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15 Of The Best Historical TV Shows (According To IMDb)


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The Chosen (9.7)


Although Jesus Christ is no doubt the main feature of this free-to-watch series, it's the disciples and other characters that truly make this series shine like salt and light. Viewers are exposed to events like the healing of Mary Magdaline, the calling of the apostles, and Jesus's other miracles, but they are all shown through the eyes of Nicodemus, Peter, Matthew, and other biblical supporting cast members.

Seeing these New Testament events unfold in front of not just the main cast, but side characters and supports like the high priests, the Roman legions, and the commonfolk of Jerusalem puts a different yet inspiring spin on Jesus's narrative, as well as showing how far his influence touched the multitudes.


Band Of Brothers (9.4)


A collaboration between Tom Hanks and Steven Speilberg, Band of Brothers followed in close proximity to the iconic Saving Private Ryan in terms of content, setting, and historical material. The series follows the lives of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division and their involvement and service during WWII. From the time the soldiers first arrive at basic training up until Japan's surrender in 1945.

In that span of time, the series allows the audience to grow with its cast and witness historic and devastating events such as the invasion of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the capture of Eagle's Nest all through the eyes of the troops.


The Crown (8.7)


The Crown is definitely one of the best-known historical series right now, so it should be no surprise that this show came in at the number one spot on this list of historical TV shows. This show premiered on Netflix in 2016 and stars Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II took the throne when she was 25 years old and this series follows her life as a young member of the royal family back in the 1940s. The show follows her life through the years and gives us a glimpse into the way that political rivalries and personal relationships impacted the way of life in the 20th century.


Vikings (8.6)


Vikings is a historical drama that began airing on the History Channel in 2013. The sixth and final season premiered in 2020 and Netflix is working on producing a sequel series called Vikings: Valhalla.

The series is based on various Norse myths and legends. The show follows a warrior named Ragnar Lothbrok who is known for being one of the bravest Viking warriors of his time. The series follows Lothbrok's rise from being a simple farmer to being a legendary warrior who many people believe to be a direct descendant of Odin himself. Later seasons of the series feature his family and children.


Boardwalk Empire (8.5)8.5-Boardwalk-Empire.jpg.44816f0f6532a873996b52d34a6f8636.jpg

Boardwalk Empire aired from 2010 through 2014 and is set in Atlantic city during the Prohibition Era. Steve Buscemi stars in this series as Nucky Thompson, a sly politician who runs Atlantic City with the help of the mobsters that are working in the seedy underbelly of the city.

This crime drama follows Nucky's rise to prominence as a politician in Atlantic city through the 1920s until the early 1930s when Prohibition came to a close. The main character of this series is loosely based on Enoch L. Johnson, a real-life politician from Atlantic City in this era.


Spartacus (8.5)






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John Adams (8.5)


For fans of the historical musical sensation, Hamilton, it might behoove them to invest their time by revisiting another famous founding father with John Adams. HBO's popular historical drama regarding America's first 50 years and the president's involvement in the nation's genesis. Although it lacks any of the head-bobbing musical numbers, it has the same amount of political intrigue, drama, and famous figures from American history.

What truly sells the series is Paul Giamatti's portrayal as John Adams himself. From the tides of the American Revolution to his days as the second president of the United States, Giamatti shines an emotional and engaging light on one of America's lesser-discussed founding fathers.



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Call The Midwife (8.4)


Call the Midwife is a BBC period drama that is set in the 1950s and 1960s. Although many of the super popular historic shows that IMDb users just can't get enough of are set way farther back in history, the fact that this series is set in the mid-20th century doesn't make it any less fun to watch.

This series began airing in 2012 and currently has 11 seasons. The series is based on a series of novels by Jennifer Worth and follows a young midwife named Jenny who recently left her home to work in London's Nonnatus House as a midwife.



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The Last Kingdom (8.3)


The Last Kingdom is a historical series that began airing in 2015 and is based on The Saxon Stories novels by Bernard Cornwell. The series began airing on BBC America before Netflix acquired the rights to the series and have been solely producing episodes since then.

The series is set in the late 9th century. It follows a man named Uhtred who was born as a Saxon but has spent his life raised by Vikings. As conflicts arise, Uhtred is forced to choose between the people that he was raised by and the people who he is connected to by blood.




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Poldark (8.3)


Poldark is a historical period drama that began airing in 2015 as part of PBS' Masterpiece line of shows. The series is set in the late 18th century in England and is based on a novel series by the same name.

This series stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, a man who everyone he knew believed to be dead prior to his return home from fighting in the American Revolution. The love of his life has gotten engaged and his father is dead, his property having been sold and more or less abandoned. The series follows the man's struggles with returning home and back to his previous life.



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The Tudors (8.1)


The Tudors aired from 2007 through 2010 for a total of four seasons. Now, this series that originally aired for Showtime is available to stream on a few different streaming services and is totally worth bingewatching for anyone that wants to see a scandalous, dramatic take on the early days of King Henry VIII's reign.



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Thieves Of The Wood (6.9)


Thieves of the Wood is a Netflix original series that began airing on the streaming service in 2018. This show is a Belgian series that is set in the 18th century. This series is based on a novel and, without giving any spoilers, the show ended in a similar way to the novel, so it doesn't seem that the series will be getting a second season. This is perfectly fine because a miniseries is always fun to binge over a weekend and the end of the show tied up a lot of loose ends.

This period drama follows Jan de Lichte, a highwayman who leads the revolution against the corrupt aristocracy in his home country of Belgium.



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Knightfall (6.8)


Knightfall premiered in 2017 on the History Channel and so far, two seasons of this historic show have aired. So far, there's not a ton of news about when the third season will be making it onto the airwaves, but fans are excited to see where this show will be going in the future.

This series is set in the 14th century and follows the Knights of Templar. The series primarily focuses on their leader, Landry du Lauzon, who is a brave warrior that's struggling to find inspiration to keep leading the Knights of Templar in the face of their failures. When rumors that the Holy Grail is out there somewhere, du Lauzon finds himself feeling inspired again.



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The Borgias (7.9)


If there's one reason to watch this series, it's Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo de Borgia/Pope Alexander VI. The series, as the title would imply, focuses on the notorious Borgia family and their rise to power and infamy during Renaissance-era Italy. If Irons's brilliant and despicable portrayal of the scandalous pontiff wasn't enough to grab the audience's attention, its plot is absolutely seething and slithering with greed, intimidation, treachery, and sacrilegious scandal.



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Aquarius (7.1)


Don't let that mystifying title mislead, this series set in the '60s weaves a detective tale of drugs, death, and the disillusionment of the psychedelic age. Sam Hodiak might be a fictitious member of the LAPD, but when he has to match wits against the infamous and very real Charles Manson and his murderous family, it spells out a period drama that's a little bit more than Helter Skelter.


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