21 Best Period Dramas Streaming Now on Hulu
June 15, 2022
*Read the following sentence in an 1880s British accent:* How many times must you rewatch your favorite period piece before growing most awfully tired of it?
If you’re anything like us, the answer does not exist. There’s just something about those old-timey accents, forbidden love stories, and grand costumes we can’t get enough of. But, if you’re ready to get bloomers-deep in a new period drama, we’re right there with you.
Lucky for us (and you), we’ve put together a guide of all the best period dramas for you to binge-watch to your heart’s content.
Let’s get into it, Lords and Ladies.
Period Drama Series
First and foremost, if you’re sitting here wondering “what’s all the fuss about this show The Great”—then that’s exactly where your period drama binge needs to start. And in case you need a little nudge, here’s a sneak peek that’s sure to leave you craving more accents and funny hats.
Hulu’s Emmy®-winning series, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, is loosely based on the rise of Catherine the Great, the longest-reigning female ruler of Russia (no biggie).
The satirical, comedic drama recently returned for season 2. All episodes are streaming now, only on Hulu.
Watch: The Great
Brothel owner, Margaret Wells, is faced with navigating the roles of both madam and mother. When a rival madam interferes with her business, Margaret is forced to fight back, even if it means putting herself and her family in grave danger.
Follow along in the intricate world of 18th century Harlots (didn’t everything just sound so much fancier back then?) in this dramatic and vengeful British period drama, only on Hulu.
The Gilded Age
The late 1800s were a period of great economic growth, especially in New York City where this series takes place. The Gilded Age tells stories of old money and new money coming head to head after the civil war. Follow families from all walks of life as America gets its first real taste of wealth and power.
Watch: The Gilded Age*
*The Gilded Age is available on Hulu with HBO Max® add-on subscription.
The Spanish Princess
Spanish Princess tells the tale of Catherine of Aragon as she takes her place on the English throne. Becoming the arranged wife of Prince Author puts her in the public eye as her young and strong-willed personality keeps her from conforming to English customs.
Can Catherine fulfill her duty as the peacekeeper between England and Spain? An already doubtful situation becomes even bleaker when Prince Author dies unexpectedly. That is, until she sets her sights on the new heir—Author’s brother Henry.
Watch: The Spanish Princess
*The Spanish Princess requires a STARZ® add-on subscription.
The Spanish Princess © STARZ and related channels and service marks are the property of STARZ Entertainment, LLC. All other titles and related trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
While loosely based on the real-life Salem witch trials of the 17th century, the characters of Salem have one major difference: they really are witches, and powerful ones at that. This addicting (also slightly gruesome and terrifying) tale of sorcery, secrets, and long lost love will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
When young Helene washes ashore after a shipwreck (as one does), she’s given the opportunity to reinvent herself. She is quickly married to Edmund, a local pastor, after she reveals to him that she remains “pure.” However, once she moves into his home, it becomes much harder to hide her dark past.
If you’ve got a dark sense of humor and don’t mind an above average dose of raunch, then you’ll love the uncomfortably hilarious comedy series, Hunderby.
Pride and Prejudice
As one of the most well-known and successful period dramas ever, BBC’s 1995 miniseries Pride and Prejudice is considered a near-perfect adaptation of Jane Austen’s most famous work, “Pride and Prejudice.”
This story follows wild and independent Elizabeth Bennett as she’s courted by Mr. Darcy, a high-society aristocrat, played by none other than Colin Firth. Also based on a Jane Austen novel, check out Sense and Sensibility.
Watch: Pride & Prejudice
Young David Copperfield (more easily recognizable now as a certain famous wizard, wink wink), lives a perfect life with his mother in the 1800s. However, when his mother remarries, his whole life turns upside down.
Supposed to be a bit of an allegory of Charles Dickens’ life, this story follows David Copperfield from his childhood through adulthood as he finds love, and builds a life of his own in a difficult world.
Also based on a Charles Dickens novel, check out Oliver Twist.
Watch: David Copperfield
Following the death of her uncle, Jane Eyre is sent to become the governess to Adèle, the ward of the master of the house, Mr. Rochester. Quiet and brooding, Mr. Rochester is hardly ever home. But, after Jane saves him from a mysterious fire, she begins to fall in love with him and uncover the dark secrets of his past.
