The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (2024)

Table of Contents
'Bridgerton' (2020 - Present) Rotten Tomatoes: 85% IMDb: 7.4/10 'Vikings: Valhalla' (2022 - Present) Rotten Tomatoes: 95% | IMDb: 7.3/10 'All the Light We Cannot See' (2023) Rotten Tomatoes: 27% | IMDb: 7.5/10 'Freud' (2020) Rotten Tomatoes: 50% | IMDb: 6.5/10 'Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story' (2022) Rotten Tomatoes: 95% | IMDb: 7.5/10 'The Cook of Castamar' (2021) Rotten Tomatoes: 87% | IMDb: 7.4/10 'The Law According to Lidia Poët' (2023 - Present) Rotten Tomatoes: 100% | IMDb: 7.4/10 '1899' (2022) Rotten Tomatoes: 77% | IMDb: 7.3/10 'The Empress' (2022 - Present) Rotten Tomatoes: 80% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.8/10 'Rebellion' (2016 - 2019) Rotten Tomatoes: 40% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.1/10 'Barbarians' (2020 - Present) Rotten Tomatoes: 86% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.2/10 'The Last Czars' (2019) Rotten Tomatoes: 56% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.3/10 'Mindhunter' (2017 - 2019) Rotten Tomatoes: 97% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.6/10 'Call the Midwife' (2012 - Present) Rotten Tomatoes: 95% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.6/10 'The English Game' (2020) Rotten Tomatoes: 53% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.6/10 'Narcos: Mexico' (2018 - 2021) Rotten Tomatoes: 90% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.4/10 'Wormwood' (2017) Rotten Tomatoes: 90% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.0/10 'The Queen’s Gambit' (2020) Rotten Tomatoes: 96% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.5/10 'Outlander' (2014 - Present) Rotten Tomatoes: 92% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.4/10 'Alias Grace' (2017) Rotten Tomatoes: 99% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.6/10
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The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (1)

By Jake Hodges

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The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (2)

Sometimes you just want to remove yourself from the present and immerse yourself in the past, taking a break from all of your everyday stresses and problems, and historical drama television series are a perfect way to do this. Who doesn’t want to live in a castle with lavish dresses and attractive suitors? Or fight in a war that will decide the future of a whole country? No matter the reason why, people simply love period dramas. For fans of this TV genre, streaming platforms are often the best place to find these series, and Netflix in particular has a lot to offer. Here are the best period dramas on Netflix.

For more historical content, check out our list of Best Historical Dramas That Are True to Life or Best Award-Winning Historical Movies, or browse our recommendations for the best shows and movies on Netflix.

Disclaimer: These titles are available on US Netflix.

'Bridgerton' (2020 - Present)

Rotten Tomatoes: 85% IMDb: 7.4/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (3)
Bridgerton

Drama

Romance

Release Date
December 25, 2020

Creator
Chris Van Dusen
Cast
Rege-Jean Page , Julie Andrews , Jonathan Bailey , Ruth Gemmell , Polly Walker , Golda Rosheuvel , Phoebe Dynevor , Simone Ashley , Luke Newton , Nicola Coughlan

Shondaland’s Bridgerton is triumphantly one of Netflix’s best-loved shows, telling tales of raunchy romance in the high society of London in the early 19th century. In its most recent third season, Nicola Coughlan’s Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton’s Colin Bridgerton become embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game of love, but will they find happiness? Set against the backdrop of the gorgeous British countryside, Bridgerton is both a stunning cinematic experience and an intricate period tale. Bolstered by a superb ensemble cast, including the likes of Season 2’s central couple Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley, Bridgerton champions the best of young British actors. Indulgent but certainly NSFW, this is a series everyone must watch once. - Jake Hodges

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'Vikings: Valhalla' (2022 - Present)

Rotten Tomatoes: 95% | IMDb: 7.3/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (4)
Vikings: Valhalla

