45 Period Dramas to Watch on Netflix – 2019 Mini-Series and TV Shows Edition (Cont.)
#26: North & South (2004)
Netflix Synopsis: When her father moves his family to an industrial mill town, the parson’s daughter, Margaret Hale, struggles to adapt to her harsh new surroundings.
Why You Should Check This Out: 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 (and most swoony) period dramas of all time!
Content: While unrated, it would be TV-PG.
#27: Once Upon A Time (2011)
Netflix Synopsis: In this fantasy series, a young woman is drawn to a small Maine town and discovers that it’s filled with elements of the fairy tale world.
Why You Should Check This Out: While the show is set in contemporary Maine, a good portion of the series is also flashbacks. Of course, the flashbacks take place in a fairy tale almost historical like setting. Overall, if you love old-fashioned fairy tale romances and want a show full of hope and optimism, this is the show for you. Plus, there are so many couples to root for! Snow and Charming, Emma and Hook, and Belle and Gold to name a few. Sure, sometimes Once Upon A Time can be a little too cheesy and some of their fairy tale retellings don’t quite work, but as a whole, this series is so sweet and endearing that you find yourself missing it once it’s over.
Content: TV-PG. While there are occasional adult innuendos and darker themes, the overall feel is mostly good for the whole family.
#28: Reign (2013)
Netflix Synopsis: This vivid historical drama series tells of the rise to power of Mary, Queen of Scots, amid a court full of sexual and political intrigue.
Why You Should Check This Out: 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. Just don’t watch for historical accuracy as the series is more historical fantasy.
Content: This is rated TV-14 and definitely includes some racy scenes. Nothing too graphic.
#29: The Rise of Phoenixes (2018) TV-14
Netflix Synopsis: When a secret from the past rears its head, a respected court scholar must choose between avenging her family and staying true to the prince she loves.
Why You Should Check This Out: This Chinese historical drama is perfect for those of us who love sweeping royal romances.
#30: Secret Healer: Mirror of the Witch (2016)
Netflix Synopsis: A cursed princess meets a good-hearted scholar who gets entangled in her dangerous endeavor to lift the black magic that ensnares her.
Why You Should Check This Out: Who doesn’t love those entertaining historical fantasies about magic and romance?
#31: Secret of the Nile (2016)
Netflix Synopsis: When his sister disappears while working at the Grand Hotel, a man joins the staff to get answers. Inside its posh walls, he finds love and intrigue.
Why You Should Check This Out: While I haven’t seen this remake yet, it’s an Egyptian 1950s version of the Spanish cult hit, Grand Hotel. Hopefully, this newer take is just as romantic!
#32: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)
Netflix Synopsis: The extraordinary Baudelaire orphans face trials, tribulations and the evil Count Olaf in their fateful quest to unlock long-held family secrets.
Why You Should Check This Out: Okay, so this isn’t exactly a period drama, but the series definitely feels out of time so I thought I’d include it. Watch this one if you like ironic wit in the style of Pushing Daisies.
#33: Spies of Warsaw (2014) (EDIT: Now expired)
Netflix Synopsis: As Germany prepares to lead the world into war, military attaché Col. Jean-François Mercier tries to convince French leaders of the growing danger.
Why You Should Check This Out: David Tennant…
Content: TV-14 for one sex scene.
#34: Stories by Rabindranath Tagore (2015)
Netflix Synopsis: The writings of Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore come to life in this collection of tales set in early-20th-century Bengal.
Why You Should Check This Out: The stories focus on female empowerment and are set in early 20th century Bengal, a setting not often explored in period dramas.
#35: Strange Empire (2015)
Netflix Synopsis: This dark Western set in 19th-century Alberta follows a group of women struggling to survive after most of the men in their town are massacred.
Why You Should Check This Out: A Western-themed period drama about women definitely sounds compelling. However, I can’t offer insight into the quality of the writing or acting.
Content: TV-14 for sexuality and rape scenes so there are definitely trigger warnings. It verges on TV-MA but isn’t as explicit.
#36: Stranger Things (2016)
Netflix Synopsis: When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl.
Why You Should Check This Out: Stranger Things is paranormal period fare at its best starring Winona Ryder. Check out this 1980s drama if you love the supernatural or films like The Goonies!
