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The 60 Best Period Dramas on Amazon Prime – Miniseries and TV Shows (2021)

From epic romances to nostalgic favorites, these are the best period dramas on Amazon Prime Video – including the brand-new romantic period drama, The Pursuit of Love starring Lily James.

Amazon Prime Video has become a hotspot for streaming period dramas in the last few years. When scrolling on the streaming platform, you can find numerous titles to choose from, making it difficult to know what to watch. So, to make it easier for all the period drama fanatics or newbies out there, we’ve narrowed down the best period dramas on Amazon Prime right now (or coming soon) for you to watch – of the television variety. 

period dramas on amazon prime; collage of period dramas
Photo: Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (New Classics Media), Z: The Beginning of Everything (Amazon Studios), The Pursuit of Love (Photo: BBC/Amazon Studios), The Vineyard (Photo: Amazon Prime Video/Atresmedia Studios/Boomerang TV), Poldark (BBC).

From romantic favorites like Poldark to some fabulous period drama mysteries, international dramas, lesser-known jewels, and more, there is something for everyone. Notably, there is the brand-new romantic adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s classic novel, The Pursuit of Love, starring Lily James, Emily Beecham, Dominic West, Emily Mortimer (who also directs), and Andrew Scott premiering July 30, 2021. So, you won’t want to miss that one!

This list was first published a few years ago, so it’s now up to date as of June 2021. We plan to update this page a couple of times a year. So, bookmark this page for future updates.

Overall, we compiled the list to have a good variety. Though, like always, we primarily selected series with less explicit content. We also linked to the reviews for each period drama (if we have one). Enjoy!

Note: Availability of these period dramas on Amazon Prime Video are subject to change at any time. Also, this list only includes available period dramas in the United States.


The 60 Best Period Dramas on Amazon Prime – Miniseries and TV Shows (2021)


#1 A French Village (2009-2017)

A French Village poster (best period dramas on Amazon prime)

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

In French with English subtitles. This acclaimed drama is about the German occupation of France during World War II and its effects on the inhabitants of a small village in Jura. 

In June 1940, the village of Villeneuve awakes to the arrival of the German army, and the next four years of occupation have a shattering effect on the lives of all its inhabitants.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re looking for an excellent international show to stream, this award-winning drama has it all: history, suspense, romance, fascinating characters, and more. The series brings a new perspective to what it was like to live in occupied France.

Only seasons 1, 3,4 are currently available with Prime Video. To watch the rest of the series, you need to pay for MHz Choice Amazon Channel. 

Content Note: Some of the episodes include mature content. It is rated 16+/TV-MA.

#2 A Very English Scandal (2018)

A Very English Scandal; period dramas on amazon prime
Photo Credit: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

The shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy to murder. Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant), the leader of the Liberal party, has a secret he’s desperate to hide.

His ex-lover Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw) is putting Thorpe’s brilliant political career at risk so Thorpe schemes and deceives until he realizes there’s only one way to silence Scott for good.

Starring Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Alex Jennings.

Why You Should Check It Out: Watch for the brilliant performances from Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw. Plus, Russell T. Davies’ (Doctor Who) writing is in top form. The series takes place in 1979.

Content Note: TV-14, but there is heavy sexual content in this miniseries.

#3 The ABC Murders (2018)

The ABC Murders photo - period dramas on Amazon Prime
Photo Credit: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

1933. Hercule Poirot, older and greyer, receives letters threatening murder. The sender signs themselves only as “A.B.C.”

When he takes the letters to the police looking for help, Hercule finds all his old friends have moved on. But soon there is a murder and the once-great detective must take matters into his own hands.

Why You Should Check It Out: While John Malkovich’s performance isn’t as grand or as iconic as David Suchet’s, the miniseries is still worth checking out for the production quality alone. 

Content Note: TV-14 for brief strong language, mild sexuality, and moderate violence.

#4 The Admiral: Love and Fate in a Time of War (2009)

The Admiral promotional poster; period dramas on amazon prime

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

This is the story, based on real events, of Russian Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, a senior military officer under Tsar Nicholas who later advanced to the rank of Supreme Ruler. Along the way, he falls in love with the poet, Anna Timiryova.

The problem is that they are both married. With Russia on the verge of civil war, the love-struck pair struggles to stay together and survive the turbulent times.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re a fan of Doctor Zhivago, you’ll want to watch this epic miniseries from Russia. The cinematography and costumes are gorgeous.

Content Note: 16+ (which is equivalent to TV-14 for this period drama)

#5 Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse (2020)

The Pale Horse promotional poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

A mysterious list of names is found in the shoe of a dead woman. What is the connection to the village of Much Deeping?

Why You Should Check It Out: While Sarah Phelps’ adaptations of Agatha Christie novels aren’t to everyone’s taste, watch anyway if you’re a fan of Rufus Sewell!

