A Gentleman in Moscow and the 9 best historical dramas to watch right now

These 10 historical dramas are among the best capturing past time periods in an entertaining way!
Outlander Season 2 2016
Outlander Season 2 2016 /

Historical dramas and television go back to the start of the medium. TV was one of the best ways for audiences to see past times replicated and for a while (especially in the 1970s), historical mini-series were all the rage. British TV has gone whole hog for it with Masterpiece Theater and the rise of streaming has allowed other period dramas to take off too.

They can be great, many tackling famous periods like the Middle Ages, the World Wars and more. Others are unique taking on lesser-known times and places but in fun ways. Some may not be totally historically accurate yet are good capturing why these times were important. It’s a huge selection but these stand out as ten great historical dramas to check out on various streamers. 

A Gentleman in Moscow

Based on the novel by Amor Towles, this new drama series stars Ewan McGregor as Count Alexander Rostov, an arrogant Russian aristocrat. His life of leisure ends when the October Revolution takes place, the nobles fall out of power and Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the attic of a Moscow hotel.

Unable to leave the grounds, Rostov forges an unlikely connection to a resident (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as he adjusts to a life without luxury. It looks to be a fun period drama focusing on a mostly ignored time in history as the year between the World Wars threaten to shake up this Gentlemen’s life. 

A Gentleman in Moscow premieres Friday, March 29 on Showtime. 

Netflix Media Center - Natalie Zamora /

The Crown

Recently wrapping up its multiple Emmy-award winning run, this series crafts a remarkable look at the record reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s notable for the cast changes with Claire Foy as the young Elizabeth thrust into the throne. Season 3 has Olivia Colman taking on an older Elizabeth handling more changes while the final two seasons have Imelda Staunton as an elder Queen facing huge cultural upheavals.

The supporting cast is astounding with multiple actors as the Royal Family, Gillian Anderson as Margret Thatcher, John Lithgow as Winston Churchill and more. Its multiple Emmy wins add to its huge popularity as the show captures multiple eras, all centered around one of the greatest rulers in British history.

The Crown Seasons 1-6 streaming on Netflix.

The Great -- Episode 301 -- Season 3 of “The Great” sees Catherine (Elle Fanning) and Peter (Nicholas Hoult) attempt to make their marriage work after some seemingly insurmountable problems. Peter witnessed his own attempted murder at Catherine’s hands and she also imprisoned all of his friends. On top of this, Peter is at a loose end playing First Husband to Catherine’s reign, so he busies himself with fathering, hunting and salty culinary ventures. But they’re not enough to keep him contented /

The Great

It’s not exactly historically accurate but this Hulu series sure was a lot of fun. It’s a satirical look at the relationship between Russia’s Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) and Queen Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning). It’s meant to be a romp, showcasing Peter as a borderline lunatic with Catherine out to become queen, no matter who she has to kill to do it.

The show never takes itself seriously, playing wildly with history and totally off the wall. The escapades of the royals are beyond risque, outrageous in violence, personal meetings and more alongside a rock soundtrack yet it somehow all works into a wonderful romp. Sadly ending after just three seasons, this show truly was great in so many ways.

The Great Seasons 1-3 streaming on Hulu


This Starz smash gives us two historical dramas for one. Based on the best-selling novels, it opens in 1946 as nurse Claire Randall (Caitríona Balfe) is somehow whisked back in time to 1743 Scotland. Claire soon falls in love with Highlander Jamie Frasier (Sam Heughan), triggering one of the steamiest romances ever put on TV screens. Together, the pair face events from the Jacobite Uprising to the start of the American Revolution. 

The show rests on the leads, whose chemistry is off the charts as well as capturing the 18th century setting perfectly. It gets better with segments in the 1960s and the duo’s grown daughter joining them. With an upcoming final season being prepped, this show deserves its massive fan following for its gorgeous romantic adventure.

Outlander Seasons 1-7 streaming on Starz/Hulu, Seasons 1-5 on Netflix


This highly underrated 2005-07 HBO series offered a stunning take on Ancient Rome. It’s not glamorous, showing how dirty Rome was from the streets to the politics and married to epic storytelling. The focus is on two soldiers (Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson) who get involved in events from the rise and fall of Julis Caesar, Cleopatra and more. 

