Period Dramas

The Top Ten Period Dramas

Let’s escape to the sumptuous majesty of period drama, where the clothes were more elaborate, the people more refined, and the drama more quaint. Here are our selections of the 10 best period dramas to transport you to the glorious old world. 

Compiled by Jennifer AJ

Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

Downton Abbey

When their sole heir sunk with the Titanic, a gentry family presiding over the vast estate of Downton Abbey must grapple with finding a new successor. The problem is, The Crawleys only have daughters and the law prohibits the sisters from inheriting the Abbey. The multi award-winning series is a global sensation for a reason: sweeping, well-acted, and lavish - it hits all the right notes. 

The Gilded Age (2021- )

The Gilded Age

Old money and new money clash in this sweeping period epic set in 19th century New York City, made by the creator behind Downton Abbey. Unabashedly opulent and more dramatic than its predecessor, this show proves that rich people have always played a game of one-upmanship since centuries before The Real Housewives era.

The Crown (2016- )

The Crown

A dramatized fictionalization of Queen Elizabeth II’s life, from her teens to her old age. The multi award-winning series portrays significant moments from the longest-reigning British monarch and her sprawling family’s life. Every season manages to attract controversy, from its depiction of England’s colonization history to Charles and Diana’s sensational divorce; though it only makes the show that much more captivating.

Victoria (2016-2019)


Yet another series recounting the life of a well-respected British monarch, Victoria is a decidedly more docile autobiographical series than The Crown. Portraying Victoria at the beginning of her reign, the series spends a lot of time depicting her marriage to Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. It’s a light, sweet watch with a compelling couple at the centre.

Emma (2009)


Emma is a Regency-era aristocrat who takes pride in her matchmaking skill, while Mr. Knightley is the only person in the world who can call her bluff. This is only one of the many adaptations of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name, yet there’s just something magnetic about this iteration. Its leads have sparkling chemistry and the longer format gives the story ample breathing room.

Anne with an E (2017-2019)

Anne with an E

This adaptation of classic book series Anne of Green Gables revolves around Anne, a young orphan in the late 19th century who must endure harsh childhood and try to maintain her pure spirit. Refreshingly modern and aesthetically pleasing, this show gained a cult following when it began airing on Netflix.

 Poldark (2015-2019)


When he returns from war, Ross Poldark finds out that he’s lost his father, much of his fortune, and his fiancé. With the help of some new allies, he starts rebuilding his life. This modern adaptation of Poldark is sexier than its predecessor, thanks to its ravishing leads and edgier storylines. 

Sanditon (2019-2023)


A young spirited heroine must navigate love and ambition when she moves to Sanditon, a seaside town on the brink of a major development. Another Jane Austen adaptation, Sanditon is a lesser-known property because the author died before finishing her manuscript. And so, the series has a lot of creative liberty that departs from typical Jane Austen convention. 

Outlander (2014- ) 


A 20th century woman time-travels to 1743 Scotland and falls in love with a Highland warrior amid a dramatic uprising. Fans of classic Harlequin romance will find much to love about this series adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s novels: hunky lead, sexy time galore, and a historical epic playing out in the backdrop.

Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)

Peaky Blinders

A gangster family rises to power in post-World War I era Britain. Everything about this series – from the wardrobe to its music – exhibits pure suave manliness. Cillian Murphy’s enigmatic turn as the eponymous gang’s leader is undeniably one of the most beloved antiheroes in pop culture history.

Published on July 10th, 2023. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.