10 Best Historical Dramas For History Buffs | TheReviewGeek Recommends

You love getting lost in a good historical drama, don’t you? There’s nothing quite like being transported to another era and place, experiencing the intrigue and drama of political upheaval or following star-crossed lovers who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Whether it’s the lavish costumes, the witty banter between characters or just watching iconic figures from the past come to life, historical dramas have a way of captivating audiences.

If you can’t get enough of shows like The Crown, Victoria or Downton Abbey, we’ve got 10 more must-see, swoon-worthy period dramas you should start binging immediately. From the American Revolution to 1920s New York City, these shows will satisfy your craving for epic love stories and political drama. Grab some popcorn, pour yourself a glass of wine and get ready to escape into the past. The sumptuous sets, costumes and characters await you.

Best Historical Dramas
The Tudors

The Tudors is a show that will captivate you from the first episode. Set in 16th-century England, it follows the early reign of King Henry VIII and his tumultuous love life.

You’ll get swept up in the lavish costumes, grand castles, and drama between Henry’s wives and mistresses as they vie for his affection and the opportunity to bear his sons. Of course, the real showstoppers are Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the charismatic yet ruthless King Henry, and Natalie Dormer portraying the clever and charming Anne Boleyn.

Best Historical Dramas
Turn: Washington’s Spies

Turn: Washington’s Spies is a gripping historical drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring. Set during the Revolutionary War, the show follows a group of childhood friends who form an unlikely ring of spies called the Culper Ring. Led by Benjamin Tallmadge, the ring operates under the nose of the British across Long Island and Connecticut to help George Washington.

The show has complex characters, especially the protagonist Abe Woodhull. Abe is a farmer and family man who is reluctantly pulled into the revolution. The show explores thought-provoking themes like liberty, loyalty, and sacrifice. You see the moral dilemmas of war through the eyes of Abe and other relatable characters.

Best Historical Dramas
The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom is a historical drama based on Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories novels about King Alfred the Great and his dream of a united England. Set in the 9th century, the show follows Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a Saxon raised by Danes, who is torn between both sides.

After his Danish family is killed, Uhtred is taken in by King Alfred of Wessex, a pious Christian. Though Uhtred embraces the Saxons’ cause, he struggles with their faith. He believes in the Norse gods of his Danish upbringing. This inner conflict drives much of Uhtred’s journey as he fights to reclaim his ancestral lands in Northumbria.

Best Historical Dramas
Peaky Blinders

Set in 1920s Birmingham, Peaky Blinders is a historical crime drama that follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family. Led by Tommy Shelby, a cunning former soldier, the Peaky Blinders get into confrontations with the police, the IRA, and local gangs.

The show is known for its historical accuracy in recreating post-World War I Birmingham. From the fashion and music to the political tensions of the time, Peaky Blinders authentically captures the era. The Shelbys and their gang are even based on a real urban youth gang of the same name that was active in Birmingham during that time period.

Best Historical Dramas
Boardwalk Empire

Set in Atlantic City during the Prohibition era, Boardwalk Empire is a historical drama that brings this fascinating time period to life. The show follows Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a political figure who runs a criminal organization in 1920s New Jersey.

Nucky acts as a mentor to Jimmy Darmody, a young man who fought in World War 1. Their complex relationship is a highlight of the show. You’ll also meet other historical figures like Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, and Lucky Luciano before they become infamous mob bosses.

Best Historical Dramas
The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age, spanning from the 1870s to about 1900, was an era of rapid economic growth and technological innovation in the United States. As industry and finance came to dominate the economy, a class of incredibly wealthy “captains of industry” emerged. At the same time, many lived in poverty and harsh working conditions.

Some of the most well-known tycoons of the era were Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. They built massive business empires and lavish mansions, epitomizing both the extravagance and inequality of the time period. The era also saw massive migrations from farms to cities, as people sought new jobs in burgeoning factories and mills. Cities grew rapidly, but living conditions for workers were often dismal.

Best Historical Dramas

Rome follows the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and Empire. This sprawling historical drama originally aired from 2005 to 2007, with 22 episodes per season. It focuses on two soldiers whose lives intertwine, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, as they witness the transformation of the Republic into the mighty Roman Empire.

You’ll see Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian (the future Augustus Caesar) as they wage civil war, expand the empire through military conquest, and ultimately seize power. The series is known for its grand scope, lavish sets and costumes, and gritty realism in capturing details of life in ancient Rome.

Best Historical Dramas

The Chernobyl disaster is one of the worst nuclear accidents in history. In 1986, a safety test gone wrong caused a massive explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

The mini-series Chernobyl dramatizes the terrifying events of the Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath. Spanning five episodes, it provides a dramatic re-telling of how the flawed reactor design and human error led to a catastrophic explosion.

Best Historical Dramas

The Pacific

The Pacific is a 10-part HBO miniseries that originally aired in 2010. It follows three U.S. Marines during World War 2 and their experiences in the Pacific theatre.

The series primarily revolves around Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), Eugene Sledge (Joseph Mazzello), and John Basilone (Jon Seda), who fight against the Japanese in such places as Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu. It’s a gripping and emotional look at the lives of soldiers during one of the deadliest conflicts in modern history.

The show is based on the books “Helmet for My Pillow” by Robert Leckie and “With the Old Breed” by E.B. Sledge.

Best Historical Dramas
Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers follows Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Over 10 episodes, it depicts their journey from gruelling training at Camp Toccoa in Georgia through key battles in Europe, including D-Day.

The show is based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book of the same name. It brings the viewer into the lives of these brave men, showing their camaraderie as they face the horrors of war together. We see them progress from naive recruits to battle-hardened soldiers. Though the violence of war is not glossed over, the show is ultimately a story of the human experience – one of endurance, sacrifice, and the unbreakable bonds between brothers.

There we have it, our list 0f 10 historical dramas. What do you think about our picks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below:

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