Adventure

Drama

Action

Release Date
February 25, 2022
Cast
Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson , Bradley Freegard , David Oakes , Leo Suter , Laura Berlin , Frida Gustavsson , Caroline Henderson , Sam Corlett

When Vikings first premiered on the History channel it was a violent and exciting look into the ancient Scandinavians following the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, Vikings: Valhalla is the sequel series that follows America's favorite viking, Leif Erikson. Set over 100 years after the events of the first series, the Scandinavian culture has now mixed with the English and Valhalla brings with it cultural clashes between vikings as well as religious tension. After Ragnar landed in England, the vikings who followed began to convert to Christianity and Valhalla investigates the two warring religions. Depicting historical events, the show sets up what will likely be an exciting journey for a new generation of raiders. — Therese Lacson

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'All the Light We Cannot See' (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes: 27% | IMDb: 7.5/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (5)
All The Light We Cannot See

Drama

History

War

Release Date
November 2, 2023

Creator
Steven Knight, Shawn Levy
Cast
Aria Mia Loberti , Mark Ruffalo , Hugh Laurie , Louis Hofmann , Lars Eidinger , Andrea Deck , Nell Sutton

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by acclaimed author Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See is set against the backdrop of World War II as blind French teen Maurie-Laure (Aria Mia Loberti) and German soldier Werner (Louis Hofmann) develop an unlikely bond amongst the devastation of a wartorn world. Finding a sense of faith in humanity despite its perils, All the Light We Cannot See is both uplifting and inspiring as the interwoven narratives of these two very different people become aligned through sheer kindness. In spite of the horrific setting, Steven Knight and Shawn Levy, using Doerr’s powerful tale, manage to conjure a visceral sense of aspiration and expectation that, no matter what, things may just get better. - Jake Hodges

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'Freud' (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes: 50% | IMDb: 6.5/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (6)
Freud (2020)

Release Date
March 23, 2020

Cast
Robert Finster , Ella Rumpf , Georg Friedrich , Stefan Konarske

Creator(s)
Marvin Kren , Stefan Brunner , Benjamin Hessler

Freud is a German-language mystery thriller that feels like an interesting combination of BBC’s Sherlock and The Alienist. The eight-episode series creates a sleek young Sigmund Freud (Robert Finster) that uses his psychological expertise to hunt down a murderer in 1886 Vienna. Cleverly combining Freud’s actual theories with fringe supernatural psychological theories, the show creates an unsteady platform that never reveals its twists and turns to the audience until just the right moment. The series also embraces the 1800s Victorian-era aesthetic with spectacular costuming and sets that immerse the viewer in the setting while also dazzling with interesting shot composition and color schemes to highlight the mysterious nature of the investigation.

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'Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story' (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes: 95% | IMDb: 7.5/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (7)
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

Biography

Drama

History

Betrothed against her will to King George, young Charlotte arrives in London on her wedding day and faces scrutiny from the monarch's cunning mother.

Release Date
May 4, 2023

Cast
India Amarteifio , Freddie Dennis , Richard Cunningham , Golda Rosheuvel

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is a double dose of period drama that jumps between the late 18th century and the early 19th century following the life of Queen Charlotte from the original Bridgerton series. This spectacular spin-off lays the foundation for the racially integrated world of the main series while delivering a charming love story between Queen Charlotte and King George that slowly erupts into madness. The breakout star of the series is India Amarteifio (The Midwich Cuckoos) as young Queen Charlotte, who embodies the authority and defiance that we’ve come to love from the older version with a rambunctious edge. This prequel series is a worthy addition to the Bridgerton mythos and a welcome change of pace. – Tauri Miller

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'The Cook of Castamar' (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes: 87% | IMDb: 7.4/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (8)
The Cook of Castamar

