We all look for an escapism of sorts from time to time and hit the pause button to take us away from the hustle and bustle of city life. And there’s a fastest shortcut to do that.
In just a click of a mouse, you can journey back in time to medieval period and the golden age. So, simply jump on your jammies and feel comfortable on the couch as you get ready for a ride into the past.
But first, grab a large bowl of popcorn and your favorite drinks. And you’re all set to dig in and get lost in space and time with our 20+ best and binge-worthy period dramas to stream on Netflix.
Our list is specially curated to include classic novel adaptation, historical accounts, and fictional reimagining of life during the regency era. We also included period dramas in Spanish language for a compelling experience of the ancient times. Now, here we go!
Outlander is an amazing period drama on TV since 2014. It follows an ex-World War II nurse Claire Randall on a honeymoon trip with her husband, Frank in 1945.
She comes upon the mystical Scottish landmark at Craigh na Dun, however, which takes her back two centuries into the past. As Claire time travels to a world unknown, she steers clear from threats on her life.
There, she also meets and falls in love with young Scottish Highlander, Jamie. She soon finds herself living two lives and loving two loves.
Created by Ronald D. Moore, Outlander has so far spawned six seasons to date. Season 7 is expected to air late 2022 or early 2023.
Cast: Caitríona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin
Anne with An E (2017-2019)
Anne with an E is a fantastic Canadian series adaptation of the quintessential story Anne of Green Gables. Set in the 1890s era in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, it follows the adorable and brilliant character Anne Shirley, a teenage orphan adopted by the Cuthbert family of Green Gables farm.
At first, Anne has to endure bullying and prejudice from the Cuthberts as well as her schoolmates. But eventually, things turn out well for Anne as she begins to have true friends and gain acceptance from the people surrounding her.
Anne with an E is created by Moira Walley-Beckett and aired its third and last series finale on Netflix in late 2019.
Cast: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, Dalila Bela, Lucas Jade Zumann, Aymeric Jett Montaz, R. H. Thomson
Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)
Inspired by real-life events in post-World War I, Peaky Blinders is an outstanding period drama that has received critical acclaim since it aired in 2013. Many of the characters are also inspired by real people in Birmingham, England after WWI.
The story revolves around the crimes and illegal activities by the Shelbys, an Irish-Romani mob run by Thomas Shelby. He is driven by his ambition to gain more control over England.
Created by Steven Knight, Peaky Blinders boasts big-named actors in supporting roles over the series’ six-season run. Avid fans of the show will see the Shelbys return, this time in a feature film.
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Annabelle Wallis, Iddo Goldberg, Sophie Rundle
Netflix Original hit series Bridgerton is an extra delightful period drama to watch on the no. 1 streaming app right now. And if you haven’t watched it yet, now would be the best time.
Created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by the famous Shonda Rhimes, this phenomenal period drama offers the vibe of Regency-era London. It is set during the social season when young women make their debut to the society. They come out in their intricate ball gowns amid a pool of potential suitors.
The show premiered its season 2 early this year, focusing on Anthony’s quest in finding true love. The production of the third season has officially began and will center on Colin, one of Daphne’s younger brothers.
Cast: Adjoa Andoh, Lorraine Ashbourne, Jonathan Bailey, Ruby Barker, Sabrina Bartlett, Harriet Cains
The Last Kingdom (2015-2022)
The Last Kingdom is a well-received historical drama full of literally bloody and thrilling battles that will fill your cup for intensified sword-clanging action. Add to the mix the good-looking warriors and vile enemies that make you want for more.
It takes place during the ninth-century era when England was still divided into different kingdoms. This fictional story follows Uhtred, born an Anglo-Saxon but raised by the Danes, or known as the Vikings.
Uhtred often finds himself torn between fulfilling his oaths, choosing sides, and seeking to claim his birth right as Lord of Bebbanburg.
Masterfully created by Steven Butchard, The Last Kingdom has spanned five seasons.
Cast: Alexander Dreymon, Emily Cox, Timothy Innes, Millie Brady, Adrian Schiller
The Crown (2016-Present)
Creator Peter Morgan’s The Crown is one of the critically acclaimed and multi-awarded TV series on Netflix. Set first in the second-half of 20th century, this binge-worthy period drama features the life of the long-reigning British monarch Queen Elizabeth II.
The show accounts the royal’s political rivalries and romance as well as historical events of the era.
Since its 2016 premiere, it has gained a massive following while several main cast members have won Emmys and Golden Globes for their notable performances.