Content Note: TV-14

#6 Anzac Girls (2014)

Anzac Girls movie poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

The true stories of extraordinary young women who witness the brutality and heroism of war and rise to meet the challenge.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re a fan of Australian dramas or war shows about women, then Anzac Girls should be at the top of your list! It’s a miniseries full of relatable female characters.

Review: Anzac Girls

Content Note: TV-MA for violence and brief strong language.

#7 Black Adder

Blackadder publicity photo; period dramas on amazon prime
Photo Credit: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

The saga begins with a medieval tale of disaster and drollery. Season one of this classic comedy stars Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson. Edmund, Duke of Edinburgh, is the slimy, much-despised younger son of King Richard IV.

Haunted by his uncle Richard III whom he killed by mistake, he lurks in the castle corridors of power, scheming to get the better of his splendid elder brother, Harry.

Why You Should Check It Out: Watch this if you’re in the mood for a period sitcom. Written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson, this series is an iconic British comedy show you won’t want to miss if you like British humor.

Content Note: 13+ for sexual references/innuendo and strong language. 

#8 The Bletchley Circle (2012-2014)

The Bletchley Circle poster (best period dramas on Amazon prime)

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Four seemingly ordinary women become the unlikely investigators of a string of grisly murders in this original thriller, set against the backdrop of post-war London. Starring Anna Maxwell Martin.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you love British mystery shows, you should watch The Bletchley Circle. It’s one of the better ones. Plus, it has a top-notch cast, and it will hook you from the start.

Review: The Bletchley Circle

Content Note: TV-14

#9 Bloody Romance (2018)

Bloody Romance Cdrama poster; period dramas on amazon prime

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Qi Xue (Li Yi Tong) is a beautiful 16-year-old whose life takes a horrific turn when her father sells her to a brothel. There, she undergoes unspeakable abuse that nearly breaks her spirit.

But when Qi Xue enters a mysterious new city, she is given a new identity of Wan Mei and undergoes training to become an assassin. Now able to use her beauty as a weapon.

Why You Should Check It OutBloody Romance was a huge commercial success for China. Overall, you should watch this Chinese drama if you’re looking for a series with a strong female lead.

Content Note: 13+

#10 Call of the wild (2000)

Call of the Wild 2000 poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Jack London’s beloved story is brought to life in a delightful adventure series for the whole family. This TV series follows a 15-year-old boy living in an Alaskan mining town at the turn of the century whose life changes forever when he encounters a heroic and powerful dog named Buck, who together battle nature’s toughest elements, stand up against hardened criminals and rescue people in danger.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re looking for a good period drama for the entire family, this cute Emmy-nominated miniseries should fit the bill.

Content Note: TV-Y7

#11 The collection (2016)

The collection promotional poster; period dramas on amazon prime

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

A gripping family drama and entrepreneurial fable, set in a post-war Paris fashion house. It exposes the grit behind the glamour of a rising business, spearheaded by two clashing brothers.

The atelier staff survived one war, but others loom; rivalries and romances pitting family against family, protégés against mentors, the past against the future.

Why You Should Check It Out: Francophiles will love this binge-worthy series. It has a brilliant cast, gorgeous costumes, beautiful production design and is overall an entertaining watch.

Content Note: 16+; mild TV-MA for sexuality.

#12 Dark Angel (2016)

Dark Angel poster - period dramas on amazon prime video

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

This is the story of a troubled woman drawn ever deeper into a career of casual murder, while her loved ones and friends, who were also her victims, never suspected a thing. Golden Globe-winner Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) portrays the notorious Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton, a child of the northeast England coal fields who dreamed of escaping the hard life of a miner’s family.

Why You Should Check It Out: Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey fame gives a fabulous performance as a psychopathic killer. Some may find this series too dark, but it is a compelling period drama based on a true story. 

Review: Dark Angel

Content Note: TV-14 for sexuality and mature themes.

#13 David Copperfield (1999)

Maggie Smith and Daniel Radcliffe in David Copperfield 1999 (best period dramas on Amazon Prime)
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

The tale of David Copperfield from his birth and idyllic upbringing through hardship and adventure leading to his eventual discovery of his vocation as a novelist. 

On his journey, David encounters a gallery of Dickens’ most memorable characters, including Mr. Micawber, Uriah Heep, Steerforth and others.

Why You Should Check It Out: Arguably the best adaptation of Dickens’ famous novel, this miniseries is must-watch British television. Not only is the writing and production quality sound, but the cast is fantastic. 

You’ll see Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins, Imelda Staunton, Ian McKellen, Dawn French, Tom Wilkinson, Emilia Fox, and even a young Daniel Radcliffe.

Review: David Copperfield (1999)

Content Note: TV-PG

#14 The Dawns Here Are Quiet (2015)

The Dawns Here are Quiet poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

It is late spring of 1942, and the Great Patriotic War is in full swing. A long way off from the front-line, the Germans make an air landing operation in an attempt to get through to the Kirov railway and the White Sea – the Baltic Sea Canal.

