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The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows 

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Updated December 26, 2019 14.5k votes 3.5k voters 188.1k views 57 items

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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list ordered by
1
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 9

Network: History

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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2
The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

Premiered: 2007

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 38

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, Showtime, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Television, TV3

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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3
Rome is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
MichaelCavanaugh added Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 22

Network: Rai 2, British Broadcasting Corporation, HBO

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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4
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
JenShivel added Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 52

Network: ITV

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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5
The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 29

Network: Showtime

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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6
Reign is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
AnnieRobison added Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Torrance Coombs

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

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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7
The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
alsrsr-sultan added 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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8
Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
TimothyJHunte added Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

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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9
Hell on Wheels is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Joan H Jenkin added Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Robin McLeavy

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 20

Network: AMC

Hell on Wheels is a 2011 TV film directed by David Von Ancken.

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10
The Pillars of the Earth... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: Starz

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
11
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 36

Network: HBO

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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12
Spartacus: Blood and San... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
crystallandi added Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 1

Network: Starz!

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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13
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson

Premiered: 2013

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: BBC Two

Peaky Blinders (BBC Two, 2013) is a British television action drama created by Steven Knight, based upon the exploits of the historical gang. In 1919 Birmingham, England, leader Tommy Shelby ...more

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14
Spartacus: Vengeance is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Brett Tucker, Craig Parker, Viva Bianca

Premiered: 2012

Number of Episodes: 3

Network: Starz!

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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15
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
RazvanPop added Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett

Premiered: 2008

Number of Episodes: 7

Network: HBO

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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16
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added Colin Firth, Lucy Davis, Alison Steadman

Premiered: 1995

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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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17
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

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18
Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added Benedict Wong, Olivia Cheng, Joan Chen

Premiered: 2013

Network: Starz

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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19
World Without End is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
David Bradley, Oliver Maltman

Premiered: 2012

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
20
Camelot is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tamsin Egerton

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: Starz

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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21
The Musketeers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
elza-elizabete-leice added Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino, Santiago Cabrera

Premiered: 2014

Number of Episodes: 10

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
22
Roots is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Robert Reed

Premiered: 1977

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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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23
Wolf Hall is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
aj-hudson added Wolf Hall Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy

Number of Episodes: 6

Network: BBC Two

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.
24
Narcos is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added Pedro Pascal, Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook
Narcos (Netflix, 2015) is an American drama web-television series created by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. A chronicled look at the exploits of Colombian Pablo Escobar, as well ...more

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25
I, Claudius is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added I, Claudius Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Siân Phillips

Premiered: 1976

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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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