ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

With the conclusion of Downton Abbey, there's been a distinct lack of brilliant British historical drama in our lives. Thankfully PBS have filled the gap with the brand new series Victoria. The show, which has already aired in its native UK, follows the early years of the reign of Queen Victoria (played by Jenna Coleman), from her accession to the throne at age 18, to her marriage and the birth of her first child.

So far one season of the show has been produced, though it's already been renewed for a second season, as well as a 90 minute Christmas special. But if you can't get enough of the royal drama, and need more historical intrigue in your life, here are five other shows like Victoria which might pique your interest.

1. The Crown

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown [Credit: Netflix]
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown [Credit: Netflix]

How many seasons? 1

This historical drama is an ambitious Netflix production, which follows the life of another member of the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II. Currently there's only one season, though Netflix has plans to continue it for many more, changing the cast as they explore different eras of Elizabeth's reign.

The Crown begins in the late 1940s with the marriage between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and follows as the couple start a family, and as Elizabeth's father, King George VI, falls ill with lung cancer. Throughout the season audiences see Elizabeth's journey as she's given a crash course on how to be a monarch, earlier than anyone had imagined — something which is also very reminiscent of Queen Victoria's reign.

Given that Queen Elizabeth II is Queen Victoria's great-great granddaughter it's not hard to see why this show would appeal to fans of Victoria, as takes us inside the world of another young monarch and her journey. Interestingly enough, Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II are the two longest reigning monarchs in Britain with reigns lasting over 60 years. There's obviously something to be said for those tough-as-nails British queens!

2. The Tudors

[Credit: Showtime]
[Credit: Showtime]

How many seasons? 4 (entire run to date)

Exploring another era of the British monarchy, The Tudors centered on the reign of the infamous King Henry VIII of England. Produced by Showtime, The Tudors ran for four seasons, which makes for 38 episodes of 1500s royal goodness to feast upon.

The series begins in 1518, and focuses on both the reign and marriages of a young King Henry VIII. Season 1 follows Henry's struggles with the Catholic church, as well as the political obstacles with ongoing issues between England and other countries. Obviously King Henry VIII is well known for his relationships, which are all covered over the duration of the series, including the creation of the Church of England in order to secure an annulment from his first wife.

Although based on a real era and real people, The Tudors does take liberties with historical events, so those among us that are sticklers for historical accuracy might take issue with this glammed up series. However, the series also offers a fantastic cast, and truly interesting characters and subject matter. After all, everyone knows about King Henry VIII and his many wives, what more reason do you need to watch?

See also:

3. Reign

[Credit: The CW]
[Credit: The CW]

How many seasons? 3 (with a final fourth series about to air)

Proving that no one can resist a tale of an intriguing royal from the United Kingdom, the American network The CW are responsible for Reign, a series about the early journey of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Reign opens in 1557 with a young Mary living in France and awaiting her marriage to Prince Francis. However, life isn't as simple as preparing for an upcoming marriage, with politics and power grabs to be contended with. Meanwhile, Prince Francis's own mother attempts to prevent Mary's marriage to her son, after the seer Nostradamus predicts that the union will result in Francis's death.

Of all the series on this list based on the lives of real historical figures, Reign probably takes the most creative license, resulting in historical inaccuracies. However, the show is fully aware of the liberties its taking, and in return offers a show which is simply quite fun to watch. Not to mention that the subplots of Mary's handmaidens, Kenna, Aylee, Lola and Greer add a fun twist.

4. Outlander

[Credit: Sony Pictures Television]
[Credit: Sony Pictures Television]

How many seasons? 2

Based Diana Gabaldon's insanely popular book series, Outlander brings to life the historical time travel tale of Claire Randall, an English woman who suddenly finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743.

World War II nurse, Claire Randall and her husband Frank are visiting Inverness, Scotland when Claire visits the site of ancient stones alone and suddenly finds herself in the midst of a battle in 18th Century Scotland. The first season of Outlander follows as Claire attempts to make sense of the seemingly impossible event and also integrate to life in 1700s Scotland, using her medical knowledge to endear herself to the local folk while also trying to avoid suspicion.

If you're more into historical dramas and not the idea of the time travel sci-fi aspect, then you might cringe a little at the concept of Outlander, however don't let that put you off, because the series also has a real way of drawing you in. Depicting dramatic highland battles and the Jacobite rising, if the historical events of Outlander don't get you hot under the collar, the saucy romance scenes will.

5. Vikings

[Credit: History]
[Credit: History]

How many seasons? 3, soon to be 4

Based on the sagas of the Norse hero, Ragnar Lothbrok, Vikings finally brings to life these legendary people and their exploration as well as savage battles they fought in England and France.

Vikings is set at the beginning of the Viking Age in the 790s and follows the rise of chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok, who manages to lead a successful raids on England and then starts to rise through the ranks of society, beginning his legend.

Based on actual Norse sagas — which are partly based in truth, partly fiction and written some 200 - 400 years after the events they describe — Vikings offers a taste of what life was like long before many of the famous British royals. Given that the Viking era is so captivating and interesting it's a surprise that it's rarely shown in film or TV, meaning Vikings has a point of difference among other historical drama series, and is well worth the watch.


Which show will you watch next?


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