Best TV 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?"
list ordered by
1
609 199
Rome is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
MichaelCavanaugh added 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
2
891 170
Vikings is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
3
795 209
The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
4
462 137
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
JenShivel added 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
5
494 191
The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
6
521 71
The Last Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
271 165
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
8
282 104
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
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
9
575 233
Reign is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
AnnieRobison added 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
10
266 84
Hell on Wheels is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Joan H Jenkin added Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Robin McLeavy
Hell on Wheels is a 2011 TV film directed by David Von Ancken.
11
210 107
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
RazvanPop added 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
12
232 50
Peaky Blinders is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson
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
13
269 126
The Pillars of the Earth is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
14
256 76
Spartacus: Blood and Sand is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
crystallandi added 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
15
210 81
Spartacus: Vengeance is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
16
164 50
Versailles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Meghan Lucey Freeman added 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
17
171 68
Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Sharon López added 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
18
146 52
The Musketeers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
elza-elizabete-leice added 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
19
186 54
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added 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
20
106 51
Wolf Hall is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
aj-hudson added 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.
21
84 42
World Without End is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
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
22
57 52
Upstairs, Downstairs is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
83 40
Narcos is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
95 65
Roots is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
78 42
I, Claudius is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Historical Fiction TV Shows
Greer Baudreau added 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