The Crown has been featuring a time jump and new cast after every two seasons. You can stream the whole four seasons on Netflix to catch up before the fifth season airs in November.
Cast: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, Eileen Atkins, Jeremy Northam, Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter
Godless makes the perfect period drama for western fans. And seems, it’s the only one here on our list that takes us back to the late 19th century Wild West.
This Netflix original is set in an isolated town mostly run by women after losing all their men in a tragic mining accident. The story follows an aloof widow Alice Fletcher who tends to a wounded stranger, an ex-outlaw on the run from his murderous gang lord.
Godless has a one-of-a kind Westside tale with remarkable actors. It’s a compelling period drama that is full of action, drama, romance, and exciting twist and turn.
Created by Scott Frank, Godless is a binge-worthy mini-series with seven episodes.
Cast: Jack O’Connell, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Jeff Daniels, Merritt Wever, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker (2020)
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker is an inspiring period drama set in the early 20th century. This limited TV series chronicles the amazing story of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in the US.
This brilliant Netflix original is an adaptation of On Her Own Ground written by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s adoptive great-great-granddaughter. It dramatizes the life of Walker as an entrepreneur and activist of her time.
It further retells the humble beginning of Walker’s business including the challenges she had to overcome being a colored businesswoman.
Self Made is a limited series with a four-episodic run. Surely, this short but multi-awarded show is not one to miss on our list of 20+ best and binge-worthy period dramas on Netflix.
Cast: Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Garrett Morris, Kevin Carroll
Call The Midwife (2012-2022)
Call The Midwife is an award-winning period drama which focuses on female characters, specifically midwives and nuns who help the people of Poplar post-war era.
Spanning for 11 seasons since it aired in 2012, the show has taken us to the impoverished East London in the 1950s. It follows a group of close-knit midwives who are surrounded by issues of poverty, racism, and disease after the end of the Second World War.
For fans and critics alike, Call The Midwife is a fantastic, heart-warming and heart-wrenching period drama to watch.
Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Laura Main, Jenny Agutter, Stephen McGann, Judy Parfitt, Cliff Parisi
Cathedral Of The Sea (2017)
Cathedral Of The Sea is a touching period drama set against a backdrop of 14th century Barcelona. It’s based on Ildefonso Falcones’ novel entitled La Catedral del Mar.
While the series is a historical fiction, it includes true events that transpired in the1300s in Catalonia under the rule of King Pedro. It contains some violence, nude, and intense scenes, and it’s a great series to watch overall.
This show only runs for 1 season with eight episodes but if you can’t get enough of it, you may want to watch its sequel Heirs to the Land next. It’s another gorgeous Spanish period drama following in the vein of Cathedral Of The Sea.
Cast: Susana G. Esteban, Jordi Aguilar, Aitor Luna, Susana Ballesteros
The English Game (2020)
Set in the 19th-century England and Scotland, The English Game is a fantastic period drama from creator Julian Fellowes. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Fellowes is also the brilliant mind behind the phenomenal hit series, Downton Abbey.
This six-episode mini-series is based on a mostly true story of a Scottish footballer Fergus Suter. He was the first to become a professional football player back in 1870s.
The English Game boasts fabulous writing, delightful romances, as well as remarkable characterization. It’s truly one of the best period dramas you shouldn’t dare to miss.
Cast: Edward Holcroft, Arthur Kinnaird, Kevin Guthrie, Fergus Suter, Charlotte Hope, Margaret Alma Kinnaird
A fan of iconic British novelist Jane Austen and award-winning actress Anna Taylor-Joy at the same time? Then Emma is the right period drama flick for you.
It offers a light-hearted and hilarious theme set in a fictional country village during Georgian-and-Regency era England. This period romantic comedy adaptation of Austen’s eponymous 1815 novel is reimagining one’s search for a happy ending.
Emma Woodhouse, who’s a youthful, clever, wealthy, but self-centered meddles in her friends’ love affairs.
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Bill Nighy
The Queen's Gambit (2020)
The Queen’s Gambit is a massive hit Netflix original starring Taylor-Joy in her breakthrough role. This period drama Set during the Cold War in the 1960s America.
The story follows Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy who has an extraordinary talent in playing the mind sport. She rises to prominence in the chess world while struggling alcohol addiction.
As winner of whopping 11 Emmys, The Queen’s Gambit is a must-watch period drama on our list.
