Culture / TV

Missing ‘Bridgerton’? These period dramas will positively ensnare you

Since Netflix's latest horny period drama, Bridgerton entered the chat, it's been hard to think of anything other than how one might acquire another period drama that has been as binge worthy as this iteration. With season four far on the horizon, it's looking like we're going to need to turn elsewhere for our dramatic, petticoat-filled-fix. While each of the below are 100% less steamy, period dramas happen to be my preferred watching genre, so you can rest easy knowing that you'll be in for a thrill.


Downton Abbey (2016)

period dramas like bridgerton

The royalty of period dramas will always be Downton Abbey. Set in 1900, the sprawling tv show focuses on the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and the gigantic estate they reside in. It follows the drama of the lives of those who inhabit the upper and lower levels of the house, providing commentary on the disparities between high society and servants, all against a backdrop of manicured english gardens and cobblestone roads.


The Great (2022)

period dramas like bridgerton

A Stan special if we ever knew one. The Great is a dramatic retelling of the story of the live and reign of Catherine the Great, once the Empress of Russia, and how she came about her power. Satirical, dark, and charming.


The Crown (2016)

period dramas like bridgerton

We all know the story. A dramatic interpretation of Queen Elizabeth II's reign from the 1940s to modern times, and everything that comes with it. If you've never seen it, surprisingly season four is a juicy place to start.


Outlander (2014)

period dramas like bridgerton

Clare Fraser is a time-traveling 1940s nurse, who after World War II is transported back to 1743 and into a fantasy-esque world where things look extremely different. As a lead female protagonist, Fraser does what she must do to survive, which is withstand a whole heap of violent drama.


The Favourite (2018)

period dramas like bridgerton

If Olivia Colman makes your heart beat like it does mine, The Favourite shant be missed. When Queen Anne falls ill, she passes on duties to her close aide, Sarah. things go awry when Sarah's cousin, Abigail is brought on as the Queens Ladies maid, and the three end up in an ugly love triangle that starts and ends with the Queens favouritism. Nicholas Hoult is there too.


Pride and Prejudice (1995 )

You know the story, but if you don't, Elizabeth Bennet is under pressure to meet a husband when single aristocrat Mr. Darcy comes along. When Bennet is head over heels and Mr. Darcy finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class, things become fraught and dramatic in the English countryside.

North & South (2004)

North & South follows the story of a young Margaret Hale, a southern English lady who relocates to the Northern industrial town of Milton. Love blooms in the most unexpected, whimsical places in this mini-series.


The White Queen (2013)

Based on Philippa Gregory's bestselling novel by the same title, the historical series is centred on the lives of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. Taking place just before the War on the Roses, it focuses on an England ruled by the House of York. It might not be the most historically acute, but it is delicious.


The Tudors (2007)

Whomst of us weren't coerced into learning all 7 of Henry VII's 7 wives by rote? This adaptation gives you more reasons to further commit them to memory. And hello, Johnathan Rhys Meyer. He's certainly ringing all the marriage bells, when he's not ordering beheadings.


The Gilded Age (2022)

Gilded finery in the opulent, early days of New York. There's plenty to savour. The garbs are richly made, the cast deliver a swaying performance - with the addition of one Cynthia Nixon, and the stakes are only getting grander. Binge for your dose of everything American debutante.


Babylon Berlin (2015)

Babylon Berlin is the neo-noir drama of your dreams. The lusty, romantic intrigue that swirled in Berlin from the Weimar Republic to the spread of National Socialism is documented beautifully in this adaptation. The source material is based on Volker Kutscher's books, which narrate a period after different years of socio-economic rise and downfall in Germany.


Wolf Hall (2015)

We can always count on the British Broadcast Company to deliver us a hearty helping of historical drama. Wolf Hall is no different. The fictionalised mini-series takes place from the 1500s-1535s, where Thomas Cromwell held court as one of Henry VIII's closest advisors.


Poldark (2015)

Ross Poldark has returned home after the revolution. His fiance is engaged to another man, and his reputation is in tatters. Enemies, business schemes, and a smouldering new romance surface in the wake of his new life. In Cornwall, Poldark is confronted by the ever-changing face of a fleeting, fanciful world.

Anne of Green Gables (1985)

Young Anne instills a lot of life's greatest lessons in us. In this series, she teaches us about leading the charge with curiousity and acceptance, and the power of kindred connections. Anne of Green Gables exists with principle, and love. Plus, she's adorable.


Harlots (2017)

I don't remember a period show I watched at 16 which thrilled me more. The sense of agency and feminine empowerment that Harlots left me with redefined an entire advent of period drama. Here, women were allowed to explore the messiness of their sexuality, without glossing over the danger that very decision posed. Equal parts evocative and glib. No notes, absolutely not one.