The only thing in their way is an anti-aircraft artillery unit of corporal Vaskov and five young women in training.

Why You Should Check It Out: Fans of historical dramas and movies about women from history should love this Russian miniseries. It is an intriguing story about women who fought during World War II.

Content Note: 13+ for nudity and violence

#15 Dickensian (2016)

Dickensian promotional image (best period dramas on amazon prime)
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Set within the fictional realms of Charles Dickens’ critically acclaimed novels, Dickensian brings together some of literature’s most iconic characters, including Scrooge, Fagin and Miss Havisham, as their lives intertwine in 19th century London.

Why You Should Check It OutDickensian plays out like a prequel to a few Charles Dickens novels. So, if you’re a fan of Dickens or Victorian period dramas, then this is must-watch television.

Review: Dickensian

Content Note: TV-PG

#16 Doctor Finlay (1993-1996)

Doctor Finlay poster; period dramas on amazon prime

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Following his service in WWII, Dr. Finlay returns to the practice at Arden House at a time when the National Health Service is about to be instituted.

Why You Should Check It Out: This is an excellent period drama series set in post-WWII Scotland. David Rintoul (Pride and Prejudice 1980) stars.

Content Note: TV-14

#17 Doctor Thorne (2016)

Doctor Thorne
Photo: ITV

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

From the creator of Downton Abbey. Dr. Thorne lives a quiet life with niece Mary in Greshambury, home of the wealthy Gresham family. Unbeknownst to others, the Greshams have lost their fortune and matriarch Lady Arabella has a scheme to regain it via an arranged marriage with her son and an American heiress.

However, her son plans to elope with Mary, which complicates Lady Arabella’s plans.

Why You Should Check It Out: Because I know many still go through Downton Abbey withdrawal. What better way to fill the void than another period drama by Julian Fellowes? If you’re looking for a romantic miniseries, add this one to the top of your list! 

Review: Doctor Thorne

Content Note: TV-14

#18 Dostoevsky

dostoevsky tv poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Khotinenko’s classic film based on the unconventional life of the mysterious and tragic Russian writer Dostoevsky is a study in contrast. Disdained by authorities, he had the grace of a sovereign. Both loving and jealous, rejoicing and suffering, Dostoevsky the man was a living, breathing paradox.

Why You Should Check It Out: This Russian miniseries follows the famous author’s life, and it is a lovely biographical series. Fans of Dostoevsky’s novels will want to watch it.

Content Note: 13+

#19 Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

Downton Abbey cast photo
Photo: ITV

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Downton Abbey — a sprawling, lavish Edwardian mansion nestled in the Yorkshire landscape — needs an heir.

Dame Maggy Smith stars as Violet, the stubborn Dowager Countess of Grantham matriarch of Downton. Hugh Bonneville stars as her son, the stoic, unflappable Lord Crawley. Elizabeth McGovern is his far-sighted American wife, Cora. From Academy Award-winner Julian Fellowes. This is the original un-edited UK version of the program.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you STILL are one of the few people on the planet who haven’t seen Downton Abbey, go and make this a priority ASAP. This addictive period drama will capture your hearts with unforgettable characters and amazing love stories. Also, Maggie Smith’s one-liners are hysterical. It’s also a perfect show to re-watch. 

Review: Downton Abbey

Content Note: TV-PG to TV-14

#20 The Duchess of Duke Street (1976-1977)

The Duchess of Duke Street poster; period dramas on amazon prime

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Based on a true story, Gemma Jones stars in this Emmy-nominated series following a Cockney servant girl as she rises to manage one of Edwardian London’s most prestigious hotels.

Why You Should Check It Out: Gemma Jones is a standout in this excellent series all period drama fans will want to see. It’s a classic series that lasted for two seasons and followed the story of a fabulous heroine!

Content Note: TV-14 (mild).

#21 The Durrells in Corfu (2016-2019)

The Durrells in Corfu
Photo: ITV

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Based on naturalist Gerald Durrell’s much-loved trilogy of novels, The Durrells in Corfu sees impoverished but sparky widow Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes, MI-5) make the radical decision to leave 1930s England to seek out a new destiny for her family.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you enjoy a bit of zany fun in your period dramas, you won’t want to miss the crazy antics of the Durrells family. It’s entertaining, romantic, funny and has beautiful scenery. 

Review: The Durrells in Corfu

Content Note: TV-PG

#22 Ekaterina: The Rise of Catherine the Great (2017)

Ekaterina TV series image
Photo: Russia-1

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

This major international production traces the rise of Catherine the Great, Empress of 18th Century Russia and part of the Romanoff line. Ekaterina, a German princess, is selected to marry Peter the Third, heir to the Russian throne and grandson of Peter the Great. 

