Entertainment

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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26
Roots is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added 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
27
Taboo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
LisaMcCaffrey added Tom Hardy, Leo Bill, Jessie Buckley
Taboo (FX, 2017) is a British television drama series created by Tom Hardy, Edward "Chips" Hardy, and Steven Knight. James Delaney (Tom Hardy) returns to England after twelve years in ...more
28
Upstairs, Downstairs is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added 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
29
Hornblower is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyWalley added 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
30
Shōgun is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyWalley added 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
31
Sharpe's Rifles is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyWalley added
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
32
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
33
The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
34
Camelot is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
35
Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
36
Frontier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
37
Borgia is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
38
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
CraigFillingham added Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hernández
The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe Weisberg. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) are two Soviet KGB officers posing as ...more
39
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
40
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
LisaMcCaffrey added Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main
Call the Midwife is a BBC period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s. It stars Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Helen George, Bryony ...more
41
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
LisaMcCaffrey added Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian television drama series. It was first broadcast on ABC on 24 February 2012. The series is based on author Kerry Greenwood's novels and was created ...more
42
Generation Kill is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Toscolani added Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen
This series 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 the ...more
43
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
44
Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Myst... is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Geraldine Hakewill, Joel Jackson, Catherine McClements
Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries (Seven, 2019), also stylised as Ms Fisher's MODern Murder Mysteries, is an Australian drama television miniseries and a spin-off of the drama series Miss ...more
45
Brideshead Revisited is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added 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
46
Kung Fu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added 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
47
The Kennedys is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
48
Jericho is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
49
Lewis & Clark - The Journey of... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Lewis Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery is a 1997 film directed by Ken Burns.
50
Holocaust is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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