Content: While rated TV-14 overall, there are a few scenes of gore that can make you queasy.
#37: To The Ends of the Earth (2005)
Netflix Synopsis: Within the confines of a cramped vessel bound for Australia, a naïve young aristocrat learns how to navigate the waters of every social class.
Why You Should Check This Out: Who doesn’t love a good period drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch, J.J. Feild, Victoria Hamilton, and Sam Neill?
#38: Turn: Washington’s Spies (2014)
Netflix Synopsis: Set in 1778, this period drama recounts the story of Abe Woodhull, an American cabbage farmer obliged to begin spying on the British enemy.
Why You Should Check This Out: 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, so there’s that…
Content: This show is rated TV 14. Turn includes some sexual content and violence.
#39: The Umbrella Academy (2019)
Netflix Synopsis: Reunited by their father’s death, estranged siblings with extraordinary powers uncover shocking family secrets — and a looming threat to humanity.
Why You Should Check This Out: Look, this is a weird show so you have to like weird. But it’s super entertaining. (I binged this one in a few days.) And while this isn’t exactly a period drama, there were certainly traces of it in the timeless alternate history feel. Moreover, one of the characters can time travel. (he ends up in the 1950s at one point.) Furthermore, based on the premise of book 2 that this show’s based on, I wouldn’t be surprised if season 2 takes place in a completely different era. But I won’t say any more than that…
#40: The Vampire Diaries (2009) & #41: Spin-off show The Originals (2013)
Netflix Synopsis (The Vampire Diaries): Trapped in adolescent bodies [Damon isn’t but go with it], feuding vampire brothers Stefan and Damon vie for the affection of captivating teenager Elena.
Netflix Synopsis (The Originals): The Mikaelsons move to New Orleans and form an alliance with local witches in an effort to rule the city once again in this “Vampire Diaries” spinoff.
Why You Should Check This Out: Like all good vampire stories, there are several flashbacks to the past from ancient time all the way up to the 1990s! We’re dealing with immortals after all. Basically, you’ll want to watch both of these entertaining paranormal romances if you like romance, dark Byronic Heroes, and edge of your seat entertainment. There’s never really a dull moment in either one. Plus, both shows are better on re-watch. Is anyone else missing Damon Salvatore?
Content: TV-14 for vampire violence and sensuality.
#42: Velvet (2013) & #43: Velvet Collection (2017)
Netflix Synopsis (Velvet): In 1950s Spain, the heir to a fashion house romances a beautiful seamstress who works for the company, despite the objections of his family.
Netflix Synopsis (Velvet Collection): In the late ’60s, fashion designer Ana enlists friends Clara, Pedro and Raúl to open a store and design school in Barcelona in this “Velvet” spinoff.
Why You Should Check This Out: 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 in both.
#44: When Calls the Heart (2014)
Netflix Synopsis: Leaving behind her upper-crust city roots, a woman journeys west in the early 1900s to become a teacher in a small Canadian mining community.
Why You Should Check This Out: 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.
#45: Traitors (2019): Premieres March 29
Netflix Synopsis: As World War II ends, a young English woman agrees to help an enigmatic American agent root out Russian infiltration of the British government.
Why You Should Check This Out: Spies and Keeley Hawes sounds like a great mix to me…
Content: Unknown Rating.
It should be noted that because The Silver Petticoat Review focuses more on old-fashioned chivalrous romance and Romanticism, I didn’t list all the period dramas on Netflix with extremely explicit content or series rated TV-MA that I haven’t seen yet to give a fair content note. (So, judge for yourself based on your own preferences.) Some excluded period dramas that you may want to check out include:
- Babylon Berlin
- The Borgias
- Cathedral of the Sea
- The Frankenstein Chronicles
- The Frontier
- The Great Train Robbery
- Gunpowder, Treason & Plot
- The Last Kingdom
- Marco Polo
- Peaky Blinders
- Penny Dreadful
- Ripper Street
- Troy: Fall of a City
- The Tudors
What period dramas on Netflix will you be binging this weekend? Sound off below…
Top Photo Credits: Kurt Seyit & Sura (Ay Yapım/ Netflix), Grand Hotel (Sky), North and South (BBC), and The Vampire Diaries (CW)
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