Best Period Dramas to Add to Your Watch List If You Loved Bridgerton

10 Period Drama Series to Watch If You Loved ‘Bridgerton’

Can’t get enough of high-society gossip, posh accents, and lavish costumes?

At this point, who hasn’t heard of Bridgerton — aka one of the most successful Netflix series ever? When it first aired in December 2020, it quickly became the pandemic holiday guilty pleasure we never knew we needed. After all, how can we say no to lavish costumes, opulent settings, “old-school” romance, and high-society drama? Meanwhile, its second season, as well as the confirmed renewal for two more seasons, have left us wanting more. Never mind that it’ll likely be another year or so of waiting. (*Sigh.*) 

So, in the meantime, why not check out other similar TV series? We’ve rounded up the best period drama shows like Bridgerton to fill the void in your binge-watching heart. Rest assured that these also bring a lot of posh accents, lovely filming locations, blue-bloods with scandalous lives, and of course — tea-spilling that gives internet-age gossip a run for its money! 

Also read: Where Was Bridgerton Filmed? A Guide to The Show’s Real-Life Locations

1. Reign (2013 – 2017)

Before there was Bridgerton, there was this CW period drama series that also promised to be “the next Gossip Girl, but in a different era.” So, one can expect a lot of royal court intrigue and scandal, as well as impulsive high-born teenagers doing whatever they please. Reign is loosely based on the life of Mary Stuart, otherwise known as the Queen of Scots (played by Adelaide Kane). 

Set in the late 16th century, it follows the young queen — sent to France to marry the dauphin, Francis II (Toby Regbo) — as well as her four ladies-in-waiting who have their own juicy tales. One starts an affair with the King of France, the other ends up in a brief fling with Mary’s fiancé, and another later becomes a brothel madam. Yep, it gets messier with every season.

2. The Great (2020 – )

shows like bridgerton

Satirical period dramas aren’t exactly new, but The Great certainly takes it to a different level by stretching the historical fiction genre. This ongoing Hulu show depicts the rise of  Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning), who goes from outsider to Russia’s longest-reigning female monarch. It packs a lot of absurdity and dark humour, especially as she plots to overthrow her dangerous and deranged husband, Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). And trust us when we say that the dude did have it coming…

3. Downton Abbey (2010 – 2015)

period dramas

At this point, it’s impossible to not have at least heard of Downton Abbey. Hailed as one of the most successful British period dramas of all time, it centres on the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants amid the post-Edwardian era. It’s set against the backdrop of countless historical events that drastically affect their lives; from World War I and Spanish influenza, to the eventual decline of the British nobility. And yet in between all those, the many characters still manage to bring on their own soap opera-esque drama. 

4. The Crown (2016 – )

period dramas

From the moment it premiered, The Crown made waves for being one of the most expensive period drama series — and it shows. Every season, viewers are treated to lavish costumes and set designs that are as impressive as the cast members. (Hey, you can’t go wrong with the likes of Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Claire Foy). Granted, it’s clearly more on the serious side; yet, the gripping depiction of the inner lives of British royals and historical figures is enough to intrigue even the most hardcore anti-royalist. 

5. The Gilded Age (2022 – )

period dramas like Bridgerton

Set in the 1880s, The Gilded Age offers a preview of New York City at a time when the old guard are colliding with the industrial nouveau riche. It centres on Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson), who moves in with her aunts that are part of the old money crowd. Drama ensues when the newly wealthy Russell family become their new neighbours — with a palatial home that puts the established families’ mansions to shame. From the very start, it’s clear that the conniving matriarch, Bertha (Carrie Coon), will stop at nothing until the Russells are accepted into the ultra-exclusive high society. 

This period drama series sheds a light on the American era of supposed economic growth after the Civil War. But as the name suggests, underneath this prosperity lies many ugly truths like racism, poverty, and corruption. More than just a show about the upper class, it also takes us through the lives of those who didn’t enjoy the same advantages; from the European immigrant working class, to the African Americans who have built a fortune yet still aren’t safe from their harrowing past. 

