander Dreymon, David Dawson

    Premiered2015

    NetworkBBC America

    Amazon buy button

    More The Last Kingdom 

    Facts About Uhtred The Bold: Ealdorman Of Bamburgh And Inspiration For 'The Last Kingdom'#5 of 33 The Best Current TV Shows No One Is Watching

  • John Adams13
    225
    105

    John Adams

    Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney

    Premiered2008

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

    More John Adams 

    The Best John Adams Quotes#15 of 50 The Best HBO Dramas of All Time

  • Peaky Blinders14
    387
    60

    Peaky Blinders

    Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory

    Premiered2013

    NetworkBBC Two

    Amazon buy button

    More Peaky Blinders 

    The Fascinating True Story That Inspired BBC's 'Peaky Blinders'The Best Characters On 'Peaky Blinders'

  • Turn: Washington's Spies15
    185
    22

    Turn: Washington's Spies

    Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen

    Premiered2014

    NetworkAMC

    Amazon buy button
  • Versailles16
    260
    68

    Versailles

    George Blagden, Alexander Vlahos

    Premiered2015

    NetworkCanal+, Ovation

    Amazon buy button

    More 

    #13 of 30 The Best Wardrobes in Television Show History#14 of 50 The Best Historical Dramas On Netflix

  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand17
    290
    87

    Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz!

    Amazon buy button
  • Pride and Prejudice18
    234
    61

    Pride and Prejudice

    Colin Firth, Lucy Davis

    Premiered1995

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation

    Amazon buy button

    More Pride and Prejudice 

    The Best Books Inspired by Pride and Prejudice#59 of 234 Test - The Best TV Shows You Can Watch On HBO Max

  • World Without End19
    106
    48

    World Without End

    David Bradley, Oliver Maltman

    Premiered2012

    NetworkReelzChannel

    Amazon buy button
  • Marco Polo20
    193
    55

    Marco Polo

    Leonard Nimoy, Anne Bancroft

    Premiered1982

    NetworkNBC

    Amazon buy button
  • Roots21
    118
    68

    Roots

    LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole

    Premiered1977

    NetworkAmerican Broadcasting Company

    Amazon buy button

    More Roots 

    #160 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing#32 of 66 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

  • The Musketeers22
    176
    56

    The Musketeers

    Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino

    Premiered2014

    NetworkBBC

    Amazon buy button
  • Marco Polo23
    217
    83

    Marco Polo

    Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng

    Premiered2013

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button

    More Marco Polo 

    #33 of 97 The Best Historical Drama TV Shows#7 of 35 The Greatest Period TV Shows Set in Medieval Times

  • The Man in the High Castle24
    98
    30

    The Man in the High Castle

    Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans

    Premiered2015

    NetworkAmazon Video

    Amazon buy button
  • Call The Midwife25
    65
    8

    Call The Midwife

    Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart

    Premiered2012

    NetworkBBC One

    Amazon buy button

    More Call The Midwife 

    #79 of 239 The Greatest TV Shows for Women#9 of 29 20+ Recent British TV Shows You've Been Missing This Whole Time