historical dramas The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows  

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List Rules Shows near the top must be only the best Historical Fiction TV series.

This is a list of the best historical fiction shows on television, ranked from best to worst. Whether 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 shows 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 history shows of all time. Never heard one of these debates? Then you live under a rock. 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.

List shows include 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. 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?"

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Rome is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
MichaelCavanaugh added Rome Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker Rome is a British-American-Italian historical drama television series created by Bruno Heller, John Milius and William J. MacDonald. The show's two seasons were broadcast on HBO, BBC Two, and ...more

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Vikings is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Vikings Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen Vikings (History, 2013) is a historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst. A farmer (Travis Fimmel) rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes a ...more

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The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
The Tudors Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy The Tudors is a British-Irish-Canadian historical fiction television series set primarily in sixteenth-century England, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premium cable ...more

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Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
JenShivel added Downton Abbey Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series created by Julian Fellowes and co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece. It first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and Ireland on ...more

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The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
The Borgias Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger The Borgias is an historical-fiction drama television series created by Neil Jordan; it debuted in 2011 and was canceled in 2013. The series is set around the turn of the 16th century and ...more

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Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Deadwood Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker Deadwood is an American western television series created, produced, and largely written by David Milch and aired on the premium cable network HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, ...more

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The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
alsrsr-sultan added The Last Kingdom Alexander Dreymon, David Dawson, Tobias Santelmann The Last Kingdom (BBC America, 2015) is a British historical fiction television series based on Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories series of novels. In 872 England, an unlikely hero (Alexander ...more

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Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyJHunte added Black Sails Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New Black Sails is an American dramatic adventure television series set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. The series was created by Jonathan ...more

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Reign is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
AnnieRobison added Reign Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs Reign is an American historical fantasy television series following the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots living in France. The series, created by Stephanie SenGupta and Laurie McCarthy, airs ...more

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Hell on Wheels is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Joan H Jenkin added Hell on Wheels Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Robin McLeavy Hell on Wheels is a 2011 TV film directed by David Von Ancken.

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John Adams is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
RazvanPop added John Adams Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett John Adams is a 2008 American television miniseries chronicling most of U.S. President John Adams' political life and his role in the founding of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John ...more

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The Pillars of the Earth is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
The Pillars of the Earth Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne The Pillars of the Earth is an eight-part 2010 TV miniseries, adapted from Ken Follett's novel of the same name. It debuted in the U.S. on Starz and in Canada on The Movie Network/Movie Central ...more

The Best Fantasy TV Shows

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Spartacus: Blood and Sand is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
crystallandi added Spartacus: Blood and Sand Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker Spartacus: Blood and Sand is the title of the first and most critically acclaimed season of Spartacus, a television series that premiered on Starz on January 22, 2010. The series was inspired by ...more

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Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added Peaky Blinders Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson Peaky Blinders (BBC Two, 2013) is a British television action crime drama created by Steven Knight, based upon the exploits of the historical criminal gang. In 1919 Birmingham, England, leader ...more

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Spartacus: Vengeance is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Spartacus: Vengeance Brett Tucker, Craig Parker, Viva Bianca Spartacus: Vengeance is the title of the second season of Spartacus, a New Zealand produced, Starz television series, which follows Spartacus: Blood and Sand. It premiered on January 27, and ...more

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Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added Marco Polo Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng, Joan Chen Marco Polo is an American drama series about Marco Polo's early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the Khagan of the Mongolian Empire and the founder of the Yuan dynasty, which lasted from ...more

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Versailles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Meghan Lucey Freeman added Versailles George Blagden, Alexander Vlahos, Tygh Runyan Versailles (Canal+, 2015) is a television series created by Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft. In 1667, 28-year-old all-powerful king of France, Louis XIV (George Blagden), decides to build ...more

The Best Animated Films Ever

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The Musketeers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
elza-elizabete-leice added The Musketeers Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino, Santiago Cabrera The Musketeers is a BBC historical-action drama programme based on the characters from Alexandre Dumas's novel The Three Musketeers and co-produced by BBC America and BBC Worldwide. The first ...more

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Wolf Hall is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
aj-hudson added Wolf Hall Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy Wolf Hall is a British television serial first broadcast on BBC Two in January 2015. It is a six-part adaptation of two of Hilary Mantel's novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

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Upstairs, Downstairs is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Upstairs, Downstairs Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Jean Marsh Upstairs, Downstairs is a British television drama series originally produced by London Weekend Television and revived by the BBC. It ran on ITV in 68 episodes divided into five series from 1971 ...more

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Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Pride and Prejudice Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman Pride and Prejudice is a six-episode 1995 British television drama, adapted by Andrew Davies from Jane Austen's 1813 novel of the same name. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth starred as Elizabeth ...more

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World Without End is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
World Without End David Bradley, Oliver Maltman World Without End is an eight-episode 2012 television miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Ken Follett. It is a sequel to the 2010 miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, also based on ...more

TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

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Roots is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Roots LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the ...more

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I, Claudius is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added I, Claudius Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Siân Phillips I, Claudius is a 1976 BBC Television adaptation of Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Written by Jack Pulman, it starred Derek Jacobi as Claudius, with Siân Phillips, Brian ...more

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Camelot is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Camelot Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tamsin Egerton Camelot is a historical-fantasy-drama television series which premiered on 1 April 2011. It was co-produced by the Starz cable network and GK-TV which began production during the summer of 2010. ...more

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Narcos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added Narcos Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook Narcos (Netflix, 2015) is an American crime drama web-television series created by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. A chronicled look at the criminal exploits of Colombian drug lord ...more