6. Gentleman Jack (2019 – )

period dramas

Who could forget that exchange between Kate Sharma and Eloise Bridgerton in Bridgerton Season 2, where they talk about society being unkind towards unmarried women? If you love seeing female leads bucking societal norms on gender and sexuality, then this HBO show might be right up your alley. Gentleman Jack is based on the story of Anne Lister (Suranne Jones): An English landowner whose famous diaries revealed her relationships with other women during a far-from-forgiving era. Currently on its second season, the charismatic and determined protagonist does everything to revive Shibden Hall, her faded ancestral home. 

7. Dickinson (2019 – 2021)

period dramas

Reminiscent of the previous item, Dickinson also features headstrong female leads who’ll do whatever it takes to break free from the status quo. It focuses on a young Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) and her relentless pursuit to become a great poet in a time when female writers were frowned upon. What makes this show interesting is the contemporary dialogues; with most of the characters talking as if they’re living in the 2020s, rather than 1850s Massachusetts. It’s also unapologetically adolescent, with themes like teenage angst, popularity, and the ever-emo romanticisation of death.

8. Sanditon (2019 – )

Sanditon is among the period dramas like Bridgerton, mainly because it’s also set in the Regency era. Unlike its more popular sibling, though, the main setting is a sleepy fishing village on the cusp of gentrification. The main protagonist, Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), moves there as a companion to the Parkers: a wealthy family intent on turning Sanditon into a luxury resort. 

It’s based on Jane Austen’s final novel, written just a few months before her death. The TV adaptation was initially cancelled after one season — but was fortunately revived, partially thanks to Bridgerton’s popularity. Similar to the hit Netflix series’ second season, the plot is heavy on the enemies-turned-lovers trope… and a lot of gasp-inducing sexual allusions. And since the source material was left unfinished, we’re excited to see how the writers will continue the show from there. 

9. Vanity Fair (2018)

shows like bridgerton

This miniseries is based on the classic novel that raised a lot of eyebrows for satirising 18th-century British society. Set in London during the Napoleonic Wars, Vanity Fair follows feisty social climber, Becky Sharp (played by Olivia Cooke), who uses her charm and wits to claw her way out of poverty and into high society. The show also stars Claudia Jessie (aka Eloise Bridgerton) as Emmy Sedley, a good-natured yet naïve debutante who invites Becky to stay in her fancy house. 

10. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

period dramas

Of course, how can we forget this iconic period drama that centres on the OG “hate at first sight” couple? As many of you probably know by now, Pride and Prejudice also takes place in the Regency era. The plot parallels with Bridgerton are pretty obvious, too. Just like the Bridgerton siblings, the Bennet sisters are also pressured to marry into the right family. And just like Daphne and Simon, the headstrong Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) and the brooding Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth) are polar opposites who turn out to be perfect for each other. 

This BBC miniseries has also been hailed as the best adaptation of the Jane Austen classic. So, if you haven’t seen this yet, then we strongly suggest doing so to see what the decades-old hype is all about! 

Also read: 10 Useful Love Lessons We Learned from Bridgerton

Bonus: The Royals (2015-2018)

shows like bridgerton

This one clearly doesn’t count as a period drama, since it takes place in modern-day England. It’s still one of those shows like Bridgerton, though; what with its abundance of juicy secrets, catfights, and crazy royal antics that make Queen Charlotte look chill and normal in comparison. 

The Royals revolves around a fictional British royal family that is honestly more Kardashian than Windsor. It’s a hilarious guilty pleasure at best, and a portrait of a cringey alternate universe at worst. It’s so bad, it’s good! Oh, and a fair warning for period drama fans: Best to lower your expectations, and maybe just ignore the one-too-many suspensions of disbelief.

Also read: Brush Up on British Slang: 12 Most Common Words and Expressions to Learn

So, which of these period drama shows like Bridgerton are you watching first? Or better yet, are there some on this list that you’ve already seen? 

And while you’re at it, you might also wanna check out these spectacular country manors in England. Some of these were even the filming locations of several period dramas, too! Yup, there are many ways to live out your aristocratic dreams, even beyond the small screen. 

All images are credited to IMDb.

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.