10 Best Period Dramas To Watch if You Like Versailles, Ranked
The costumes! The drama! The intricate maze of political intrigue and intertwining storylines!
18th-century London, but this time, from the perspective of competing brothels. Margaret Wells struggles to elevate her status by moving her brothel to a posher locality, while combating Lydia Quigley, her high-class rival. This is more than a catfight with corsets.
It's a hardened look at the economics of the oldest profession in the world. Underneath the layers of glamour and gossip, lies a mind game "House of Cards" would be proud of.
9. "Black Sails"
This series serves as a prequel to "Treasure Island," combining fictional and historical characters in a high seas drama. Captain Flint leads his crew on a hunt for the ultimate prize—a Spanish treasure galleon.
In Nassau, the pirate stronghold, economics isn't just theory, it's a weapon. Brazen buccaneers are moonlighting as political tacticians. The storyline navigates through not just the choppy waters of the Caribbean but also the Golden Age of Piracy.
8. "Turn: Washington's Spies"
Set your sights on the American Revolutionary War from a vantage point often overlooked—the spies. Abraham Woodhull, a cabbage farmer, joins the Culper Spy Ring to aid the American cause. In his company, unveil the espionage, the counterintelligence, and coded communications.
The British aren't just redcoats; they're cunning antagonists in their own right. But fret not; there are no dry history lessons here, only high-stakes gambles.
7. "The Durrells"
Sunshine and whimsy might sound like odd components for a period drama, but they blend perfectly in "The Durrells." Set in 1930s Corfu, this isn't your regular British family. Mother Louisa and her four children, including future zoologist Gerald Durrell, seek a fresh start away from dreary England.
But a beautiful Greek island doesn't automatically mean paradise. Social barriers, local politics, and economic woes greet them. The quirk? Imagine handling all this while also collecting exotic animals.
Not the HBO version, mind you, but the European production that spills the Italian Renaissance tea. Rodrigo Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI. He is not just your average ambitious cleric. He's a man with an insatiable lust for power. With his children Cesare and Lucrezia by his side, the Borgia family becomes an emblem of religious hypocrisy.
The papacy isn't the end; it's just the beginning. Anticipate cameos from historical figures like Machiavelli and Da Vinci, not as mere decoration but as intricate pieces on this political chessboard.
5. "The White Queen"
Wars of the Roses, but make it personal. Elizabeth Woodville, a widowed commoner, catches the eye of King Edward IV. Forget playing hard to get; they marry in secret.
Cue political catastrophe. Elizabeth's rise to queen sees her family caught in a tangled mess of allegiances and betrayals. Two other women, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville, enter the arena, each gunning for her son to sit on the throne. Who will win in this pre-Tudor game of thrones?
4. "Ripper Street"
Move over, Sherlock, for "Ripper Street" gives Victorian London its true, unvarnished self. Forget the neat cobblestones; we're going deep into the gutters.
In the wake of the Jack the Ripper killings, the men of H Division tackle London's nastiest crimes. Human trafficking, opium dens, and espionage coexist. You're not just a spectator; you're an active participant in unraveling the mysteries. No gaslight romance here, only gritty realism.
3. "The Last Kingdom"
British Isles, divided and battered by Viking invasions. Uhtred, born a Saxon but raised by Vikings. This series dances on the razor's edge between loyalty and treachery. Uhtred wants to reclaim his ancestral lands but needs Viking muscle to do it. Plot twist: To get Viking help, he has to help the Saxons.
If you want historical drama soaked in the mud and blood of 9th-century battles, with characters switching allegiances like clothes, this one fits the bill. The multiple kingdoms—Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria—provide enough political intrigue.
What's worse than being a criminal? Being an 18th-century British criminal banished to Australia. Banishment might sound like a long vacation, but the penal colony setting ain't no walk in the park. Characters fight against not only the tyranny of British overseers but also the unforgiving Australian landscape.
Men and women, divided and contentious. All unite under the simple goal of survival. "Banished" doesn't romanticize the British colonization; rather, it shows it through the unfiltered lens of raw survivalism.
Cornwall. Mining and family rivalries are the talk of the town. At the helm, Ross Poldark. He returns from the American Revolutionary War, his fortune lost and his fiancée promised to his cousin. What does he do? Starts anew, opening a mine and marrying a servant.
Through sweat and blood, Ross negotiates social upheaval, political maneuverings, and economic collapse. No shortage of intrigues here, and all interwoven with the geopolitical climate of 18th-century Britain. Need another nugget? Pirate ships and smuggling ventures. In a sentence: gritty ambition redefined.