Genre
Period Drama

Debut Date
February 21, 2021

Based on Fernando J. Múñez’s novel, The Cook of Castamar is a steamy romantic series set in early 18th-century Madrid. Created for television by Tatiana Rodríguez, The Cook of Castamar is a Spanish drama that reveals the budding romance between the widowed Duke of Castamar (Roberto Enríquez) seeking to rejoin aristocratic society and a young agoraphobic woman named Clara Belmonte (Michelle Jenner). The Cook of Castamar may only have lasted a single season, but it wove a gorgeous tale of second chances, self-reflection, and rediscovery for both Clara and the Duke. – Yael Tygiel

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'The Law According to Lidia Poët' (2023 - Present)

Rotten Tomatoes: 100% | IMDb: 7.4/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (9)
The Law According to Lidia Poët

Drama

Biography

Crime

Release Date
February 15, 2023

Creator
Guido Iuculano, Davide Orsini

Cast
Matilda De Angelis , Eduardo Scarpetta , Pier Luigi Pasino , Sara Lazzaro

The Law According to Lidia Poët is based on the true story of the first female lawyer in 19th century Italy who fought for women’s right to practice law in a male-exclusive field. Lidia Poët, played by Matilda De Angelis, is tenacious, ambitious, and refuses to let anyone stop her from investigating murders — even when her license is taken away. The series takes on the sexism of the time while feeling immensely modern and reminds us that the world won’t change unless people are willing to fight for it. This Italian legal drama is hard to object to with such stunning sets, wardrobe, and lots of provocative sequences in and out of the courtroom. – Tauri Miller

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'1899' (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes: 77% | IMDb: 7.3/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (10)
1899

Mystery

Sci-Fi

Drama

Historical

Release Date
November 17, 2022

Creator
Jantje Friese, Baran bo Odar

Cast
Emily Beecham , Aneurin Barnard , Andreas Pietschmann , Miguel Bernardeau , Yann Gael , Mathilde Ollivier

1899 is a short-lived mystery series from Dark co-creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese. Starring Emily Beecham, Aneurin Barnard, Andreas Pietschmann, and Miguel Bernardeau, 1899 tantalizes with a fascinating puzzle set against the backdrop of the open sea. Over eight thrilling episodes, 1899 unfolds the story of a multinational immigrant steamship heading towards New York that inexplicably encounters another ship on the open sea. Each episode of 1899 deliberately reveals secrets while introducing a pile of new questions and mysteries, seamlessly blending genres as the clever writers lean on the time period to mesmerize. – Yael Tygiel

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'The Empress' (2022 - Present)

Rotten Tomatoes: 80% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.8/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (11)
The Empress

Drama

History

Romance

Release Date
September 29, 2022

Creator
Katharina Eyssen

Philip Froissant and Devrim Lingnau star in The Empress, a German romance about Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary (Froissant) and his betrothal to the sister of Elisabeth von Wittelsbach, Princess of Bavaria. Creators Katharina Eyssen and Lena Stahl emphasize the young women in the story of The Empress, leaning into these women’s quests for love and power through family motivations and strategic actions. Exploring an overlooked time in history, The Empress reveals a progressive journey which, although entrenched in likely fictional and exaggerated drama, navigates the trajectory of European politics. – Yael Tygiel

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'Rebellion' (2016 - 2019)

Rotten Tomatoes: 40% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.1/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (12)
Rebellion

Genre
Historical Drama

Debut Date
January 3, 2016

A dramatization of the events surrounding the 1916 Easter Rising, Rebellion showcases the birth of modern Ireland. The series focuses on a group of friends from Dublin, Belfast, and London and follows how they each play crucial – and sometimes conflicting – roles in Ireland’s quest for independence. Featuring excellent performances, Rebellion shines a light on a piece of history that has often been overlooked. – Taylor Gates

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'Barbarians' (2020 - Present)

Rotten Tomatoes: 86% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.2/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (13)
Barbarians