The show can be brutal and violent in a way that makes Game of Thrones look tame yet that makes it more compelling. The stellar cast sells it and the reproduction values bringing Rome to life are among HBO’s best. Cut short after only two seasons, this may be the secret gem of HBO’s prestige TV run. 

Rome Seasons 1&2 streaming on MAX

Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders - Credit: Robert Viglasky/Netflix /

Peaky Blinders

With his recent Oscar win, there’s no better time to tune in to Cillian Murphy’s fantastic TV series. He plays Thomas Shelby, a mobster in Birmingham, England after World War I. Tommy is dedicated to helping his family (both real and mob) rise to the top, no matter how he has to fight off cops, other mobsters and occasionally his own siblings. 

Murphy is the center of it while surrounded by a cast including Sam Neil, Tom Hardy, Anya Taylor-Joy and especially Helen McCrory as Tommy’s wicked mother. The show was brutal, dark, uncompromising and showcasing how ugly this time in England was. Murphy is the shining star of it to remind folks once more of his talent. 

Peaky Blinders Seasons 1-6 streaming on Netflix. 

Vikings: Valhalla. Frida Gustavsson as Freydis Eriksdotter in episode 208 of Vikings: Valhalla. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /


This sprawling epic spanned several different time periods with a shifting cast yet never lost its exciting flavor. Starting in 793 A.D., the series tells of a Viking clan slowly rising to success via war, mayhem and discovering how political struggles are more dangerous than the colossal sea and land battles that spray blood everywhere.

The cast handles it all with Travis Fimmel and Kathryn Winnick the main stars and backed by a fine supporting cast. The show did huge twists with major characters dying and adjusting to the changes in history. The sequel series Valhalla is just as good while this was true history in the making.

Vikings Seasons 1-6 streaming on Hulu, Peacock and Prime Video 

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The CW and costume drama don’t usually go together but they made an exception for this 2013-17 series. It follows Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) who comes to the court of Francis (Toby Regbo), future King of France. She’s in a love triangle with his half-brother while seer Nostradmus foretells Mary’s arrival will spell doom for the royal family and herself as well.

The show may play fast and loose with history but in a fun way, with the CW touches highlighting the period. Megan Follows stole every scene as the conniving Catherine de Medici to be a delight. It gets better in later seasons with Rachel Skarsten making a formidable Elizabeth I. Its four season run was a unique departure for the CW while still spotlighting three powerful historical ladies.

Reign Seasons 1-4 streaming on CWTV. 

James Frain, Kennedy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Sam Neill, Gabrielle Anwar, Maria Doyle
Showtime's Premiere of the new dramatic series 'The Tudors' / E. Charbonneau/GettyImages

The Tudors

Mention Henry VIII and most think of the portly guy with the six wives. This groundbreaking Showtime drama has Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a younger, sexier Henry, ruling over England while moving through a bevy of ladies. It’s obvious how this inspired shows like Game of Thrones and other historical dramas with a steamy adult edge.

It’s astounding how many famous actors are in this show: Henry Cavill, Natalie Dormer, Sam Neil, Peter O’Toole and more notable British actors. The show tackled the ups and downs of Henry’s reigns, his loves and struggles, offering a different view of the man and setting the tone for several of the other shows on this list.

The Tudors Seasons 1-4 streaming on Showtime/Paramount+.

Colin Firth
Los Angeles Premiere Of Searchlight Pictures "Empire Of Light" / Amanda Edwards/GettyImages

Pride & Prejudice (1995)

There have been so many adaptations of Jane Austen’s works that they could inspire a list all their own. So it says something that this 1995 mini-series is still considered one of the best ever. It’s a gorgeously done faithful adaptation of her masterpiece of Elizbaeth Bennett (Jennifer Ehle) who resists the pressures of her family and society to marry for love, not duty.

Of course, the true reason this series stands out can be summed up in two words: Colin Firth. His performance as Mr. Darcy launched Firth to instant stardom, especially the now-classic moment where he takes a swim in a lake. Combine that with the production values and Austen’s dialogue and little wonder this version has never been topped.

Pride & Prejudice streaming on Tubi.