War & Peace (2016)

Napoleon Bonaparte is hot on Russia's heels. Lily James, who plays one of the five Russian artisocrats in direct line of fire, wrestle with the future of the nation - and their own legitimacy in the realm of the court. There are elements of the Cinderella-like in Tolstoy. And James is the perfect, plotting Princess.


Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (2012)

Australia's most polished entry into the world of period dramas. The melbournian flapper-turned sleuth descends into a world of jazz, crime, and murder with daring wit. Come for the scintillating tales of our nation's past, stay for the endless rotation of hand-beaded costumes and hooplah.


Ekaterina (2014)

The Russian series transposes the tale of Catherine the Great, German princess turned Heir-apparent. She rises from an outsider to become one of the greatest empresses of Russian aristocracy. Following a coup d'état and the assassination of her husband, Peter III, Ekaterina revives Russia as a conglomerate force in Europe. Pretty great, no?


The Forsyte Saga (2002)

Another family dashed by debauchery and demise. The 1870s to 1920s were a time of great change and debilitation. How does the upper-upper-upper middle class cope? Find out by tuning in.


Belgravia (2020)

A secret marriage. A hidden child. The upper echelons of London society. The Trenchard family must drop their noveau rich-isms to rub shoulders (and frocks) with the uppity upper class. The series is based on the novel of the same name, and follows the same trajectory with a more elevated pacing.


Peaky Blinders (2013)

Hear us out, hear us out. Before you close the tab, we understand: by nature, Peaky Blinders could not be further from the pomp and frill of Bridgerton. But there are other aspects that very much fall into period category. There's foes skulking in the shadows. Marriage by alliance and virtue. And most of all? A well-to-do, harder to replicate accent.


Call The Midwife (2012)

A troop of midwifes working in East End London during the 50s and 60s. It is as endearing and kitsch as it sounds. Don't be fooled: the pressures that arise from their line of work are challenging, by any means. But against it all, these women persist.


Far from the Madding Crowd (1998)

Bathsheba Everdene is vain and inexperienced. She is also in exile: sent to labour and take over in her uncle's farm. This is no perennial city girl. Her hyper-independence and flightiness leaves her vulnerable to the criticising eyes of those around her. Think of Jo and Amy March, and times that by two.


Black Sails (2013)

Black Sails is the continuation of the work Keira Knightly pioneered in Pirates of the Caribbean. Corsetry meets sea jaunty meets the fight for sovereignty, though in a world away from the court. Here, there is no lay of the land. Survival on New Providence Island is the goal, and everyone on this fleet are committed to the cause.


The Borgias (2011)

Renaissance-era Italy beckons, and we follow the tale of the Borgias Family. There is an awe-spiring, scandalous aspiration to papacy replete with bribery, lust, intimidation, and murder. This is the tale of how one crime family's quest of unfettered power supplants oneself within the Catholic Church.


Cranford (2007)

It takes women to make a village. And it takes the women of Cranford to enact real, plausible change around their own little town. Aside from gossip, which is their main hubris, this group is here to merrymake for good.


Ruyi's Love in the Palace (2018)

Diversify what court drama entails, and you won't have to look too far or hard with Ruyi's Love in the Palace. Taking place in the Chinese Imperial Court, the Empress of the Qing Dynasty must look ahead to a road paved with romance and treachery. Not to mention: beautiful gowns, gorgeous gowns.


The White Princess (2017)

Baby-faced Jodie Comer. A sequel to the highly popular, The White Queen, this series delves into the marriage of Henry VII and Princess Elizabeth. Their marriage is one of consequence, as it binds the very nation she is trying to split under her husband's nose. Let's hear some commotion for the crowns.


Reign (2013)

What Reign lacks in historical accuracy it makes up in opulence. No one is watching Reign for its adherence to portraying the 16th century Mary of Scots. We're glued to the screens for Mary and Francis' camaraderie, cahoots, and sumptuous jewellery twinkling off of their lobes and clavicles.

The Spanish Princess (2019)

Who was Catherine of Aragon before her untimely marriage to Henry VIII? Yet another untimely marriage, to King Arthur. The Spanish Princess gallivants through life with an unwieldy, persistent spirit. We salute her.


Penny Dreadful (2014)

What does a medium, Victor Frankenstein, and a supernatural explorer have in common? They make up the original mythbusters of Victorian England. The unlikely quartet fuel this psychological, loosely historical thriller with suspense and crawling skin.


Emma (2009)

Let us be very clear: there is no regency-core without Emma. And the original series is as good as they come. Beautiful, spirited Emma, who loves to matchmake but is uncompromisingly dreadful at it. Much to the chagrin of those around us, there's a little bit of her that we all carry.


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