Drama

History

Release Date
October 23, 2020

Creator
Andreas Heckmann

Cast
Laurence Rupp , Jeanne Goursaud , David Schütter

Looking for a side of sex and violence with your history, a la Game of Thrones or Spartacus? Add Barbarians to your list. The show centers around the Roman Empire’s occupation of Germania and the subsequent rebellion of the Germanic tribes. From disagreements between tribal chiefs to certain leaders wanting peace with the Romans, freedom will not come easy. However, it’s sure to be a bloody, entertaining ride chock-full of battles and betrayal. – Taylor Gates

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'The Last Czars' (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes: 56% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.3/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (14)
the last czars

Release Date
July 3, 2019
Main Genre
History

The Last Czars is a compelling six-part docuseries that follows the life of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of the Romanov Dynasty, from his rise to power in 1894 to his tragic assassination in 1918. This fascinating peek into Russian history is grounded by Robert Jack’s performance, as we get to see Nicholas II as both a ruler and loving husband and father. If you’re a fan of shows like The Crown, you’re sure to enjoy it. - Taylor Gates

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'Mindhunter' (2017 - 2019)

Rotten Tomatoes: 97% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.6/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (15)
Mindhunter

Thriller

Drama

Crime

Mystery

Release Date
October 13, 2017
Cast
Holt McCallany , Anna Torv , Jonathan Groff , Hannah Gross

Oh Mindhunter, how we miss you so. While it is unlikely we will get a third season of the show anytime soon, the first two seasons capture some of the most unnerving and fascinating elements of serial killers ever put to screen. It follows Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), and Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) as they attempt to gain a comprehensive understanding of the psychology of history’s most horrible monsters. Deliberately paced and meticulously acted, the show doesn’t offer all that many explicit answers as it instead finds its terror in the darkness of the unknown. With each new horrific killer Ford and Tench interview, the show gets deeper into the darkness of the mind of such murderers. Each such scene takes its time, capturing a suffocating sense of tension in seeing ordinary people talk about the most horrible of violence. It isn’t always easy to stomach, though my goodness does it stick with you. — Chase Hutchinson

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'Call the Midwife' (2012 - Present)

Rotten Tomatoes: 95% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.6/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (16)
Call the Midwife

Drama

Family

Release Date
January 15, 2012

Cast
Jenny Agutter , Judy Parfitt , Pam Ferris , Cliff Parisi

Based on a series of memoirs by Jennifer Worth, the BAFTA award-winning drama series Call the Midwife explores the unpredictable and demanding work of midwives in late 1950s to 1960s East London. Each episode of the decade-long series addresses heavy political and social issues such as poverty, disease, and racism as well as the potential complications that come with pregnancy. These nurses form strong, lifelong bonds with one another as they persevere through the many difficulties that come from being a midwife during the postwar era. All 11 Seasons of the critically acclaimed series are available on Netflix. -Emily Bernard

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'The English Game' (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes: 53% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.6/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (17)
The English Game

Genre
Historical Sports Drama

Debut Date
March 20, 2020

Ever wonder how football (or as Americans call it, soccer) came to be? Well, it’s time to hit the pitch and find out! Set in 1870s Great Britain, the limited series The English Game explains how the immensely popular sport went from being a sport for the wealthy members of society to becoming a world-renowned game for people from all walks of life. Thanks to the teamwork of two players on opposite ends of the financial spectrum, football was able to expand and evolve into the hugely successful sport that it is today. This series also features some very impressive top hats. - Emily Bernard

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'Narcos: Mexico' (2018 - 2021)

Rotten Tomatoes: 90% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.4/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (18)
Narcos: Mexico

Crime

Drama

Release Date
November 16, 2018
Cast
Scoot McNairy , Ernesto Alterio , Diego Luna , Fernanda Urrejola , Jose Maria Yazpik , Jesse Garcia , Alberto Ammann , Matt Biedel

Narcos may have wrapped up its third and final season back in 2017, but the series swapped countries for the equally compelling spinoff Narcos: Mexico. Centered on the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel and its ruthless leader Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) in the 1980s, Narcos: Mexico contains the same blend of fast-paced action and historical insights that made the original show so binge-worthy. While you don’t necessarily have to have seen Narcos to appreciate the riveting depiction of the early Mexican drug war in Narcos: Mexico, there are some fun crossover elements that longtime fans may appreciate. - Liam Gaughan