Her story, filled with emotion, struggle and passion shows that even in an age of imperial dynasties, power is not given. It is taken.

Why You Should Check It Out: Fans of historical dramas, international shows, and royal period dramas won’t want to miss this popular series from Russia. It’s also a beautiful production.

Review: Ekaterina

Content Note: 13+ (Content Moderate)

#23 Empresses in the Palace (2013)

Empresses in the Palace - Period Dramas on Amazon Prime
Photo: Dongyang Hua’er Film & TV Co.

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Set in 1722 during the Qing Dynasty, sweeping drama EMPRESSES IN THE PALACE is an epic tale of love, betrayal and scandal told from inside the Imperial Harem – the story of one emperor and his countless women. 

In a world filled with treachery and corruption, who will truly win the Emperor’s heart and reign supreme? In Mandarin with English subtitles.

Why You Should Check It Out: An epically romantic Chinese drama, the story should be on everyone’s must-watch list. What’s also great about this historical drama is that you can watch the series from beginning to satisfying ending!

Content Note: 7+ (TV-PG-like)

#24 Endeavour (2012-)

Endeavour
Photo: ITV

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Before Inspector Morse, there was the rookie Constable Morse, fed up with police work and ready to nip his career in the bud by handing in his resignation. That is, until a murder turned up that only he could solve.

Why You Should Check It Out: Inspector Morse fans will love this series about a young “Constable Morse” and his early career during the 1960s. For those looking for another good British mystery series, make sure to add this one to your list! Don’t forget to see the 2012 Masterpiece Mystery movie first.

Review: Endeavour

Content Note: Switches between TV-PG and TV-14.

#25 Grantchester (2014-)

Grantchester
Grantchester. Photo: PBS/ITV

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

In GRANTCHESTER, a young vicar and a veteran cop join forces to solve baffling murders around a placid English village in 1953.

Why You Should Check It Out: James Norton is incredible in this role. A new addictive pleasure that every period drama fan should check out, particularly if you love shows with a focus on mysteries and characterization.

Review: Grantchester

Content Note: TV-14

#26 Home Fires (2015-2016)

Home Fires poster (best period dramas on amazon prime)

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Starring Masterpiece favorites Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) and Francesca Annis (Reckless) as part of a remarkable group of women living in a small rural village during World War II. Separated from husbands, fathers, sons and brothers for years at a time, they find themselves under extraordinary pressures in a rapidly fragmenting world.

Why You Should Check It Out: A well-written period drama about women that celebrates women, a great pick if you love the series, Call the Midwife

Home Fires is one that I watched with my mother, which made the experience more memorable. Be warned, however, it does have a cliffhanger because the network canceled it after the second season. Books continue the story, though!

Review: Home Fires

Content Note: TV-PG

#27 Howards End (2018)

Howards End
Matthew MacFadyen and Hayley Atwell in Howards End. Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

The Schlegel sisters are two independent and unconventional sisters seeking love and meaning as they navigate an ever-changing world.

Why You Should Check It Out: This visually stunning adaptation stars fan favorites Matthew Macfadyen and Hayley Atwell. It’s also a lovely version of the book.

Review: Howards End (2018)

Content Note: TV-14

#28 Labyrinth (2012)

Labyrinth promotional photo; period dramas on amazon prime video
Photo: Tandem Communications

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Dangerous passions are unleashed in this hot-blooded adventure that begins in medieval France, as a 17-year-old girl named Alais receives a mysterious book from her father.

Eight hundred years later, in the same town, a young woman named Alice unearths a labyrinth-engraved ring-and is swept into an epic journey that will crisscross centuries and reveal a destiny beyond her wildest imaginings…

Why You Should Check It Out: For the cast! This miniseries occurs in both the 21st and 13th centuries, so the entire story is not a period drama.

But the Medieval plot is interesting enough to intrigue period drama fans – especially with Jessica Brown Findlay, John Hurt, Tom Felton, Vanessa Kirby, Sebastian Stan, Katie McGrath, and Emun Elliott starring.

Content Note: TV-14

#29 The Last Post (2017)

The Last Poster poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

In the mid-60s, a unit of Royal Military Police officers and their families deal with the challenges of politics, love and war in the shimmering heat of British-controlled Aden.

Why You Should Check It Out: Jessie Buckley and Jessica Raine star in this British miniseries. If you enjoy romantic war dramas and are history buffs, you might like this series.

Review: The Last Post

Content Note: 16+ for sexuality, violence, and brief strong language.

#30 Little Dorrit (2008)

Little dorrit poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

This gripping series by Andrew Davies brings to life Dickens’s powerful story of struggle and hardship in 1820s London. When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, his curiosity is piqued by the presence in his mother’s house of a young seamstress, Amy Dorrit.

