These period dramas on Netflix are just the thing to calm your frayed nerves
We’re all collectively sitting at the edge of our seats in anticipation for the second season of Bridgerton.
Period dramas have a certain charm, with their stunning costumes, rich history and an opportunity to imagine life in a vastly different time.
‘Bridgerton’, set during the Regency era in England, has it in abundance. The cast of characters and Lady Whistledown’s narrative keep viewers glued to the Ton’s gossip, drama and romance. Considering the buzz around season one across social media, it is not surprising that this is Netflix’s most-watched show ever, garnering over 82 million viewers in three weeks. Safe to say, we cannot wait to see what happens next in the lives of our favourite characters.
So, while we wait for the second season of Bridgerton, here’s a list of some other engaging period dramas you can binge-watch on Netflix.
(Hero and featured images courtesy of Netflix)
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Created by Peter Morgan, this show chronicles the life and reign of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. It follows the young monarch’s journey, from ascending the throne at the age of 25 (following the death of her father King George VI) to modern times. It also explores the personal lives and controversies of the members of the Royal Family over the years. The show is Netflix’s most expensive original drama to date. It has also won seven Golden Globe awards to date: Best Television Series (Drama) in 2017 and 2021, Best Actress – Television Series Drama (Claire Foy in 2017, Olivia Coleman in 2020 and Emma Corrin in 2021), Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 2021 by Josh O’Connor and Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film in 2021 by Gillian Anderson.
Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth
This K-drama follows a group of elite male warriors who live in Seorabeol, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, during 57 BC and AD 935. It gives us an insight into how people lived during the sixth century. The warriors defend the royal family, along with discovering their passions and finding love and friendship. The show has a star-studded cast, including popular Korean actors Park Seo-joon, Go A-ra, Park Hyung-sik and K-pop group BTS vocalist Kim Tae-hyung.
The Last Czars
This mini-series documents the captivating history and violent downfall of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. It follows Nicholas II, the last emperor, from the beginning of his reign in 1894 to his murder in 1918, which ended the family’s dominion on the throne after 300 years of rule. The show is also unique in its format — with 80 percent acting and 20 percent documentary of facts shared by historians.
This horror drama is set during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). When a mysterious outbreak takes over a medieval kingdom, turning people into zombies, it is up to the crown prince to find a solution. He struggles to save the people — a difficult task as he’s later accused of betraying his father, the king. The show found critical acclaim and Netflix renewed it for a second season even before the first one premiered. Netflix has also confirmed a sidequel, ‘Kingdom: Ashin of the North’, which is expected to premiere in 2021. It will be about the backstory of Ashin, a mysterious character who appeared at the end of season two.
This Chinese series is based on Gu Long’s novel ‘Juedai Shuangjiao’. It is about a pair of twin brothers who were separated at birth and raised as martial artists, fighting on opposing sides. However, even though they were taught to hate each other, they soon develop a friendship upon meeting by chance. They then set out on a quest to find out the truth about their families and become masters of their art.
Set in 1667, it portrays the reign of Louis XVI and his ambitious plan to construct the stunning Palace of Versailles. Also known as the Sun King, he moved the French Court from Paris to Versailles, building one of the most exquisite chateaus in Europe in the process. However, he is met with resistance from nobles, a drained budget, affairs and other political intrigues. It is one of the most expensive French TV shows to be produced, costing a whopping £24 million (approx. HK$255,677,353).
This Mexican TV show is based on the life and works of Juana Inés de la Cruz: a nun, scholar, poet, and philosopher. She was an important figure of the Spanish Golden Age — an era that saw a growing focus on literature and arts in the country — and in Mexican classical literature, known for fighting against a male-dominated space in science and religion in the 17th century. She faced severe oppression for her affair with another woman and her thirst for knowledge.
Created by Michael Hirst for the History channel, this fantasy series is inspired by the story of legendary Viking hero Ragnar Lothbrok. The show portrays his rise to fame — from an ambitious farmer to becoming the Scandinavian king. It follows his exploits and raids through the years and the roles his family and other warriors play in his journey. Later seasons focus on the adventures of his sons in different countries, including England. ‘Vikings’ won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2020 for Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role.
Set in Florence, Italy, in the early 15th century, this family political drama is about the powerful Medici dynasty. Bankers for the Pope, they held significant influence during the Italian Renaissance. The series begins in 1429 when the head of the family, Giovanni de’ Medici, dies suddenly. His son Cosimo steps up to take over the family business, but he struggles to preserve their power.
Anne with an E
This coming-of-age period drama is adapted from the novel ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L.M. Montgomery. Set in the late 19th century, it follows the journey and adventures of a young orphan girl after she is sent to live on Canada’s Prince Edward Island. The series sheds light on the threats she faces as an orphan — struggling to find a home and education as well as dealing with poverty, death and violence.