From an early age I felt very attracted to universal history. The events that have lived and developed in so many countries of the world, from catastrophic wars to ruthless leaders, or wonderful times for art and literature, kept me very entertained during my childhood and adolescence.
Nowadays, it is also like that. The stories of kings, queens, empires, criminals and conquerors, are great protagonists in the world of entertainment, especially for film and television. And the story of Julius Caesar, Pope Alexander VI and many other characters, in addition to historical events such as the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, or World War II, are gold for film and television, and are stories that deserve to be told in countless ways.
That is why we are dedicated to compiling ten of the best historical drama series that have reached television. Beyond books and movies, these stories have conquered television, and although they have evidently been (very) made up for a greater dramatic appeal for TV, they still maintain the essence of that character, era or event on which it is based.
Top 10 best historical drama TV shows
One of the most important and emblematic monarchs in the history of the United Kingdom was Henry VIII. This king of the sixteenth century was responsible for breaking relations with the Roman Catholic Church to become the supreme head of the Anglican church, all in order to be able to divorce. The Tudors is based on the story of the monarch and his many wives, how he separated a country from its religious roots, and how the end of the Tudor dynasty began. An impeccable series that lasted four seasons, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Natalie Dormer, Sam Neill and Henry Cavill.
Band of Brothers
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks were responsible for producing, for HBO, this wonderful historical mini-series of 10 episodes that is set in World War II and the odyssey that lived in this war the E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the United States. The series is based on a novel written by Stephen Ambrose, who dedicated himself to investigate this company for many years to shape its history and heroism. If you like war stories, Band of Brothers is a must-see series and one of the best historical drama TV shows of all time.
Downton Abbey is a drama, a drama if not for its incredible atmosphere and that there are not so many scenes full of insults and slaps, it could remind us of a telenovela either in Miami or Mexico. However, it is excellent, and it can catch you to such a level that you will not realize how it was done, amid laughter and tears. Based on the early twentieth century in England, the story focuses on the aristocratic family Crawley and their servants, life in the castle, their romances and hatred, but all with a very accurate historical setting, given that events such as the collapse of the Titanic, the First World War and the Spanish flu waves are very important events during the time, which influence the whole plot.
The Vikings were a dirty warriors, extremely violent, bearded and plundered countless towns and countries throughout their existence. Such folk is impossible to not have a great stories, worthy of a TV show. Ragnar Lodbrok was one of the most important heroes of Nordic history, who became king of the Vikings by being the first to risk going beyond the known, sailing so far that they arrived in Britain from Scandinavia, and thereby began their looting. This TV series is full of violence, conflict and many epic battles between Ragnar, his Vikings and other historical figures, including British branches from many centuries ago.
And speaking of violence, Spartacus is one of the most crude and explicit series that have existed in modern television. Based on the famous gladiator "Spartacus", it tells the story of a group of rebels who left the Arena of gladiators to free slaves and confront the Roman Empire. This series during its four seasons showed us epic battles and the crudest side of the Roman Empire and its history, how the expression "Bread and circuses" is born from the violence in the Arena, the main entertainment of a people thirsty for blood. Although its protagonist, Andy Whitfield, died of a very aggressive cancer after only a few months of being diagnosed, the series continued three more seasons with a replacement that did the job just as well. Spartacus is an incredible epic series and one of the best historical drama TV shows of all time, with great actors and memorable characters.
The White Queen
The White Queen is an incredible mini-British series that did not need more than 10 episodes to tell in an impeccable way the story of the "Wars of the Roses", and how a woman was in the middle, involved and trapped in this conflict that during the middle of the fifteenth century saw the war between the York and Lancaster houses fight for the throne of the United Kingdom. It is a story of love, conspiracy, war and noble families destroying themselves for trying to seize power, all to end up giving life to the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. The Wars of the Roses is one of the most interesting times and events in the history of the British nobility, and in The White Queen they tell it in a brilliant way.
Jumping from the fifteenth century to the twentieth century, one of the most important historical events in the United States was the era of the prohibition of alcohol throughout the country, which began in the year 1920. Well as the saying goes that "Every law has a loophole", and in the midst of an era of prohibition was born an era of organized crime based on liquor smuggling, starring historical characters such as Enoch" Nucky "Thompson. Boardwalk Empire is based on Nucky, his rise as criminal boss, while rubbing elbows with historical figures such as Arnold Rothstein, Al Capone and Charlie "Lucky" Luciano. It is an impeccable criminal drama, full of gangsters, that if you are a fan of the genre, you should not miss it.
The rise of the Roman Empire is a recurring story in film and television, but HBO, this time, told the story in a different way, in a violent way. Rome is a historical drama seen from the point of view of a centurion, while they tell us the story of the rise of Julius Caesar, his battle with Pompey the Great, and the birth of the first true Roman Emperor. The series is full of very heavy names in the history of Rome and the world, from Mark Antony to Cleopatra and Cicero. In just two seasons, this series tells the story of the birth of an empire.
Marco Polo is the newest historical series on the list, produced by Netflix and that tells the story of the historical character that bears the same name, who was one of the most important warriors and conquerors in history. The series is based on its beginnings as part of the court of Kublai Khan, the emperor of Mongolia who founded the Yuan dynasty, and how he gained his place as warrior and conqueror. The series have two seasons and it's considered by many as one of the best historical drama tv shows ever.
The Borgias is a series based on the story of one of the most controversial names that have been linked to the Catholic Church, Rodrigo Borgia. And it is that Rodrigo was the Pope number 214, known as Alejandro VI, and that he maintained the power of the church thanks to his family and nepotism, since his children (yes, children, of a Pope) occupied high positions in the church and the politics of Rome. Rodrigo Borgia was interpreted impeccably by the great Jeremy Irons, who gave life to this Pope in this great series that was canceled, perhaps unfairly for its followers, after four seasons.