Where will Arthur’s quest to discover the truth leave him in the scheme of things? And where will it leave the Dorrits?

Why You Should Check It OutLittle Dorrit has an all-star cast, including Claire Foy and Matthew Macfadyen, and is one of the best romantic period dramas ever made.

Review: Little Dorrit (2008)

Content Note: TV-PG

#31 Little Men (1998-1999)

Little Men 1998 promo image (best period dramas on amazon prime)
Photo: CTV

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Set in rural Massachusetts, the series chronicles the heroic struggles of Jo Bhaer as she attempts to manage Plumfield, a boarding school for boys, after the tragic death of her husband Fritz. Based upon Louisa May Alcott’s classic sequel to Little Women.

Why You Should Check It OutLittle Men is a little-known Canadian series about the widowed Jo March. It diverts sharply from the books but is a heartwarming series fans of Road to Avonlea will enjoy.

Content Note: 7+

#32 Little Women (2018)

Little Women (2018)
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis

Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women is the story of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, as they navigate what it means to be a young woman: from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss, and marriage.

Why You Should Check It Out: While the series feels more British than American, the miniseries adaptation is still very good with a likable cast. You also won’t want to miss Angela Lansbury give a memorable performance as Aunt March!

Review: Little Women (2018)

Content Note: TV-PG

#33 LONDON HOSPITAL (Casualty 1900s

London Hospital poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Romance, surgery and history combine in this vivid, atmospheric drama based on the lives and case notes of doctors, nurses and patients at the Royal London Hospital a century ago.

Why You Should Check It OutGrey’s Anatomy meets Call the Midwife in this British period drama. Many of the cases were based on real-life cases, so history fans should love this one! 

Content Note: TV-14 (the series shows realistic medical scenes, so it is not for the squeamish!)

#34 Melody 1963 (An American Girl Story)

American Girl: Melody 1963 poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Set in Detroit during the Civil Rights Movement, “An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win examines the joyful life and troubled times of an irrepressible 10-year-old African-American girl whose vivid imagination and creativity reinforce her optimism. 

When shocking national events threaten her sense of security, Melody must find inner strength to restore her hope for a better world.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re looking for a period drama (that’s also historically accurate) for older children, check out this lovely optimistic series set in the 1960s. 

You can also watch the other seasons set in the 1950s and 1970s. Each season follows a different character in a different time.

Content Note: 7+

#35 Merlin (2008-2012)

Lancelot in Merlin TV show; period dramas on amazon prime video
Santiago Cabrera as Lancelot. Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Merlin will one day be the greatest wizard that the world will ever know, but for now, he is just a young man, geeky and awkward, who must keep his talent hidden in a kingdom where magic is banned or face certain death. In this ambitious and action-packed drama, the myths, monsters and magic of the legends are revitalized and given a modern twist in preparation for their inevitable destinies.

Why You Should Check It OutSmallville fans will love this cute and entertaining series about a young Merlin. If you enjoy historical fantasy shows, this one’s for you. 

Plus, you won’t want to miss one of the most romantic portrayals of Lancelot – played by Santiago Cabrera. Sadly, his character is only in a few episodes total. 

Content Note: TV-14 (mild)

#36 The Mill (2013-2014)

The Mill poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Period television drama based on real-life stories and people of the textile mill workers at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, England, and combined with fictional characters and events.

Why You Should Check It Out: This is an eye-opening period drama with a fantastic cast, including Matthew McNulty. You’ll be drawn into the lives of these characters.

Content Note: 13+

#37 Ming Dynasty (2019)

Ming Dynasty poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

After the battle of Jing Dynasties, the royal priest Jing Qing and his wife are killed. Their oldest daughter Sun Ruowei (Wei Tang), is saved by the vice-general Sun Yu.

She tries to avenge her parents but meets Zhu Zhanji (Yawen Zhu). After she sees the dark side of Ming politics, she decides to give up on her revenge and help Zhu Zhanji become the Emperor to save Ming Dynasty.

Why You Should Check It Out: This is an entertaining Chinese soap opera with lavish costumes and a good soundtrack. If you enjoy Chinese historical fiction dramas, then this is a popular one to watch. It received numerous award nominations.

Content Note: 18+ for sexuality and violence. 

#38 Miss Truth (2020)

Miss Truth Poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Ran Yan, an unfavored daughter of a rich family in Suzhou, studied autopsy at an early age for investigating the real cause of her mother’s death. After knowing Xiao Song, the assistant minister of the Ministry of Penalty and a master of both the pen and the sword, Ran Yan helped him to solve many murders.

As peace returned to the country, Ran Yan and Xiao Song got together at last.

Why You Should Check It Out: It’s like Sherlock Holmes but with romance! 