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The Paradise is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added The Paradise Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott, Stephen Wight The Paradise is a British television costume drama series co-produced by BBC Worldwide America and Masterpiece. The Paradise premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 25 September 2012 and ...more

The Best Movies Based on TV Shows

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Hornblower is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyWalley added Hornblower Fred Astaire, Peter Arne, David Buck Hornblower is the umbrella title of a series of British television films based on three of C. S. Forester's ten novels about the fictional character Horatio Hornblower, a Royal Navy officer ...more

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Shōgun is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyWalley added Shōgun Orson Welles, Richard Chamberlain, Toshiro Mifune Shōgun is an American television miniseries based on the international bestselling 1975 novel of the same name by James Clavell, who also was the executive producer of the miniseries. It was ...more

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The Kennedys is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
The Kennedys Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson, Greg Kinnear The Kennedys is a Canadian-American television miniseries chronicling the lives of the Kennedy family, including key triumphs and tragedies it has experienced. It stars Greg Kinnear, Barry ...more

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Sharpe's Rifles is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyWalley added Sharpe's Rifles Portugal 1809 - After saving the life of Sir Arthur Wellesley, Sgt Richard Sharpe is rewarded with the field commission of lieutenant. His first mission is to go behind enemy lines to Casa ...more

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Holocaust is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Holocaust Meryl Streep, Ian Holm, Michael Moriarty Holocaust is an American television miniseries broadcast in four parts in 1978 on the NBC television network. The series tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Weiss family ...more

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War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
War and Peace Anthony Hopkins, Alan Dobie, Morag Hood War and Peace is a television dramatization of the Leo Tolstoy novel of War and Peace. This 20 episode series began on 28 September 1972. The BBC dramatisation of Tolstoy's epic story of love ...more

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Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Marco Polo Leonard Nimoy, Anne Bancroft, Burt Lancaster Marco Polo is an American-Italian television miniseries originally broadcast by NBC in the United States, by Antenne 2 in France and by RAI in Italy in 1982. It starred Kenneth Marshall as Marco ...more

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Borgia is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Borgia Mark Ryder, Isolda Dychauk, Diarmuid Noyes Borgia is a French-German-Czech-Italian historical drama television series created by Tom Fontana. The show recounts the Borgia family's rise to power and subsequent domination of the Papal ...more

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Beau Brummell: This Charming M... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Beau Brummell: This Charming Man Beau Brummell: This Charming Man was a 2006 BBC Television drama in based on the biography of Beau Brummell by Ian Kelly.

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Turn: Washington's Spies is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Turn: Washington's Spies Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen, Kevin McNally TURN: Washington's Spies is a period drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring, a history of the Culper Ring. The series debuted on AMC on ...more

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Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Les Misérables John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu, Asia Argento Les Misérables is a 2000 French television miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The miniseries was broadcast in four parts. A three hour English version was also

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Poldark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Poldark Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees Poldark is the original version of the BBC television series adaptation of the novels of the same title written by Winston Graham. The adaption was first transmitted in the UK between 1975 and

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The Gallant Men is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
The Gallant Men Robert McQueeney, William Reynolds, Robert Ridgely The Gallant Men is a 1962–1963 ABC television series which depicted an infantry company of American soldiers fighting their way through Italy in World War II.

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The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
The Man in the High Castle Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Video, 2015) is an American dystopian alternative history television series created by Frank Spotnitz, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick. In an alternative ...more

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Frontier is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Frontier Jason Momoa, Alun Armstrong, Landon Liboiron Frontier (Netflix, 2016) is a Canadian-American historical drama television series co-created by Brad Peyton, Rob Blackie, and Peter Blackie. Declan Harp (Jason Momoa), a part-Irish, part-Cree ...more

The Best Current Sitcoms

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Kung Fu is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Kung Fu David Carradine, Keye Luke, Radames Pera Kung Fu is an American action-adventure martial arts western drama television series starring David Carradine. The series aired on ABC from October 1972 to April 1975 for a total of 63 episodes. ...more

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Generation Kill is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Toscolani added Generation Kill Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen Generation Kill is a British-American seven-part television miniseries produced for HBO, based on the 2004 book of the same name by Evan Wright about his experience as an embedded reporter with ...more

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Brideshead Revisited is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Brideshead Revisited Jeremy Irons, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud Brideshead Revisited is a 1981 British television serial produced by Granada Television for broadcast by the ITV network. The serial is an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead ...more

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Garrison's Gorillas is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Garrison's Gorillas Ron Harper, Cesare Danova, Brendon Boone Garrison's Gorillas is an ABC TV series broadcast from 1967 to 1968; a total of 26 hour-long episodes were produced. It was inspired by the 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, which featured a similar ...more

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Lewis & Clark - The Journey of... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery Lewis Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery is a 1997 film directed by Ken Burns.

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Jericho is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Jericho Hans Matheson, Clarke Peters, Jessica Raine Jericho is an American post-apocalyptic action-drama series that centers on the residents of the fictionalized post-apocalyptic town of Jericho, Kansas, in the aftermath of a limited nuclear ...more

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The Cleopatras is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
The Cleopatras Michelle Newell, Graham Crowden, Helen Sparks The Cleopatras was a 1983 BBC Television eight part historical drama serial. Written by Philip Mackie, it is set in Ancient Egypt during the latter part of the Ptolemaic Dynasty with an emphasis ...more

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Christmas and the Civil War is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Christmas and the Civil War Christmas and the Civil War is a 2006 TV Documentary written by Ken Chowder, Kage Glantz, Jean Meltzer and directed by Pamela Mason Wagner.