The OG Bridgerton, this early-20th-century drama burst onto our screens more than a decade ago now. Following the trying times experienced by the aristocratic Crawley family, who we first meet in 1912, just as the Titanic sinks, taking the heir to their fortunes down with it. Across its six seasons, the show followed other great events of the time period, including the First World War, Spanish influenza, the Irish War of Independence, and the eventual rise of the working class in the 1930s. The series also led to two films, one released in 2019, and the most recent, Downton Abbey: A New Era, which will be released in May 2022.
While it lacks the sex appeal of Bridgerton, Downton Abbey always did its very best to represent modern history, which can sometimes be confronting when it comes to scenes of war, class division and discrimination. You can catch all six seasons on Amazon Prime Video.
The Great is pretty similar to Bridgerton in a lot of ways, and definitely has a lighter, funnier tone than the likes of Downton Abbey or The Crown. The series has even been described as ‘anti-historical’, given how loosely it’s based on the rise of power of Catherine the Great, Empress of All Russia.
The series focuses on Catherine, who is played by Elle Fanning, mostly in her youth as she marries Emperor Peter, played by Nicholas Hoult. Early in season one, she comes to realise how depraved and spiteful her husband is, leading her to plot his murder to nab the role of Empress. You can catch both seasons on Stan, and a third season is now in pre-production.
LGBTIQ Regency-era drama, Gentleman Jack is another strong romance series, based on the life and relationships of Anne Lister, who has been dubbed ‘the first modern lesbian’. Season one saw Anne leave Hastings to restore a West Yorkshire estate left to her by her uncle, where she finds a potentially blossoming relationship with another woman, Ann Walker.
Season two is due to be released in April, and will follow Anne and Ann as they set up a home together in Shibden Hall, and attempt to live as wife and wife with combined estates. However, Anne’s unconventional lifestyle and her refusal to keep a low profile will likely spell trouble for the couple. You can find season one on BINGE.
If any series could go toe-to-toe, or sex scene for sex scene, with Bridgerton, it would probably be Outlander. Set in both 1940s and 1740s Scotland, it follows time-traveller Claire Beauchamp, who accidentally winds up moving 200 years backward through time to Inverness at the time of the Jacobite rising, where she meets and falls in love with Jamie Fraser. Be still our collective, beating hearts.
The series, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, see the couple go on numerous adventures relevant to history, beginning with the Jacobite rising, and following on to the American Revolutionary War. If you like hot people and history, this show is definitely for you. Catch all six seasons on BINGE.
Based on Jane Austen’s half-written manuscript of the same name, Sanditon is another Regency era period drama that follows young heroine Charlotte Heywood as she stays at a seaside resort. Charlotte is described as spiritual and unconventional, as were most of Austen’s great heroines.
The first episode of Sanditon followed Austen’s manuscript, of which there was only eleven chapters, while the rest of the series was developed based on the existing characters. And of course, it wouldn’t be an Austen adaptation without a dashing suitor for the leading lady, which we are given in Theo James’s Sidney Parker.
The second season has just premiered, and you can find it on BINGE, along with season one.
Royalists and republicans alike have a deep appreciation for The Crown, which is essentially a well-costumed political drama that follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who is played by three different actresses, showing the phases of her life. Starting out with Claire Foy in the lead role for the first two seasons, set in the 1950s and 60s, the show transitions to Queen Elizabeth across the 1970s, where she is played by Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman.
While it depicts most major events across Elizabeth’s life so far, fans have anxiously been anticipating the fifth season, which will see Imelda Staunton take over the role of Queen Elizabeth. Focusing on the early-to-mid 1990s, the audience will likely see the famous death of Princess Diana in the new season, which drops in November of 2022. You can catch up on the existing four seasons on Netflix.