Geek / Pop Culture

The 7 Best Historical Fiction & Fantasy Shows (IMHO)


Have I ever mentioned that I have a thing for historical fiction? Well, I do.

I love period dramas and medieval fantasy shows. Like, I eat that shit up. I thought I’d list a few of my favorites because nothing’s better than sharing what you love, right?

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are my favorite historical fiction & fantasy shows….

1. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012)

This. Show. Is. So. Good. A couple of years ago I saw a gift set of Miss Fisher on tumblr and checked the show out on Netflix. I binged it in three days and fell in love with the 1920s. It’s a really, really great mystery show. I stopped watching Sherlock (2010) after season 3 so this filled my mystery hole quite nicely.

2. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell (2015)

Based on the popular novel (that I have yet to read) by Susanna Clarke, this miniseries is funny and weird and I looked forward to every episode each week when it was airing. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for something light and magical and takes place in the 19th century. I’d watch the hell out of this again if it were available on a streaming service.

3. Downton Abbey (2010)

Before people were live-tweeting Game of Thrones on the reg, people were live-tweeting Downton Abbey. I’m pretty sure at one point it did become a cultural phenomenon, but only a handful actually stuck around until the very end. This doesn’t mean it sucked, it just didn’t cater to the US as much as it did to the UK. Anyways, it holds a very special place in my heart and I still think about some of the characters to this day. If you want to see beautiful costumes from the early 20th century and walk around your house pretending you’re upperclass aristocrat this is the perfect show!

4. Outlander (2014)

Men in kilts! That’s it. That’s the whole show. To be honest, it bothers me that not enough people watch this show! I never see people talking about it online as much as they do other shows. It’s a hot and heavy romance featuring the political history of Scotland, men in kilts, and a dash of time travel. I live-tweet this show when it airs and I don’t plan on stopping.

5. Pride & Prejudice (1995)

Sticking to the romance, I present to you my favorite Pride & Prejudice adaptation. I love the Joe Wright film from 2005 and as a matter of fact it was my first introduction to P&P. From there I read the book and then I was recommended the 1995 miniseries, which I was a bit hesitant about due to google image searches and the fact that I didn’t find Colin Firth VERY APPEALING. But all that changed when I actually sat down and watched the damn thing. It is really good and yes, I fell in love with Colin Firth, as one does. I live for Mr. Darcy memes on tumblr so sit yourself down and watch this and join in on the fun! It’s romance in the 18th/19th century with an english countryside backdrop *swoon*.

6. Black Sails (2014)

I LOVE PIRATES. I love the history of pirates and rebellion in general, so this show was right up my alley. Black Sails gives us a realistic look at piracy in the 18th century and really interesting, complicated characters. I’m sad it didn’t get as much recognition when it aired, but it’s totally worth checking out. I will say that season 1 was slow but every episode of season 2 was fucking amazing and it just kept getting better! I am a former Pirates of the Caribbean fan (FORMER) and I used to say that if you grew up with PotC, Black Sails is your graduation gift.

7. The Crown (2016)

My current BAE. The Crown is phenomenal! While it is based on Queen Elizabeth II’s life, it’s not entirely fact and therefore qualifies as historical fiction. I love learning about the monarchy and while I’d prefer 17th century monarchy any day of the week, the 20th century monarchy is actually fascinating and wasn’t that long ago. I’m always googling what actually happened after every episode I watch of this show. If you’re interested in the life of Queen Elizabeth or love the present day royal family, check this show out!

Honorable mentions:

Game of Thrones (2011)

Vikings (2013)

Marco Polo (2014)

Penny Dreadful (2014)

The Man in the High Castle (2015)

Mad Men (2007)

I know there are many shows that I haven’t mentioned and that’s probably because I haven’t seen them yet or they escaped my mind. If you think I’d like something that’s not on this list, please feel free to recommend it! I do tend to like higher quality shows with bigger budgets, but if it has a good story and great writing then I’m ALL IN.


7 thoughts on “The 7 Best Historical Fiction & Fantasy Shows (IMHO)

  1. I haven’t seen ‘Outlander’ but I’ve read all the novels and I adore the story! Diana Gabaldon has easily become one of my all time favorite authors. It’s such a captivating series. And YES! You mentioned ‘Penny Dreadful’! I think that was one of the most intelligent shows on TV with how it mixed history, literature, theology, philosophy, and ethics. There was nothing like and I still can’t stop re-watching it/

    Also, thanks for a offering a bunch of shows I can now check out! What a fun post :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! I do hope you check out some of these shows! They are all so great. And yes Penny Dreadful was amazing, but again another show that not a lot of people were watching or talking about. I know the creator said the main story ended, but I’m sure if more people were watching it would have gone on.

      I want to read the Outlander novels one day. I’ve heard that the majority of book readers are pleased with the show and the way they handle the different timelines. I hope you check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This will sound so crazy but I can’t watch it. I’ve thought about it! But I can’t. There are just certain books that I love too much that I become too frustrated with adaptations where I complain about every single little difference. I can be a book snob sometimes :). But I have some close friends who have watched it, love it, but then still say I shouldn’t (because I’m, as previously mentioned, crazy).

        I guess they’ve continued ‘Penny Dreadful’ in a comic book form. I haven’t read any of it myself but I’ve head there was both a prequel miniseries and a regular monthly one now that looks at what happened after Season Three. While I was so sad the series ended, I thought the finale was PERFECT. Aaahh! So good!

        Alright so, of the shows on your list, when summer comes and I have no grading and time to explore new TV, which one do you think I should start with?


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