Content Note: TV-14

#39 The Moonstone (2016)

The Moonstone poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis

A fresh adaption of English literature’s first great detective novel. “The Moonstone” centers on the theft of a cursed but priceless diamond. The charismatic Franklin Blake must solve the disappearance of the Moonstone in order to win back the woman he loves, the beautiful, principled and independent Rachel Verinder.

Why You Should Check It Out: BBC period drama fans should enjoy this one! It has a great cast, good production quality, romance, and interesting characters.

Review: The Moonstone (2016)

Content Note: TV-PG

#40 The Musketeers (2014-2016)

The musketeers photo
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Set on the streets of 17th-century Paris, where law and order is more an idea than reality, The Musketeers follows the horse riding, sword-wielding Musketeers Athos, Aramis and Porthos. Far more than King Louis XIII’s personal bodyguards, they ultimately stand resolutely for social justice: for honor, for valor, for love and for the thrill of it.

Why You Should Check It Out: It’s a fun adventure show with dreamy leading men, romance, and swashbuckling action. With Santiago Cabrera, Tom Burke, Peter Capaldi, and more, you can’t go wrong!

Content Note: TV-14 (mild); comparable to Marvel movies.

#41 My Mother and Other Strangers (2016)

My Mother and Other Strangers
Credit: BBC/Masterpiece

Amazon Prime Synopsis

Shot on the stunningly beautiful Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland, My Mother and Other Strangers portrays the culture clash when a U.S. bomber base is established near the fictional village of Moybeg in 1943, bringing hundreds of gum-chewing, swing-band-listening American airmen to a remote Ulster farming community, with its winsome women and stolid workingmen.

Why You Should Check It Out: Hattie Morahan stars in this high-quality Masterpiece production! It’s a part historical war drama, so expect some heartbreak.

Review: My Mother and Other Strangers

Content Note: TV-PG

#42 The Nativity (2010)

The Nativity TV poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

The greatest story ever told, as you’ve never seen it before. Writer Tony Jordan transforms a classic tale with familiar characters into a gripping human drama with an all-star cast. Starring Tatiana Maslany, Andrew Buchan, Peter Capaldi and Claudie Blakely.

Why You Should Check It Out: It’s an engaging interpretation of the Biblical story, focusing more on the relationship between Mary and Joseph. Peter Capaldi is a standout as Balthazar, one of the wise men.

Content Note: TV-PG

#43 Ordeal By Innocence (2018)

Ordeal by Innocence
Photo: Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

When wealthy philanthropist, Rachel Argyll, is murdered at her family estate, her adopted son Jack is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his guilt and eighteen months later, the identity of the murder is thrown in doubt. Now it is up to the rest of the family to decipher a killer amongst them.

Why You Should Check It Out: While not wholly faithful to Agatha Christie’s book, the cast alone makes this miniseries worth watching. The cast includes Bill Nighy, Eleanor Tomlinson, Matthew Goode, Anna Chancellor, Anthony Boyle, etc.

Review: Ordeal By Innocence 

Content Note: TV-MA (Brief strong language and other moderate mature content.)

#44 The Paradise (2012-2013)

The Paradise promotional photo
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Made homeless by the death of her father and with nothing to live on but her wits, Denise comes from the country to work in the spectacularly glamorous Ladies Paradise, England’s first department store. So begins our rags-to-riches story of a young girl who falls in love with the intoxicating and dangerous charms of the modern world.

Why You Should Check It OutThe Paradise is one of the most romantic period dramas ever made! If you enjoy shows with swoony romances, fabulous characters, and excellent writing, you can’t go wrong with this lovely series.

Review: The Paradise

Content Note: TV-PG

#45 The Passing Bells (2014)

The Passing Bells photo

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

This moving, powerful drama spans the years of the war from 1914 to 1918. As the conflict unfolds, so do the boys’ incredible stories.

Thomas and Michael are two young men for whom the war has little mercy, no matter which side they may be fighting for. Over five years, we follow their lives as they grow up, lose friends and find love amid the horrors of the war.

Why You Should Check It Out: This is a moving miniseries about two young men during World War I. If you enjoy less bloody war dramas with a focus on characterization, you should like this one. 

Content Note: TV-14

#46 Poldark (2015-2019)

Poldark promotional image
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

It’s 1783 and Ross Poldark returns from the American War of Independence to his beloved Cornwall to find his world in ruins: his father dead, the family mine long since closed, his house wrecked and his sweetheart pledged to marry his cousin. But Ross finds that hope and love can be found when you are least expecting it.

Why You Should Check It Out: Aidan Turner as the Byronic Poldark is just about pitch-perfect, and so is the rest of the TV Series. Romance, characterization, and the gorgeous Cornwall scenery make this one not to miss.

You can now binge all six seasons. Anyone else love the Ross and Demelza love story?

