Not since The Crown have we binged watch a series faster than Bridgerton.
Based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels, the period drama follows the competitive world of Regency London high society and when debutantes are presented at court. Produced by Shonda Rhimes, this Jane Austen meets Scandal type show stars Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Jonathan Bailey, Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie. Julie Andrews also voices the pivotal narrator character and Gossip Girl type Lady Whistledown.
Not to be confused with the publication, Vanity Fair is a historical drama miniseries based on the 1848 novel of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, the story follows cynical social climber Becky Sharp (Olivia Cooke) as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story of “villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting, and dancing”, takes her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking hearts and losing fortunes as she goes. Bridgerton fans may recognise actress Claudia Jessie (aka from Eloise Bridgerton) who plays as Amelia Sedley, a good-natured naive young girl of a wealthy London family who invites Becky to stay in her London home. Another reason worth watch? Tom Bateman, who plays the dumb but dashing cavalry officer Rawdon Crawley is hot AF.
Where To Watch: Amazon Prime Video
The Tudors is as salacious as it gets. The ultra dramatic Showtime series focuses on the terrifying reign and doomed marriages of King Henry VIII. Jonathan Rhys Myers perfectly plays the wicked royal. The first season begins in the 16th century with Henry VIII growing desperate for an heir and growing distant from his first wife Catherine of Aragon. The series moves quickly to the period when Anne Boleyn (played by Natalie Dormer) became his obsession. Throughout the series’ entire sexy four seasons, and all of Henry’s six wives, we are hooked.
Set in the 19th century, Dickinson, is the highly fictionalised and stylised version of the real life aspiring poet Emily Dickinson. The comedy/drama takes viewers into the world of Emily, who is brilliantly played by Hailee Steinfeld, a teenager audaciously exploring the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of the budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time through her imaginative point of view. With modern sense and sensibility, this coming-of-age story one woman’s awesome fight to get her voice heard
Now let’s get to the juicy stuff. For starters Emily is in love with her best friend, and her brother’s fiancée, Sue, and pushes back against her parents’ attempts to find her a suitor. She is also morbidly fascinated with Death and imagines herself going on splendid carriage rides with it (come to life by way of Wiz Khalifa). Oh, and Emily’s friend George, who is crushing in her hard, is a college paper editor who agrees to publish one of Emily’s poems, much to the displeasure of Edward, Emily’s father who is running for Congress. Whew! This slightly wacky yet totally capitalising series just dropped a second season this last week and a third has already been ordered.
Where To Watch: Apple TV+
Action, time travel, love triangles steamy sex scenes – Outlander has it all. Developed by Ronald D. Moore, the Starz series is based on the novel series of the same name by Diana Gabaldon. The totally addicting historical drama follows the story of Claire Randall, played by Caitriona Balfe, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world in which her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. The show was recently renewed for sixth season.
In need of some #RegalAF vibes? Start streaming The Great ASAP. From Tony McNamara’s, the director behind the deliciously film The Favourite, the satirical, comedic drama follows the rise of Catherine the Great from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history. Set in the 18th century, the ultra fictionalized Hulu series focuses on Catherine in her youth and marriage with Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) and subsequent plot to kill her depraved and dangerous husband. And the costuming is to die for. Hulu recently renewed the series for a second season.
Reign is romantic drama series following the early exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots. Taking historical liberties, Reign chronicles the rise to power of Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), and with her four best friends as ladies-in-waiting. It details the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue. Throughout the series, historical events are used as plot points such as the death of King Henry II, the rise of Francis and Mary as King and Queen of France and Scotland and the introduction Queen Elizabeth of England, who plots against Mary, fends off marital prospects, and deals with her secret love affair with Robert Dudley.
The series is also pretty provocative, especially for a teen show. In fact, after the show’s pilot was distributed to advertisers and critics, it had to be edited before its final airing, trimming the sexual content of the scene where Kenna masturbates after witnessing a bedding ceremony. A later episode, “The Consummation,” has two versions: an on-air cut for television broadcast, and an online streaming version with additional sexual content that was made available on the CW’s website a few hours later. This action was criticised by the Parents Television Council.
We assume everyone has seen Downton Abbey by this point but on the off chance you haven’t, there is no better time to dive in. The series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey between 1912 and 1926, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in the post-Edwardian era—with the great events of the time having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. Events depicted throughout the series include news of the sinking of the Titanic, the outbreak of the First World War, the Spanish influenza, the Marconi scandal, the Irish War of Independence, the Teapot Dome scandal, the British general election of 1923 and the Beer Hall Putsch. The sixth and final series introduces the rise of the working class during the interwar period and hints at the eventual decline of the British aristocracy.
Between all of the real life historical drama, the huge ensemble cast of characters find themselves in endless soap-opera style entanglements. From affairs to betrayals to murders, Downton will quickly become your obsession.