Cast: Anna Taylor-Joy, Bill Camp, Chloe Pirrie, Marcin Dorocinski, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Vikings: Valhalla (2022)
Set in early 11th century (1000s), Vikings: Valhalla is a sequel to the top rated Norse saga on small screen, Vikings. This period drama transports us back to Kattegat 100 years later.
It introduces a new breed of legendary Norse warriors joining the plot to avenge the St. Brice’s Day massacre and making their mark in history.
Vikings: Valhalla season 1 has received positive reception from fans and high critic score. It will be back for second and third seasons on Netflix in 2023.
Cast: Sam Corlett, Frida Gustavvson, Leo Suter, Jóhannes Haukur, Jóhannesson, Laura Berlin, Bradley Freegard
Alias Grace (2017)
Alias Grace is a period drama based on a real events in the 19th century. Based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, this mini-series tells the story of 1843 double murder of a man and his wife in Upper Canada.
The true crime is committed by a poor Irish immigrant and housemaid Grace Marks. She is convicted of killing her employees and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Alias Grace is an incredibly written and gripping period piece featuring Sarah Gadon in an award-worthy performance. It received excellent ratings from its first to the final episode.
Cast: Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin, Edward Holcroft, Kerr Logan, Paul Gross, Rebecca Liddiard, Zachary Levi
Troy: Fall of a City (2018)
As the title suggests, Troy: Fall of a City is a small-screen adaptation of the epic Homer poem Iliad. It’s an eight-episode retelling of the 10-year battle between Troy and Sparta in 13th century BC.
Many already know that it focuses on Prince Paris’ love affair with Helen of Sparta, King Menelaus’ wife. This event led to the Trojan War.
Troy: Fall of a City offers action and drama that meet fans’ expectations. Plus, it has great cast performances and gorgeous costume and production design.
Cast: Louis Hunter, Bella Dayne, Jonas Armstrong, Christiaan Schoombie, Chloe Pirrie, Johnny Harris
. Enola Holmes (2020)
Enola Holmes is a mystery period film that takes us far back to 19th century London. Millie Bobby Brown plays the titular role of Enola Holmes, Sherlock’s smart, younger sister with sleuthing skills to outsmart her brother.
And while on her quest of finding her missing mum, Enola meets a young lord and uncovers an ugly conspiracy surrounding him. Enola Holmes receives high critic score that it gets a sequel that will drop on Netflix come Oct. 28.
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, Giles Nuttgens, Adam Bosman, Daniel Pemberton
Cable Girls (2017)
Cable Girls is our 18th entry on our list of best and binge-worthy period dramas on Netflix. This period drama is Netflix’s first Spanish original series in 1920s Madrid.
The story revolves around four women whose lives change after being hired at the newly-built National Telephone Company. As switchboard operators, the ladies receive reasonable pay and enjoy some freedom that they won’t have from traditional jobs.
Cable Girls earned a huge success throughout its five-season run. The show is chock-full of drama, romance, and intrigue that hooked millions of viewers.
Cast: Blanca Suárez, Maggie Civantos, Nadia de Santiago, Ana María Polvorosa, Ana Fernández García, Martiño Rivas
Barbarians is your go-to period piece if you have an appetite for blood, betrayal, sex, and violence. It focuses on the Roman Empire’s occupation of Germania and the rebellion of the Germanic tribes that followed.
The series follows three warriors whose fates intertwined during the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D. This is the same era where the spread of the Roman Empire ended.
Its first season gained a massive following on Netflix that it became the 8th most-watched show after it hit the small screen in 2020. Now, a second season is due to arrive on no. 1 streaming app on Oct. 23. .
Cast: Laurence Rupp, Jeanne Goursaud, David Schütter, Ronald Zehrfeld
The Last Czars (2019)
The Last Czars is a historical documentary series about the life of Nicholas II, last Czar of the Romanov Dynasty. The period drama offers a peek into Russian history and gives out similar vibe you feel in watching The Crown.
All six episodes of The Last Czars depicts Nicholas II as a sovereign, loving husband, and father to his children. It recounts his rise to power in 1894 until he and his family were tragically wiped out in 1918.
Cast: Robert Jack, Susanna Herbert, Bernice Stegers, Ben Cartwright
Little Women (2019)
Here comes the plus one to our list of 20+ best and binge-worthy period dramas on Netflix. Set in the years after the Civil War, Little Women is a coming-of-age period drama based on Louisa May Alcott’s masterpiece of the same name.
The story follows the lives of four March sisters, beginning from their childhood to womanhood.
Little Women features an ensemble cast and receives critical acclaim including several Oscar nominations.
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet