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Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Jella Erhard

Ready to time travel from your couch? Netflix is your time machine, packed with historical series that’ll whisk you away to different eras and cultures. Imagine sipping tea in royal courts or dodging cannonballs on war-torn battlefields.

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Historical Series on Netflix

Addictive Historical Shows To Watch On Netflix

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Ready to hop in Netflix’s time machine? Strap in and get ready to leap from your sofa straight into the heart of history. We’re not just talking dusty old textbooks – these shows are as alive as your nosy neighbor.

Fancy a twirl in the lavish ballrooms of the Regency era? Or maybe you’re more into the edgy vibes of post-war Britain? Netflix has got it all, served up with a side of drama. Many of these Netflix historical dramas showcase accurate historical settings and compelling storytelling that brings history to life.

From the glitter of royal crowns to the nitty-gritty of the past, these series are like stepping into a world where history got a Hollywood makeover. Picture this: love stories set against palatial backdrops, spine-tingling suspense with a war-time twist, and ancient dynasties riddled with more intrigue than your favorite soap opera.

RELATED: Best New Historical Fiction Books To Read

Each show is a different flavor of time travel – some sweet, some spicy, but all utterly binge-worthy. They’ve got the looks too, with costumes and sets so good, that you’ll feel like you’re right there, dodging palace guards or raising a toast with high society.

Explore the top historical series that Netflix has to offer, where award-winning historical fiction meets cinematic excellence in shows that cover everything from medieval times to modern historical events.

So, whether you’re in for a tear-jerking drama or a heart-racing adventure, Netflix’s historical lineup is your ticket to times gone by. Trust me, it’s way more fun than history class ever was.

All The Light We Cannot See

All The Light We Cannot See - new historical series on netflix

 

Number of Episodes: 4 (TV Mini-Series)
Genre: Historical Drama, War
Premiered: 2023
Set in: World War II era France
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

All The Light We Cannot See is one of the newest historical Netflix shows set in WWII France. Picture this: a blind French girl and a German boy, their lives colliding amidst the chaos of war. It’s like peeking into a part of history we’ve only read about in books, but way more personal and gripping.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill war drama. It’s a story about real people, their struggles, and their bravery. It’s got all the feels of a top-notch historical drama but feels like you’re right there with them, experiencing every moment.

It’s kind of like those history lessons we wish we had in school – full of life, emotion, and totally binge-worthy.

All The Light We Cannot See is more than just entertainment. It’s like a window to the past, but in high-def and with a storyline that’ll stick with you long after you’re done watching. Definitely one of those shows you’ll end up recommending to everyone you know.

The Law According to Lidia Poët

The Law According to Lidia Poet - Netflix historical drama

Number of Episodes: 6 (ongoing)
Genre: Historical Drama, Mystery, Crime
Premiered: 2023
Set in: 19th Century Italy
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Ever heard of  The Law According to Lidia Poët? It’s not just another show where lawyers shuffle papers and bore you to tears. Nope, it’s the tale of Lidia Poët, a one-woman powerhouse. She’s not just fighting legal battles; she’s in the ring for women’s rights, back when just thinking about that was pretty out there.

Lidia is the kind of character who doesn’t just enter a room – she owns it. She’s the definition of ‘fearless’, turning heads and rewriting the rulebook in a time when women were supposed to be seen, not heard.

And get this: this new period drama isn’t just a dusty old history lesson. It’s like a time machine to the 19th Century, but with a vibe so fresh, you’d swear it was made yesterday.

Lidia’s story? It’s the kind of riveting, edge-of-your-seat stuff that’ll have you glued to your screen. It’s history, but with an adrenaline rush – a reminder of a story we all need to hear, served up in a way that’s totally now.

Blue Eye Samurai

Blue Eye Samurai - 2023 historical anime series netflix

Number of Episodes: 8 (ongoing)
Genre: Period Drama, Animation, Action
Premiered: 2023
Set in: Edo period, Japan
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Have you caught Blue Eye Samurai on Netflix yet? Oh, it’s a treat! Picture this: Edo-period Japan, all the colors, the drama – but with a kick of fantasy that’s shaking up the usual period drama scene. This animated series is like a history book and a fantasy novel had a really cool baby and is a great pick not just for history lovers but dark anime fans.

The main guy? A samurai, but he’s not your average sword-swinging hero. He’s wrapped in mystery, and his story unwinds with the kind of twists and turns that’ll have you binge-watching like there’s no tomorrow.

It’s like they took all the juicy bits of historical drama and mixed them with a splash of wild imagination.

Basically, Blue Eye Samurai is like diving into a historical romance, but with an edge. It’s fresh, it’s exciting, and trust me, it’s anything but your standard trip back in time. If you’re looking for something that’s part history, part fantasy, and completely captivating, this is your show

The Empress

The Empress - 2022 netflix historical romance series

Number of Episodes: 6 (ongoing)
Genre: Historical Romance Drama
Premiered: 2022
Set in: 19th Century, Austria-Hungary Empire
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Ready to time travel with a dash of royal flair? The Empress on Netflix is your ticket to 19th century Austria-Hungary, but it’s no stuffy history lesson. Think of it as a fairy tale that actually happened, complete with all the royal gossip and ballroom glitter.

Enter Empress Elisabeth ‘Sisi’ of Austria – she’s not your typical royal. Imagine being caught up in a whirlwind of secret romances, royal balls, and enough intrigue to make a soap opera look tame. She’s like the rebel of the royal court, dazzling and defiant in a world full of corsets and crowns.

This show? It’s like a historical drama got a makeover. Love stories, power plays, and all the palace drama you can handle, wrapped up in scenes so lush, they’re like walking through a painting.

The Empress isn’t just about watching history; it’s about feeling it, all the grandeur and the whispers, served with a side of charm. It’s for anyone who loves their history with a touch of heart and a lot of sparkle.

So, why just read about castles when you can practically live in one, right from your couch? Just hit play on Netflix and off you go, back in time

Vikings: Valhalla

Vikings Valhalla - historical drama

Number of Episodes: 8 (ongoing)
Genre: Historical Drama, Action
Premiered: 2022
Set in: Early 11th Century, Scandinavia and England
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla is your chance to find out what it was like to be a Viking, without actually having to wear a helmet and swing an axe! This show catapults you straight into the 11th century, right after the original ‘Vikings’ saga wrapped up. It’s like the sequel we didn’t know we needed, but can’t get enough of.

This isn’t just some ho-hum history lesson. Imagine the intense drama of Norse and English cultures smashing together like waves in a storm.

The scenes? From the frosty fjords of Scandinavia to the regal courts of England, it’s like stepping into a living, breathing tapestry of adventure and complex characters.

It’s history with a serious adrenaline kick, and it’s all streaming on Netflix. So, grab your imaginary sword, settle in, and let’s sail back to the Viking era.

The King’s Affection

The King's Affection - historical romance drama

Number of Episodes: 20
Genre: Historical Romance Drama
Premiered: 2021
Set in: Joseon Dynasty, 15th Century, Korea
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

In The King’s Affection, a mesmerizing series on Netflix, the 15th Century Joseon Dynasty of Korea is brought to life with a story as unique as it is captivating. The plot centers around a woman disguised as a man to survive, assuming the role of a crown prince in a society where her true identity would mean certain peril.

RELATED: Best Romantic Korean Dramas on Netflix

This series skillfully intertwines the intricacies of historical Korea with a narrative that’s rich in emotion and suspense. It’s a tale of concealed truths, forbidden love, and the enduring strength of the human spirit.

Fans of historical romance series will find The King’s Affection to be a stunning portrayal of resilience and love against the backdrop of royal intrigue. It’s a journey through a time and place filled with beauty and complexity, offering a fresh perspective on a fascinating era in Korean history.

The English Game

The English Game - period drama on netflix

Number of Episodes: 6
Genre: Historical Drama, Sports
Premiered: 2020
Set in: Late 19th Century, England
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Strap in for The English Game on Netflix, where early football in England isn’t just a sport, but a full-blown class warfare with a side of mud and glory.

This isn’t your average kick-about; it’s a peek into the lives of those who shaped the game – from the top-hat elites trying to keep the grass stains off their dignity, to the working-class dynamos making every goal count.

But hold your horses, it’s not just about bending it like the olden days. This show is a brilliant tangle of social class, ambition, and, yes, a bit of good old-fashioned sportsmanship. Imagine a time travel back to when football was more than a game, it was a battleground for societal change.

For the history buffs who love a dash of sports, The English Game is like a winning goal in extra time. You’re not just watching legends; you’re witnessing the birth of an era. Ready to see how a bunch of guys chasing a ball around a pitch kicked off a social revolution?

The Queen’s Gambit

The Queen's Gambit - Netflix historical tv show

Number of Episodes: 7 (TV Mini-series)
Genre: Historical Drama, Sport
Premiered: 2020
Set in:  Mid-20th Century, USA, and various global locations around the world
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Get ready to be checkmated by The Queen’s Gambit, where chess is more than just a game – it’s a battlefield for Beth Harmon, an orphan turned chess prodigy.

This isn’t your everyday tale of knights and bishops; it’s the story of a girl who turns the chess world upside down, while dealing with her own personal checkmates.

Beth isn’t just playing chess; she’s rewriting the rules in a man’s world, navigating the tricky waters of being a genius, and juggling her own complicated life.

Think of it as a mental marathon with a side of emotional whirlwind. And those chess scenes? They’re like watching a high-octane action movie but with brains and strategy.

Perfect for those who crave a story that’s as sharp as it is heartfelt. So, pull up a chair and get ready to be captivated – this is one chess game where every move is a masterstroke.

Bridgerton

Bridgerton - historical romance tv series

Number of Episodes: 16 (ongoing)
Genre: Historical Romance Drama
Premiered: 2020
Set in: Regency era, early 19th Century, England
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Step into the world of Bridgerton, Netflix’s own time-travel ticket to the Regency era, where the only things grander than the estates are the scandals.

Here, we’re tossed into the whirlwind lives of the Bridgertons, especially our star, Daphne, as she navigates a sea of romance, drama, and the kind of aristocratic pressures that would send anyone running for the hills—or at least to the nearest ballroom.

But wait, there’s more! The cherry on top of this high-society sundae is Lady Whistledown, the queen of gossip. She’s like that one friend who knows everyone’s secrets and isn’t afraid to spill the tea. Her papers are the Regency version of a group chat gone wild.

What makes Bridgerton a real gem is how it spices up the stuffy old period drama recipe with a dash of modern pizzazz. It’s history with a twist, served up in a vibrant, inclusive package.

If you’re craving a bit of old-world charm mixed with today’s sass, this is your show. It’s like stepping into a Jane Austen novel, if Jane had a wicked sense of humor and an eye for diversity.

RELATED: Best Jane Austen-Inspired Books

Rise of Empires: Ottoman

Rise of Empires Ottoman - historical documentary

Number of Episodes: 6
Genre: Historical Documentary
Premiered: 2020
Set in: 15th Century, Ottoman Empire
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Netflix’s Rise of Empires: Ottoman zips us back to the 15th century to witness the siege of Constantinople, with Sultan Mehmed II leading the charge.

Think of it as a history class, but with way more explosions and zero pop quizzes. We’re thrown back to the 15th century, right into the middle of Sultan Mehmed II’s epic siege of Constantinople.

This show isn’t just a bunch of dusty old facts; it’s history with a Hollywood twist. Imagine reenactments so good you’ll forget they’re not real, mixed with those juicy historical details that your textbook probably skipped. Here’s young Sultan Mehmed, basically a medieval rockstar, strategizing like it’s a chess game with real castles.

It’s perfect for anyone who likes their history served with a side of drama. Rise of Empires: Ottoman takes a moment from the past and turns it into a binge-worthy spectacle.

It’s like your favorite action movie, except it actually happened. So, if you’re up for a bit of empire-building, sword-swinging, and a fresh take on what went down in the 1400s, this is your ticket.

Kingdom

kingdom - historical horror tv series

 

Number of Episodes: 12 (Seasons 1-2) + 1 special episode
Genre: Historical Drama, Horror
Premiered: 2019
Set in: Joseon Dynasty, 17th Century, Korea
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Ever wondered what you’d get if you mixed historical drama with zombie apocalypse? Enter Kingdom, where 17th Century Joseon Dynasty Korea meets an undead nightmare. This isn’t just about a crown prince battling court politics.

No, it’s way spicier – he’s also up against a plague that’s turning people into zombies faster than you can say “brain buffet.”

Imagine trying to juggle royal duties and undead hordes. Talk about a tough day at the office! Kingdom takes this wild combo and runs with it, crafting a tale that’s as much about power and loyalty as it is about avoiding becoming zombie chow.

RELATED: Best Korean Horror Movies for a spine-tingling movie night

The show is a visual candy store – think period-accurate costumes and sets so lush they’ll make you want to time travel (zombies not included). It’s perfect for those who love their history with a side of supernatural shenanigans.

In a nutshell, Kingdom is what happens when historical intrigue and zombie terror collide. It’s a rollercoaster of royal drama and survival stakes, proving that sometimes, the wildest stories are the ones that blend the past with the fantastically impossible.

Story of Yanxi Palace

Story of Yanxi Palace - historical romance drama

Number of Episodes: 70
Genre: Historical Romance Drama
Premiered: 2018
Set in: Qing Dynasty, 18th Century, China
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

So, Story of Yanxi Palace on Netflix, where do I even start? Imagine the juiciest, most intricate palace drama set in the Qing Dynasty, but make it fashion.

Seriously, the costumes are so lavish, they’re practically characters themselves. And the sets? You’ll feel like you’ve been teleported straight to 18th-century China, minus the time travel jet lag.

Now, let’s talk about our main girl, Wei Yingluo. She’s not your typical palace dweller. She’s on a mission to solve her sister’s mysterious death, but ends up on this wild ride of self-discovery and empowerment. It’s like watching someone level up in a game, but in a palace with more backstabbing and fewer dragons.

RELATED: Best Chinese Dramas to Watch on Netflix

The show isn’t just a visual treat; it’s a deep dive into love, power, and all the messy, complicated stuff in between.

It’s like the creators took a history lesson, added a dash of drama, a pinch of romance, and voilà, you’ve got Story of Yanxi Palace. It’s the kind of show that makes you want to cancel all your plans, grab some popcorn, and settle in for a binge session.

Cable Girls

Cable Girls - period drama

Number of Episodes: 42
Genre: Historical Drama
Premiered: 2017
Set in: Late 1920s, Madrid, Spain
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Cable Girls on Netflix is this absolute gem that zips you back to the roaring ’20s in Madrid. Think less flapper dresses, more telephone cords. It’s all about these four badass women at the National Telephone Company, basically pioneers in the whole modern working women scene in Spain.

Each one’s got her own bag of issues and dreams, and let me tell you, their stories are as colorful as their personalities.

The show’s like a cocktail of personal drama, big-time themes like gender equality, and the kind of friendships that make you want to call your bestie. And all this against the coolest backdrop of old-school tech and cultural shake-ups.

Cable Girls isn’t just another period drama; it’s a high-five to the gutsy women of yesteryear, a celebration of their spirit during a time when the world was changing gears.

If you’re into stories that mix history with a slice of women’s experiences and societal evolution, this is your ticket. Plus, who can resist a dose of vintage Madrid charm?

The Crown

The Crown - historical drama series

Number of Episodes: 50 (Seasons 1-5, ongoing)
Genre: Historical Drama, Biographical
Premiered: 2016
Set in: Mid-20th Century to Early 21st Century, United Kingdom
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Alright, if you’re into royal drama and a bit of history, then The Crown on Netflix is your next binge-watch. Think of it as the ultimate behind-the-scenes tour of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. It’s like peeking behind the royal curtains to see what really goes down in Buckingham Palace.

We start with young Lizzie unexpectedly hopping onto the throne and, let me tell you, it’s a rollercoaster from there. This show isn’t just about waving from balconies and wearing crowns; it’s a deep dive into the nitty-gritty of ruling and the whole political circus of post-war Britain.

The creators of The Crown have done their homework, bringing the drama with a side of historical accuracy that would impress even your history teacher. The acting? Top-notch.

You’ll feel like you’re having tea with the Queen herself. And it’s not all stiff upper lips and tiaras; we get the juicy personal dramas too, the kind that make you say, “No way, did that really happen?”

So, if you’re up for a mix of history, politics, and some royal family secrets, The Crown is where it’s at. It’s like a history lesson, but with more drama and fabulous costumes.

Narcos

Narcos - netflix historical series

Number of Episodes: 30
Genre: Historical Drama, Crime
Premiered: 2015
Set in: Late 20th Century, Colombia
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

If you’re in the mood for some edge-of-your-seat action that’s also kinda educational, Narcos on Netflix is your go-to. This isn’t just a crime drama; it’s a deep dive into the dark and twisty world of Colombian drug cartels in the late 20th century.

