UPDATE: New 2016 Netflix List Is Up! 35 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix – Mini-Series and TV Shows Edition (2016)
In the past year, several fantastic period dramas disappeared from Netflix (they, unfortunately, lost the streaming rights). Daniel Deronda, Wives and Daughters, Bleak House, and The Way We Live Now are just a few of the sumptuous and vibrantly romantic period pieces taken off the U.S. Netflix. And while they lost several of BBC’s finest dramas, there are several other fantastic mini-series and TV Shows just waiting to be devoured.
25 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix
(In No Particular Order)
#1: Reign (2013)
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. This is rated TV 14 and includes some racy scenes. Nothing too graphic.
RELATED | Review of Reign
#2: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012)
What’s not to love about this Australian 1920s 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. Very infrequently, Miss Fisher does have some adult content thrown in. There’s also a lot of strong sensuality.
RELATED | Review of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
#3: Grand Hotel (2011)
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. There are a few scenes of sexuality sprinkled throughout the show, but they are extremely infrequent.
RELATED | Review of Grand Hotel
#4: Velvet (2013)
Another Spanish import, Velvet is a classic class divide love story set in the 1950s and 60s that will make you swoon. The production values are also fantastic.
#5: Call the Midwife (2012)
Not many TV shows follow mostly female characters and deals with female problems. The show is about a group of midwives and nuns working to help the people of Poplar and maybe even themselves in the process. The stories can be heartbreaking, uplifting, and sometimes even a little romantic. The standout in this is, of course, the hilarious Miranda Hart.
# 6: North & South (2004)
If you haven’t seen North & South yet, it should be at the top of your list! 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 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.
#7: When Calls the Heart (2014)
This wholesome period drama may get a bit cheesy at times, but I love the clean romance and heartwarming stories the show shares with the audience. Yes, sometimes the dialogue is a bit stilted (especially in season 1), and 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 | Review of When Calls the Heart
#8: The Paradise (2012)
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 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 | Review of The Paradise
#9: Death Comes to Pemberley (2014)
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 few hours of your time.
RELATED | Review of Death Comes to Pemberley
#10: The Forsyte Saga (2002)
Family secrets, love, and interweaving plots follow the Forsyte family in this well-developed period mini-series. Look out for a young Ioan Gruffudd and Damien Lewis. EDIT: This was recently taken off Netflix.