Between the lavish costumes, the impeccably styled sets, and the engrossing plots, historical dramas are, hands down, the best dramas. Sure, they might forgo factual accuracy, take political intrigue at face value, and occasionally showcase soap opera–level acting for the sake of piquing our interest, but as long as quality period dramas like The Crown are streaming, we'll stand by our endorsement.
Seeing as we're impatiently awaiting the return of the aforementioned Netflix original series, we went in search of historical dramas to binge-watch while we wait. Spanning a popular period piece set against the backdrop of war-torn Morocco in the 1920s to a telenovela based on the life of a famous salsa singer set in 1950s Cuba, there are plenty of watch list–worthy series to stream until Olivia Colman takes over for Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in season three of The Crown.
The Series: Call the Midwife
The Setting: London in the 1950s
The Brief Synopsis: This popular BBC-produced drama centers around a newly qualified midwife making her way in London's impoverished East End neighborhood.
The Series: Versailles
The Setting: France in the 1660s
The Brief Synopsis: As you may have guessed from the title, this historical drama takes place during the period when 28-year-old Louis XIV rises to power and sets out to build Versailles.
The Series: Troy: Fall of a City
The Setting: Troy in the 13th century B.C.
The Brief Synopsis: Set during the Trojan War, this miniseries is rife with political and romantic drama as Paris and Helen's love affair takes down a powerful city.
The Series: Celia
The Setting: Cuba in the 1950s
The Brief Synopsis: Based on the life of Celia Cruz, the renowned Cuban salsa singer, this telenovela is filled with the Queen of Guarachera's most beloved songs.
The Series: Mr. Sunshine
The Setting: Korea in the early 1900s
The Brief Synopsis: In this Korean period drama, a young boy who was born into slavery and escaped to the United States finally returns to his homeland as a U.S. Marine in the midst of a political struggle.
The Series: Pablo Escobar: El Patrón Del Mal
The Setting: Colombia in the 1980s and 1990s
The Brief Synopsis: This Colombian-produced telenovela follows the horrific exploits of the notorious narcotrafficker Pablo Escobar, including the unique perspective of the people most affected by his crimes.
The Series: The People vs. O.J. Simpson
The Setting: Los Angeles in the 1990s
The Brief Synopsis: Covering the trial of former NFL star O.J. Simpson, this award-winning series delves into the details of the crimes, including the shocking fiasco with the glove, of course.
The Series: The Tudors
The Setting: England in the early 1500s
The Brief Synopsis: Arguably England's most well-known king, Henry VIII (and his many wives) are the subject of this Showtime drama available for streaming on Netflix now.
The Series: The Rise of Phoenixes
The Setting: Ancient China
The Brief Synopsis: Loosely based on Huang Quan, a novel by Tianxia Guiyuan, this series centers around a king with a dark past and a warrior with a secret of her own.
The Series: Mad Men
The Setting: New York City in the 1960s
The Brief Synopsis: In his high-pressure job at a Madison Avenue advertising firm, Don Draper stands out among his colleagues as the best in the business while he balances his career with his fatherly duties.
The Series: The Borgias
The Setting: Renaissance-era Italy
The Brief Synopsis: In the midst of the Renaissance, the Spanish Borgias family rises to power in Italy with one of their own leading the Catholic Church as Pope Alexander VI.
The Series: Morocco: Love in Times of War
The Setting: Morocco in the 1920s
The Brief Synopsis: During the Rif War, a group of all-female nurses from well-to-do families move from Spain to Morocco to help treat the wounded.
The Series: Marco Polo
The Setting: Mongolia in the late 1200s
The Brief Synopsis: Although the series had a short two-season run, this historical drama about the adventures of young explorer Marco Polo is well worth a watch.
The Series: A Young Doctor's Notebook
The Setting: Russia in the early 1900s
The Brief Synopsis: Based on short stories by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov, this comedy-drama follows the journey of a doctor upon his arrival in Russia during the revolution.
The Series: Turn: Washington's Spies
The Setting: The United States in the late 1770s and early 1780s
The Brief Synopsis: This period drama, which originally aired on AMC, delves into the events that ultimately led to the American's victory in The Revolutionary War over the British.
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