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'Wormwood' (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes: 90% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.0/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (19)
Wormwood

Drama

Release Date
December 15, 2017
Cast
Peter Sarsgaard , Molly Parker , Christian Camargo , Scott Shepherd , Tim Blake Nelson

The legendary documentarian Errol Morris crafts an intriguing mix of the docudrama and psychological thriller genres with his in-depth study of a real CIA biological research program in the 1950s. The six-part miniseries incorporates actual historical footage and interviews with the scientist Frank Olson, who mysteriously died in 1953 after working on a covert government job in Maryland. Alleged murder, LSD dosing, and biblical allusions all crop up in this fascinating true crime story that’s stranger than fiction. However, Morris also includes dramatic recreations of the events featuring the always underratedPeter Sarsgaard as Olson. It’s likely to keep you puzzled over its secrets long after you finish watching. - Liam Gaughan

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'The Queen’s Gambit' (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes: 96% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.5/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (20)
The Queen's Gambit

Drama

Release Date
October 23, 2020
Cast
Anya Taylor-Joy , Bill Camp , Marielle Heller , Marcin Dorocinski

It’s probably safe to say that almost everyone knows about The Queen’s Gambit already, but it needs to be highlighted on this list. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit is based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel of the same name, telling the story of a young chess prodigy named Beth Harmon. The show takes place in the 1950s and ‘60s, focusing on Beth’s journey to becoming an elite chess player in an extremely patriarchal society, battling addiction and depression on top of sexism. The show also stars Bill Camp, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Moses Ingram in supporting roles. Said to be one of Netflix’s most-watched original series, The Queen’s Gambit won 11 Emmys in 2021, as well as two Golden Globes, and Taylor-Joy has gotten particularly strong praise for her leading performance. — Devon Forward

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'Outlander' (2014 - Present)

Rotten Tomatoes: 92% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 8.4/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (21)
Outlander

Action

Drama

Romance

Fantasy

Release Date
August 9, 2014
Cast
Caitriona Balfe , Sam Heughan , Sophie Skelton , Richard Rankin

Outlander actually explores several time periods throughout the seasons, but the majority of the story takes place in Scotland in the 1700s. Following Caitríona Balfe as former World War II nurse Claire Randall, the show starts in 1945 while she is on a honeymoon trip with her husband, Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies), until an encounter with standing stones at Craigh na Dun sends Claire back to 1743. There she meets a young Scottish Highlander named Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan, and they soon fall in love, as Claire attempts to navigate a period of history that she knows can be very dangerous. Outlander has been going for five seasons now and it’s an amazing series, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s the time. — Devon Forward

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'Alias Grace' (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes: 99% | IMDb:​​​​​​​ 7.6/10

The 37 Best Period Dramas and Historical Shows on Netflix Right Now (22)
Alias Grace

Drama

Release Date
September 25, 2017
Cast
Sarah Gadon , Rebecca Liddiard , Zachary Levi , David Cronenberg , Paul Gross , Anna Paquin

Based on Margaret Atwood's 1996 novel of the same name, Alias Grace is a fictionalized portrayal of the 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery by their household servants Grace Marks and James McDermott, and the TV show specifically focuses on Grace. Starring Sarah Gadon as Grace, Alias Grace plays out on two timelines — one showing an investigation by a psychiatrist named Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) who Grace tells her story to, and flashbacks to Grace’s upbringing and the events leading to the murders. Throughout Alias Grace, you never really know if Grace is telling the truth or manipulating her story to win Jordan’s favor, and the show will have you constantly switching back and forth as to whether you think she’s guilty. A fantastic critique of societal issues throughout the 1800s, Alias Grace is a haunting watch. — Devon Forward

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