Review: Poldark

Content Note: TV-14

#47 Prime Suspect: Tennison

Prime Suspect Tennison

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

This is the much-anticipated prequel to award-winning global hit Prime Suspect. Rewind to 1970s London to portray the early career of the formidable DCI Jane Tennison (Stefanie Martini), the role that established Dame Helen Mirren as a household name.

We meet Jane as an ambitious 22-year-old probationary officer, starting out as a WPC in a world where chauvinism and rule-bending are the norm.

Why You Should Check It Out: This is a prequel to what critics consider one of the greatest British crime shows ever made. While not as good as the original series, it’s still an entertaining watch.

It follows a young Tennison as she faces sexism in the workplace while building a solid career despite her obstacles. 

Content Note: TV-14

#48 The Pursuit of Love (2021) – Available July July 30, 2021

The Pursuit of Love promo photo; period dramas on amazon prime video
Photo: BBC/Amazon Studios

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

The Pursuit of Love follows the friendship between cousins Linda and Fanny, which will be put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart.

Why You Should Check It Out: The excellent cast, including period drama favorite Lily James, plus lots of romance and female friendships, should make this an enjoyable watch! It’s based on Nancy Mitford’s classic novel.

Content Note: TV-PG 

#49 Russian Beauty (2015)

Russian Beauty photo
Photo Credit: Kompaniya ‘Kinograd 21’/ Telekanal Rossiya

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

The beauty of a simple country girl Katerina Panova conquered the world. She became the face of Soviet fashion of the 60s and the first fashion model recognized in the West.

Paris and Prague applauded the Russian beauty, the press called it “the national treasure of the USSR,” and at home, Soviet reality, envy, intrigue, jealousy and tragic love awaited her.

Why You Should Check It Out: This Russian romance series gives a fascinating insight into what it might have been like in Soviet Russia in the 1960s. 

Content Note: 13+

#50 Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (2018)

Ruyi poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

The show tells a story of the most distinguished Empress of the Qing Dynasty of China: With the family’s disgrace, Ruyi learns the politics of the harem and finally becomes the Empress.

But after surviving a series of conspiracies, her relationship with her husband, the Emperor has become irreparable. Finally, Ruyi got depressed by the cruel reality of life in the Palace.

Why You Should Check It Out: This popular Chinese period drama is a sequel to the beloved series, Empresses in the Palace. Watch it if you enjoy lavish costume dramas.

Content Note: 13+

#51 Spies of Warsaw (2013)

Spies of Warsaw photo; period dramas on amazon prime video
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

David Tennant and Janet Montgomery star in this adaptation of Alan Furst’s celebrated spy novel set in Poland, Paris and Berlin in the years leading up to the Second World War.

At the French embassy in Warsaw, the new military attaché, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of the city.

Why You Should Check It Out: David Tennant in a period drama spy series with romantic intrigue. Enough said.

Content Note: TV-14

#52 The Sword and the Brocade (2021)

The sword and the brocade poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Set during the Ming Dynasty, the story revolves around the romance between General Xu Lingyi and the concubine’s daughter Shiyiniang that starts from an arranged marriage.

Despite being born with a low status, Luo Shiyiniang is extremely assertive and believes that a woman’s vision should not be limited to the household. She hopes to rely on her embroidery skills as a ticket to freedom.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you’re in the mood for an epic love story with a happy ending, you’ll like this Chinese period drama.

Content Note: 13+

#53 To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters (2017)

To Walk Invisible Bronte sisters
Photo: BBC

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Learn the extraordinary story of how, against all odds, the famous literary trio had their genius for writing romantic novels recognized in a male-dominated 19th-century world.

Why You Should Check It Out: It’s a fascinating and eye-opening look behind the sisters who wrote some of the greatest novels ever created.

Review: TO WALK INVISIBLE: THE BRONTE SISTERS (2017)

Content Note: TV-14 for brief strong language and an explicit scene.

#54 Vanity Fair (2018)

Vanity Fair (2018)
Photo: ITV/Amazon Studios

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

In a world where everyone is striving for what is not worth having, no one is more determined to climb to the heights of English Society than Miss Rebecca Sharp.

Why You Should Check It Out: The story of the complex heroine, Becky Sharp, is told splendidly in this excellent adaptation of the novel, although it has a bit of modern flair.

Review: Vanity Fair (2018) 

Content Note: TV-14

#55 Victoria (2016-)

Victoria
Photo: ITV

Amazon Prime Synopsis:

Created by Daisy Goodwin, this ambitious drama presents the early years of one of history’s greatest monarchs.

Why You Should Check It Out: One of the better period drama TV series, Victoria, mostly follows the love story of Victoria and Albert. It also has a Downton Abbey flair. Overall, if you enjoy romanticized period dramas about royals, then this is a great series to watch.

Content Note: TV-PG

#56 Vikings (2013-2020)

Vikings promotional photo
Photo Credit: MGM Television/History Channel

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Ragnar is pitted against Rollo over a land dispute he’s trying to settle on behalf of King Horik. A deadly fever hits Kattegat putting Ragnar’s wife and daughter’s lives in grave danger.