Watch: Jane Eyre
Based on Mary Ann Evans’ (pseudonym: George Eliot) last novel set in Victorian high society, Daniel Deronda follows a boy who has been adopted by a high-ranking family. He, however, is unsure about where his roots truly lie.
When Daniel is forced to choose between two women to marry, he sets off on a journey of self-discovery, where he learns about his true past and what that means for his future.
With a strong female triumph and a love triangle that won’t quit, this series will keep you guessing until the very end.
Watch: Daniel Deronda
Period Drama Movies
Take all of your preconceived notions about the age-old “princess trapped in a tower, waiting for her knight in shining armor” stories and throw them away for this action-packed and female-led period drama.
The Princess tells the tale of a king’s daughter who refuses an arranged marriage to a cruel sociopath with ulterior motives. Can the princess escape from the tower, save her family, and protect the kingdom just in time for a fairytale ending? Find out when this period piece with a morden twist drops to Hulu on Friday, July 1.
Watch: The Princess
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
In 18th century France, a young painter named Marianne is commissioned to follow and observe Héloïse, a young aristocrat, in order to paint a candid wedding portrait. As the women spend more time together each day, they continue to grow closer and must share the short time they have before Héloïse is to be married.
Watch: Portrait of a Lady on Fire
At 15, she became a bride. At 19, she became queen. By 20, Marie Antoinette became the least favorable queen France had ever known. Marie Antoinette is an electric dramatization of the former queen’s story of luxury, privilege, and the French Revolution.
Watch: Marie Antoinette
Colette discovers her extraordinary writing talent when she moves to Paris with her new husband, Willy, who downplays her talent. When her work as a ghostwriter becomes a bestseller, Willy not only takes all the credit, but he also steals the woman Colette has been having an affair with.
A sordid love triangle, female empowerment, and the city of romance all wrapped up into one—need we say more?
The World to Come
Set in the 19th-century backdrop of the wooded and secluded northeast, Abigail is an unsatisfied housewife grieving the loss of her young daughter. Her entire life changes when Tallie (and Tallie’s husband) move next door. As the wives’ relationship intensifies, so does their husband’s jealousy. If you can’t get enough of the “forbidden love” aspect of period dramas, this one’s for you.
Find more LGBTQ+ series and movies to stream now on the Hulu Pride Never Stop hub.
Watch: The World to Come
As if period dramas weren’t already enticing enough, add in an enemies-to-lovers trope and we’re hooked. When an accomplished fossil hunter is hired to care for a wealthy young woman sent to the sea to recover, they immediately butt heads. But, after some time, they begin to develop an intimate relationship that changes both of their lives.
Watch this and other LGBTQ+ movies on Hulu.
Do you love period dramas, dark psychological thrillers, Irish accents, and stories of scorned women seeking revenge? The Nightingale is an intense tale surrounding Clare, a young convict who has lived through terrible violence against herself and her family. When no one wants to help, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
Watch: The Nightingale
The Limehouse Golem
Gloomy 1880’s London is the perfect backdrop for a murder mystery with the highest stakes.
The Limehouse Golem serial killer has rocked the city and, to make matters worse, he’s leaving messages written in blood to taunt the police. With the life of a young musician in his hands, Detective Kildare must solve the mystery before an innocent woman is hanged for murder.
Watch: The Limehouse Golem
Vita & Virginia
Based on the love affair speculated to have happened between writer Virginia Woolf and socialite and author, Vita Sackville-West, Vita & Virginia follows two women, both married to men, who meet at a costume party and are immediately enamored with one another.
As a portrait of their love story, the film features very real quotes from the passionate letters they exchanged.
Watch: Vita and Virginia
Robert the Bruce
Set in the early 1300s, Robert the Bruce follows the King of Scotland (Angus Macfadyen), who is on the brink of defeat in the war to gain freedom from the British. He is injured and on the run when he meets a widow and her family who nurse him back to health so he can claim victory and freedom for Scotland.
Watch: Robert the Bruce
The Girl King
Queen Kristina, the “girl king,” is thrust onto the throne at age six and is raised as a prince, not a princess. Her goal is to spread peace throughout Sweden in the 1600s, but the people surrounding her have a different plan.
As she approaches a marriageable age, strong and fiercely independent Kristina is suddenly expected to choose a man to marry. Only, she is more interested in her beautiful lady-in-waiting, Ebba.
Watch: Girl King
Need more shows to binge? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to the best British shows on Hulu!