35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix – Mini-Series and TV Shows Edition (2016)

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North and South - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
North and South Promotional Image
Photo: BBC

Last year, I shared with you several amazing period dramas available to stream on Netflix in the US. While the TV Show/Mini-Series list in 2016 hasn’t changed ‘too’ dramatically, I wanted to update it for everyone still seeking that next binge-watch. I mean, who doesn’t need their occasional Mr. Thornton fix? From international period dramas, BBC dramas, to classic whodunit mysteries, there’s something in here for everyone.

35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix US (2016)

(In No Particular Order)

#1: Reign

Reign - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: CW

With Anne Shirley (Megan Follows) herself as the scheming Catherine de Medici, you can’t get more addictive then this underrated series. Sure the costumes aren’t authentic (a purposeful choice), but neither is the actual story based on Mary, Queen of Scots. Romance, intrigue, and Catherine’s conniving plots keep me hooked for sure.

RELATED | Reign Review

Content Note: This is rated TV-14 and includes some racy scenes. Nothing too graphic.

#2: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Jack and Miss Fisher - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Jack and Miss Fisher on the verge of a waltz…
Photo: Acorn TV

What’s not to love about this Australian 1920’s murder mystery? With a fantastic leading lady in Miss Fisher, a great leading man in Detective Inspector Robinson, witty dialogue to make you laugh, and out of the world costume design, you will be nothing but entertained from start to finish of each episode. One of my personal favorites.

RELATED | Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Review

Content Note: Very infrequently, Miss Fisher does have some adult content thrown in (though not explicit). There’s also a lot of strong sensuality. It is rated TV-14.

#3: Robin Hood

35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix - Robin Hood
Photo: BBC

If you love Merlin, medieval period dramas, and Richard Armitage (he plays the villainous but slightly redeemable Guy), then you will enjoy this adorable and swashbuckling fun British TV Show. Sure, season 3 takes some missteps (I won’t spoil it for newbies), but overall a great romantic series to binge watch. I adore both the love story between Robin and Marian and Guy and Marian.

Content Note: Rated TV-PG for action adventure.

#4: Death Comes to Pemberley

35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: PBS

What happens after Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are married with children? This mini-series (based on a book) aims to discover just that. An enjoyable, though not perfect, few hours of your time.

RELATED | Death Comes to Pemberley Review

Content Note: While unrated, Death Comes to Pemberley would be rated TV-PG.

#5: Empresses in the Palace

Empresses in the Palace - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: Dongyang Hua’er Film & TV Co/Viki

Empresses in the Palace is an epic Chinese historical drama set in ancient China. The series follows a 17-year-old girl who is forced to join the royal harem and must find a way to survive.

Content Note: This is rated TV-14.

#6: The Time in Between

35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
The Time in Between
Photo: DramaFever

The Time in Between is a Spanish period drama series that deals with spies, romance, and so much more! I’ve read this is a highly addictive one…

Content Note: Rated TV-14.

#7: Turn

Turn- 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: AMC

A period drama set during the American Revolution. I don’t know much about Turn but one of the stars is Northanger Abbey‘s J.J. Feild…

Content Note: This show is rated TV 14. Turn includes some sexual content and violence.

#8: Murdoch Mysteries (7 Seasons)

Murdoch Mysteries- 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: CBC

An amusing Canadian mystery series set during the late 19th century & early 1900’s. While some of the dialogue can be stilted at times, I really love the main character! It’s definitely fun seeing the various mysteries unfold. To watch the remainder of the seasons, you will want to turn to Acorn TV.

RELATED | Murdoch Mysteries (The TV Series)

Content Note: There is violence in every episode. It would be rated (depending on the episode), anywhere between TV-PG to TV-14.

#9: North and South

North and south - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: BBC

If you haven’t seen North & South yet, it should be at the top of your list of period dramas to watch! The Mini-Series follows Margaret Hale as she moves from the comforts of the South of England to an industrial town in the North. There she meets the seemingly cold Mr. Thornton and becomes prejudiced against him in a very Elizabeth Bennet kind of way. North & South is like Dickens meets Austen, with a nice side of Richard Armitage to make this a mini-series worth revisiting time and time again. By far one of the best period dramas of all time!

RELATED | North and South Review

Content Note: While unrated, it would be rated TV-PG.