Why You Should Check It Out: Fans of Game of Thrones or Viking history will probably like this series. It’s a high-budget historical drama with many great actors.

Content Note: TV-14 for sexuality, violence, etc. This is an edited version of the series used for the History channel. A TV-MA version of the show has much more explicit scenes, but not the version that plays on Prime Video.

#57 The Vineyard (2021)

the vineyard photo; period dramas on amazon prime video
Photo: Amazon Prime Video/Atresmedia Studios/Boomerang TV

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

The Vineyard is the story of Mauro Larrea and Soledad Montalvo, two strangers whose destinies will cross in the second half of the 19th century, leading to their lives changing forever. A history of glories and defeats, of silver mines, family intrigues, vineyards, wineries, and fascinating cities whose splendor faded over time.

Why You Should Check It Out: This new romantic period drama from Spain is for anyone who loves a slow-burn romance. It’s an excellent series – just make sure to use the Spanish audio with English subtitles. Dubbing is not recommended.

Content Note: 16+/TV-14 for a sex scene and some nudity. Trigger warning, there is also a rape scene in the first episode.

#58 Winter Begonia (2020)

Winter Begonia poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Set in the 1930s, it follows Shang Xirui, a Peking opera performer who relies on his exceptional talent to gain fame in Beiping. Being an outsider, he faces opposition from the locals but doesn’t relent nor give up on fulfilling his dreams to promote Peking opera.

Why You Should Check It Out: The costumes and set design are gorgeous in this Chinese historical drama! Watch Winter Begonia if you appreciate artistic productions and are in the mood for a good bromance.

Content Note: 16+

#59 WPC 56 (2013-2015)

WPC 56 poster

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

The daily challenges facing the first Woman Police Constable to join a West Midlands force in the 1950s, where sexism, chauvinism and petty grudges are rife.

Why You Should Check It Out: If you enjoy British crime dramas with a female lead, this is an enjoyable series with some romance on the side. 

Content Note: 13+

#60 Z: The Beginning of Everything (2015-2017)

Z: The Beginning of Everything promo photo
Photo: Amazon Studios

Amazon Prime Synopsis: 

Z: The Beginning of Everything tells the story of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the brilliant, beautiful Southern Belle who became the original flapper and icon of the wild, flamboyant Jazz Age.

Why You Should Check It Out: Christina Ricci stars in this stylish period drama about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s a quality production and a fun watch overall.

Review: Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING (2015-2017)

Content Note: 16+ for a moderate amount of sexuality/nudity and occasional profanity. 


Now, I didn’t cover everything on Amazon Prime, including several period drama TV shows with more mature content and ratings. So, if you don’t mind mature content, then The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, for example, is a great pick! You may also want to watch The Last Tycoon, The Underground Railroad, Room at the Top, and The Americans, among others.

What period dramas on Amazon Prime do you plan on watching? Any recommendations? Sound off below…

Note: This article was first published in May 2016 and has been updated.


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By on June 28th, 2021

About Autumn Topping

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 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 as a YA Librarian.

More posts by this author.

10 thoughts on “The 60 Best Period Dramas on Amazon Prime – Miniseries and TV Shows (2021)”

  1. Great list! So glad there are some amazing period dramas with easy access. Makes it nice for those viewers who prefer streaming over DVD sets. 🙂

    Reply
    • Well, this list was put up in 2016, so a few are no longer there. Streaming services change their content frequently. That said, I checked the titles and a good majority are still available. Though this is for Amazon Prime U.S. and I don’t know where you’re from!

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for putting this list together. Since we “cut the cord” it takes a little research to find free quality shows to watch with just Prime (and Acorn TV). Most of the shows were still available, and I’ve added about 6 to our watchlist! Yea! Well done.

    Reply
  3. Yes it is a shame that those of us long term subscribers have very little new content to view with our Prime Membership…

    Reply
  4. I love your site! Just finished watching Sanditon and really sad about the ending. Anyway, I just want to recommend a highly addictive and wonderful Russian series that made me swoon- “Detective Anna”. This has a great plot and two actors with awesome chemistry.

    Reply
  5. Your very 1st show on this list, A French Village is excellent, but to my dismay only the 1st season is included in Amazon Prime. To continue watching I would have to pay $7.99/mo. for another provider. I consider this a bait & switch tactic and I’m very disappointed. You should have included this information in your review. I have no problem paying extra for services like Showtime, HBO and several others because I know what I’m getting beforehand.

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting me know! I researched as best as I could, but it is easy to miss things. I’ll update that information. Prime Video changes availability all the time too and it is hard to keep up. That first season thing seems to be a new marketing tactic from Amazon and may be happening more and more, unfortunately.

      Reply

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