And who’s at the center of this wild ride? Pablo Escobar, the drug lord who practically redefined notoriety.

This show doesn’t sugarcoat anything. It’s raw, it’s gritty, and it gives you a no-holds-barred look at the chaos Escobar and his buddies unleashed. But it’s not all about the bad guys.

The law enforcement heroes in this saga are relentless, and their chase scenes are the kind you watch with your hands half-covering your eyes.

Narcos is the perfect mix of history lesson and adrenaline rush. You get to see both sides of the coin – the criminals and the cops – and let me tell you, it’s as intense as it gets.

If true crime and historical drama had a baby, it would be Narcos. Buckle up, because this series takes ‘action-packed’ to a whole new level.

Outlander

Outlander - historical romance drama

Number of Episodes: 67 (Seasons 1-5, ongoing)
Genre: Historical Romance Drama, Fantasy
Premiered: 2014
Set in: 20th Century and 18th Century, Scotland and America
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

Let’s talk Outlander. Imagine this: you’re a World War II nurse, and boom, you’re suddenly time-traveling back to 18th-century Scotland. That’s Claire Randall’s life, and it’s as wild as it sounds. This Netflix show is like a historical rollercoaster with a side of sci-fi and a big scoop of romance.

Claire’s not just wandering around in tartan skirts; she’s smack in the middle of some major historical action – think Jacobite risings. But wait, there’s more – enter Jamie Fraser, the kind of Highland warrior who’d make anyone consider time travel.

The Scottish scenery? Gorgeous. The historical details? You’ll feel like you’re acing history class without even trying. And the chemistry between Claire and Jamie? Let’s just say it’s hotter than a Scottish summer.

Outlander isn’t your average time-travel love story. It’s a mash-up of history, fantasy, and all the epic love story feels.

If you’re up for a journey that’s part historical tour and part fantasy adventure, with a dash of romance, then Outlander is your ticket. Get ready to fall in love with history – and maybe a Highlander or two.

Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders - historical series

Number of Episodes: 36 (Seasons 1-6)
Genre: Historical Drama, Crime
Premiered: 2013
Set in: Post-World War I, Birmingham, England
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

If you’re in the mood for some serious crime drama with a side of historical pizzazz, Peaky Blinders on Netflix is where it’s at. Picture post-World War I Birmingham, but make it gritty and stylish – that’s the world of the Shelby crime family, with Tommy Shelby at the helm, and he’s as mysterious as he is ambitious.

This isn’t just your average British series. It’s like a history lesson and a fashion show had a baby and named it drama. The show mixes the old-school vibes of the early 20th century with a modern flair that makes it feel fresh, not like something out of your grandpa’s photo album.

The Shelbys aren’t just running a small-time operation; they’re building a criminal empire, and the power struggles? They’re as intense as a double espresso.

The writing is sharp, the characters are so well-developed you’ll feel like you’re part of the family, and the soundtrack? It’s like the cherry on top, giving a contemporary twist to the whole shebang.

Peaky Blinders is more than a crime drama; it’s a deep dive into a chaotic chapter of British history, with a cast of characters you won’t forget. Buckle up, because this is one heck of a ride through the underworld, with style.

Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife - historical series

Number of Episodes: 96 (Seasons 1-11, ongoing)
Genre: Historical Drama
Premiered: 2012
Set in: 1950s to 1960s, East End of London, England
Watch Now: Netflix

Synopsis:

If you’re scrolling through Netflix looking for something that hits right in the feels, Call the Midwife is your show. Set in the 1950s and 60s East End of London, it’s not your typical glitzy period drama. We’re talking about the real deal of life, childbirth, and all the messy bits in between.

Imagine a bunch of midwives and nuns from Nonnatus House navigating the wild world of babies being born left, right, and center.

It’s a raw and real look at what medical life was like back then, but it’s not all about the nitty-gritty of childbirth.

Call the Midwife is like this perfect blend of seriousness, spiced up with dashes of humor and heaps of humanity. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

For anyone who loves a good historical drama that’s more about people than petticoats, this series is a gem. It’s a tribute to the unsung heroes of that time – the midwives and the mothers – and a reminder of the incredible strength and resilience of everyday people.

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