#10: The Buccaneers

Photo: BBC - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: BBC

The Buccaneers is worth catching when you want something simply soapy to devour. It’s about four American women who decide to go to England to find a good husband. The Buccaneers stars a young Carla Gugino, Mira Sorvino, and Greg Wise (Sense and Sensibility).

RELATED | The Buccaneers Review

Content Note: The Buccaneers is rated TV-14.

#11: The Paradise

35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: BBC One

Another favorite of mine, The Paradise tells the story of shop girl Denise as she falls for the shop’s owner, Mr. Moray. Aside from the wonderful old-fashioned romance, the strength of this series goes back to the characterization. Every person will feel layered and real by the end of the show. Few writers have this depth to their skill.

RELATED | The Paradise Review

Content Note: Rated TV-PG.

#12: When Calls the Heart

When Calls the Heart - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: Hallmark Channel

This wholesome period drama may get a bit cheesy at times, but I love the old-fashioned romance and heartwarming stories the show shares with the audience. Yes, sometimes it can get a little soapy (see season 2), however, the show is totally worth it for Jack. I adore him as the leading man and I think you will too.

RELATED | When Calls the Heart Review

Content Note: Rated TV-G. This is about as sweet and family-friendly as you can get.

#13: Grand Hotel (Edit: Now expired…Please come back!!)

Grand Hotel - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: Sky

If you love Downton Abbey and don’t mind subtitles, then Grand Hotel is a must see TV Series set in Spain. The star-crossed love story between Alicia and Julio is exquisite. The best part is that all three seasons are now available on Netflix. You don’t even have to wait for an ending.

RELATED | Grand Hotel Review

Content Note: There are a few scenes of sexuality sprinkled throughout the show, but they are extremely infrequent and not explicit. It is rated TV-PG.

#14: Houdini

35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: History Channel

A period drama about the life of Houdini starring Adrien Brody.

Content Note: Rated TV-14. I haven’t seen this one but I believe there is sexual content.

#15: Stories by Rabindranath Tagore

Stories by Rabindranath Tagore - 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
Photo: Epic Channel

Adaptation of Nobel Prize Winner Rabindranath Tagore’s tales. The stories, focused on female empowerment, are set in early 20th century Bengal.

Content Note: Rated TV-14

Turn to page 2 for more Period Dramas!

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Autumn Topping

CO-FOUNDER & EDITOR

"Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile," L.M. Montgomery. In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and also graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works at The New York Public Library as a YA Librarian.

  • Barraillier Aspisi Marie

    This is the second time I’m reading your Netflix article (by the way, this website is amazing! 🙂 but this is only on the Netflix US right? Cause in France it looks like I can’t find them. Except Miss Fisher that I’m currently watching.

    • Thank you! And yes, this is only Netflix US. I should go back and clarify that. Hopefully, I can add what to watch in countries like France sometime in the future. And Miss Fisher is amazing! I hope you enjoy. 🙂

  • Barraillier Aspisi Marie

    Yes really fun show. :-)I do love the settings and costumes.
    Nice of you but you don’t have to bother. You live in the US so it’s kind of logical to talk only about these shows. I’m only a little jealous… lol

  • Amy Hughes Sturgeon

    I have watched both The Great Train Robbery and George Gently and didn’t find anything too objectionable in them. The first is a British miniseries based on real events. I love a good heist story (in theory – I’d really disapprove in real life), so I enjoyed it. George Gently is a detective series that was quite fun too. They’re both set in the 1960s. Love your site – just found it!

  • Amy Hughes Sturgeon

    I also just finished watching Lilies. I enjoyed it – flawed characters, so don’t expect everything to look beautiful or have a rosy glow. What I really appreciated was how close this family is.

  • Baily Doctrow

    One of my favorite shows ever is Turn: Washington’s Spies. It is so easy to fall in love with the characters. AMC’s take on the American Revolution and the Culper Spy Ring is phenomenal. It’s very historically acurate, while taking some leeway for the drama of the show. Turn is an incredible learning experience full of action and mystery. It is so refreshing and intriguing to get into the mindset and everyday decisions of America’s most iconic men and women. The show is incredibly bold and rightly one of the best period dramas ever made.

  • Sandi

    Where’s outlander? It’s not on the list and it’s so good!

  • Inbar

    I also recommend “The Tudors”

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